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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:13 PM
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Need support and advice on pregnant feral

Oh boy, I'm feeling pretty sad right now and could use some advice from those who've been in this position. Here's the background:

I have a feeding station set up in my backyard for a couple of TNR kitties (as well as a few of the neighbour's cats with a taste for the good stuff). A while back, can't really pinpoint when (a month? 6 weeks?) a new cat started coming around. This one a stunningly gorgeous Flame-point Siamese. Young and female. She was incredibly shy and would take off at a full run if there was any sign of life from my house. But with regular meals of tasty wet food, she started to get used to my presence and was finally at a point where she'd come over if she heard me open my back door. I couldn't figure out if she had a home or not, but she became my most dedicated customer, waiting for me at 5am sharp to bring her breakfast. And then it dawned on me that she was pregnant.

Contacted some rescue groups here about taking her in, but they are chock-a-block with kittens and moms right now, so there's no room at the Inn. The only option was to take her in myself, or let her have her babies on the street. I prepared my spare room for her and caught her last night. My plan was to plaster the neighbourhood with posters in case someone was missing her, but once I got her in the house, it was obvious that she was indeed feral. She'd clearly never been in a house before.

Which brings me to where we are now. She ate a small amount of wet food around midnight or so, and nothing since. Hasn't used the litter box, although footprints indicate she did walk through it. The part that's really killing me is how depressed she is right now. She's not scared of me, but she is clearly despondent about her situation. There were some scary moments last night when she was throwing herself repeatedly at the window, and now all she does is stare up at it. Her meows to me are pleading. I'm bawling as I write this cause I may have to let her go if she doesn't start eating by tomorrow. I'm bawling for causing her this stress when she was clearly such a happy playful cat outside. I'm totally second-guessing everything I've just done.

Anyone have some words of wisdom they can pass down to a newbie feral cat "rescuer"?
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:18 PM
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OMGosh SCM. I have absolutely no idea as to what is going on with her. It could be the stress of being confined or the stress of the pregnancy. This is such a bad position to be in.

I am certain someone will be one shortly with more cat experience. I wish I could do more but I am lost.

Hang in there SCM. You did good by trying to help her.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:21 PM
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SCM - thank you.
Will Meow Foundation abort and spay? If they will I would think that is the best option for her. As for not wanting to be indoors - it's a new situation. If you think she has never been indoors or has maybe been a stray for so long she has forgotten how to be indoors you are probably right. So flippin' sad! And people wonder why we get so upset when we read stories of them letting their cats out

As hard as it may be to do - I personally feel the best thing for her is to be where she is right now. Indoors with someone who loves her. Do you have a heavy curtain or heavy material you can block the window with? Something so she can't see outdoors. May seem mean but it may help to settle her down. Maybe give her as many things to play with, look at, explore, as you can to keep her busy.

I don't envy you what you are going through. It is very very hard when dealing with ferals. Just please rethink the letting her go. She may be very close to delivering and is maybe looking for her nest too. Have you given her lots of materials and things so she can make a new one?
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:25 PM
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SCM - is there any breed specific rescue groups in Calgary? Maybe they may help as she is a purebred (I know - don't say it...).
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:26 PM
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As for the not eating very much - if she is close to delivery she won't. Also, she is in a new situation. As hard as it seems - hang in there. If you are concerned about her hurting herself do you have, or can you get, a large dog crate? You can turn it into a little den/home for her and she may settle more. Something she feels more confined in and safe. It just may do the trick.
I really do not feel putting her back out to deal with a new family is the best option.
Sometimes as rescuers you have to close your ears to the pitiful cries. Hang in there hon!!
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenMax View Post
You did good by trying to help her.
Thanks BM, that means a lot to me.

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Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
SCM - thank you.
Will Meow Foundation abort and spay?
They will up to a point, but I'm pretty sure she's past that point. I'm kicking myself for not getting her sooner. It took a while for me to realize she truly was pregnant and not just getting a big belly from the food like that tortie girl that I trapped a couple months ago (who has since been adopted by a woman that runs a pet food store ).

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Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
As hard as it may be to do - I personally feel the best thing for her is to be where she is right now. Indoors with someone who loves her.
And wow, do I ever love her. She's completely stolen my heart, which is part of what makes this so hard. I feel like I betrayed her.

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Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
Do you have a heavy curtain or heavy material you can block the window with? Something so she can't see outdoors.
I closed the blinds and the window is actually pretty high up. Initially I had put a tall cat tree next to it, thinking that if she could see outside, she'd be less panicked. Lesson learned. I've since moved the tree. The room she is in is pretty ideal, with lots of built in shelving to explore and perch in. Part of the problem might be that it was also Aztec's favourite room, and although I cleaned it thoroughly, his smell no doubt lingers. There is a Feliway diffuser in there. I also sprayed Feliway in the various nooks and crannies and rubbed catnip on the cat trees and the new carpet I bought just for this (the floor is vinyl tiling).

