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Ann
July 8th 06, 12:22 AM
I live in a rural area and do occasionally see a cat of unknown ownership.
Probably two months ago I started seeing a calico cat at some wildlife
food I put out; couldn't begin to approach her. My last cat died 1-1/2
years ago and I'd decided not to get another, primarily because it would
likely outlive me; I'm not sick, just 70. But, being that this was a
female, I decided it was worthwhile to try to befriend her enough to get
her spayed and have a rabies shot.

I had gotten her to the place where, if I kept my distance, she would come
in an open low window to eat. But any attempt to even touch her, she
"attacked". She didn't appear to be either pregnant or nursing, but
obviously the semi-long-hair disguised it.

Long story somewhat shorter, when I went to the garage a week ago, the cat
cam running in and headed to a stack of empty boxes I keep for recycling.
Knew then it just a matter of how many and getting them and her into the
house. Luckily, the four kittens weren't really walking yet and momcat
did figure out when I'd taken them and came in too. (They're in the room
where momcat ate so it wasn't strange to her.)

The only experience I've had with kittens that young (approx 3-1/2 weeks
when found) was a similar situation years ago, but with newborns and a
trusting momcat (that the owner didn't claim). This really was just in
time. Once these kittens got out of the enclosed space they'd been in,
into a large cage (that momcat could get in/out_of) they began tottering
around. In two days, I let them out into the room.

The only fault I have with momcat is that she is too dedicated to the
kittens. I open her window for her to take take a break outside and she
stays to keep an eye on her kittens. The only time she seems calm is when
she is nursing them. I am expecting that they get even more active, she
will perhaps become more distressed. And she would be "right" to be
because my objective is that the kittens be socialized enough to be
adoptable.

As with the previous litter, these kittens seemed to learn to use the
litter box themselves. I have seen momcat "call" the kittens to the water
dishes. But not to the food dish(s). She usually growls when I put the
dish down and that scares them off for a bit. But, I have seen all but
one eating some on their own the last couple days. Oddly, the one that
doesn't was the most advanced at walking, following a string, poking
around in the corners, etc. At what point should I be concerned enough
about this to try to get him/her started myself? (With the chase the
string game I am able to get them close enough to pick them up - when I'm
standing on the other side of a door gate and momcat isn't looking. <g>)

Another specific question. Two of the kittens are more/less black and
white and two are orange and white. One of each color pair is noticeably
rounder and has a larger head than the other. The two larger ones were a
couple days behind on walking, but the first I saw eating on their own.
I'm guessing these two got more of the long-hair genes?

I'd like to hear other thoughts/suggestions on this.

Gail
July 8th 06, 12:34 AM
It would be good to start handling the kittens soon. The sooner the better
toward socializing them. I believe they can start eating canned kitten food
around 4 weeks old. Are you keeping the mother inside with them? If so, that
is great. She will need to be spayed as soon as the kittens can eat by
themselves. Eight weeks would be a good time to have the kittens adopted.
Please keep them all in a room by themselves so that you can socialize them
all. This will take some time and patience. You are wonderful to take them
in and look after them. I'm not sure about the long haired vs short haired
issue.
Gail
"Ann" > wrote in message
...
>I live in a rural area and do occasionally see a cat of unknown ownership.
> Probably two months ago I started seeing a calico cat at some wildlife
> food I put out; couldn't begin to approach her. My last cat died 1-1/2
> years ago and I'd decided not to get another, primarily because it would
> likely outlive me; I'm not sick, just 70. But, being that this was a
> female, I decided it was worthwhile to try to befriend her enough to get
> her spayed and have a rabies shot.
>
> I had gotten her to the place where, if I kept my distance, she would come
> in an open low window to eat. But any attempt to even touch her, she
> "attacked". She didn't appear to be either pregnant or nursing, but
> obviously the semi-long-hair disguised it.
>
> Long story somewhat shorter, when I went to the garage a week ago, the cat
> cam running in and headed to a stack of empty boxes I keep for recycling.
> Knew then it just a matter of how many and getting them and her into the
> house. Luckily, the four kittens weren't really walking yet and momcat
> did figure out when I'd taken them and came in too. (They're in the room
> where momcat ate so it wasn't strange to her.)
>
> The only experience I've had with kittens that young (approx 3-1/2 weeks
> when found) was a similar situation years ago, but with newborns and a
> trusting momcat (that the owner didn't claim). This really was just in
> time. Once these kittens got out of the enclosed space they'd been in,
> into a large cage (that momcat could get in/out_of) they began tottering
> around. In two days, I let them out into the room.
>
> The only fault I have with momcat is that she is too dedicated to the
> kittens. I open her window for her to take take a break outside and she
> stays to keep an eye on her kittens. The only time she seems calm is when
> she is nursing them. I am expecting that they get even more active, she
> will perhaps become more distressed. And she would be "right" to be
> because my objective is that the kittens be socialized enough to be
> adoptable.
>
> As with the previous litter, these kittens seemed to learn to use the
> litter box themselves. I have seen momcat "call" the kittens to the water
> dishes. But not to the food dish(s). She usually growls when I put the
> dish down and that scares them off for a bit. But, I have seen all but
> one eating some on their own the last couple days. Oddly, the one that
> doesn't was the most advanced at walking, following a string, poking
> around in the corners, etc. At what point should I be concerned enough
> about this to try to get him/her started myself? (With the chase the
> string game I am able to get them close enough to pick them up - when I'm
> standing on the other side of a door gate and momcat isn't looking. <g>)
>
> Another specific question. Two of the kittens are more/less black and
> white and two are orange and white. One of each color pair is noticeably
> rounder and has a larger head than the other. The two larger ones were a
> couple days behind on walking, but the first I saw eating on their own.
> I'm guessing these two got more of the long-hair genes?
>
> I'd like to hear other thoughts/suggestions on this.

