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Adopted stray kitty came with "bonus" (sorry, long)

moinmd2005
November 15th, 2005, 10:55 PM
Hi all! I am a newbie here and have enjoyed the last 4 hours perusing the many posts! lol
I recently adopted a stray (?) female cat (who is approximately 3 years old, per my vet). The kids "twisted my arm" and I am so thankful they did.. she is a sweetheart and a cuddle bug. She evidently had owners before who gave her away and she somehow found her way back "home". They left her on the street (for weeks), and my kids took it upon themselves to find out whether they would mind if we adopted her- don't ask me how 11 year old kids knew all these things!! (Can you imagine kicking a loving cat out on the street?!?!) They, of course, said "take her". She is strictly an inside cat since we brought her home and has brought us much joy. The only drawback (?) is that when we adopted her, she was pregnant. Of course, we didn't know this at the time and she evidently wasn't far enough along when we took her for her initial checkup (shots and feline leukemia test) to notice. (I know, in hindsight, I should have had her spayed right then... please don't flame me, I learned my lesson) She started gaining weight and we thought- wonderful- she is making up for her time on the street (she was a skinny thing when we brought her in). Well, not too too long ago, when she was laying on my stomach, I felt something. Uh-oh.

Well, at 3:30am on Monday, she jumped up on me, woke me up and led me to her "box". (It's funny, because the other posts I read said that most cats like to deliver in private... she delivered next to my couch in the living room, with me beside her wanting me to pet her as she labored.) She delivered an adorable litter of 5 kittens, all of whom seem to be doing well. I have since moved her box into my bedroom away from all the hustle and bustle and she seems to be okay with that.

My concern is this....... she seems to spend ALOT of time away from her kittens. I thought mother cats only left their kittens to eat and eliminate. She was out of there quite a bit last night and off and on today. I worry that the kittens will get too cold. They do sleep in a "huddle", but do I need an external heat source? I read somewhere that heating pads have burned animals.
They nurse on her all the time when she is in the box, so I can't imagine they are hungry, although they do fight each other alot to get to a nipple- it's eye opening to watch day-old kittens swat the heck out of each other because someone is trying to get their "spot". And mom does stimulate them to "potty" and clean them.
I hear them cry sometimes when she is out and she doesn't seem concerned, she just goes back in her own sweet time.

My question is, is this normal? Am I just being paranoid? Maybe my 18 years in the health care field has just made me realize how fragile life is?? I just want to make sure these adorable kitties grow up to be healthy and happy (We have loving homes for 4 and are keeping one for us to love). How do you tell if there are any problems? I think the litter exam is usually done between 3-6 weeks (??) but want to make sure I am doing everything correctly until then.
I have had mom on kitten food since I found out she was pregnant and will continue to do so until they are weaned - any favorite brands of kitten food that you would recommend? Any additional info I need as they grow? I am so nervous about doing everything right...

Probably most importantly, I am having mom spayed as soon as my vet says it is safe to do so (I assume once the kittens are weaned and her milk has dried up?) As soon as our "keeper" is old enough, she/he will be spayed/neutered as well (would that be the same time??).

We are also supposed to go out of town on an overnight trip this Friday (non-refundable tickets), do I need to find a babysitter, or should they be okay on their own? (I hate the thought of leaving them, even for a few hours- am I silly or what???)

Thank you to everyone who has made it through my long post. Any information would be helpful. I enjoy reading the posts and am glad there are so many responsible animal lovers that I can connect with and learn from. Thanks for being here!

Mo

moinmd2005
November 16th, 2005, 08:54 AM
Just to add... last night she was out of her box from 2am til 6am and the kittens were crying alot. Is there something I should do?
Thanks for any advice.

papillonmama
November 16th, 2005, 09:09 AM
I would get a babysitter for the night, just to be safe because they're so young, and you're going might cause the cat some stress. But you say the kittens are defenitely getting enough milk and she cleans them, those are all good signs.

Lucky Rescue
November 16th, 2005, 09:36 AM
I"m sure your cat has had many litters,and is very experienced caring for them.

However, 5 kittens is a huge burden for an abandoned cat who was skinny and malnourished.

Check the kittens frequently. Feel them to make sure their bellies are round and that they are lively and squirm when you pick them up.

Make sure mom has abundant food, including kitten food which will build her up and help her produce enough milk for all those hungry mouths. Canned food is preferable for the moisture it contains.

Do not let her get out before you spay her. She can and WILL get pregnant again before her kittens are weaned. Have her spayed as soon as her milk dries up.

I would also make up a contract for people taking the kittens, stating that they agree to get their kittens spayed or neutered by the time they are 4 months old and then make sure they do it.

CyberKitten
November 16th, 2005, 05:10 PM
I just wanted to agree with Lucky and to add that you might want to get some KMR tosupplement mom's nursing them, since you said she had been malnourished when she first arrived. Also, it is not that unusual for a Queen to want their human around when they deliver kittens - some will even wait until their human awakes. I had a cat deliver her kittens on my bed in the middle of the night. She woke me up first and went into labour right then and there - even though her nesting box was all ready in my bedroom closet! Good luck with mama and the kits!! And spay her asap - or you will have another pregnant Queen and the spay surgery will be more complicated,

moinmd2005
November 17th, 2005, 11:02 AM
Thank you so much for the replies. I tried the KMR already (actually first thing) and she wouldn't touch it. It went to waste. However, I did get some canned food (it is so hard to find a GOOD canned food in the stores!) and she ate that right up.
The kittens are growing fast and are very active. As a matter of fact, a couple of them are already "scootching" their way out of the box! I had to add a taller piece to the cutout to keep them in. And I didn't hear any crying last night, so I actually got a good night's sleep! lol

I do understand how important spaying is and rest assured, as soon as it's possible to do so, it will be done. (To momma as well as the kitty we keep).

Thanks again for all your help. You all are wonderful.

badger
November 17th, 2005, 11:53 AM
Any chance of a picture?

moinmd2005
November 17th, 2005, 08:08 PM
Well, Badger........ I don't have a digital camera but have taken alot of pics. I will try to get them on a disc so I can upload a few pics as soon as they come back.

They are ADORABLE!! lol