Emotional roller coaster ride. If there is anything that did not go wrong it our attempts to rescue a cat family, I can not think what it could be.

CatJ

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jul 4, 2022
Messages
46
Purraise
106
We have recently been on an emotional roller coaster ride brought to us by a stray mother cat moving her babies to our neighbors yard. A friend recommended that I share our experiences here.

Before we start, let me share with you that we currently have two cats. Both are rescues. Foo, thus named as she was rescued by a future neighbor mewing outside during a typhoon. Once we bought our home, our neighbor pleaded with us to take her as his home was not a good environment for her. Big dogs so Foo had to be kept in a cage which he was not happy to keep her in. That was 13 years ago and she is still with us. Mia was rescued by a coworker and we brought her in to give Foo a playmate during the long hours of work that kept us out of the home. She was the runt of the litter and at 13, she is little bigger than a 6 month old kitten but has the strength of an adult. Her nickname, one of many, is “Half size, double trouble”.

Over a month ago, I heard a kitten mewing loudly. Eventually, it began to sound as if in distress. I looked for the source, but could not find it. The next day, I heard mewing again but this time saw too young kittens , one white, the other brown, playing on a discarded lawn chair in the neighbor’s back yard. Called my wife down and we watched them play for a while. We decided to catch them as we heard them for two days now but had no indication that their mother was around. During the day, a third kitten appeared and finally their mother. Later on, I noticed a 4th kitten. These latter two were dark grey and black, hard at first to realize they were two different kittens until I saw them together.

We were very concerned for their safety and health. The neighbor’s yard is a trash filled jungle and our houses are on a busy street. Further, our town and prefecture have efficient animal control measures. When they catch stay animals, the cages are loaded onto a truck that gasses them on the way to the incinerator. But how do we catch them?

First, I put dry cat food on the concrete foundation of the fence between our yard and the neighbor’s to lure them into our yard. They took the bait. I put out food and then water as well, progressively closer to our house. Eventually, we left the sliding door open and the food inside. It worked! They came in the house! The food was placed further and further from the door with the plan to close the door once they were all in at the same time. One of the first to enter was who we believe to be the father. If so, he is big for a male cat, double the size of the mother. As she lets this cat close to her babies, I’m thinking it must be the father. He is healthy and is either someone’s pet or is at least a well looked after stray. We were not trying to catch him, but I still let him inside to eat. Glad I did as he later escorted the mother cat in to eat. After which she and her kittens frequently came in. At one point, 3 kittens and the mother cat where in our living room at the same time and I was posted behind a screen by the door ready to close it as soon as the gray kitten came in. The mother cat was wary, and sat near the door watching her babies eat, her tail outside. The gray kitten played with its mother’s tail and did not come in until its siblings exited. While I was waiting for the gray kitten to come in so that I could spring the trap, the brown kitten walked between my legs. While I was disappointed that we were one kitten away from having them all in at the same time so that we could catch all of them I was also highly optimistic that we would be able to shortly. We had been watching them play as kittens do and have stopped eating dinner to prevent scaring them away when they came in to eat for several weeks. We can not keep all of them and my wife had found homes for all, though our son really wants to keep one. We are inclined to let him. He is filled with excitement and anticipation.

That hope was dashed that same night as the neighbors drove them away. The cats had been living under a pile of discarded cartons and planting shelves beneath a window and we are guessing they were being too noisy as the window was slid open and the occupant forcefully shook the cartons and yelled. The next day they cut the weeds around the house where the kittens used to play. We saw nothing of them for a few days. The food and water I put out untouched.

Days later they returned to our yard. Thin, very thin. But rarely together. The brown and white kitten together, either by themselves or with their mother. Same with the black and grey kittens. Rarely saw these two pairs mixed unless all were together. Mother cat would come in, eat a single bite then flee. She would do this several time throughout the day. We saw the kittens but they almost never came it the house and when they did, only in pairs. Mom is smart.