Ann
July 8th 06, 01:45 AM
On Fri, 07 Jul 2006 23:34:04 +0000, Gail wrote:

> It would be good to start handling the kittens soon. The sooner the
> better toward socializing them. I believe they can start eating canned
> kitten food around 4 weeks old. Are you keeping the mother inside with
> them? If so, that is great. She will need to be spayed as soon as the
> kittens can eat by themselves.

She has no intention of leaving those kittens and I don't have the heart
to chase her outside. And, while she is inside she is at least not
getting pregnant. Getting her to the place where she can be taken to a
vet will be a problem because she is so wild. She does literally attack,
not just defend.

> Eight weeks would be a good time to have the kittens adopted. Please
> keep them all in a room by themselves so that you can socialize them
> all. This will take some time and patience.

Fortunately the kittens don't seem to be connecting up that momcat's
hissing and spitting is directed at me. I can pick them up and cuddle
them and they just get a little squirmy like kittens do.

> You are wonderful to take them in and look after them.

Thank you but I'd have felt dreadful if I hadn't at least tried.

> I'm not sure about the long haired vs short haired issue.
> Gail
> "Ann" > wrote
<...>

>> Another specific question. Two of the kittens are more/less black and
>> white and two are orange and white. One of each color pair is
>> noticeably rounder and has a larger head than the other. The two
>> larger ones were a couple days behind on walking, but the first I saw
>> eating on their own. I'm guessing these two got more of the long-hair
>> genes?
>>
>> I'd like to hear other thoughts/suggestions on this.

Gail Futoran
July 8th 06, 02:26 AM
"Ann" > wrote in message
...
> On Fri, 07 Jul 2006 23:34:04 +0000, Gail wrote:
>
>> It would be good to start handling the kittens soon. The sooner the
>> better toward socializing them. I believe they can start eating canned
>> kitten food around 4 weeks old. Are you keeping the mother inside with
>> them? If so, that is great. She will need to be spayed as soon as the
>> kittens can eat by themselves.
>
> She has no intention of leaving those kittens and I don't have the heart
> to chase her outside. And, while she is inside she is at least not
> getting pregnant. Getting her to the place where she can be taken to a
> vet will be a problem because she is so wild. She does literally attack,
> not just defend.
[snip]

You might check with a vet. There might be
something you can put in the water to calm her
down long enough to get her into a carrier. Or
if there is a humane society or other rescue
organization in your area where people have
experience with feral cats, they might be able to
make suggestions about how to transport her.

Interesting that you had intended not to adopt cats
again due to your age. I'm 63 and have been
reluctant to adopt more cats for the same reason
you gave (they might well outlive me), but I don't
seem to have much of a choice in the matter!

