Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Late Night Delivery

Meet the newest residents at the Casa. 4 little bits, just 36 hours old and their Mama. It's late, so this will be short. STScI colleague, Sara, and her neighbors are working hard to round up the strays in their neighborhood and find them homes. Neighbor Jean called me saying they needed a place for a new mama and her brood and I said yes. So around 9:30 this evening our, as yet unnamed, new family arrived.

I've debated how much to tell you, but I'm just going to out with the whole story. Mama allowed me to pet her and weigh her brood (4.4-5.4 oz). They were still in the carrier she appropriated for birthing, with the dirty linens. Unfortunately, as soon as I transferred the kittens to a clean box, Mama took off under the bed. (Yes, I have a bed in the basement, we set it up anticipating another foster group!)

She's frightened. I left them alone for over an hour but she didn't rejoin her babies and won't let me approach her. I've heated up a rice "snake" and put it around the kittens for warmth and cranked up the heat in the casa. I put a piece of the birthing bedding near the front of the clean bed to give Mama a scent marker, too. The kittens appear quite content, have piled up and are sleeping. I'll set the alarm for 3am and see how they are making out.

In retrospect, perhaps I should have just let her stay in the birthing box until she was more settled, but she seemed to be doing so well. Just in case, I set up 3 other nesting boxes around the basement. I'll post the update after I check on them. I've not had this happen before and, of course, I'm concerned about the little ones. With any luck, Mom just needs some time to calm down. Purr for us, please!

6 am update - When I went down Mom was under the bed again with a little one suckling! I don't know if he crawled out to her (doubtful, the lip of the box is large, but possible) or if she took off under the bed when she heard me coming and he stayed attached. I think the latter because soon he was mewling as though not liking that cold tile floor.

I could just reach them so I put the baby back in the new bed with his warm and sleeping siblings, and added a newly warmed rice snake. Took a couple of minutes to try to make nice with mom. Amazingly she allowed me to stroke her head and scratch her chin (I could just reach her head) and she didn't try to move off, which would have been easy enough. The whole time she stared fixedly at the new baby bed. With the kittens settled down, I decided to give the little family their privacy again. Here's hoping 8 am sees them all cuddled in together.

9 am update - It still doesn't look like mama has been in with the babies. I am officially nervous now. I moved the new bed into a kennel, with litter and water and food, hoping that some enforced proximity would work. She came out from under the bed and when I went to pick her up to put her in the cage with them, she totally freaked. Yep, she bit the crud out of me. And back under the bed. Not good. I called Doc Andrew's office and tech Jenn suggested I just let them be, keeping an ear out for distress sounds from the kittens and call the office again after 3. And hi myself off to my doc for antibiotics, of course. On the plus side, every time I've gone down, the kittens were warm and sleeping and don't seem to be distressed at all.

I'm so very miffed with myself on the lack of judgement in trying to pick her up. (And why did I move their bed? I know cats don't like changes. Sheesh!) Sleep deprived, I guess, but she had let me have a nice long scritch session with her so I think I was lulled into a false sense of security on handling her. This is kind of reaction is new to me so if anyone out there has experience with a spooked mama, please do write: hubblespacepaws (at) gmail (dot) com. Keep purrin for us, please.


  1. wow- it's gonna be a long night, eh? Sending warm snuggly thoughts to the new ones.

  2. We hope those little ones will be okay.

    The Florida Furkids and Angel Sniffie

  3. I am sending you lots of purrs, but wow, you may have your work cut out for you! Because if mom does not pick up the slack, you know that means YOU are mom now!

  4. Wow is right! We hope mom is nursing her babies now, because yeah, if she doesn't, it'll be syringe feeding every few hours! Good luck, keep us posted if you can!

    -Fuzzy Tales

  5. We so hope the little ones will be OK and the mom cat settles down. Hope yoor hand is OK too. Keep us informed if yoo have time. PURRS.

  6. I have no advice to offer, unfortunately, but The Horde and I are sending purrs your way and hoping hard that mama cat will figure out that she and her babies are in a safe place very soon! Good Luck!

  7. Maybe she's been feeding them in between your visits - if not, they'd be crying by now, and I think if they cried she'd go to them. So, probably it's not as bad as it seems to you with no sleep and a scared mom cat...

  8. Oh, they're so cute!!

    I would think that just letting Mom be and checking on the kittens from time to time is the best course. Your vet will help you, too. If the babies aren't distressed, then they're being fed, I would think!

    I'll be sending purrs and headbutts your way. Keep us updated!

  9. that is an interesting reaction. Do not beat yourself up over what happened. If I had such a friendly reaction from her I would have changed out the bedding too.

    At this point, I too would assume the kittens are getting what they need. After a couple of hours they would be hungry and since they aren't screaming and seem content she is probably visiting them when you are not around. Any chance you have a web cam where you could monitor?

    Another thought would be to put the kittens under the bed with her. Not ideal in the least, but at least you would see them together. Put down a blanket or two and put the kittens on it.

    When I had a mother cat who wouldn't nurse, it was suggested to put her and the babies in a carrier for a couple of hours. Often I have moms who forgo birthing boxes for carriers with open doors. One cat prefered the cubbie in a tubular scratching post (you know those ones sold at WalMart with a hole or two in them)

    The kennel might still work if you covered it with a blanket or sheet for privacy. I did that with my cat cage and the feral mom I fostered.

    Unfortunately I don't have a straight up "I had that happen and I did this" suggestion, but hopefully some of my past experiences will be of use.

  10. Oh we're purring just as loud as we can...come on Momma!

  11. Sending loving vibes to momma and her kittens!

  12. I agree that if the babes aren't screaming by now, Mama probably has things well in paw. (Crosses fingers and toes.)

    But, I had a thought about keeping closer tabs on mama and babies. Set up a webcam! That way you could keep an eye on the little family while you're at work. And we could all keep an eye on them too!

    (Why, no ... this suggestion has absolutely no underlying kitten-ogling motivation. None at all! Insulted I am that such a suggestion would even occur to people...)

  13. This is grandmother Jeanne, I think Lisa is doing a wonderful job with my frightened feral who has had 4 litters in 16 mos. She's a very clever girl and is allergic to being tricked into a hav-a-hart trap. Her past experiences revealed her to be an excellent, caring and concerned mother. Her previous litter of three still live with me and now that momma is 'away', they'll need to be trapped, snipped and fixed. Momma instilled very strong survival skills in them.

  14. Oh my stars! What beautiful babies and what a gorgeous mama!! Good luck, really good luck with your newest residents - they're adorable!!! I guess mama's instincts are so keen and tuned in to her kitties that she'd find a way to be with them and look after them. Kitty mamas are among the best and most tenacious in the whole planet when it comes to looking after their kitties no matter what!

    GOOD LUCK!!!! Take care

  15. Plenty of purrrrs and prayers coming your way, Lisa! Please be gentle on yourself. The kitties are in good hands. I'm sorry I dont have any advice to offer...but know that we are with you in spirit. Hugs!

  16. I'm sorry I don't have any advice to offer, but we'll be praying and purring for your new residents!

  17. Maybe name them after the 'hood? We've got some weird names that could be adjusted: Waverly, Yolando (a?) Rexemere, Kimble, Ednor (yeah, I know,) Chestnut...



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