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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2004, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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A rodent person asks about cats

Hey all. I've had chins for over 6 years, but I have no experience with cats. Here's the situation I find myself in. My husband and I are renting a house, and our landlord used to feed the neighborhood stray cats and even let them in the house. When we first arrived we were not too keen on letting them in the house, but we did start feeding a female who is quite friendly and was at the time quite thin. We subsequently discovered that she was sleeping under the house. She is obviously a former housepet in that she is quite social and well adjusted, but she has no collar. We have been trying to give her away to various friends, but there have been no takers. We would take her, but we have already commited to taking a totally indoor cat from a friend, and we do not want to mix indoor and outdoor cats. However, we can't bring ourselves to take her to the pound.

Recently (last 10 days), she had been getting quite round in the belly, and we are concerned that she is pregnant. This has lead to a number of questions. How long are cats usually pregnant? Chins are pregnant for about 3 months, but I know that it is less for cats. We had considered getting her spayed and vaccinated and then releasing her prior to our departure from Fayetteville (my husband is in the army and we will be going on to a new station in 3-4 months), but this situation has brought things to a head. I know that there are some vets who will do a spay when the female is pregnant, and we are looking into vets in the area. Perhaps some find the practice to be morally inappropriate, but if we can't find a home for this cat, how are we to find a home for her and several kittens?

So, this is the information which I need. How long will she be pregnant? When do cat's start to show? What is a good way to catch her to get her to the vet? (I have several pet taxi's for my rodents in which a cat could easily fit.) What sort of aftercare is required on a spay? After all, she will probably not be keen to be caught again and dragged off to the vet after the spay?

Thanks to you cat lovers. My husband is among you, and I am getting used to the idea, as our new cat (actually, she's 5 but new to us) is arriving in the next couple of weeks.

Patti
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2004, 11:37 AM
 
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It takes about three months from the time of mating, for kittens to be born.After the secound or third week of pragnancy the nipples enlarge. The fourth week the vet should be able to feel the foetuses.

Cats do well after being spayed. As far as catching her, I would say let her think you are going to pet her and pet her awhile and then get her in the box before she figures out what you are up to.

Romping Ratties knows more about cats than I do. She is great at giving good answers to all those questions you have ask. I am sure there are others who can also give you some help.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2004, 12:04 PM
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Another possibility that you may need to consider is a disease called FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). It's known to cause abdominal swelling and many, many times people have brought their cat in to me on an ER visit saying "I thought she was pregnant but she just collapsed." I know it isn't a pleasant thought, but one that needs to be considered unfortunately.

I would call a local vet in your area and see what they recommend as far as after care, etc.

Stephanie

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2004, 01:33 PM
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It would be wise to test the cat for FELV/FIV/FIP before bringing the new cat home. Is there a chance you can try to find a Feral Cat Coalition or Stray Cat Alliance in your area? Do you have a no kill shelter in your are that would be willing to take the cat in? Is there no way you can keep the cat inside and get her used to being an indoor only cat? You mentioned she enjoyed attention and was pretty used to people so I don't see why you can keep her if you get her tested? If you need help placing the kittens there are several organizations around that can help. I would try to find a trap, neuter and release program in your area who could help.

It's a good idea to take her into the vet for a thorough exam to make sure she and the kittens (if indeed she is pregnant) are healthy. I would hate to see her birth the kittens outside and they grow up unsocial and cause more of a problem. If she is due soon I would not spay her. This can cause tremendous emotional stress. I would try to set up some sort of area inside with a birthing box and some soft towels or blankets, perhaps even a wicker basket she would enjoy sleeping in. I just don't want to see the kittens start off life as a feral.

If you need help locating a feral rescue in your area please let me know if I can be of assistance. As far as gestation goes, Queens are pregnant for about 63-65 days. During the 3-4 week period the vet can palpate to see if fetuses are found. After 49 days or so you should be able to view the fetal skeletons on an x-ray. This way you can also see how many kittens she is expecting. Between teh 5th and 7th week you will see her abdomen enlarge, and at about 1-2 days before birth the breasts will enlarge and you should see milk if the nipples are gently squeezed. Sometimes they start to leak on their own during labor, or the day before the cat gives birth.