After a month of stable living in our neighbors yard, they became nomadic. After several days of absence, they would return looking frailer each time. Yet, still too fast to catch. Suddenly we started hearing almost nonstop mewing and discovered the brown kitten behind our fence, apparently abandoned. It was extremely thin, its eyes were all gunked over, but we could not catch it. After two days of putting food and water out for it and trying to catch it, I discovered that they were all staying under another pile of junk in our neighbors yard. The mother did not abandoned her kitten but left it home when she went out with the others. Received but only a little. While she had not abandoned her kitten, she was obviously unable to care for it. I found it sleeping next to the neighbors car and tried to catch it. It woke up just in time to scurry under the junk pile. Unbelievably, I found it sleeping in the same spot a short time later the same day and tried to catch it with my son’s butterfly net. Again, it got away.

That night being cool, we had the windows open. The kittens were mewing loudly and eventually they were doing so in our yard. I got dressed and went down stairs. Looking out the sliding doors, right there on the other side of the glass was one of the dark kittens. The situation for them was now dire and I decided that we would try to save all we could, even if just one. Grabbing the butterfly net, I went out to try to catch it. As a sneak around the corner, there is the sickly brown one coming right for me! I get the net positioned and at the last moment, the kitten turns away to under a bush beside the fence. Knowing where they are now staying, I position the net in front of the most direct route for it to take to get there. As soon as I did, I see it walking along the fence foundation…above the net. Before I could do anything, it walked behind the fence. I quietly run to the other end, where it has to come out to get “home”. It never comes. Looking around, I finally find it sitting just inches from where I last saw it, behind a fence post. Knowing I am likely to get bit, I grab it. Got bit, twice, but I had it…the I didn’t! Have no idea what happened. It was in my hand, biting and scratching me and then it wasn’t. All kittens are now ourtof our yard, mewing here and there around the neighborhood. I wash and dress the bites on my hand and go to bed at 2:30am but do not sleep well.

The next night I see the mother cat moving her kittens across the busy street in front of our house. I try again to catch them with my son’s butterfly net but the side walk is narrow and they quickly escape into neighbors’ yards. I am certain that this is the last we will see them. Driven away by our neighbor and I making three failed attempts to catch them, I can not believe she will bring her family back. We left the next night for a two night camping trip. The day we left was the hottest of the year up to that point. I left out water and food for them but both was untouched when we returned. Our son asked if the kittens would be alright.

The next day, a week ago today, I hear the unusual, birdsong like call the mother cat gives to call her kittens and run down stairs. They are all here!. Mother cat nursing them under our tree just feet away from our door. They are all so pitifully thin. I finally learn that our town lends out live catch traps for cats. Wish I knew of this earlier. I get one and our concerns were realized, we catch the mother cat first. When first caught, the black kitten was next to the cage. I saw the gray cat looking on as I bring the cage inside. This is highly unusual. Only the white kitten ever made eye contact with me and not run away. After a visit to the vet that night, we buy a travel cage for her and, we hope, her kittens to share. She is as calm as a stuffed animal through out the night.

Foo and Mia are not happy. Though we keep the stray cat in a room that they are not allowed in, they know it is here. Foo starts marking her territory again, urinating in the foyer and just outside her litter box. Twice in one day.

We come up with the brilliant idea of using the mother cat as bait for her kittens. I thought it best to keep the cage inside with the screen door shut. Wife thinks it best to put it outside so I bring it outside and position it and the trap so that the kittens must enter the trap to see mom. The mother cat goes wild. Jumping and knocking the cage around, tripping the trap. This is not going to work, so I slide open the door to bring the cage back in, the cat jumps at the sound and exited the cage like a rocket through the side. I stand in shocked disbelief. What just happened!? By jumping, she popped the zipper apart! Wife and I are dejected the rest of the day. How is our son going to take this?

When he gets home fromm school, I told him, “We have bad news.” He immediately responds, “The mother cat escaped!?!?” He was very disappointed. I had reset the trap and this time covered it with branches but did not expect her to return. Surly, this experience would drive her away for good.

