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Imminent kittens from upduffed stray! Help!

(24 Posts)
Firepile Sun 25-Oct-15 18:07:38

Hello! We've been adopted by a lovely stray cat and have been feeding her outside for the last 6weeks or so. We've tried paper collars and the vet confirmed that she isn't chipped. Neighbours report she's been around for months - at least since Springtime, and I'd seen her about and not realised how thin she was because she's a Maine Coon type, so really big and fluffy...

We have gradually been letting her in to explore the house. The vet checked her over and gave her Advocate about a month ago - she couldn't feel any kittens but told us not to rule it out. And it's now pretty obvious she's pretty pregnant - can feel kittens moving, like quickening, in her rounded belly. And her nipples are huge! She moved in today, has taken up residence on our bed and shows no sign of wanting to go out!

We already have 3 adult cats. One is relaxed, the other 2 much less so...

We're preparing a birthing box, have got kitten formula and bottles in case there are any issues when they're born. And we're pretty excited, but a bit clueless.

Can anyone advise us:
- how we can know how far along she is?
- what size of litter is normal for maine coon type cats, and is it likely to be affected by her living wild when they were conceived /during pregnancy?
- will our existing cats be likely to be a threat to the newborn kittens?

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 25-Oct-15 18:22:12

I don't think existing cats will be bothered by kittens but they might not have had the best pre-natal nutrition.

overthemill Sun 25-Oct-15 18:25:48

i had a stray move in once and she gave birth 2 weeks later (we also tried everything to find her real home). our cats were fine with her and the kittens so that's probably not an issue. Don't know anything about Maine Coons but IME young cats have small litters. You are better prepared than I was, she gave birth on a jumper of mine! it took a while - 3 kittens over several hours. At one stage I phoned vets who gave great advice as one wasn't breathing. good luck!

Firepile Sun 25-Oct-15 18:30:13

That's all pretty reassuring, thanks! She really is a lovely cat. We just don't want to let her down when she needs us!

Firepile Sun 25-Oct-15 18:31:41

Eek to knitwear birthing, though!

MountainDweller Sun 25-Oct-15 18:42:11

We adopted a pregnant stray too. She had four kittens - we kept two and a friend took the other two. I am officially a mad cat lady now!

I think but am not certain that you only feel the kitten move fairly late in the pregnancy, during the last couple of weeks.

I would keep your existing cats away from the kittens. Older cats have been known to harm kittens, though I don't think it's common.

LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary Sun 25-Oct-15 19:06:26

Good luck!

Please report back and post pics!!!!

OOOOOOh a live birth thread?!!

thecatneuterer Sun 25-Oct-15 19:08:12

Many vets will do a spay/abort. That would certainly be the best course of action here. Do consider it.

Firepile Sun 25-Oct-15 19:48:52

Oh dear, Catneuterer. Really hadn't expected that. Why would you recommend this?

thecatneuterer Sun 25-Oct-15 20:35:06

OP - because simply put there are too many cats for the number of homes to go round. Every kitten born really means that another cat in a shelter has to be euthanised or a cat has to be left on the street as the shelters are too full to take them. Even though you will probably find homes for the kittens they will be taking up homes that could have gone to other unwanted, and already born, kittens.

Not only that, but giving birth takes it's toll on the mother cats and certainly isn't risk free.

Spay/abort doesn't adversely affect the cat in any way.

LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary Sun 25-Oct-15 23:24:01

Interesting ethical questions. Didn't realise you could do abortions on animals. Some numbnuts will always insist on a kitten tho.

thecatneuterer Sun 25-Oct-15 23:26:00

Left - I don't understand your last sentence. Do you mean that some people will always want kittens rather than adult cats? That's certainly true. But rescues are full of kittens.

LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary Sun 25-Oct-15 23:43:04

I've never really thought of kittens in a rescue centre. Don't know if folk looking for one would go there.

I suppose I just meant that letting cats breed won't necessarily mean fewer homes because some folk aren't the type to go to a rescue anyway.

I do agree though with the general point that we should be looking after the cats that are already here!

LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary Sun 25-Oct-15 23:44:45

Sorry for my half assed poorly expressed thought! It has been a long (25hr!) Day.

thecatneuterer Mon 26-Oct-15 01:19:01

Left - at the height of kitten season we probably have an average of two litters per day coming into our centre. Even now we have a huge number of kittens and the season still isn't over.

The people who currently 'aren't the type to get kittens from a rescue' haven't needed to consider it as there is such an oversupply of kittens from other sources. Unfortunately there are so many feckless, stupid, irresponsible and/or greedy people who either don't bother with neutering or who breed deliberately to sell around (and of course I don't mean the OP here), that anyone who isn't rescue minded doesn't need to be. If we could manage to dry up that supply a bit then they would be forced to turn to rescues.

Also those that 'aren't the type to get kittens from a rescue' are likely to also be the type to not see the point in neutering/vaccinations/microchips/insurance, so it could be argued they probably shouldn't be having cats anyway.

ReallyTired Mon 26-Oct-15 02:07:24

I think it's quite likely the stray cat has a frantic owner somewhere if it's friendly to humans. I imagine that six weeks is a bit soon for "spay and abort" unless you are sure the owner cannot be found.

The cat is heavily pregnant. Killing the kittens at this point is not much different to enthuanising live kittens. I am not sure you can distinguish between already born kittens and about to be born kittens.

Firepile Mon 26-Oct-15 06:40:10

Couple of points:

Agree it's surprising, but the cat doesn't (apparently) have frantic humans. She's been hanging about for at least the last 6 months. She is really affectionate with us, but terrified when other people appear. We've checked out lost cat sites (nothing) and she's been posted on a found cat site (again, nothing). Vet thinks she's young. She has a minor fault (not causing her any wellbeing issues just now) and so we think she may have been dumped by an unscrupulous breeder as she wasn't sellable...

Understand kitten oversupply problems and that no labour is risk free. But struggling with difference between that and euthanising kittens at this stage, and strongly suspect that my vet wouldn't perform spay abort in final week(s) of gestation. (It wasn't mentioned as a possibility if she did turn out to be pregnant.)

There are folk who find it difficult to get a cat from a rescue. I was turned down by cats protection because I had a child under 5, live in a flat, and by a road (not a main one). Other local agencies had "nothing suitable". I rehomed an adult cat via Gumtree (I know!) instead. My mum will definitely have at least one of these kittens, if they arrive safely, and will provide a safe and loving home for it. But she wouldn't be actively seeking a cat otherwise.

LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary Mon 26-Oct-15 08:56:47

Wow the cat neuterer! I never even looked at any kittens in the rescue if they had any cos I knew an older cat would suit me better. And I was right even if she is a naughty escape artist! You must get so fed up with irresponsible owners!

thecatneuterer Mon 26-Oct-15 11:10:00

Fair enough OP. I just wanted to present it as an option. So many people don't even realise it's possible and think that if a cat is pregnant it has to stay that way. I always like to point out that it isn't necessarily the case and to present the arguments for abortion.

And I'm really, really sure, like you OP, that she is a stray.

Gothgirl78 Fri 30-Oct-15 21:25:47

Any updates?

Firepile Sun 01-Nov-15 11:16:07

No kittens yet!

It has been an eventful week... Turns out preg cat doesn't know how to use a litter tray (consistent with having been fending for herself since kittenhood). Which was v stressful as there were a few major toileting issues which took a lot of cleaning up, and it took a while to be sure it was her and not resident cats showing distress... She is now using the tray for weeing, and we've been letting her out to poo.

She's been very relaxed and affectionate. Other cats aren't thrilled, but are settling down, and aren't showing aggression or other signs of major dysfunction.

Firepile Sun 01-Nov-15 11:18:24

I talked to our vet practice a lot this week! They have been really helpful. Did ask about spay/abort but they thought it would only have been something they would do earlier in the pregnancy.

Firepile Sun 01-Nov-15 11:20:29

Should add we've set her up in our bedroom and kept the other cats out of there which has probably helped to keep all the cats' stress levels down.

Gothgirl78 Sun 01-Nov-15 12:48:37

Thanks for the update. I'd be uncomfortable aborting kittens in an advanced state too. No differenc from throwing them in the river when newborn.

We need pics as soon as they're born X

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