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Adopting a Pregnant Stray Cat

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posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 10:06 AM
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One of our neighbors had a female cat that had at least 3 litters of kittens in the past 18 months. Well, the guy just let them roam everywhere hoping someone would adopt them. Now our neighborhood is filled with related cats. One cat in the last litter was abandoned when the guy moved away about 3 weeks ago.

She started coming around frequently and we fed her. Now she sleeps with us at night and eats her regular can of catfood about 6:00 pm. We suspected that she is pregnant when I saw that her nipples were developed. We aren't sure, but we don't think she is much more than six months old. I'm worried about her.

I don't really want a litter of kittens but I can't bring myself to turn her into animal control. She really is a very sweet cat whose life didn't start out very well. So we have a dilemna.

As far as I can tell, the kittens are starting to move around inside and you can see them getting bigger every day. I wasn't sure what I should do, so I looked up cat gestation on the internet.

Cat Giving Birth, What You Should Do

Just about every recommendation or suggestion on the link above assumes that the pregnant cat has been to the vet and lives indoors.

My problem is that she hasn't been to the vet (that I know of) and she is basically an outdoor cat. The link also indicates that pregnant cats should not be treated with vaccines, etc. Before she was abandoned, I believe she was never allowed in the house. She doesn't even use a litter box, she goes outside like a dog.

Lately, she's been sleeping alot, almost all day long and only goes outside briefly to do her duty.

Any suggestions on what I should do? The link above says to have several boxes lined with shredded paper that she can choose from when its "time". But, what if she's outside? The link tells us not to let them out when it gets close. I don't even know how far along she is.

I'm puzzled about what to do.




posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 10:32 AM
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Originally posted by Hazelnut
Just about every recommendation or suggestion on the link above assumes that the pregnant cat has been to the vet and lives indoors.



Do you know where her 'spots' are outdoors? Where she likes to sleep? Closer to her time, she will roam less far from food (you) and she will be looking for a quiet spot, preferably covered...under a shrub, back of the shed...that type of thing. That is most likely where she will give birth to the kittens. If she trusts you and is used to you, she won't mind you knowing where she and the kittens are, and she would probably accept a blanket or towel in there with her. Keep an eye on her but I wouldn't move her and the kittens until after they have opened their eyes. She will only put them back again. Or wear herself out trying to. We had a cat who gave birth on the top bunk bed, we were scared stiff one of the kittens would fall, we moved them over and over, but she just got them by the scruff and took them all up again. We eventually realised that mother knows best. None ever fell.

Ideally you should get her checked by a vet, and do so, at any point if she seems distressed or her coat gets very dull or greasy, but otherwise, cats are prolific breeders and I've been through about 12 or 13 cat births and never seen a human needed, and those were mostly pedigree cats. Street cats, it's like shelling peas. She'll be okay.

Edit to add: Reading your post again, if she is sleeping a lot in your house, she may have a spot planned inside. Or can you get a litter tray set up for her 'duty' and not let her get out?

However, at some point you should contact animal control or the RSPCA (or equivalent wherever you are), the cats need to be spayed and neutered no two ways about it.:shk:

[edit on 7-7-2009 by KilgoreTrout]



posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 10:59 AM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout

Originally posted by Hazelnut
Just about every recommendation or suggestion on the link above assumes that the pregnant cat has been to the vet and lives indoors.



However, at some point you should contact animal control or the RSPCA (or equivalent wherever you are), the cats need to be spayed and neutered no two ways about it.:shk:

[edit on 7-7-2009 by KilgoreTrout]


Thank you so much for replying! I'm getting nervous here. First of all, she seems like "we" are her new family but I can't be sure someone else in the neighborhood isn't also feeding and sheltering her to some degree. That's a minor problem because if we do (I believe we will) keep her, we want her spayed and vaccinated, registered and tagged. But should we try to put her in a carrier to go to the vet when she is so close to having babies? I'm not sure. It might be ok or she might freak out and never come back. Or I worry too much...

Second, we have a brand spanking new litter box for her, put her into it a few times only to have her jump back out again and sit at the door like a dog. LOL I guess she knows what she's doing. But what about the kittens? She won't be able to train them in the litter box if SHE doesn't use it, right?

Last, or maybe should be Most Important, I appreciate your advice. You really come across as someone with experience and compassion. Having been through so many births yourself, I have full faith in your wisdom. I know she sleeps under a pine tree in the backyard sometimes, waiting for me to open the sliding glass door. But other times she disappears for long or short times, we never know.