Returning home from an errand that night with my son, I told him that we did not expect to see them again but we still hoped they would be back, so we should be quite as we go up the approach so that we do not scare them if they do. As we get near the house, I can not believe my ears, I hear meowing! There is the mother cat, near the cage and through the branches covering the trap, I see movement. We caught a kitten! The black one. Glad to have her, but she is the healthiest of the four. Still very concerned for the others, especially the brown one.

We bring it in and I reset the trap. That was last Wednesday. Very hopeful now. That night the mother cat comes by and makes eye contact with me. Thought she would run at the sight of me. Thursday and no cats nor kittens during the day however, a horrendous sound that at first I took to be a bird fight comes from outside. It starts and stops again and again for a while. Suddenly, it changes and I think that a kitten got trapped wrongly and is hurt. Rushing out side, I am certain it is a kitten crying out in pain but it is not from the trap. The sound is coming from the jungle of my neighbors yard. It is loud, terrible and the whole neighborhood responded either by looking out their windows for the source or closing their windows. It is obviously some kind of animal attack. The cries increase then abruptly stop and I see a large cat jump over the fence on the far side of the neighbor’s yard. Did I just hear a kitten being killed? I do not know but I believe so. I keep checking the trap though, hoping that I am wrong and we still have the mother and at least 2 other kittens out there. Just moments after I checked the trap, I look again and the mother cat is in it again. Now, we are stoked. We might actually be able to catch the whole family. I take both mother and black kitten to the vet. learn that as suspected, the mother has worms, probably the kitten too. Get special food and medicine for both.

The mother cat is dehydrated. The travel cage we bought for her accommodates a drinking bottle that I bought separately. My attempts to teach her and the kitten to use remain unsuccessful and they keep knocking over the water dishes we try. So I come up with the idea of setting out food and water in the bath room. Japanese bath rooms are designed for the entire room to get wet. Ours is plastic through out. First, I put the food dish and water dish on opposite ends of the bath tub. Then I put the kitten in to give it the first chance to eat. It doesn’t. After a while, I think that perhaps, if I put the mother cat in she will provide an example for her kitten. In that I was correct, but the example she gave was not what I hoped. After a few moments of sitting quietly, she went absolutely berserk. She jumped for the window sill, missed knocking over the food dish as she landed, jumped again, wild eyed, panting as she tried to escape through the screen. Falling many times as I tried to catch her, the water dish was also upset and with cat and kitten jumping the cat food and water quickly became throughly mixed “mud” that they splattered and smeared all over the whole bath tub, walls, window, screen, themselves and me. In her panicked attempt to escape, the mother cat ripped out one of her claws. Seeing as she would eventually get through the screen or seriously hurt herself trying, I had to shut the window, which given the heat of the day, presented problems.

Donning leather work gloves, I gave first the kitten and then the mother a bath. They were surprisingly docile. Our pet cats become berserkers themselves when bathed, which mercifully has not been necessary in many years. Back in the travel cage, I was free to dig out cat food from the drain. I had plugged it, but in their panicked jumping they pulled it out. After saving as much food as I could, I washed the bath room but it still reeked of canned cat food, blood and scared cat. I took a shower and washed the bath room again but the scent, much less pronounced remained. The next day I burned a smudge stick in the bath to get rid of the smell.

Over the weekend I see the gray kitten’s tail above the concrete block foundation of our fence and am relieved as it was that kitten that I thought I heard being attacked. Something did not seem natural though and the thought of it being the carcass of the kitten being carried off by another animal came to me. I think this is the case as I checked yesterday and found the concrete blocks too high for any part of the kitten’s tails to appear above them, especially most of the tail as I saw .

Then no kittens. No one is eating the food I leave out nor drinking the water. Even the father cat and those that used to pass through before the cat family moved in are making their appearances. I walk around the neighborhood looking but mainly listening. No sign Thursday nor Friday except for the attack I heard Thursday. The food and water I put out remains untouched. I put out more food all around the house and even by the road hoping to lure them back. Thinking they might be across the road, I walk around the neighborhoods on both sides of the street. Nothing. We have to return the trap tomorrow and we discuss asking for an extension. Sunday night, my wife suggests we go across the street and ask our neighbors.