Gail F.
Owned by Lao Ma, Ephiny, Minya, Melosa

Ann
July 8th 06, 03:30 AM
On Sat, 08 Jul 2006 01:26:40 +0000, Gail Futoran wrote:

>
> "Ann" > wrote in message
> ...
>> On Fri, 07 Jul 2006 23:34:04 +0000, Gail wrote:
>>
>>> It would be good to start handling the kittens soon. The sooner the
>>> better toward socializing them. I believe they can start eating canned
>>> kitten food around 4 weeks old. Are you keeping the mother inside with
>>> them? If so, that is great. She will need to be spayed as soon as the
>>> kittens can eat by themselves.
>>
>> She has no intention of leaving those kittens and I don't have the heart
>> to chase her outside. And, while she is inside she is at least not
>> getting pregnant. Getting her to the place where she can be taken to a
>> vet will be a problem because she is so wild. She does literally attack,
>> not just defend.
> [snip]
>
> You might check with a vet. There might be
> something you can put in the water to calm her
> down long enough to get her into a carrier. Or
> if there is a humane society or other rescue
> organization in your area where people have
> experience with feral cats, they might be able to
> make suggestions about how to transport her.

Contacting a feral cat group is a good idea. I'm reasonably sure I could
capture momcat and get her into the large cage, but I would like to find
a vet that is used to handling them.

> Interesting that you had intended not to adopt cats again due to your
> age. I'm 63 and have been reluctant to adopt more cats for the same
> reason you gave (they might well outlive me), but I don't seem to have
> much of a choice in the matter!

Isn't that the truth.

> Gail F.
> Owned by Lao Ma, Ephiny, Minya, Melosa

Rhonda
July 8th 06, 08:39 AM
Hi Ann,

Thanks for helping that little family!

There was a person on this group about 6 months ago who took in a feral
mother cat because he knew she was pregnant. He spent quite a bit of
time with the family and as the mother saw that he was there to help
(and was good to the kittens,) she eventually became friendly herself.
By the time the kittens were old enough to leave, she was actually
coming to him for attention. I hope that happens in your case.

Does the mother cat have a way to get outside? We took in a pregnant cat
once and she went into heat again about 4-5 weeks after she gave birth.
If you can work it out that the cat cannot get outside at all you'll be
saving another batch in advance.

You might call the Humane Society and see if they have any names of
organizations that can help with the mom. If your HS is like ours,
they're not equipped to handle truly feral cats.

Our long-haired kitten was one of the 2 biggest kittens, and he had a
round head. I don't know if that is in the gene or not. The only thing I
remember about the long-haired gene is that they normally open their
eyes several days later than short-haired kittens.

As for eating, a rescue person told me to start mixing a little water
into wet food when they are about 4 weeks old to start them eating on
their own. I would hold them on my lap and take a finger full of wet
food and offer it to them. They were tentative but would finally lick it
off, then eventually realized they could get food out of the bowl.

By the way, if your orange and white kittens are orange tabbies -- those
are usually boys. Can you tell the sex yet?

Good luck with the family. What an adventure!

Rhonda

Ann wrote:
> But, I have seen all but
> one eating some on their own the last couple days. Oddly, the one that
> doesn't was the most advanced at walking, following a string, poking
> around in the corners, etc. At what point should I be concerned enough
> about this to try to get him/her started myself? (With the chase the
> string game I am able to get them close enough to pick them up - when I'm
> standing on the other side of a door gate and momcat isn't looking. <g>)
>
> Another specific question. Two of the kittens are more/less black and
> white and two are orange and white. One of each color pair is noticeably
> rounder and has a larger head than the other. The two larger ones were a
> couple days behind on walking, but the first I saw eating on their own.
> I'm guessing these two got more of the long-hair genes?
>
> I'd like to hear other thoughts/suggestions on this.

Ann
July 8th 06, 05:02 PM
On Sat, 08 Jul 2006 07:39:10 +0000, Rhonda wrote:

> Hi Ann,
>
> Thanks for helping that little family!
>
> There was a person on this group about 6 months ago who took in a feral
> mother cat because he knew she was pregnant. He spent quite a bit of
> time with the family and as the mother saw that he was there to help
> (and was good to the kittens,) she eventually became friendly herself.
> By the time the kittens were old enough to leave, she was actually
> coming to him for attention. I hope that happens in your case.

I'm crossing my fingers. I found the kittens just as they were about to
get more active anyway and it's surprising how much how much progress they
have made in just eight days. That has to be stressful for momcat; her
instinct is to keep them corraled. She also has a strong instinct to
protect her food, which should decrease some as the kittens are weaned.

> Does the mother cat have a way to get outside? We took in a pregnant cat
> once and she went into heat again about 4-5 weeks after she gave birth.
> If you can work it out that the cat cannot get outside at all you'll be
> saving another batch in advance.

