stray cat had kittens in garage

newhomeseekerMay 6, 2009

Over the winter, two stray cats showed up at my fiance's home. One wasn't a true stray but apparently "belonged" to the neighbor across the street. The cat used to be an inside/outside cat and became a full-time outside cat when the neighbor's wife left him. He fed it maybe once a day. I felt sorry for the cat so I started feeding him twice a day or so on my fiance's porch. The cat now hangs out there quite often (sleeps on the porch swing) and tries to get into the house. Once he ran in unnoticed and curled up in my fiance's son's bed and slept with him all night. This cat is a neutered male.

The other stray, I have no idea who she belongs to. She showed up when I started feeding the first one and since it was so cold during the winter I would feed her too. Now anytime either of them hear my car they will run to the house and wait near the porch. The 2nd stray is a gray cat and she only shows up periodically. I hadn't seen her since Saturday. She does not look very healthy (skinny and beat-up looking).

Well yesterday my fiance left the garage door open for about an hour and we found a suprise when we walked in. The gray stray cat had two tiny kittens (probably a few days old) in a box full of wood in the garage. Of course we had to move them because we can't leave the garage door open. So we took a plastic storage container and cut a hole in it for a door and turned it upside down, put a blanket on the bottom and some hay inside it and placed the kittens in it on the back porch. We lured mama cat over to the kittens new area with some food. She isn't feral as you can pick her up and pet her but she is skitish. Well the mama cat immediately let her kittens nurse and seemed to take to the new shelter. But about twenty minutes later she was crying and pacing around the garage. So we let her back in there so she could see that she did not leave any kittens in there. She went straight to the box we had found them in and laid down in it and started cleaning herself. So we had to remove her from the garage again and took her to her kittens. She was very protective of them (chasing the other stray away) and growling at us if we got too close to her kittens. but then she left them for about twenty minutes and went back to the neighbor (across the street) house. We thought she might have more kittens over there (since we only found two) but she did not bring any back over.

This morning I found her sleeping in the box we made her with her two kittens. I gave her some food (about six feet away from her box as not to attract predators and she ate very warily and growled at me if I moved toward the kittens.

When the kittens are old enough I will probably take them and the mother to Angels for Animals because otherwise they will just roam the streets and I have four inside cats and can't keep anymore (unless they were strictly outside cats and I'd hate to do that). In the meantime what can I do for mama and the babies? Is it normal for her to leave them alone for long periods of time? Do cats forget where they put their kittens? As she was pacing around the garage and crying when we locked her out even though we already showed her where her kittens were? Also would she keep the kittens in two different places (her frequent trips to the neighbor's house?

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A couple of years ago I had a white cat appear in my manor. She made a 'nest' for herself in one of my trees. That winter a storm brought that tree down and if it wasn't for my efforts in winning her confidence I don't think she would have moved to my toolshed. I still can't get close enough to touch her but last year I managed to get my hands on her one surviving kitten (from a litter of just two) as a customer of mine in IBM had expressed an interest in providing a home for her offspring. The kitten in question is now as tame as any house cat and is a very good hunter. I am still working on the mother. She has had the red light on all this season and has an expanding girth as a result but I just can't get hold of her to get her in to the vet to be done. I don't want to rush things as she is very nervous. So I might not succeed this year, but by not rushing it may mean I get her done next year as opposed to completely freaking her out and blowing my chances for evermore.

She is a really sweet little cat, and my neutered tom gets on well with her. I just wish she'd let me at least pet her.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 7:49PM
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Does anyone have any advice? So far she is staying in the box on the back porch and will come out to eat. No idea if she leaves the kittens for long periods of time as we are not home during the day. It was raining yesterday so I put a tarp over her box. The hay inside got wet though and she won't let me change it (she stands in front of the box and either cries or growls at me. I've witnessed her viciously attack the neutered male that wandered near her kittens so I really don't want to get between her and them.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 1:25PM
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I wish I did- we've had a couple of stray neighborhood cats that have had kittens, and so far none of the kittens have survived.

Bonebloodyidle, one of the two cats would let us get near her, pretty much only to eat, but not touch her. We trapped her in a large dog kennel, and she freaked out for a while. After she calmed down, she let me scratch her chin. After about two months inside, she was a lap cat.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 4:21PM
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I do not think the mom will keep the kittens in two separate places
The first few days a mom cat wont leave her kids for long, but as they are growing, they take longer sleeping breaks during feedings, during which time the mom cat would walk away, looking for food
I think the best thing you can do is provide, if possible, a nice waterproof shelter...Maybe since the hay is wet, make another box for her?
Mom cats do not want the kittens to be touched much and to be disturbed either....They are protective and paranoid, and reasonably so...

Try offering a different box...
And feed her really well - she needs extra nutrition. Get some goat's milk (canned is fairly cheap) and offer it to her, and lots of wet food...

