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Helping a Stray Cat With Kittens

May 23, 2020

A couple days ago I found a mother cat and saw she had 4 kittens in my front yard and kept observing them. I found that they hang around the space between my neighbor's house and my house. The mother is very friendly, she allows me to feed her, pet her, she even purrs when I pet her.

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However since yesterday I no longer see her kittens in their usual place next to my fence. Would trapping the mother possibly get her kittens to come out of hiding? How can I find the kittens?

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May 24, 20200 found this helpful
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I would not suggest trapping the mother cat in order to get the kittens to come out of bidding. I adopted 2 cats that were only 3 weeks old and when I had to leave I ended up raising them in a rabbit cage to keep them safe. But when I did allow them out when I was home they would take off and go hide for the entire day and come back out at night when they were hungry. I would suggest allowing the mother to take care of the cats and I am sure they are somewhere sleeping and keeping safe. The mom knows where her kittens are and she will take care of them. Just keep taking care of her and the kitten will come around soon.

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May 24, 20200 found this helpful
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Mother cats move their kittens fairly often for many reasons: something scared her and she felt her kittens might be in jeopardy, something unwanted came near her kittens where she was hiding them so she moved them, the hiding spot became unsafe, smells build up in a hiding spot and the mom wanted a fresh place...you never really know for sure why a cat moves her kittens hiding spot, but the mother cat knows best. Just keep caring for the mom and she will care for her kittens.

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May 26, 20200 found this helpful
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She probably has found a safe place to hide her kittens.
Perhaps something scared her and she decided it may not be safe.

If there is any way that you can observe her without calling attention to what you are doing, you may see in what direction she heads after eating.

No matter what, you will have to decide what you are going to do with her and her kittens. You may decide to keep them for a while but it is not easy to find home for stray kittens.
My daughter placed a free ad on Craigslist, Freecycle, and Nextdoor with pictures and was able to find good homes for the mother and also 4 kittens but these were well loved cats (before they were adopted and hopefully after). We did not let anyone with very small children have one.

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May 30, 20200 found this helpful
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most likely the cat found a safe space for the kittens

one warning, however: sometimes a cat will move the kitten to a place she things is safe, but is not really.

Check your attic, basement, and anywhere else you do not like to have cats. As well the bottom of vehicles and lawnmowers and such that have been maybe parked for a long time.

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8 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

June 3, 2018

I have been feeding a stray who I thought was pregnant, but I think she had her babies. She lives in my neighbor's yard with about 16 or 20 other strays.

I have yet to see any kittens, is there any way to get her to show them to me?

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June 3, 20183 found this helpful
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To find her kittens you will have to follow her to see where she has hidden them.
Be aware that she may move them several times.
Get in touch with a spay/neuter group in your area to attend to your neighbor's colony of cats.
Once the kittens are weaned from their mother try to get them adopted sooner than later to prevent them from becoming feral.
Reach out to your local animal welfare groups for help.
Go to the petfinder web site to find the groups nearby.

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June 4, 20180 found this helpful
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The Best Friends website deals with "community cats", bestfriends.org They are the largest organization in the US that does this work. They are networked across the country. They have a free booklet for the situation you are describing. They will educate you and find local support for you. It is common to trap the mother and kittens so the kittens can be socialized by 4 weeks old. The Mom cat is evaluated and released after spaying or adopted depending on how she gets along with people. But she gets to raise her kittens in a safe place, and they all have a future. When they finish spay/neutering a colony the colony gradually goes away as the cats age. Not all animal control groups work this way, so be sure and ask up front if they spay/neuter/release the feral moms. Good luck to you, and thanks for caring.

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My feral mama cat has a litter of 5 kittens that are 4 months old. She's pregnant again. Will she bring her newborns around the 4 month old kittens?


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March 26, 20180 found this helpful
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After this litter of kittens, you'll need to try and trap the mother and have her fixed. In the meantime, you'll need to trap all the kitten and try to fix them or find good homes for them. This could be difficult if they are not use to being around people and they are already 4 months old.

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March 26, 2010

The stray cat that I have been feeding gave birth to a liter of five kittens two weeks ago. The box that they were living in was too small and smelled awful so my neighbor and I decided to transfer the kittens into a bigger box. We used the same bedding as the old box and moved them rather quickly as the mom was eating.

