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Any idea on how to find a stray's kittens?

April 28th, 2008, 12:44 PM
I have a bit of a dilemma..

Last week, at around 12 AM, I got home to find a little tabby hanging outside my door. She looked no older than a year, and she was VERY pregnant.. Her sides were bulging out insanely. She's really friendly, and let me feel her sides. It didn't feel like the kittens were moving in there - I'm not sure what that means, if anything.. :confused:

Anyway, my fiance and I set up a cabinet by our front door with a blanket in it, and gave her some wet food in there, hoping that she would have her kittens in there.

That was the last we saw of her until a week later - and she is no longer pregnant! Her belly is hanging and her nipples are enlarged. She came by our place again, so we tried to see if she would lead us to her kittens - but it didn't happen. We gave her some more food because we wanted her to be strong for her babies, but we don't even know if they are alive..

Anyone have any ideas on how to find them? We've searched any dark and secluded place nearby, including in bushes, but nothing. My cat Tiger :rip: had kittens years ago, so I can't remember, but does it seem likely that the mother cat would leave her kittens for hours at a time?

(P.S. I've tentatively named her Ethel. FH wanted to name her Squishy, but he wants to name every cat Squishy right now - it's a faze he's going through :D)

April 28th, 2008, 12:50 PM
Somebody will post soon, maybe 14+kitties who will know.

I guess I would follow it after eating. She won't leave her kittens for any length of time and only travel as far as she needs to go to get food. She will move the kittens if she feels there are any threats around.

April 28th, 2008, 12:50 PM
A female will leave her babies in search of food yes. Keep feeding her if you can and try to see where she's going, don't make it obvious to her tho or she will avoid the litter to protect them. ummm i kinda like squishy too.

April 28th, 2008, 12:58 PM
Tough one. I don't suppose you could follow her at a discrete distance, at least to get an idea of the direction she heads in. I would keep that box by the door just in case. Make it a closed box, with the entry hole as small as is practical. She may decide to transfer them. Meanwhile, feed her outside but close to the box.
She may also bring them along later when she knows they need more nourishment than she can provide.
Keep that food coming. And thanks kitty :angel:

April 28th, 2008, 01:45 PM
Great suggestions guys!! And L4H, thanks for the vote of confidence.
My thought on this, and you may not agree, is to be patient. You said she let you pet her before she had the kittens. Let her keep coming to you for food. Pet her every chance you get. Keep an eye on what direction she goes when she leaves but be aware that that is not necessarily where the kittens are. She may head off in a different direction to throw you off. If she feels threatened in any way she will move the kittens, regularily. So even if you found them she will move them, again and again.
My point, and I do have one :D, is to get as friendly as you can with her and be very very patient. If she feels comfortable with you she will bring the kittens to you, just like badger says.
Is it possible she belongs to someone? Does she look like she has been on her own for a while?
Good luck to you kitty :angel:

April 28th, 2008, 02:01 PM
Thanks guys..

I'm not sure if she belongs to anyone, but I doubt it.. I live by a bunch of farms, so there are quite a few cats that run around my house. I have no idea if they are 'barn cats', just strays, or they belong to someone. I do know that if someone owns Ethel, I'll be pissed that they let her roam around so soon after having her babies! :frustrated:

I live next door to a frozen meat place, so you can imagine there are quite a few cats around. When we followed her, I noticed that she went behind the meat store, and there were ceramic plates in certain areas, so I guess they are feeding the cats too. I don't know if she belongs to them per say, but she definitely knew where the plates were - she went to each one, but they were all empty.

We figured that the kittens wouldn't be too far from our place, but as I said, we looked in every nook and cranny and couldn't see/hear them. We watched her after she ate, and she seemed to go in the direction of the meat place, but then she came back to us and hung around some more.

I even tried asking her, "Where are your babies?" She responded with "Meow". I don't know what that means. :shrug:

I'll take your advice - keep feeding her and hope that she leads us to them. I just want them to be in good shape and nice and healthy! Plus it would be nice to get her spayed - she's almost a baby herself!

April 28th, 2008, 04:59 PM
Tilly, the Quads' mom, fortunately only moved them once. We fed her on the porch, and watched every move she made from the windows, door, patio. She knew we were watching despite how hard we tried. She led us all over the yard, across the street, to the neighbor's garage behind us....

Finally, after we gave up for awhile, roomie peeked out again about an hour later and saw where she was returning to the place she had hidden them. Just about 15 feet from our back door, near our wood stack, under a table in just old leaves. We left them for a little while but couldn't bear it. It was rainy and we were afraid they would get wet - or worse another stray animal might get them. We bundled them up and put them back in their nice, dry, comfy cat-house. Tilly came right back to them and never moved them again :) I was also afraid if we didn't find them in time to "tame" them, we'd never get to them.