For anyone else who reads this, please note that this poor kitten was abandoned by a human who allowed its mother to have litter after litter while never doing anything except beg other people to take the babies, or worse, just leave them. Most of those kittens didn't get a home. The ones that survived are strays and in danger.
If only people would understand what "caretaker" means. Giving care to an animal is the best thing we could ever do with our lives. Other than caring for each other of course.
I really don't want to be the "Cat Lady".



posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 12:51 PM
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having taken in many cats myself, and having litters of kittens to boot...i can say this much in all honesty,prepare yourself for the worst.
if she really is that young, there is a good chance that if she does deliver, it may be only a couple of kittens and they may very well not make it.
that has been my experience with cats having their first litter especially so young.
if you do plan to keep her, call a vet for advice on when she will be able to have vaccinations and get fixed, and any other questions concerns you may have.



posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 01:45 PM
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reply to post by AccessDenied
 


Oh no! I never even considered that she or the kittens wouldn't survive. Yes, I'm calling the vet right now. That is such a troubling thought it breaks my heart.



posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 04:08 PM
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Search for "no kill" shelters in your area. Animal Control may suggest something to you. There are a lot of people out there who will foster the mother and the kittens until they can find placement for them. If you're too late and you find yourself delivering the cat's kittens, all you can do is your best and you may not even need to help at all. If they die, then so be it. It's a course of life and to fight that or be sad over it is to disrespect it. You're a human being with a huge heart that stepped in when someone bailed.

Good luck with all this. I've rescued all sorts of animals myself and I know how crazy the whole experience can get when you don't know which way is up, but if there's any advice from my own frantic scenarios is that nature will works it's way, sometimes regardless of how much you help, and I don't mean in a bad way.



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 10:39 AM
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Originally posted by Hazelnut

Thank you so much for replying! I'm getting nervous here. First of all, she seems like "we" are her new family but I can't be sure someone else in the neighborhood isn't also feeding and sheltering her to some degree. That's a minor problem because if we do (I believe we will) keep her, we want her spayed and vaccinated, registered and tagged. But should we try to put her in a carrier to go to the vet when she is so close to having babies? I'm not sure. It might be ok or she might freak out and never come back. Or I worry too much...


Did you call the vet? Hopefully, they've eased your worries in most departments.

Cats are easily trained by their stomaches, if you want to keep better tabs on her try breaking up meal times...once in the morning and again at 6. Also, if you get extra nice food, she will be even more tempted not to go far...I've only ever met one cat who didn't like tinned Pilchards in Tomato Sauce...it's quite cheap too and rich in lots of good stuff for a mother to be...she will soon be yours if you keep her well fed and warm.



Originally posted by Hazelnut
Second, we have a brand spanking new litter box for her, put her into it a few times only to have her jump back out again and sit at the door like a dog. LOL I guess she knows what she's doing. But what about the kittens? She won't be able to train them in the litter box if SHE doesn't use it, right?


Cats are very clean animals. She may not teach her kittens to use the litter tray but she will take them outside and teach them that way. Or you can train them to use it...everytime they crouch down pick them up by the scruff and plonk them in the litter. They will get it quick enough. My two use both as they started out as house cats, I would usually start out with newspaper on the floor (mother might go for this too) and then put the litter tray on the newspaper. Cats are quick learners. Make sure it is somewhere discrete too, odd as it may sound, cats don't like to be in full view when going about their business. They may ignore a litter tray simply because it is in the right place.


Originally posted by Hazelnut
Last, or maybe should be Most Important, I appreciate your advice. You really come across as someone with experience and compassion. Having been through so many births yourself, I have full faith in your wisdom. I know she sleeps under a pine tree in the backyard sometimes, waiting for me to open the sliding glass door. But other times she disappears for long or short times, we never know.


You never will. I would be surprised if she chose a place very far from home/food to have the kittens. But otherwise there is very little you can do other than follow her. What she is looking for is a spot where she can only be approached from one side (preferable)...the same type of thing all animals look for to give birth in. I wouldn't worry too much, cats will have you frantic if you let them, one of my boys disappears for days on end, started doing it when he was about 7, never had before. The first time I leafleted the whole neighbourhood. He swaggered in 4 days later. You get used to it. If she has her kittens much further away, you may not see her until she has weaned them. In which case you can be assured that someone else is feeding her. Cats, in my experience, are great mothers so don't worry too much.


Originally posted by Hazelnut
I really don't want to be the "Cat Lady".


This is a favourite story of mine, The Cat that Walked by Himself by Rudyard Kipling. It'll give you some tips about cats and compromise.

www.kipling.org.uk...

Good luck and I hope the lady in question is okay.



posted on Jul, 18 2009 @ 08:23 AM
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For those of you who responded to my original post I'm writing to let you know that she had her kittens yesterday. 4 little ones that look like copies of her! The mother and babies are healthy and doing fine so far!

The whole process went exactly as stated in one of the responses. She started purring and being very affectionate on Thursday evening, stayed in the house all night and Friday morning she came back in after her "potty break" outside. By 11:00 am she had her first one behind the television cabinet in our bedroom (its caddy-cornered, so she had plenty of room) and by 2:00 pm, delivered her last one. All I had to do was stay out of the way. She handled everything like an expert even though it is her first time! Amazing.



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