Now two of the five kittens are missing and mom won't go into the new box to feed the remaining three. What do we do now?

By bobby from Philadelphia, PA

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March 27, 20100 found this helpful
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She is stressed and will keep on moving them. I would take the kittens that are not getting fed and bottle feed them and put them in the bathtub on some blankets or rags that keep them from getting on the cold porcelain and put a heater in the bathroom, using caution about fires, and also put a sock filled with rice knotted and microwaved about a minute or more and cover that with a rag or a hot water bottle. I like to keep it warm in there but not hot..each time you go in there, change any soiled areas, and wash bed blankets frequently. I like this because I can assure myself they are having bowel movements and are not dehydrated. I would bottle feed them all if she is going to abandon them which strays often do. Here is my favorite homemade formula, better than store bought.

Baby Kitten Formula

1/2 cup evaporated milk
enough homemade pedialyte to make it liquefy
Spoonful of Mayo, real mayo.
Three small drops infant vitamin drops from the store

I had about nine kittens to feed so I would mix t his up and feed them with an eyedropper or bottle you really have to cut the hole in the nipple pretty bi or they cant get it out if you buy a bottle from the vet.

After I would put it in a eyedropper and later little tiny bowls for them to lap it up. I would clean their faces and paws with aloe baby wipes and go over their pee pee area with a piece of toilet tissue, wet, and hold their butts over the trash can and see if they pee. The really young ones will just leave a wet mark on the tissue and the older ones will have a stream.

They will die without this. Also go over their butts and pee pee areas each time they eat. Tell them they are so good when they are peeing, it scares them. always lovingly talk to them.

Love them all through this whole thing, this is scary. Use aloe baby wipes to bathe them and it repels fleas in young kittens.

Have fun loving these babies and when they are about seven weeks or six weeks, put them on freecycle.org, choose towns nearby, and offer to deliver or meet halfway at a grocery store parking lot, and specify a good home only and don't give them to the first one who replies, go over each email and screen them by looking at what kind of environment they will be going to.

Excect for freecycle, if you put an and in the paper, charge an amount so there will be no bunchers, fighters or otherwise undesirable people collecting them. If you have the time write the local humane society or call and ask if they have vouchers for neutering or spaying and don't do the surgery before they are mature..it stunts their urethral growth.

Blessings, Racer

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April 21, 2016

A female mother cat has just delivered 3 baby kittens and the mother cat is keeping the kittens in the store room of my house! I dare not touch the kittens; am afraid the mother will attack me. Please help!


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April 23, 20160 found this helpful
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Are you afraid the mother will attack you because it has shown aggression, or just because it is not your cat. If she has chosen to have her kittens so close to humans, my best guess is that she is not wild. You have options. You could call a rescue to come and get her. If you call the pound, she and the kittens will likely be euthanized. (I wouldn't pick that option, but I am a cat lover.) You could try to tame her by putting food and water out for her. If she is tame enough to eat when you are sitting quietly nearby, she may let eventually come to you and let you pet her, and then you can tame the kittens as well. If you have no experience with cats at all, surely you have a friend who does, and who can come over and see if the cat is friendly or not. You can also take a photo of her and post on lost & found pets or on bulletin boards. This might be someone's cat, as mother cats often have strange ideas about where to have their kittens.

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Last Nov. 24th our cat had a litter of 4 kittens. She's actually from a stray cat's litter too, along with her brother. They were brought (4th batch, but the rest left our home) here by their mother almost a year ago. Since then they've been staying in our backyard. They don't like to be petted, but I know they recognized us as their owner because they respond to our calls.

Anyway, when she gave birth that was the first time she allowed us to touch her, we actually made a bed for her and her kittens in a box.

This morning she took each of her kittens and transferred them to our neighbor's backyard. But she still comes here to eat. My question will she ever bring her kittens back in our home?

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November 28, 20180 found this helpful

Poor kitties. The mom most have sensed a predator and moved them. She may move them back, but it is hard to say. I am guessing she won't, but stranger things have happened.

Do you have any cat groups around who could rescue the kittens and get them into a shelter where they can be adopted out before the get feral?

