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Mum and five kittens......

(34 Posts)
scottswede Thu 15-Aug-13 08:28:33

We have a large stray cat problem where I live. (Whole other thread...) I have been taking care of a mum and her five little ones since they were born. Living outside, but feeding them and trying to get them used to humans. They are 11 weeks now and I finally got them inside. I have arranged for a cat home to take them all in a week or so.
Problem one. Mum won't use the litter box but is peeing and pooing on the floor on the chairs. Kittens all seem to love the box by the way.
Problem two. Two of the kittens seem much more feral than the rest, don't like human contact at all. I spend a lot of time with them but these two are fighting me all the way. The cat home won't take them if they are not friendly.
Suggestions, advice please EXCEPT just keep them...... We have 4 already, all strays, who we have fixed. We were feeding a total of 13 at one point.

MumnGran Thu 15-Aug-13 08:42:44

I have a friend who specialises in feral kitten fostering. With the very scaredy kits, she keeps them in a puppy crate, in the sitting room, so they get used to people, but cannot run & hide. With those who won't let her near even with a finger to stroke, she uses a small glove on a stick, and gently "strokes" through the bars. Handling daily, like it or lump it.Her success rate is amazing.....but I know she would say that 11 weeks is quite late into development, and the really scared pair may never be fully confident with people. If the local rescue won't take these two, CPL might? or if you are in London to Celia Hammond (.org)

Litter training Mum will be hard. Bless her, she has no idea that she can't go where she pleases. Try using earth in the tray rather than litter....and as many trays as you can fit in the space. Use tissue to mop some of the pee, and place the bits of tissue in the tray, so she associates as a place to "go".
Also, don't use bleach to clean actually attracts cats to pee there!

cozietoesie Thu 15-Aug-13 08:53:05

You really need some thoughts from issey6cats or thecatneuterer or others who are used to dealing with strays - but my own thought would be that the two kits who are fighting you just need even more time. And also just maybe splitting off from their litter mates. (You said that all the kittens use the tray so that's half your battle won right there.)

They're of an age now that they would be nearly ready to go it on their own so perhaps genuinely going it on their own would be a good thing and get them to bond more with humans. I suppose I'm thinking send the three friendly ones to the rescue for homing and keep the other two for just a little longer to see how they get on. They were born outside and lived there for a long time so are likely more feral than not. Maybe you can turn them but maybe not.

As for Mum - well. is she feral? If so, it may be that she just won't take to doing her duty inside and is only prepared to stay inside at the moment because of the kittens - so that you might not see her for dust when the kittens are of an age to be independent. In that sort of situation, you might have no option but to have her neutered and let her go. Is she trying to get out at all at the moment?

scottswede Thu 15-Aug-13 09:54:21

Mum isn't feral, I think she came from somewhere. She goes out 4 or 5 times a day, always returns. I had thought of taking the 3 friendly kittens to the home and holding off with mum and the 2 wilder ones. If I can't tame them then I would just have to let them out, still feeding and sheltering them of course.
It's really expensive to neuter here, so I would love to get them ALL in the home. I am going to buy more litter boxes today, and I'll try they dirt idea too. I was using a dettol wash, but maybe it's a likable smell for mum.

cozietoesie Thu 15-Aug-13 10:01:40

You're not in the UK, OP? I'd give the cat home a phone and see if they have any contacts for subsidized neutering. Many places have such schemes - prevention being better than cure etc.

moonbells Thu 15-Aug-13 10:20:10

scotts please don't use Dettol - at least not if it's the traditional type that goes cloudy in water. It's poisonous to cats!

Good luck with the kittens - neutering isn't cheap is it? Cheapest we could get round here is £62 for boys and £89 for girls! shock so hope you get the shelter to help somehow (even if it's giving you neutering vouchers).

scottswede Thu 15-Aug-13 10:32:27

Thanks moonbells, I had no idea about the dettol thing.
No, not in the UK, Sweden at the moment. It's about 65 GBP for boys and 95 GBP for girls here. I have just found this new vet. The last one was 130GBP for female cats!!!!!!!.
I have asked around, believe me I have tried. The price is the price here. A large majority of the vets are government run. Not really a lot of competition to work with hence the ludicrously high prices.

cozietoesie Thu 15-Aug-13 10:43:28

That is indeed a lot to cough up out of the goodness of your heart. (ie for a cat that's not going to be your own.) If you get some spare time, maybe you could drop an email to the bigger animal charities suggesting they start a scheme? (Copied to your local politician if most vets are government run.)


CPL run regular national and local schemes to allow cheap neutering and from their website, it looks as if it's still current in a few selected areas. I think it's always worth giving them a phone if there's any neutering to be done and you can't afford it. Who knows what can be arranged?

MumnGran Thu 15-Aug-13 11:59:34

See if you can get Anistel (used to be called Trigene) for cleaning.