By chance, we meet a woman Monday morning as she is leaving her apartment building and she has stories to tell. A brown kitten had been around there. It had fallen into a drainage ditch and could not get out. Mewing loudly, one of her neighbors looked out the window, saw it and rescued it from the ditch but left it out side. As we walk around the area, we are certain we can hear a kitten mewing but can not find it before we have to return home for Zoom meetings. After mine ends, I return and I hear it louder now. I keep looking through the overgrown banks of the ditch and finally see an emaciated brownish kitten. It is now too frail to escape, though it tried to. This is not the brown kitten that I was so worried about earlier, the one that walked between my legs in my home when it was still relatively healthy. We had noticed a couple of weeks before that the mostly white kitten had turned mostly light tan and the brown kitten became brown and white tiger stripped. It turns out, that the kitten I caught earlier in my hand was the formerly white kitten. Even in the dark, I was confused by the color patten of the kitten I caught as it did not match that of any of the kittens from last we saw them. It is a bag of bones, has fleas, its eyes swollen mostly shut and gunky. Got lots of medicine for it. Seeing it sleep soundly, most likely for the first time in a week, is a much needed rewarding sight. At this moment, it is nursing.

Really high with success and hope of finding the remaining two alive, I had temporarily forgotten the attack I heard. Still able to hear faint mewing in the area of the ditch, I kept going back there yesterday. “Am I really hearing a kitten mewing?” I still do not know. My wife went out with me and could not hear it. Too faint for me to say that I am actually hearing it. But I am not hearing it anywhere else, so I keep going back there to look.

The ditch is about 5 feet deep with straight concrete sides. There are concrete members across the top that are like railroad ties in size and spacing. Worrying for the kittens should they fall down there, I have looked into it several times over the weeks. It is now full summer here and the vegetation obstructs the view. Where is the sound coming form? Is there any actual mewing coming from here after rescuing the kitten? AH! I think I heard it again, certain of it. I keep looking, winding my way through the bushes. Some thing in the shallow water catches my eye but only because it is different from what little else I can see. At first, I pay no attention to it as it obviously is not a kitten. I keep hearing a faint mewing. Is it in my head, I can not tell. The water falling through the drain at the end of the ditch, the road traffic, kids playing are all playing havoc with my hearing. Rotating my head back and forth trying to catch the direction from which this sound is coming from I lean further over the railing and something catches my eye and my heart sinks. One a concrete tire stop in the ditch is what looks just like the right hind leg of a cat and the identity of the item that earlier catches my eye is immediately understood. The brown kitten’s remains. Moving closer, between bikes in the bicycle parking of the apartment, I am able to make a closer inspection which confirms my fears, just feet from where I rescued its sibling a couple of hours earlier. The animal attack I heard Thursday and the unnatural movement of the gray kitten’s tail afterwards immediately comes to mind. The look on the gray kittens face, that last time I would see it, as I took its mother inside is heartbreaking to remember. We have all that remains of this wonderful little family of kittens and their mother. The other two are no more.

I was going to go ahead and return the cage today as it is no longer needed, but my son is expecting us to have until tomorrow, so I will keep it set up through today and wash it tonight to return tomorrow. If he asks, we will tell him that we hope someone else rescued the other two kittens.

While all three of the survivors can eat the same food, the mother and the white kitten require medicine mixed with theirs and they have different medicine. This causes a scheduling problem as I must temporarily separate them to ensure they eat the food with their correct medicine and that the black kitten does not eat any of the medicated food. I want to keep them together as much as possible but can not until the two eat their own food.

The black kitten hisses each time I approach the cage, when it is uncovered. She does allow me to pet her though, stretching her neck out so that I can scratch her chin. After a week of high energy food, she is healthy looking and acting. The white kitten purred last night when I pet it as it sat next to its mother. I am so happy that I could reunite them. It is hard to separate them for feeding.