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She may be very close to delivering and is maybe looking for her nest too. Have you given her lots of materials and things so she can make a new one?
What sorts of materials would be good, do you think? I have some towels in there and a fleecy blanket.

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SCM - is there any breed specific rescue groups in Calgary? Maybe they may help as she is a purebred (I know - don't say it...).
Unfortunately nothing Siamese-specific.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:50 PM
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SCM, Luvmylabs should be able to give you tons of advice, I would try PMing her.

Sending her out to the streets to have her babies would be just cruel in my mind, but doing as 14+ suggested, aborting and spaying then releasing would be the second best option if she doesn't settle down in the room.

BTW, I do know of a very tame, house kitty that does the same thing to try to get out of his enclosure. He is almost obsessed with it . The owner has clear corregated plastic sheathing along the top of her fence so he can't get out.

Are you sure she hasn't had her babies?
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:52 PM
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I have to go out for a few minutes. I'll be back.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:55 PM
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can you get, a large dog crate?
Good idea! I'll see what I can come up with. Hubby, as awesome and supportive as he's been through this, is getting a little concerned about the money I've spent on her so far . I do have some big cardboard boxes that might do the trick though.

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Sometimes as rescuers you have to close your ears to the pitiful cries.
If it's even possible, I have even more respect now for those of you who do this regularly. I feel like such weakling.

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Hang in there hon!!
Thanks so much for lending a shoulder.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:56 PM
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She will probably want a large, covered box with a hole in the front that is just big enough for her to get in and out. The entrance should be about 6 inches above the towel so the kittens don't accidentally get out.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:58 PM
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SCM, Luvmylabs should be able to give you tons of advice, I would try PMing her.
Shall do, thanks!

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Are you sure she hasn't had her babies?
Pretty sure she hasn't. She spent a lot of time in my yard yesterday, she's still quite "wide", and her nipples don't look distended enough.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:59 PM
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Shall do, thanks!



Pretty sure she hasn't. She spent a lot of time in my yard yesterday, she's still quite "wide", and her nipples don't look distended enough.
Just a thought that she was trying to get to her babies.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 01:24 PM
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Just a thought that she was trying to get to her babies.
Ya, that thought crossed my mind at times as well.

It just occurred to me, the MEOW Foundation left me with a number to call if this kitty became sick or injured and it was an emergency. If I feel that her health is declining from not eating or whatever, I'll see what they say. She would probably be staying at a vet clinic though.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 01:26 PM
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just a thought,,,i have more puppy experience than kitty but if you can get close to her and place your hand on her tummy,,would you not be able to feel the kittens moving if she is close to delivering?
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Old July 1st, 2010, 01:39 PM
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Ok, I'm back. L4H is right with the box. You can put the towels in. You could try straw if you have some available. Something that is close to what she would have been using outdoors may do the trick to settle her. Even some shredded newspaper if she wants to arrange it.
If you can get a crate then put a box in the back of it and let her do her thing. See what happens. Hopefully she will settle.
It is completely normal for her to be acting the way she is. Indoors is a foreign concept to her. If she can smell Aztec it will be adding to her angst as well.
How long ago did it dawn on you she was pregnant? (using your words) Because most vets will now abort almost right up to the time of delivery. Within a week or two. Could you ask MF and see what they recommend?
I believe you are doing the very best you can do for her. As I said, hang in there. Feral kitties are an all together different ball game than tame ones. You had her trust once. You can do it again with patience.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 01:53 PM
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It is completely normal for her to be acting the way she is. Indoors is a foreign concept to her. If she can smell Aztec it will be adding to her angst as well.


Good point

How long ago did it dawn on you she was pregnant? (using your words) Because most vets will now abort almost right up to the time of delivery. Within a week or two. Could you ask MF and see what they recommend?
I believe you are doing the very best you can do for her. As I said, hang in there. Feral kitties are an all together different ball game than tame ones. You had her trust once. You can do it again with patience.
Absolutely , I am sure she will settle down, she is not totally feral if she would show herself when you came out with food. She has probably been on her own since she was young, thinking her first heat she escaped.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 02:10 PM
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I've got no advice, scm, but I did want to send along some for mama-to-be and some s for you. You're doing a wonderful thing for her!
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Old July 1st, 2010, 02:59 PM
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scm, By the way, she may not respond to catnip, as quite a lot of Siamese aren't turned on by it. She may feel more comfortable and secure if you put the birthing box & litter pan, food, water in a large size dog crate and cover the crate with a blanket. If you're using the crate, it'd be better to have a box with an open top so you can observe what's going on during birthing. Sometimes when birthing is imminent, she may be very restless and frantic going from one place to the next, especially if she's a first-time mom. The crate would keep her contained and more settled. Are you able to pick her up? If not, you'll have to put her food in the crate and try to close the door to confine her. I'm sure after she's had her kittens, she'll realize you're her friend and only want to help her and be more friendly to you. Thanks for taking in this young female and looking after her. Hope everything works out well for you both!
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Old July 1st, 2010, 03:38 PM
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SCM, this kitty sounds like a lovely girl. She's lucky to have found such a wonderful place to have her babies.

