Matt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 49 Posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1802 times:
As I mentioned a few months back, I was adopted by this stray cat. When she first showed up, she was nearly starved to death, little more than fur and bones with these big huge alien bug eyes.
A few months of lots of food and TLC, she rounded out into this very pretty cat. As far as I can tell, she is just a run-of-the-mill mutt alley cat. But she's still very pretty. She doesn't like to be held much, but she loves to play and be petted.
Tomorrow (Thursday), it will have been three weeks since I had the surprise of her having a litter of kittens. It appears that everything went well. All of them are healthy. But try as I may, I still cannot for sure discern the gender of all of them. Their "privates" don't seem to be all that well developed yet.
Well here is the first semi-decent picture of the babies, along with another picture of Kitty. They are still pretty shy and only make sporadic appearances. The rest of the time, they are piled all on top of each other under the bed snoozing away. I try to pet them whenever they come within reach under the bed. I don't think they're ready to be held yet because whenever I pick them up, they start crying and the momma cat comes rushing over.
But I want to try and get them domesticated as soon as possible. I don't want them to get too old and then end up being shy anti-social cats. Out of the 5, I already have homes lined up for 4 of them.
I also notice that the momma cat is probably communicating with them. It's difficult to try and describe the sounds shes making, but the closest I can do is a closed-mouth meow, sort of a grunt-in kitty voice.
Wonder what she's saying to them.
Also, I heeded the advice and went out and bought some Iams brand kitten chow, the best I could find. In those three weeks, momma has consumed about 5 pounds of an 8 pound bag. I have to top off her plate of food every day and a half or so, and she's drinking about 5 to 8 ounces of water every day. So I refill her water bowl daily.
Can any of our resident feline experts give some advice?
Luv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12059 posts, RR: 50 Reply 1, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1798 times:
That is one cute Momma cat and the kittens are just as cute. We use to have a cat that looked like it could have been Momma cats twin. And we got her the same way and she had kittens shortly after she adopted us.
Redngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 47 Reply 3, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1690 times:
self-appointed cat expert here...
You are feeding Kitty appropriately. Within a week her kittens will probably start to sample wet food and maybe even dry food, but they will still be nursing for important protein and antibodies. Continue feeding her as much as she wants, and giving her plenty of water, until the kittens are weaned or separated from her. Do not give her cow's milk, even if she likes it; it will cause diarrhea (the same goes for the kittens.)
I would suggest getting a large box and trying to move Kitty and the kittens more out in the open. Lay the box on its side and put a shallow litter pan (no more than 1/2 inch lip, use a cardboard pan or a disposable cookie sheet) and a couple of towels inside. Move the kittens first and Kitty should follow. Kitty may move the kittens back under the bed, but trying to get them to a place where you can reach them more often, and where they can see and hear you better, will help with socialization. If Kitty moves them back, leave the set-up box so she has the option of moving them back; also as the kittens get more inquisitive and independent, they may choose the box over the bed.
At 3 weeks of age the kittens are just starting to be able to see. They can smell their mother but still get disoriented when picked up. They are used to being right on the floor or next to Kitty, so being picked up by human hands is both unsteady and unfamiliar. Nevertheless, they are old enough to be handled and you should do so regularly.
The only warning I have is that Kitty could become overprotective. What I suggest is that when they cry and she comes over, give her a reassuring pat and let her sniff or groom the kitten while you hold it in your hand. If Kitty grabs the kitten by the neck and carries it away, let her take it. Don't come between her and her kittens if she becomes assertive in that manner.
Kitty's closed-mouth meow is reassurance to the kittens, telling them that she is nearby and watching them. Within a week the kittens will probably start getting curious and wandering farther from the nest, and she will make that noise when one of them gets "lost." Their hearing will be good enough by then that they will be able to turn around and head home.
Within the next week or so, Kitty should start teaching the kittens how to use a litter box. This is instinctive behavior and if they fail to adjust you can help by putting them in the litter box immediately after they finish nursing. Most kittens will learn within a week of the beginning of litter training.
Ideally, you should keep the kittens until Kitty weans them herself. Some very patient mom cats will allow their kittens to suckle long after it's necessary, but most wean their kittens by 8-9 weeks (ouch, those little teeth hurt!) The best indicator that they are ready to be separated, if they continue to suckle, is if they are eating dry food by themselves. Right now you can start making wet food available, but as their teeth come in they should be able to eat dry food alone by 8 weeks. Of course that should be dry kitten chow, which they should eat until they are one year old.
Here's the way to "sex" the kittens:
Males have one hole under the tail and a little "round mound" about 1/8 to 1/4 inch below that.
Females have a hole under the tail and a little slit below there. This is not a firm rule, but only based on the picture: It is more likely that the red kittens are male. The brown kittens could be either male or female. If any of the brown kittens have a patch of red on them, they are also probably female. But coat color does not determine sex.
If you have more questions feel free to e-mail me.
PROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5530 posts, RR: 5 Reply 7, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1636 times:
We took in a stray cat last August and she soon had four kittens (one of which died, unfortuantely). We were planning to give away the three surviving kittens as soon as they were old enough, as we already had three cats - as things turned out, they were just too cute not to keep. So now we have seven cats!
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
Redngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 47 Reply 8, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1633 times:
Oh BTW I would get Kitty spayed as soon as possible after the kittens are weaned. She will go into heat very quickly, and if you're still letting her outside to do her business, there will be a male cat happy to oblige.
MD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13618 posts, RR: 63 Reply 9, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1625 times:
I understand that spaying a female cat removes about everything that makes her female (ovaries, uterus etc.), including a huge change in hormonal activity. Is there also a way just to have the oviducts ligated, so that she will still function as a female cat, but no be able to have kittens?
Redngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 47 Reply 10, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1564 times:
It is true that the spay operation involves removal of all of the female organs. But you would not want to leave the ovarian tissue intact, because of the following problems:
1) She'll still go into heat. This means she will still call, fight to get out to males, and spray (yes, females can spray.)
2) Without removal of ovaries and uterus, the chance of uterine cancer or pyometria (uterine infection) is much greater, regardless of whether the cat becomes pregnant again.
3) There is also greater chance of breast tumours in an unspayed female.
Tubal ligation therefore is not a viable option in cats. It would involve the exact same incision and surgical time (perhaps even more lengthy) than just going in and removing everything. The vagina remains intact and is sutured just past the cervix.
I have seen cats which have been spayed incompletely. They suffer. It is best to have the full operation performed.
SWA TPA From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1559 posts, RR: 36 Reply 11, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1538 times:
Hi there Red!!!! Quick question for ya!
My little female kitty is fixed but still goes thru all the motions of being in heat (is it called that for cats?)
She meows and makes the most horribly annoying and loud cries for a good week or so! Rolls around on the ground like crazy and lets my male cat (also fixed) climb aboard and do his thing!!! If she has all her parts removed and no hormons pertaining to this function, why is she doing this?
CaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 12, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1530 times:
Quoting SWA TPA (Reply 11): Rolls around on the ground like crazy and lets my male cat (also fixed) climb aboard and do his thing!!! If she has all her parts removed and no hormons pertaining to this function, why is she doing this?
ScarletHarlot From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 4673 posts, RR: 57 Reply 13, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1516 times:
Redngold - you rock girl! GREAT advice. I've volunteered with a cat rescue group for ten years now and I do not disagree with anything you've said. Matt, if money is not an issue I'd consider having the kittens spayed and neutered before you find them homes. You can have this done quite early - I'd probably leave it no later than 12 weeks. The kittens recover VERY quickly. Most shelters around here will not let a kitten be adopted out before it is neutered. Ask your vet what his or her take on this is. But totally get Kitty spayed after she's done nursing.
SWA - I'd call your vet and ask about it. It could be a botched spay. Well, I might call another vet if your current vet performed the spay.
Jan - Redngold is absolutely right about why a full spay is a good idea.
Kitty and her kittens are BEAUTIFUL. Well, Matt, I have to give you kudos for being a good kitty papa. As Redngold said, the two orange kitties are most likely male. The genetics for the orange fur are usually on the Y chromosone so most orange cats are male. The closed-mouth meow - kind of a chirpy brrr, right? - is a sound all cats make and as Redngold said is especially important to the mom-kitten bonding experience.
Redngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 47 Reply 14, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1501 times:
At our local shelter spay and neuter are done at 6 weeks or when the kittens are 2 lbs. The cutoff used to be 1 lb. but some kittens were having difficulty recovering. Pediatric spay/neuter does not do any harm to feline development except that male cats may not develop some of the fat "battle shields" on their faces and other secondary characteristics that make them look like "toms."
I agree with ScarletHarlot -- your cat probably still has some ovarian tissue left in her body. Go back to the vet and tell them everything you wrote here. They should offer to do a second surgery to fix the first, hopefully at a discount. If they refuse, go to a different vet and make sure you tell them that she was spayed before and about the continued behavior.
Cat color genes are carried exclusively on the X chromosome. A male with a red X will be red only, because there is no color gene on the Y chromosome. A red female must have two red Xs, which is less likely. A female with a red X and a brown X will become a tortie or a calico; any male that is tortie or calico must be an XXY (1/1000) and is usually sterile. White spotting is also carried on the X chromosome but is more complicated to explain here.
My Ernie is probably an XXY because he has a red patch on his belly.
MD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13618 posts, RR: 63 Reply 16, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1488 times:
Our cat was fully spayed, but still sprayed to mark her territory... theleather armchair/ sofa set I mentioned in the other thread (Funny pet stories) received a dose from her (normally you wouldn´t smell it, only if the cushions became warm when somebody was sitting on them for a while. We had funny experiences when visitors after about 15 minutes started to sniff the air and lok at each other disgustedly, thinking the other one was emitting the smell ).
Still, human women, who don´t want to have babies anymore don´t let themselves sexually neutered, same as men, who don´t get castrated in the same case.
Redngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 47 Reply 17, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1474 times:
OK -- to explain it fully -- cats spray for only two reasons.
90% of the time the reason is territorial marking.
10% of the time it is due to physical (such as illness or urinary tract infection) or psychological reasons (I need my litter box changed or I'm p*ssed at you.)
Cats can and will spray after they are altered (spayed/neutered) if they have a territorial personality or are provoked in some way. My cats were altered before I got them, yet Ernie sprays if the litter box gets too dirty (so I have to be vigilant.) Bert sprayed once when there was a cat on the roof of the garage right outside my window. He was being territorial. Female cats will spray if provoked enough too.
Luckily for us humans, altered cats have less of a hormonal drive to be territorial or to announce their presence to a cat of the opposite sex.
Although I'm sure there are some folks in PETA and other groups that have a problem with surgical alteration. In my mind, cats and other pet animals are not equal to humans but humans are to be stewards of them as part of the Creation. Therefore we are responsible for making sure that these animals are well cared-for and that they do not suffer under our stewardship. By altering our pets, we ensure that there is less disease, less hunger and less fighting for limited resources that are available to strays. This is why I support our shelter's goal of 100% alteration of pets prior to adoption.
PS ScarletHarlot - I have volunteered at that shelter, http://www.clevelandapl.org, on and off for eight years. I was a foster care provider for mom cats with newborns and immature orphaned kittens for two years.
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11443 posts, RR: 78 Reply 18, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1472 times:
Red....you must spend your time at the library reading the cat encyclopaedia 'cause you are smart. My cat is sitting between me and the keyboard wanting to know if she can go stay with you, as we obviously don't take good enough care of her.
Redngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 47 Reply 19, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1446 times:
DL -- I am sure you take fine care of your cat, you just haven't obsessively studied the moves of shelter cats for eight years. *grin*
Unfortunately, Bert and Ernie have become so accustomed to renting their own private space that they act quite rudely towards any visitors that their tenant occasionally invites over for the night -- even if just to wait for the shelter to open in the morning.
5T6 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 283 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1445 times:
I'm very happy that Mama Cat and youngsters are doing well. It's great to see so many others here that enjoy the company of felines!! Guess I've got to get into using the "Photobucket" or something so I can post some pix of my two critters...Coco and Shasta. Coco is a 5 year old Siamese and Shasta is a 7 month old tabby that I adopted from the local Animal Rescue League after I had an old friend pass away last year (his name was Pete and had been all over the USA with me - - I still miss him . He Was A Great Cat!!)
As someone who has been lucky to have cats allow me to share THEIR home for over 20 years, I certainly cannot add anything to the great advice you've received from the previous posters (especially redngold!! ), but just wanted to add my best wishes.
I see my Cats as Companions. My Cats see Me as Furniture!
Matt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 49 Reply 22, posted (8 years 9 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1385 times:
Thanks to everyone-especially Redngold for all the input.
Well, they are definitely coming along. They are gradually coming out more and more and staying out longer and longer. If they come out this afternoon, I'll try and get a few more shots of them. Anyway, here's the initial lowdown on them:
1. "Turbo". So called because he's definitely the lively one. Has been the one to venture out the longest. He/she'll be a handful as he gets older. Also, he's the only one that's not afraid to be picked up and held. Indeed, he seems to enjoy the attention. Crawls around all over the bed, demands the most attention from momma. Hardly ever meows. Jen and I are thinking this will be the one we keep.
2. "Little One". So called because he's the runt. He's absolutely adorable, but incredibly shy. Comes out the least. Cries the loudest when picked up. Seems to hunker down in the corner more than the rest of them. But momma does give him lots of attention. Who knows, as often as not, the runt often grows up to be the prettiest and most affectionate and lovable of the whole litter. So we'll see.
3. "Fat Orange". One of the orange cats. This one has a cherubic baby face and plump paws. He seems pretty friendly. Will SOMETIMES let you pick him up. He loves to be petted though. As he gets older, he'll be pretty playful.
4. "Skinny Orange". Looks nearly identical to "Fat Orange" except his face and paws are not as plump. His personality is pretty much the same as the other orange cat, perhaps being just a little more affectionate.
5. "No Name". Jen and I have not come up with a nickname for this one, which is the one that most closely resembles the momma in both looks and temperment.
SWA TPA From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1559 posts, RR: 36 Reply 23, posted (8 years 9 months 2 days ago) and read 1366 times:
Sounds great! I have two cats myself. Both from a shelter. They are indeed the perfect pets for our family! My son and I love them dearly. Unfortunately the husband is not an animal lover. He does not mind them but is not very attached to them either. I had to beg for the first one and then just brought home the second one. He was not pleased to say the least. She was soooo super tiny when I got her. Only 1.5 pounds and a little fuzz ball. When he saw her and casually said "well, she is kinda cute" I knew he liked her
Congrats on the new babies Matt! I will certainly have cats for pets as long as I live! Love them! Your pics make me want to fly out to your place and adopt one! Hubby would kill me though, hee hee.