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Questions about my foster mom...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm Heather. I'm new here, but not to pet forums! LOL

This is gonna be long, I haven't had anyone to talk to about my situation.

Anyway, I decided to foster a momma cat and her kittens for my local shelter. Momma was a stray that was brought in with her kittens. When I got them back in May, momma, Savannah, was sweet as pie. She was the nicest cat in the world. She'd sit on my lap and let the kittens nurse there, she'd always purr and do her "happy toes" kneading. I couldn't ask for a sweeter cat. She did have some behavior issues, peeing in clothes baskets or anything that was on the floor (newspaper, empty shoe box, ect.) and even though she loved my big dogs, she beat the crap out of my resident cat.

Things recently started to change in her behavior. 2 of the kittens have been adopted and the other 3 are going to the shelter this week to be adopted. The 3 remaining still try to nurse once in awhile, but she won't let them anymore (they're too big/old now). She screamed and cried for days for me to let her outside. I know, once a stray it's hard to keep them in. I decided to let her out in the yard supervised. Then it turned into an everyday, out all night, kind of thing. As soon as I bring her in, she runs to a door or window to get out. I haven't seen her eat in days. I even tried canned. She's always been skinny, but I thought after she was finished nursing, she'd put on weight. I swear she's getting skinnier. She also seems lathargic. She just lays on the patio for hours. It's hot, so I try to bring her in and she wants back out. She's turned into an avid hunter, I think the count is up to 8 mice and moles, 1 rabbit and 1 bird. She's not eating them, just "presenting" them to me...I put a bell on her collar and the death toll has dropped a little. Also, instead of her beating up my resident cat, Domino, he's beating the crap out of her. They can not be anywhere near each other with out fighting. Domino is fine with the kittens, just not Savannah. (A side note on Domino, he is the most miserable, unaffectionate cat in the world, the only time he purrs is when he's biting you...that's another post though but I love him).

So I'll get to my questions, maybe someone will know what direction I can go in. I'd love to keep her but with all of these issues, I'm not sure what I can do. I can't turn her back over to the shelter for fear someone will adopt her and not be as understanding as me when she pees in their clean clothes basket. Do you think she's done being a home body because her babies are all grown up? Do you think she's just going back to her roots as a stray? Do you think she just wants some solitude away from her babies who still try to nurse or my mean Domino? Do you think she'll ever get along with my cat? Is it okay to keep her as an outside cat so long as I give her shelter and all the essentials, I mean it's what she wants. And what about her appetite? And her potty issues?

UGGHH

If you've read this far, I thank you!

-Heather
post #2 of 22
IS she spayed? Has she ever been checked at the vets for cystitis, which could explain the peeing? I would also be concerned at the lack of appetite - it could just be that she is hunting more, but if you dont know 100% you need to get that looked at. I have cats that are allowed outdoor access, but it does depend where you live, and it can take months for cats to get along, but if neither are happy, then it needs looking at.
post #3 of 22
Also, as she is a hunter, she could have worms which may be a reason for her not gaining any weight.

Please take her to a vet ASAP!
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks!

Oh yea, she's spayed. I wouldn't even THINK about letting her outside if she wasn't.

I don't think she's been checked for that particularly. She's had many check-ups since May. She still belongs to the shelter, I haven't officially adopted her yet, and they're great about vet checks. I kinda thought that maybe being a stray for her whole life (she's about 1-1.5) maybe she just needed a little extra help with the idea of the litter box. She does use the litter box most of the time, but her accidents are still frequent enough to drive me nuts. The first day I had her she pooped on a towel on the floor, so it hasn't alway just been pee. She had a terrible worm infestation (I found out when I was thowing that towel away!!!) She's been wormed 2x.

Why would she beat Domino up in the start, but now he's beating her up. I guess she was protecting her babies, but she'd let 80 pound dogs help groom the babies when they were 2 weeks old, she'd purr the whole time. Why would she be so mean to another cat? Now the tables are turned, he's hurting her. She doesn't really defend herself either, just runs to a corner or under something or to the door. So they may never get along, huh?
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
I am taking her to the vet. I'll let ya know what they say. I'm so confused and worried about her.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
The shelter didn't call me back all day to make an appointment, I'll have to call in the a.m.

Savannah and Domino were caught sleeping near each other without riping fur out this afternoon! From left to right we have Savannah, Domino, Riley, and Maya. Look how Dom is looking at her though...is it love or hate? And I just noticed her ears are down. But they sat there together for a good 1/2 hour before Dom bit her butt.

post #7 of 22
First, thank you for taking in a momma and her kittens, there are so few willing to foster, let alone willing to foster a pregnant cat.

Second, see what the vet says.

