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Old 25.07.2014, 12:26
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Caring for kittens

My wife and I are feeding our elderly neighbor's cat while he is in hospital. It's been over 7 weeks now. The cat is pregnant and it seems our neighbor won't be back anytime soon. The cat is an outside cat, not super friendly, and lives behind our building on the neighbor's ground floor balcony and in the garden. We have been feeding her on our balcony and she is warming up to us and our balcony as a "safe zone" but she usually hides out in the bushes. I assume this is where she will give birth. I am surprised she hasn't given birth already and certainly the time is near. To complicate matters, my wife and I are going away on holiday for a week starting 1 August. We can get another neighbor to feed her during this time but what can we do to prepare for the kittens? We tried to set up a box on our balcony but she won't go near it. I hate to just let nature run it's course but we don't have a lot of options.

Suggestions?
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Old 25.07.2014, 12:55
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Re: Caring for kittens

Does the box you put out have a top or is it open? Having something enclosed may make her feel more safe. Will she let you touch her? You could try quickly rubbing a piece of cloth on her to get her scent on it and put that in the box as well- might encourage her to go in.

The box should have high sides (or the opening high enough) so that the kittens can't get out (mother can take them out if they need out)...so by the time you are back from holiday they would (hopefully) be safe in the box since they would still be too young to jump out.

Hope this helps..
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Old 25.07.2014, 14:03
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Re: Caring for kittens

Cats "nest" before giving birth, she will identify a place to give birth and you can encourage her by giving her the box, don't worry about the kittens going anywhere for the first few weeks, they are blind and all they do is feed.

To prepaire the cat, you can make sure you give her lots to eat as she might any way fast when the babies arrive (she does eat the placentas, no it's not gross it's nature )

It is not so easy to feed a cat with babies as you should not touch the kittens and also not encourage her to leave them. Put placing food near by within sight of the box/nesting place, and don't forget the water.

Finally if the owner does not come back, eventually the kittens will have to be vaccinated before giving them away, no point giving them away if that is not done. Also you have to keep them for up to 2 months with the mother, as if not properly reared they won't make good pets.

For next time, take the cat to the vet asap and get it spayed, sad topic as it is, there is time limit for cats.

Kittens though are cute.
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Old 25.07.2014, 14:25
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Re: Caring for kittens

Kudos to you for taking such good care of the pregnant cat! It is a good idea to provide her with the box, but she might have already prepared a place for the kittens since cats like to hide them. But if the box is safe enough and to her liking she might still use it. Hope it turns out well for mommy and kittens.
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Old 25.07.2014, 14:32
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Re: Caring for kittens

I agree that making a semi-enclosed box with high sides is a good idea. For one thing, you don't want any neighborhood dogs (or other animals) getting near the kittens. I once bought a kitten whose mother had been killed by a dog that was trying to get to her kittens. She ran away from the kittens to lure the dog away from them, and...

Just make sure the box gets decent air flow and isn't in direct sunlight, since it can get quite warm outside this time of year.

Even if the cat isn't warming up to the box now, she might once the kittens arrive. I once had a cat that gave birth to kittens under our sofa, and a few days later, she transported them to underneath our bed.

Hope it all goes well!
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Old 25.07.2014, 14:57
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Re: Caring for kittens

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I agree that making a semi-enclosed box with high sides is a good idea. For one thing, you don't want any neighborhood dogs (or other animals) getting near the kittens. I once bought a kitten whose mother had been killed by a dog that was trying to get to her kittens. She ran away from the kittens to lure the dog away from them, and...
that is so sad
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Old 25.07.2014, 15:10
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Re: Caring for kittens

thanks all. i guess i need to find a bigger box. the first we tried was rather flat without high walls or a cover. we put it under the balcony table and covered that with a tablecloth but she never seemed interested.

we'll take care of her and the kittens, and get them all vaccinated when the time comes. should we get them all chipped and spayed too? how much does that normally cost?

she's a sweetie if you can get past the hissing, biting, and scratching. she'll now let me pet her and pick her up for a moment but she seems to prefer my wife. she'll nap in her lap and hang around her on the balcony.
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Old 25.07.2014, 15:21
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Re: Caring for kittens

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we'll take care of her and the kittens, and get them all vaccinated when the time comes. should we get them all chipped and spayed too? how much does that normally cost?
Ripz, good on ya for helping your neighbor, and for taking such good care of his cat.

As you mentioned that the neighbor won't be coming home soon, just a heads-up in case this hasn't been discussed yet:

Has the neighbor formally turned over ownership of the cat to you, or are you 'just helping out'? If you are now the owner of the cat all is straightforward. But if you are fostering/helping out there are some points to consider. Ownership issues might need to be clarified as you go forward.

For instance, what arrangements have been made for finding homes for the kittens?

If finding homes for the kittens has been left to you, either expressly or by default, be aware that in law the kittens are the neighbor's property unless he has given the mother cat to you prior to birth of the kittens. Which would mean that if you are not the owner of the kittens you couldn only pass them on to a third party with the consent of the owner.