I remember when I had Czari inside the second time around. It took her about 2 days to use the litter. She ate very little and she never left her little pyramid bed. I'm sure she was just as unhappy as this kitty is now. Even though she didn't meow to get outside, the sad looks she'd give me whenever I went into the kitchen broke my heart.

Hopefully, your girl will realize she's in a good place soon!
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Old July 1st, 2010, 03:47 PM
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She ate!!!

I went to the store to stock up on things to tempt her with (baby food, Whiskas Cat Milk, sardines/tuna/salmon, etc) and when I came back, she had eaten half a pouch of the Whiskas salmon I left for her. I brought her some Cat Milk, and she drank some of that as well, then ate more of the pouch food while I lay on the floor next to her. Then she got hiccups . After eating, she sharpened her claws on the scratching post, which I took as a good sign. She's back to crying again. Those pitiful little meows that rip out your heart and stomp on it . And she has yet to use the litter box. At this point, I'd be happy if she even peed on the floor.

Right now, she seems to want to be out in the open. I have a box in there, a cat carrier that Aztec hasn't used in years and that I cleaned really well, and a brand new cat tent with comfy cushions. For now, she'd rather lie at the base of the cat tree.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 03:49 PM
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Wahoo , she'll settle in no time. This is just new to her and she is scared. Once she gets a few good belly full of food she'll know she hit the good life.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 03:55 PM
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Meant to comment on the litterbox. My Snowball would not use the litterbox when he was stressed. When we traveled and were staying in hotels, he would go all day and wait until about 3 am to use it. I wouldn't stress on it too much right now.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 04:02 PM
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She is doing very well. Nothing unusual at all in what she's doing. If she is like this now she should do fine without a crate. Just remember if you are going through with this birthing thing that she will move them on the fourth day. Doesn't matter if it's only a few feet. She'll move them. It's a cat thing.
For the litter. Could you go and put some garden dirt, old pine needles, old leaves, anything you can find that is sort of decaying in the box? Remember she isn't used to litter. She may not know that's what you want her to do. Even some sand from your driveway or something. My feral mommas never used the box when I put one in the garage where they had the kittens. They always used garden dirt, gravel, whatever.

I don't think we have to worry about the pregnancy right yet. Let's get her settled first. You are doing great!!! Just close those ears a little bit.

Remember too she's Siamese. They're talkative in the first place. Being in a strange place would make it worse. Being pregnant and a feral/stray would only make it more so. My Siamese cross was a very talkative boy. You always knew where he was.

Oh, and tell your hubby he should be glad he isn't with me.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 04:23 PM
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Oh, and tell your hubby he should be glad he isn't with me.
You're hilarious!
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Old July 1st, 2010, 05:14 PM
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SCM,14+ is soooo right,my hubby would have gone a long time ago if I did what 14+does
I don't know much about ferals or pregnant kitties,but I think you are doing great,put in earplugs and give the girl time,she'll give in to being taken care of,I am certain.
Thank you for taken her in to a safe place
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Old July 1st, 2010, 05:46 PM
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I saw movement!

I just took some Temptations treats to her and WOW, those are some serious kitty crack-nuggets! She snarfed 'em up, then ate some of the Evo dry I have out for her (you heard me right, I'm giving her kibble ). A few more sips of Cat Milk, and then she started grooming herself! Afterwards, she stretched out on her side and I watched her for a while. There was some definite movement going on in there. Anyone know what sort of timeline that might indicate?
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Old July 1st, 2010, 06:27 PM
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Now SCM, I don't have to tell you that kibble is just no good for kitties .

So glad she is coming along . I bet she is within a week or two of delivering. Normal gestation period is about 63 days.
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  #28  
Old July 1st, 2010, 06:40 PM
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14+kitties 14+kitties is offline
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Can you remember approx how long ago you noticed she was pregnant? That would give us some sort of a jump off point. A cat starts showing around the five week mark so if you've noticed a while back that she was gaining you can sort of guessimate from there. As L4 said, a pregnancy is around 63 to 65 days so......... go from there.
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Last edited by 14+kitties; July 1st, 2010 at 06:46 PM.
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  #29  
Old July 1st, 2010, 06:43 PM
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Rescue is my fav. breed
 
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Oh, and when are we going to see pics of this girl

Adding a pic of Aztec would not be minded at all either.
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Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
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  #30  
Old July 1st, 2010, 08:07 PM
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krdahmer krdahmer is offline
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it sounds like she's making progress already, thats awesome! Every time you hear her crying, just tell her softly that she'll thank you later....which she will!!!!!
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