We have tons in my area and I would recommend trying to do that type of rescue with a group that is NO KILL. They can also help you trap the mom, to spay her and since she is feral, they usually mark the ear and release after the fix.

Praying that the kittens can get a healthy start on a good life.

If you post your city, I can see if my friends who do this kind of work in my town know anyone in your town. It is so critical to do this and save lives!!

Good luck!

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November 28, 20180 found this helpful

She probably moved because she saw, heard or smelled something that made her feel she and/or her babies were not safe. I dont think she will make your yard a home, at least not with this litter.

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November 28, 20180 found this helpful

Yah that's what I thought too. Because there's another feline family who choses to take shelter in our backyard. And the mom has been bullying my Kit & Kat. But I have this mother instinct too that she will bring her kittens back.

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November 29, 20180 found this helpful

Mother cats are very protective of their babies so I'm thinking the other cat in your backyard seems a threat to her babies and she may not come back as long as the other cat is around or until she has weened her babies and sent them on their way.

Maybe you could get someone interested in the "bad" feline that is making her home in your backyard and maybe if she were gone the mother would bring her babies back.

I know that you are worried about her but when they have been on their own for a long time they seem to be able to cope.
I hope there is a possibility of getting them spayed - both mom and kittens.
They are now spaying females at 8 weeks of age.

"For cats: It is generally considered safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered. In animal shelters, surgery is often performed at this time so that kittens can be sterilized prior to adoption. ... It's possible to spay a female cat while she's in heat."

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November 29, 20180 found this helpful

I do not think the mother cat will bring her kittens back to your yard. I think she has moved them out of danger, is it possible that you had a snake come into your yard, or any kind of predator, has she moved them to under a porch, or some kind of protected structure . I am sure she goes back and forth to feed them. I would not try to pet them or move them, let the mother take care of her kittens.

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November 29, 20180 found this helpful

As much as I wanted to get rid of the "bad" Mama Cat , I can't because of her 2 kittens they're still very tiny and still needs to be fed regularly. I wanted to ask help from our cat group her in our city but I know they wouldn't be able to catch her.

Im really confused on what to do right now. Just last night when my Kat went here to eat this bad momma bullied her as if she's shooing her away from our home even her brother Kit is so afraid to stay after he ate he would also go and stay in our neighbors yard. I don't want to lose my Kit & Kat (and her kittens) , they're my babies.

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November 29, 20180 found this helpful

There's no snake or anything exotic living in our yard. Just a "bad" Momma cat with her 2 kittens who's bullying her and her brother just so she and her kittens can stay in our yard with no competition.

But Kit & Kat are my babies so I'm worried about my grandkitties too. I don't invade her privacy not unless she allows me like the time she gave birth. I know she's just being protective of her babies that why she moved them. And somehow I felt that she will come back home with them when they can protect themselves from this bully momma cat. It's a waiting game for me, I'm waiting for the time that this bad Momma cat's kittens will grow up and be able to do their thing outside our home because I know they will not stay for good. But my Kat and my grandkitties our yard is their home so they'll be back eventually.

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January 24, 2019

I live in a pretty big college dorm where you can easily get lost. And this cat had the wildest idea to have her three kittens in here. The thing is, at first everyone thought it was cute so they were helping and feeding her and everything. But once the kittens grew a little bit everyone forgot about them. And of course the little ones started exploring the dorm. So as of now, one already got lost or taken, I am incapable of finding him even thought I really tried. And the other two always get into trouble.

Almost every night I hear the mama screaming and searching for them, sometimes we do find them and other times it takes hours or even days. But since I'm usually the one who helps her, recently she had this habit sitting at my door whenever she loses one. Now, of course I help her, but it won't be long until I go for a holiday and I have no idea what to do. I'm afraid she would stay at my door someday instead of searching for her kittens.

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September 30, 2019

I've had a pretty feral cat and her three kittens (was 4), around our house for a couple months now. I'm trying to feed them at the same time everyday and get them used to traps so I can get them fixed.

A couple of nights ago they disappeared and I hadn't seen them, tonight the mama came back without her babies, is this normal or should I be worried?

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March 26, 2010

This morning a neighbor's cat had kittens in my tree (a hollowed out hole in the trunk, not out on a limb.) It has rained a couple of days and the tree is wet.

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