Make sure she gets a high quality kitten food during the time of pregnancy, about two times more food than she would normally get. Continue feeding her the kitten chow as long as the kittens are nursing.
 
post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2004, 01:36 PM
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Forgot to answer questions regarding the spay! oops! As far as sutures are concerned, if you are worried about catching her to take her back to the vet after her spay to remove sutures, ask for the disolvable kind. She will need to stay inside for at least two days after her spay. You want to make sure she is not fed or watered the day of her surgery and the night before to avoid vomiting.
 
post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2004, 01:42 PM
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Also wanted to give a few tips on how to find her a home. Most vet clinics have bulletin boards up in the front area for people to place signs etc. You can print out a poster with her information and a picture and post that at the vet clinics in your area. Some vets are also willing to take in strays and place them themselves. You can also place an add on Petfinder. Thousands of animals are placed through PetFinder each day and this could be a great way to find her a loving home. It's what she derserves.

Here is the link:

http://www.petfinder.com/
 
post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2004, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the suggestions. Truthfully, we are quite concerned that she may be sick. While her eyes, ears, and anus appear clean, it is hard to tell if an animal is healthy until it has been to the vet and had blood work. We have several cat owning friends who can hook us up with at least a vet. One has mentioned a no kill shelter, so we can hopefully get more information on the local situation.

While we still really don't want to let her in the house proper, we can set up a birthing area in our garage (we park outside, so it should be quiet) The weather is quite nice right now, so she should not overheat or get too cold. Although during the cold weather, we tried letting her in the garage and closing the door, and she became upset after only a few minutes. She made the most horrible noises and tried pretty vigourous to get out. This is why we are not sure she would be suitable to be indoors permanently.

So thank you all for you suggestions. I think we'll take her to a vet and go from there. If she is healthy, we can find her a home. If is pregnant, we'll see what stage and make appropriate arrangements.

Patti
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-24-2004, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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Just an update. The cat delivered 3 apparently healthy kittens today. We constructed a nesting box for her, and she is using it. We intend to give away the kittens or send them to a local no kill shelter when they are old enough and then get the mom fixed, so that she can continue to live as she likes.

Thanks for all the advice.

Patti
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-24-2004, 08:06 PM
 
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Wow that is awesome, I am glad Mom and babies are doing okay!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-24-2004, 08:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheshirechin
Just an update. The cat delivered 3 apparently healthy kittens today. We constructed a nesting box for her, and she is using it. We intend to give away the kittens or send them to a local no kill shelter when they are old enough and then get the mom fixed, so that she can continue to live as she likes.

Thanks for all the advice.

Patti
I am in Fayetteville also...are you actually on Post or are you within Fayetteville limits? I may be able to help you find homes for everyone, otherwise, you might want to check with Animal Haven. They are great there as it is no-kill and if you are ever at Petsmart, you know they are always doing adoptions from Animal Haven there. ( I usually donate supplies or money ) Also, If you want health checks on them all, Acadamy Pet Hospital does great work and for a lot less than most of the vets around here. That's where we take the dogs and the chins. I can't really take any cats at the moment, but could most likely help you find owners locally. Let me know... Oh, and just so you know, The Dog Pound isn't a shelter, but a tattoo shop! My fiance is one of the artists there and they get calls ALL the time asking if they have any puppies or kitten available! LOL Sometimes, people actually come in looking for pets to adopt! (I think it's pretty funny personally!)

Last edited by Chinchilla_Girl; 03-24-2004 at 08:32 PM.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-25-2004, 02:34 AM
 
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Congrats on the healthy kittens! I am so glad You are keeping mom! Once you have a kitty they are hard to do without!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-25-2004, 10:59 AM
 
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Ahh kitten season. Patti I would like to personally thank you for spaying the cat once the kittens are old enough. Another route of finding these kittens home is to put a classified ad on Petfinders. They have a section open to the public to post their own adds. Also, if your shelters are anything like us they may be overloaded with cats and may not be able to take in anymore or you may just be able to get them claimed sooner if you ask the shelter (who is a member of Petfinder) to post a courtesy ad in their listings. We do it all the time to help with the community. You can send them some pictures and it would be like a regular shelter listing instead of your basic public classified. Plus tons of people are looking for kittens around now. The mother cat that I am fostering and 3 of her kittens are already reserved just one more to go and they all have homes.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-25-2004, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the support. Actually, in a way we are keeping the momma and in a way we aren't. The momma lives under the house and was taken care of by our landlord prior to us moving in. We intend to spay her and get her shots, but I think that when the landlord comes back, she will stay with the house. They will feed her, but I think that she values her freedom to cat-about the neighborhood. At least spayed she won't have any more kittens.

Patti
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