Yesterday, the mother cat took to lying down in the litter box, which her kittens replicate. Not want we want, but not much we can do. However, my wife decided to do something about it and prepared a box and put it on the shelf of the brand new, two story cat cage we got for them. Without saying anything, she decides to pick the mother cat up to put it in the box . As soon as she got the cat out of the cage it goes berserk and scratches the hell out of her, including her face. She just got back form the doctor. Got an infusion of antibiotics and a tetanus shot. They redressed her facial wounds, which are already discharging puss. She needs to return tomorrow for another antibiotic infusion and they may have to cut out tissue from her face.
 

Furballsmom

Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
34,354
Purraise
45,827
Location
Colorado US
:welcomesign: I'm glad you're here. Give our thanks and appreciation to the friend who suggested us 🙂

I hope your wife heals without the extra complication you describe ❤‍🩹

There are experts here who can guide you regarding the feral mother cat and the two kittens, if you have questions about how to progress from where you are now, although them allowing chin scritches and purring is a huge thing, plus the fact that you've gotten them veterinary care is fantastic. I assume you're planning to get everyone spayed and neutered at the appropriate times?

One thing I'd mention is that you may want to play Cat Music (Relax My Cat, Musicforcats, and there's also Spotify et al which have harp music for cats) and to obtain over the counter calming products for your resident cats. Be sure that they are eating, drinking and using the litterbox as usual.

You seem reasonably confident that there are no live kittens left (of your little family or others) but if you wanted to double check one last time, you could take your phone to that ditch and play a mother cat's cry. That can often bring lost wanderers out of hiding.
 
Last edited:

fionasmom

Moderator
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
8,748
Purraise
12,036
Location
Los Angeles
How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home – TheCatSite Articles
How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles

You certainly have been on a roller coaster! Your family's determination to help that mother cat and her kittens is very admirable. A lot of people would not go so far.

From what I understand, they are in the bathroom or another room? The best thing is to leave them there as they begin to adjust and calm down. It sounds as if you are managing the feeding with the medications...and really great that you did get those for them. The kittens will probably become friendly in a fairly short amount of time. The mother may as well, especially given that she was walking into your house at the beginning of this situation. It won't happen over night though, so continue to exercise caution with her. Wear heavy gloves, at least like rose pruning gloves, and do not bring her near your face or body. Make sure your wife follows all medical instructions and finishes all antibiotics/medications.

One technique that may help with touching the mother cat is to get a cat wand toy, or a stick on which you attach a soft piece of material like a wash cloth and use that to gently touch the cat. It gets her used to being touched and protects you.

I have not had a lot of luck with diffusers like Feliway, but others have.

I am sorry about the two kittens who were lost. This is so common in situations with feral cats and you were heroic to have saved the mom and the other two.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4

CatJ

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jul 4, 2022
Messages
46
Purraise
106
Thank you for your kind response. The left side of my wife’s jaw is swollen and red BUT she does not have a fever. She is to go back in tomorrow for a second IV of antibiotics, so we’ll know more then.

I saw the remains of the brown kitten. It is certainly no more. We do not have a recording of the the mother cat’s call and she has been silent since her capture. I worry about her as her spirt seems broken, punctuated by episodes of going berserk. The remanents of a typhoon are sweeoing through our area tonight. If there is anything in the ditch, it is already swept away. I hoped, but do not believe the gray kitten crossed the street. We found two people who saw a brown kitten, the same or the brown one and ther previously whitish one that turned brown, we do not know, But we now know where both of these are. The brown kitten is dead, I found its remains. No one has seen the grey cat since I last saw it a week ago. I saw what I thought to be its tail fly past my yard but if it was, another animal was carrying it.
Our plan is to get the 3 we have healthy then send them to their new homes. We have an appointment for the first two captured to get their first vaccine this week. The kitten rescued yesterday is still far too week for anything other than feeding, water and a few Meds. We will probably let our son choose one of the kittens. The vet told us that the standard way is for the original owner to get the first shot and the new owner the second and neutered. We are not sure exactly how we will go about this, but are certainly looking to get done all that is required to provide them happy, healthy lives.

The cat calming music was completely unknown to me. The kittens are responding well to me. The mother is all but catatonic. Not at all like she was before trapped.
“One thing I'd mention is that you may want to play Cat Music (Relax My Cat, Musicforcats, and there's also Spotify et al which have harp music for cats) and to obtain over the counter calming products for your resident cats.