Otherwise, given that this is not a cattery environment could just use hot soapy water, with a wipe of specialist odour remover ...which you should be able to find (maybe under a different name?) in Sweden

issey6cats Thu 15-Aug-13 12:35:25

hi mom yes put dirt in the tray and she may be more inclined to use it as that is what she has been used to recently,

the two kits who are still not friendly, you need to get a cage for them, split them off from their siblings, as in a bunch they will try to get away with not being handled, put on gloves and make sure your clothes are nice and thick, and take each one one at a time from the cage and cuddle them close to your body so they cant wriggle and just basically hold them and talk softly to them, hopefully as they realise they are not going to be harmed they will start to relax,

feeding treats while in your arms will help aswell

11 weeks is definitely within realms of being tameable.

talk to them when you go near the cage i do baby talk sounds daft but low high range voice works,

hopefully the cats home will be able to lend you a cage

i would send the friendlier ones to the rescue and ask them to let you foster the non friendly ones for a couple of weeks longer on the understanding that they will take the other two when tamed
sorry trying to think of everything to say.

the two kist i have at the moment are 13 weeks and while not as feral as yours very timid due to not having had any handling, and what i have suggested above has turned them from hissy spiity kits to little purrers in less than a week

you mainly need confidence when handling them and not standing for any daft kitty behaviour let them know you are not scared of them as they will feed from this and it will make them more nervous ,

hope this has helped

moonbells Thu 15-Aug-13 12:36:00

cozietoesie Cats Protection is really variable due to being divided up into regions. If we'd adopted from the area we live in (which didn't have kittens available) then they would have given us a neutering voucher when we'd paid the £80 adoption fee. The area next to it where we did find some cats had a £100 fee per cat and if one wasn't neutered when you picked them up, you had to foot the bill. I have to admit being a bit miffed angry but them's the rules. They both came vet checked, de-flea'd and wormed and fully immunised, none of which is particularly cheap! Mummycat was spayed as soon as her litter started being adopted, so we didn't have to get her done, and her fur is almost grown back now.

Fortunately having had a cat before, we (mostly) knew what we were in for. The only shock for me was how much they flipping eat - our old lady ate like a mouse (even when young) in comparison! Mummycat is already a way bigger cat and I suspect kittencat will be a bruiser. We thankfully can afford it. Wouldn't have adopted if we couldn't. Though whoever recommended vetuk in another thread, thankyou. Shall be getting worming tabs from them from now on!

cozietoesie Thu 15-Aug-13 12:38:23

I know they're a charity and have to cover costs but - some rules!

scottswede Thu 15-Aug-13 13:40:41

Just come back from the Petshop. Stocked and ready to roll. I am prepared for slow and steady with the little shy ones, We have a week so the purring within a week line for issey is very reassuring.
I bought odour remover too.
Thanks you guys, feel less despondent about the whole thing now.

MumnGran Thu 15-Aug-13 14:37:27

Do keep us posted !! ... would love to hear how they do smile

Are you sure Mum can't sneak her paws under the table ............... grin

scottswede Thu 15-Aug-13 16:03:13

I'll definitely keep you posted about the progress.
Thanks again.

scottswede Sat 17-Aug-13 08:28:14

Mum has changed the rules. She has decided to stay outside for longer, overnight too. I let her in as often as she wants. She visitsthe kittens, gives them the once over, then goes out again. She came and lay beside me yesterday to let them feed, and I was able to make physical contact the the two little shy ones. I feel she is handing over the reins. I was quite touched. Even though my hands look like I've gone a few rounds with a cheese grater I'm making progress with the touchy feely stuff.

cozietoesie Sat 17-Aug-13 08:44:41

She'll be starting to disengage with them now - if they're 11 weeks plus, it's time - so there may be the opportunity for you to make human bonds with the two shy ones while they're feeling a bit lonely and unloved.

Well done you, anyway - and sorry about your poor hands.

cozietoesie Sat 17-Aug-13 08:49:54

PS - it sounds as if Mom might have been out on the razzle. Have you heard any noise outside? (I'm thinking that you might need to get her neutered ASAP if you don't want another litter on your hands in the near future.)

Wereonourway Sat 17-Aug-13 09:00:05

I've got no advice not already given op but just wanted to say what a lovely person you sound.

There should be more like you, good luck x

sashh Sat 17-Aug-13 09:17:04

A bit late to this.

Biological washing powder gets rid of the smell in carpets when you are cleaning up.

Do you have a university near by? Student vets must learn somewhere and would be supervised.

MumnGran Sat 17-Aug-13 11:54:35

Agreeing with Cozie .... she may already be pregnant again.
If she is already disengaging, then its definitely time to send her to the home ....if she is not staying.

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 17-Aug-13 12:10:45

I was going to say she's not hanging over the reins she's getting ready to mate again.

She needs to be kept in until neutering really.

scottswede Sat 17-Aug-13 15:50:01

Mummy has started her weekly pill today. I have about 6 weeks supply left from the last cat (who is now neutered, we had to tame her enough that the vet would consider neutering her)
Will she still feed this litter if she is already pregnant ?
If she is pregnant and I give her the pill, what will happen to that pregnancy ?

cozietoesie Sat 17-Aug-13 22:21:41

Sorry, OP. I have no experience with contraception in cats - perhaps another poster can contribute. Or could you ask the vet who supplied it?

scottswede Mon 02-Sep-13 08:59:52

Update: really peed off at the moment. Cat home have said they have no space for the 5 kittens and mum now. We should have booked a place She distinctly told dh that if they were tame and over 12 weeks then no problem.
I understand if they have no space but she should have explained the procedure better from the onset.
They are now 14 weeks, thriving, chucking all the dirt out the plants, break things, basically trashing the house on a daily basis ( but who can stay mad huh ???) and we are all getting very attached. Even one of our teenage boy cats is initiating play time with them.
We are trying one more place and calling daily to the first place, but I'm getting really stressed that we will end up keeping them.

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