Get her spayed please, once the kittens can eat on their own! See if any rescue groups in your area do TNR - and if they can let you borrow a trap. Once she is trapped, maybe there are low cost spay neuter clinics in the area?
A LOT of vets will give a price break to S/N a feral cat in a trap

We are very lucky in Hillsborough County (Tampa, FL) We have a feral cat program and two low cost S/N clinics...Feral cats can be fixed for 10-25 dollars, depending on whether there is a grant available (with grant money, a caregiver pays 10 dollars per cat)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 5:16PM
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she's very protective of the kittens because a in-tact male tom cat will kill the kittens if he gets to them, thus the little mama will come in season much sooner. Put them back in the garage, provide her a litter box and let them get to about a month before putting them back out side. I won't take too much to manage the garage door open while you are home and she'll be in by dark to sleep with them......

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:25PM
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We talked about leaving them in the garage and opening the door while we are there but my fiance leaves for work around 4am and there is no electricity in the garage. It is small and I'm afraid if one of the kittens was out roaming around it would get run over when he backs his truck out of there. He is not a cat person so while he doesn't mind that they are on the porch (and even fixed the box for them) he won't park his truck outside as he loves his garage. I don't blame him, they aren't our cats and he didn't want me feeding them to begin with. I also don't want the cat not using the litter box and pooping all over the garage. There are alot of chemicals and gasoline and oil leaking from a tractor that the kittens could get into that would be harmful to them. So it just isn't an ideal place.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 8:23AM
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She may move the kittens to another spot, so don't panic if they're gone one day. I think providing shelter and feeding her are the right (and generous/kind) things to do for now. When the kittens are older, your plan to take them all to a group is a good one. Enjoy the kits. Even if she hides them somewhere else, you'll see them all as they grow, as I doubt she'll go too far.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 4:40PM
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I'm worried about the mama cat but don't have the $ to take her and the kittens to a vet. I also don't have a big enough carrier to try to trap her in. On Saturday it was very windy (gusts of 40 mph) and the wind kept blowing the "roof" and tarp off the little "house" she and the kittens have been living in on the back porch. It is a plastic storage box with a hole cut in the front for a door. We turned it upside down but put the lid on the top and held it down with a big rock. Just as extra rain protection. We also had a tarp tied over top of the whole thing but it was ripped down by the wind.

In the morning, she seemed fine, she ate like a pig and was friendly. In the evening she was acting odd, panting (some cats do this when they are nervous, I know) and she didn't want to eat anything. She has also started scratching like crazy so she probably has fleas but I'm not sure if there is anything safe to put on her since she is still nursing her kittens. She hardly ever leaves her box (that I see).

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 7:50AM
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Call around to see if you can borrow a cat trap to catch the mom. The kittens will soon be running around and she may just disappear unneutered for another batch. Most places have programs that neuter feral cats and release them. In our county if you feed or shelter a cat for just a day, you are responsible for neutering. It's a harsh rule for kind people who cannot afford to have cats fixed. We discovered newborn kittens in our back yard (6) and the vet spayed her while she was still nursing because he said sometimes they can get pregnant again right away. We managed to find homes for all the kittens and kept her but she was very skittish but sweet, and was almost trusting enough to stay indoors for short periods but as luck would have it, one morning we found her run over in the street even though we had never seen her leave our backyard. I just don't believe in letting cats live outdoors at all, mine from then on have been 100% indoor cats.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 3:12AM
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The stray isn't feral. She loves to be petted and might even let you pick her up (I haven't tried) But all the cat carriers I have are the small ones where the cat has to lay down and you literally have to stuff them in there if they don't go willingly (all but one of mine goes willingly)At the moment I can't afford to have her spayed (and there are no low cost programs in my area anyway- I checked) and I can't adopt her as I have four of my own already and they are all 100% indoor cats. She is at my fiance's house anyway, not mine. I am just hoping she does not get pregnant before I am able to call Angels for Animals or another rescue group.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 8:27AM
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If there are rescue groups around, they CAN, or at least SHOULD BE ABLE to get the cat fixed at a low cost. Rescue groups S/N their animals before they adopt them out (at least the should!) and are able to do it at lower costs...
I am sure if you explain the situation to them, they would help S/N and/or offset the cost
She wont wait around for long, and will get pregnant soon!

Good luck

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 10:51AM
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My stray cat (she's been with us living outdoors for two years) she ad her kittens in the shed and then one day this week she brought one out and dropped it at our feet. My truck window was down and she picked it up and climbed into the truck with the kitten before we could stop her. We only thought there was one, she let me pick up this 3 week old kitten and kiss it and rub it. She left the kitten in the truck overnight alone. The next day she brought out the remaining three and placed them in the truck too. She has let me pick them up twice a day..the other day I needed to use my truck, while she was in there I got a small box and placed them in the box on a towel and took only the kittens in the house. When I returned she calmly came back to the back door and get her babies, which I placed back in the truck in the same spot....I think it's far to say she trust me....which is nice since she choose me to be her owner....her name is socks and I can't imagine her not being my cat....oddly no one else in my house likes cats (we have a dog who socks has trained to leave her, but they love socks....

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 12:11AM
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It does mean that she trusts you, & it sounds like she's asking for your help;

so often when a mother cat moves her kittens it's because there's a predator close by, so I'd try to find her a safe, secure place for the babies.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 11:32AM
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