Third, as for beating on the other kitty, is it possible to redo the introduction? Things may mellow out a bit if you separate the kitties, and introduce them again in a slow fashion. It could be that Savannah, when she went in for one of her various appointments, could have picked up the smell of a cat that Dom doesn't like.
post #8 of 22
Dont really have any advice..was just shocked when I saw you were from here "pittsburgh"

What shelter do you foster for, and have you found it to be a good experience??
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
I foster for the Western PA Humane Society. It's my first time. The experience has been bitter sweet. The Humane Society has been great, but I've grown way too attached to 2, especially 1 kitten. I kept telling myself the whole time not to do it, but the longer I have the last 3, the harder it is. I never even planned on keeping the mom. I thought if I kept her that I could never foster again. But after talking it over with my fiance, I don't think we'll do it again. Maybe if the situation is right, but I doubt it. They were rough on our new house and on my heart strings!

Are you from PGH as well?
post #10 of 22
Savannah was probablly so dominant because she had her kittens around. Not really sure why she wouldnt care about the dog being around but cared about Domino. Maybe from a previous experience she trusted the dog more. Savannah is also coming in with new smells on her from being outside. If she is the only cat being let out Domino is probablly smelling unfamiliar scents.

I found a stray cat and have no idea if her life before me was inside or out. She cried all the time to go out, too. I tried my best to redirect her attention and after a while, she adjusted and stopped crying to go out. Now she runs away from the doors when they are opened.
post #11 of 22
Yes I am from here, and dont see too many people from here on this site..
Thats why I was so shocked.
If you read any of my posts, about the terrible shelters, I have been using westmoreland county, since I just moved out here..
But allegheny was where I grew up, and should have still used their shelters for fostering/adopting, or ANYTHING..

Thats nice to hear that they are good up there. Ive had alot of issues with my kitties this month, so not now..But I would love to foster..Humans and kittys
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks Pami. That will be easier to do once the babies leave. All 3 of them still try to nurse and Domino is mean, I was thinking she just needed some alone time. It's true that she's the only cat I let outside. Domino is constantly trying to run out. I've let him out on occasion, but he doesn't have "street smarts" so I try to keep him in at all times. Maybe he is smelling all the strange smells.

Something I just thought of was that her behavior has kinda changed and gone down hill since she's been spayed. Any thoughts on that? My older dog had trouble after his neuter. He was 4 or 5 and kind of took it hard. Maybe Savannah is too. Or do they not have any clue the changes to their bodies?

As far as Savannah with the dogs...I couldn't imagine them getting along any better. Both of my dogs are close to 80 pounds. The day I brought her home from the shelter I let my lab meet her right away. Vannah walked right up to the dog and rubbed her head on him, first thing. Savannah is tortie and my pit mix is brindle (her name is Georgia btw, Savannah and Georgia). The kittens, especially Riley still till this day try to nurse from Georgia. Savannah never once protected her babies from the dogs. The dogs groom, lick, cuddle, even helped with "stimulation" (not on purpose).The only time she got real protective of the babies was when we lost one. I was bottle feeding the small female and losing her. I took her to be put down when she stopped trying to swallow. Savannah started hiding her babies after that, but that only lasted a day or 2. Gosh, was that frustrating. She was hiding 3 week old kittens all over my cold family room when I had a whole room set up for them with space heaters.

Here's a pic of Savannah nursing either Riley or Daisy and Georgia is keeping a watchful eye.

Riley with his other foser mom.


Ok, I'm rambling. I'm just nervous, sad, and have so much to share!
post #13 of 22
You have a beautiful fur family. I dont know why it happens but my cats kittens tried to nurse her for a long time after she was spayed and didnt have any milk left. 2 of them 3 years later still try to and she will even let them sometimes .......
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alliread
Yes I am from here, and dont see too many people from here on this site..
Thats why I was so shocked.
If you read any of my posts, about the terrible shelters, I have been using westmoreland county, since I just moved out here..
But allegheny was where I grew up, and should have still used their shelters for fostering/adopting, or ANYTHING..

Thats nice to hear that they are good up there. Ive had alot of issues with my kitties this month, so not now..But I would love to foster..Humans and kittys

I did read your post about Garfield's botched surgery. That was terrible. I was holding my breath the whole time. It was like reading some scary book, waiting for the ending. I'm glad he's okay now.

I've actually cared for strays and used Animal Friends, Humane Society and the Animal Rescue League for help. They all have their negetives and positives, but I've been real happy with the Humane Society!

I belong to a fish keeping forum too and there are tons of Pittsburghers on there. I've met about 5 or more people from the site that were local. (I used to breed, I was giving fish/snails away.)

I wish someone close would adopt one of my fosters!!! I'm going to die tomorrow when they go back. I'm making my fiance, Brad do it. I'll be crying too hard. I'm tearing up just talking about it.