The same applies to getting the mother cat spayed - you'd need the consent of the neighbor, if he is still the owner.

It is usually recommended to get any 'fostering' type arrangements in writing if possible - costs, limitations, expectations - so that there are no misunderstandings.

Granted, when everyone is good friends one usually doesn't have to worry about legalities - and it sounds like this is the case here. Nonetheless, a point to think about.

Hope all goes well with the birth, that the kittens find good homes - and again, you're a star for helping the neighbor.
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Old 25.07.2014, 15:32
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Re: Caring for kittens

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thanks all. i guess i need to find a bigger box. the first we tried was rather flat without high walls or a cover. we put it under the balcony table and covered that with a tablecloth but she never seemed interested.

we'll take care of her and the kittens, and get them all vaccinated when the time comes. should we get them all chipped and spayed too? how much does that normally cost?

she's a sweetie if you can get past the hissing, biting, and scratching. she'll now let me pet her and pick her up for a moment but she seems to prefer my wife. she'll nap in her lap and hang around her on the balcony.
Poor lady cat, thank God you're around even if not the whole time!

Not that I can help, but this thread has particularly touched me as I'm looking to adopt a kitten and all I'm doing right now is thinking of the tiny cuty ones.

I'm not sure you can just give your neighbor's cat's kittens away just like that (cat is registered to him I'm assuming) but I would really love to give one of them a home. Plus the mother is a real sweetie.

I'll follow closely what happens with this family.
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Old 25.07.2014, 15:44
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Re: Caring for kittens

Is the neighbor in any state that she could be asked permission for vaccinating the lil ones and finding homes for them, and spaying the other one later? Maybe she would pay, at least partly, for the expenses?
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Old 25.07.2014, 16:02
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Re: Caring for kittens

My neighbor just had a major surgery yesterday. I'll discuss this all with him when he's more recovered. He wasn't even aware that she was pregnant when he went in hospital, and in his condition I don't think he has given the cat situation a lot of thought. My wife and I are happy to take care of kittens as long as we need to, just not forever. We may end up adopting a couple ourselves. We're already getting attached to momma kitty.
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Old 25.07.2014, 16:03
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Re: Caring for kittens

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For next time, take the cat to the vet asap and get it spayed, sad topic as it is, there is time limit for cats.
just wondering what is meant by this... that nobody wants older cats? or something else?
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Old 25.07.2014, 16:06
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Re: Caring for kittens

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My neighbor just had a major surgery yesterday. I'll discuss this all with him when he's more recovered. He wasn't even aware that she was pregnant when he went in hospital, and in his condition I don't think he has given the cat situation a lot of thought. My wife and I are happy to take care of kittens as long as we need to, just not forever. We may end up adopting a couple ourselves. We're already getting attached to momma kitty.
That's what we (well, back at my mom's in the US) said.

One mother and 5 kittens later... now a year old
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Old 25.07.2014, 16:16
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Re: Caring for kittens

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...For next time, take the cat to the vet asap and get it spayed, sad topic as it is, there is time limit for cats...
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just wondering what is meant by this... that nobody wants older cats? or something else?
+1 for that question. AFAIK the only time a cat shouldn't be spayed is if it's in heat or pregnant. Even if the cat is older it should not be a problem (unless there are other underlying health issues).
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Old 25.07.2014, 17:08
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Re: Caring for kittens

Good on you Ripz- bravo. I wouldn't worry too much about ownership issues for a moggy and kittens - unlike a pedigree cat, etc. Sadly they are 2 a penny in rural areas- and I'm sure the old man will be so grateful that you are being so caring. When he is better, I would ask if he minds helping out with cost- if you know he can afford it.

Keep us informed - and again- thanks for being such a caring neighbour- this kind of thing makes the world go round, hurrah. If you need help with re-homing, do ask, I am not too far from you.
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Old 28.07.2014, 11:20
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Re: Caring for kittens

Any kittens yet?!
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Old 28.07.2014, 21:46
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Re: Caring for kittens

No kitties yet. But i got her a better box. She still doesn't seem interested. When she has her kittens, should we relocate them to the box immediately or wait some time?
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Old 28.07.2014, 21:55
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Re: Caring for kittens

Dont put them there yourself. If she doesnt like it she will take them out again

But if she saw the box maybe she knows its there and will use it when the time comes
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Old 28.07.2014, 22:39
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Re: Caring for kittens

All you can do is provide a place or places for her to nest in, but there's no guarantee they'll be used. When was a kid my cat had her kittens in my doll's pram, despite the fact that my mom put several boxes out around the house for her to use. Couldn't have been very comfortable amongst all those plastic limbs, but that's where she chose to have them. No idea why, she never went in there at any other time so it wasn't as if it was a favourite place for her to go to when she felt like a nap.
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Old 28.07.2014, 22:44
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Re: Caring for kittens

Our cat when I was little always had her kittens in my bed- under the duvet- I had to move to the spare bed every time

Perhaps turn the box the other way, with a small gap by the wall, as they always look for privacy.
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