Good luck...just be sneaky.


April 28th, 2008, 05:06 PM
Our stray 'mama' cat always brought her kittens around for food as soon as they were old enough. Even after we snatched an entire litter! She still brought the subsequent ones around too. Just be patient if she trusts you she'll let you know when it's ok to see the kittens.

April 28th, 2008, 06:17 PM
Our stray 'mama' cat always brought her kittens around for food as soon as they were old enough. Even after we snatched an entire litter! She still brought the subsequent ones around too. Just be patient if she trusts you she'll let you know when it's ok to see the kittens.

Yep, my point exactly!!! I just didn't get right to it! :D

Day 3 is THE day for moving kittens. For some reason that is when they decide they have to move the kittens. I did some research on this after watching what the ferals have done here. I think once they are at a certain age momma "lets" them get snatched. :rolleyes:
The feral who had her kittens in the greenhouse this year moved them on day 3 from one spot to one about 3 feet away. Unfortunately she has now moved them right out of the greenhouse. I guess I got too close to them. As in I picked them up yesterday. She burrowed a spot under the side of the greenhouse during the night and removed them. So now I am back to square one. But I know from last year that she will show up with them in another couple of weeks. I just keep repeating....patience is a virtue!

chicago dogs
April 28th, 2008, 07:09 PM
They hide them in the oddest places, once a long time ago when I was a kid, one of our mamas had her litter in the bag that attaches to the lawn mower in our shed!!!Yes, it was still attached to the mower, and had grass clippings, it was like half full. Good thing we noticed she wasn't preg. anymore!!:D

kashtin's kin
April 28th, 2008, 07:25 PM
As most other BBer's have mentioned, have patience! It's nervewracking to wonder where those kittens are, but the momcat sounds pretty savvy i.e. hopefully has them somewhere safe for now. And there is a good chance-also abovementioned-that she'll bring them to your place in the next while.

Our ex-feral WW moved her kittens about 4 times in the first couple of months; there was a badger :eek: family also residing in the vicinity, and WW had to be very resourceful (we helped by literally keeping the badgermom at bay a few times...they're a protected species, so we couldn't harass them too much!).

Eventually, the 2-3 month old kittens started hanging out by our back stoop-on the Frequent Feedings Kitten Plan :cat:-while WW maintained her distance. Here's hoping that something similar evolves (minus the badgers!) with your momcat...even if she doesn't show up with la famille, it sounds like there are other food sources/people.

Are you able to check with the other people who seem to be leaving food out to compare notes? In my case, a woman on a farm across the road had seen the kittens shortly after they were born in one of her outbuildings...before they showed up here. Best of luck, and :fingerscr for momcat and kids.

April 29th, 2008, 08:06 AM
I don't have any advice, but am extremely interested to hear about the progress of this little mummy. Good luck to you - I hope you find them!

April 29th, 2008, 12:32 PM
Thanks guys! I haven't seen her for a couple of days, but I'll keep you posted!

April 29th, 2008, 09:25 PM
You have already been give the advice I would have provided. Watch her, follow her and sometimes, once she really trusts you - especially if she thinks the kits are threatened, she may bring them with her! In the feral colony we had, the pattern was typically that mama would bring them to us if she was comfortable with us. If not, they were hidden, I once actually come across two newborns but was afraid to pick them up for fear their mama might not want them, thinking the smell was not hers. But I watched them and her like a (do not want to say hawk but VERY carefully) and she eventually brought them to us.

I must say I do not agree with the word "tame" which is why I think the poster of that used "" I prefer socialization which is certainly possible with ferals. Kittens especially, taken from mom as soon as they have been taught the feline basics - can be socialized more easily than one would think. It often depends on a number of factors- the generation mom is a feral, (most begin as someone's cat whether it was grandma or greatgarndma and that can be in a year or so), what kind of interactions they have had with humans - and many ferals will live far from humans if they think they will be hurt as many have been, or how hungry they are and if they are hurt.

Keep a close eye on her and have lots of patience. If you follow her too closely, she will smell you and she can smell from a long distance so be very cautious. Listen for sounds of mewing.

I do add one caveat. If you live in an area where there are other predators, I;d make it a priority to find the kittens! Good luck and keep us up to date, PLEASE!! :pray:

May 8th, 2008, 11:07 AM
So today was the first day that I've seen Ethel (aka Squishy) since the time we tried to use our detective skills to track down little kittens..

Unfortunately, she showed up outside my door as I was heading out to work, and I was already running late, so I couldn't even feed her. :sad:

My FH will be home in a couple of hours - hopefully she'll come back and he can feed her.. :fingerscr

May 8th, 2008, 11:16 AM
Good Luck!!!!!!