Nice to meet ya!! Look forward to getting to know everyone better.
post #15 of 22
The little orange ones ALWAYS steal my heart..
Too bad its gonna be 100 degrees tomorrow, or I might have found myself going to the shelter to see your kitties..
I want more so bad,...but there has to be a limit, and everyone keeps telling me Im at my limit..
I always wanna push it though.


Westmoreland county is just "sooooo different" then the city..so not only is the shelters something to get used to..even the grocery stores are!!
I keep saying its like something out of the movies.
I only had an issue with one shelter in new kensington...
And it wasnt with them. it was when a pit almost jumped a 13 foot fence to get at my son..
You can imagine my face!!!!!
But I found all the city shelters to be ok. just wasnt sure about fostering
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pami
You have a beautiful fur family. I dont know why it happens but my cats kittens tried to nurse her for a long time after she was spayed and didnt have any milk left. 2 of them 3 years later still try to and she will even let them sometimes .......
Thanks Pami, you haven't even seen the whole fur family yet! lol.

My foster kittens attack her like they haven't eaten in a year. You can hear them sucking from across the room. I doubt she has any milk left and she gets mad, hisses sometimes.

My mom had a stray who's kitten was still feeding off of momma cat when he was bigger than his mom! She ended up keeping that kitten and he's a huge monster. Guess cause of all that good nutrition for so long.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alliread
The little orange ones ALWAYS steal my heart..
Too bad its gonna be 100 degrees tomorrow, or I might have found myself going to the shelter to see your kitties..
I want more so bad,...but there has to be a limit, and everyone keeps telling me Im at my limit..
I always wanna push it though.
Is it really gonna be that hot? yikes.

Riley and Daisy both look like your Garfield. Daisy has more hazel colored eyes. Daisy is getting adopted by one of Brad's co-workers. I'm excited that at least one of them is in great hands. Teddy and Leo have already been adopted, they like Maya are black with the slightest hint of tiger stripes. Riley and Maya are seriously the 2 sweetest kittens in the world. You can just look at them and they purr. Maya sleeps on my pillow, under my neck purring me to sleep. I'm so worried that some idiot will adopt them. I shouldn't think like that. I'm hoping that Brad will bring 1 of them back home with him, but I highly doubt that will happen
post #18 of 22
All I can say is hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
I am trying soo hard to resist temptation...
I saw a bulletin board at work yesterday with 2 orange tabby's , but it stated that if no one called by next week, she would keep them..So that was the way I fought the temptation, saying they would have a good home..

My squiggles was a stray, who had squeeky a month later. So of course I had to make sure they were kept together, at my house of course
And garfield was in a womans car at 90 degrees, LIVING in there with like 10 others..
So I had to rescue him..

Then Bella looked so terrible at a local petstore up for adoption , that I took her..I thought it was just being caged, and homeless, when she was really just terribly ill..

So knowing yours are going to a shelter, and need a home...I really have to fight those evil thoughts entering my mind
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
You sound like me. The only animal, well, at least the furry ones, that I actually went and picked out was my yellow lab, Seamus (pronounced Shay-mas). The rest have all come to me. Georgia showed up on my doorstep, like god sent her to me. She was a dirty, stinky, skeleton of a puppy that fell in love with my lab. (Seamus HATES all dogs but Georgia. Those 2 are peas in a pod!) Seamus also found Domino in my mom's yard when he was 3 weeks old. The Humane Society called me and asked me to take Savannah. I always say I'm the misfit keeper.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Oh, if it makes you feel better, Teddy and Leo were both adopted the day after they went back to the shelter. Believe it or not, there aren't that many kittens there now, and the kittens always get adopted first.
post #21 of 22
Ya I just went on their site. There wasnt that many kittens..
Mine are such a handful now, maybe fostering is only possible..
Garfield wont let me put him down, and Bella licks the skin off my face..

Squiggles doesnt want near anyone, etc..always was like that after the baby. And I think she past that attitude on to her child Squeeky..
So its like having 2 pets, just feeding 4..
They are so anti-social no matter what I try..
Though, She has started chasing Bella, so maybe they atleast want to compete for who's the cutest woman in here

But the dependant ones are the ones who get me..Totally in love. I still love the other 2, they just decide when they wanna love me back
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Finally got ahold of the shelter. They can't take the babies till Friday nite. They can't see Savannah till Sunday morning! I'm kinda upset about that. Savannah slept thru the vacuum today, but did eat a good amount. I'm sure I'm being over cautious. I kept her in most of the day and kept Domino locked in the lower level gameroom. It seems to be working.

I'm secretly happy I get to enjoy the babies for a couple more days.
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