That's good advice. It happens I've seen that too with one of a
neighborhood (previous residence) collector's cats. The first couple days
I did open her "feeding window" so momcat could go out, but she didn't.

> You might call the Humane Society and see if they have any names of
> organizations that can help with the mom. If your HS is like ours,
> they're not equipped to handle truly feral cats.

Realistically momcat is unadoptable, so she's a "keeper". My best guess
is that "home" for her is a farm (no longer in production but people live
there) about a mile away. After she is spayed and recovered, I will
probably let her make her choice. (I wouldn't do that with a cat that had
been dropped off and didn't have her local survival skills.)

> Our long-haired kitten was one of the 2 biggest kittens, and he had a
> round head. I don't know if that is in the gene or not. The only thing I
> remember about the long-haired gene is that they normally open their
> eyes several days later than short-haired kittens.
>
> As for eating, a rescue person told me to start mixing a little water
> into wet food when they are about 4 weeks old to start them eating on
> their own. I would hold them on my lap and take a finger full of wet
> food and offer it to them. They were tentative but would finally lick it
> off, then eventually realized they could get food out of the bowl.
>
> By the way, if your orange and white kittens are orange tabbies -- those
> are usually boys. Can you tell the sex yet?

I haven't checked. Since males tend be more adoptable, I've been
putting it off. But now you mention it, that's been true of the
orange/whites I've run across. That's a relief.

> Good luck with the family. What an adventure!

Sure is. Yesterday I realized they were ready for a climbing/scratching
post and improvised one out of a carpet remnant rolled into a tube and put
over the stem part of an antique floor lamp that has a heavy base. Put it
close to their cage so they would have a place to climb to. One tried but
couldn't figure out how to get down. This morning, all of them were
climbing on it. (I would say up/down, but they don't have the down part
perfected. <g>)

I do have a b/w CCTV security system that I got to watch wildlife. It's
a help to be able to check in on the kittens without alerting momcat.

> Rhonda

Ann
July 10th 06, 05:34 PM
The kittens are doing ok; they seem to discover something new to do every
day. The creep and pounce, tail lashing, hitting a ping pong ball then
chasing it, backing down the scratching/climbing post, etc; the last
hold-out is eating from a dish.

Momcat gave me a scare. I'd been disappointed that, for a couple days,
she had been getting more aggressive toward me. Then, last evening, she
threw up big time, twice, then hopped over the door gate into a bedroom.
She had tossed once before and the vomit had a couple small hairballs but
since she definitely wasn't blocked, I didn't think much of it. Put a
litter box, water, and a dish with a few small cubes of unsalted butter in
the room and left her alone. Wished I'd thought to get a pack of the
Friskies hairball treats, just in case, but I hadn't.

One thing I had thought to do while shopping though was to pick up a pack
of turkey drumsticks to make "super juice". Cooked (just short of boiling)
with a little bit of water in a slow cooker until the meat falls off the
bone (and a littleextra). the juice is a good starter for a sick cat
that's reluctant to eat. If I get it right, the juice jells at room
temperature so it has to be mixed with a little water when feeding. ...
And, I feed just a little bit at a time.

So, I started a turkey leg cooking and wondered where I'd be able to buy
KMR locally. Next, I took advantage of mamcat's absence to give the room
a quick sweeping. Then, it was time to do some kitten socializing; momcat
hadn't tolerated me staying in the room with them. It went better than I'd
expected. One of the things on my todo list was getting the kittens used
to being combed. Apparently this is close enough to the mother cat
licking them, that they thought it was great; two of them rolled right
over on their backs. They did seem some disappointed though that, after
checking me over, they didn't find the place to get milk. <g> I think if
they hadn't already been eating on their own, that would have been a good
time to introduce a dish of whatever I wanted them to try.

One mystery since the kittens have been walking was where they, usually
two, would sometimes sleep (rather than the usual pile). The room is
mostly clear of furniture, so I'd assumed it was under the bureau; hadn't
looked because of momcat. Last night when two came up missing, I went
around the room (and the bath, which they also have access to) and simply
couldn't find them. ??? Finally thought to look in the top of a small
pot-belly pottery vase on the floor beside the bureau.

Sigh of relief, momcat was back in the room with the kittens this morning
Gave her some super juice but am limiting the food I put/leave out. I did
go sit in the room with them for a few minutes and combed the kittens that
came to me. Momcat growled and paced a little, but didn't jump at me,
scratch, or chomp. She has been so great with them, I do feel guilty when
they ignore her. One problem is that she apparently never learned, or
forgot, how to play. That's a shame.