Thanks for informing me of the cat music. It is helping. For the first time, since even before being caught, the mother’s eyes have looked like cat eyes. She has always had her pupils wide open so that they look round. Only today, for a short time, did they look like cats eyes.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

CatJ

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jul 4, 2022
Messages
46
Purraise
106
How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home – TheCatSite Articles
How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles

You certainly have been on a roller coaster! Your family's determination to help that mother cat and her kittens is very admirable. A lot of people would not go so far.

From what I understand, they are in the bathroom or another room? The best thing is to leave them there as they begin to adjust and calm down. It sounds as if you are managing the feeding with the medications...and really great that you did get those for them. The kittens will probably become friendly in a fairly short amount of time. The mother may as well, especially given that she was walking into your house at the beginning of this situation. It won't happen over night though, so continue to exercise caution with her. Wear heavy gloves, at least like rose pruning gloves, and do not bring her near your face or body. Make sure your wife follows all medical instructions and finishes all antibiotics/medications.

One technique that may help with touching the mother cat is to get a cat wand toy, or a stick on which you attach a soft piece of material like a wash cloth and use that to gently touch the cat. It gets her used to being touched and protects you.

I have not had a lot of luck with diffusers like Feliway, but others have.

I am sorry about the two kittens who were lost. This is so common in situations with feral cats and you were heroic to have saved the mom and the other two.
Thanks for the encouragement. I am quite saddened at the loss. The father cat came by today looking and sniffing for his family. First time in over week we have seen him.

Two were in the bathroom for feeding and large vessels of water to drink from. That did not work out. They are now in a two story cat cage and are rotated out to the large travel cage, both of which are quipped with litter boxes.

The mother cat, according to several sites I checked out for advice on how to catch them, is a semi-feral cat. She would make eye contact with me and eventually would not run and hide when I came out into the yard. Since being trapped, she lets me pet her, but it is only out of fear and knowing she is in a cage. Even though I can pet her, I never would have tried what my wife did, at least not for a long while. The kittens are already starting to bond with me. The white kitten was able to climb the ladder to the the mid level shelf in the cage this afternoon. Before, it would mew and look at me until I moved it to the upper level shelf where its mother hides. It still can not jump from the mid to upper levels as its sister can. Both kittens are nursing right now.

If things continue to progress well, my wife has at least two more doctor visits. I hope she learned. The day before she berated me for not giving all the medications to the cats. I told her that I need to establish some level of comfort from them before I start shoving things in the mothers and dropping others in to their eyes. When the vet prescribed due drops and orally administered medication from a syringe, I thought they must not understand that hours before these cats had never been touched by humans. The kittens have become quite docile but stay that way only long enough to get the eye drops in. Looking forward to when I can wash the whit kitten. Peyew, it stinks. I fished it out of what amounts to an open sewer.
 

Furballsmom

Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
34,354
Purraise
45,827
Location
Colorado US
I understand regarding the two dead kittens. You wouldn't have needed their actual moms cry, any mother cat's cry from YouTube videos or similar will likely work, for future if you ever should need to know. I just mentioned it since you were not 100 percent absolutely sure whether you were hearing a kitten amidst all the noise and distractions that day.

The mother is all but catatonic. Not at all like she was before trapped.
She is still stressed on the one hand, trying to understand her surroundings on the other hand, and exhausted. Hang in there with her, be patient and quiet and calm, and move slowly. I believe you know more about all this than you thought :)
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7

CatJ

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jul 4, 2022
Messages
46
Purraise
106
I understand regarding the two dead kittens. You wouldn't have needed their actual moms cry, any mother cat's cry from YouTube videos or similar will likely work, for future if you ever should need to know. I just mentioned it since you were not 100 percent absolutely sure whether you were hearing a kitten amidst all the noise and distractions that day.


She is still stressed on the one hand, trying to understand her surroundings on the other hand, and exhausted. Hang in there with her, be patient and quiet and calm, and move slowly. I believe you know more about all this than you thought :)
Thanks. This has been a strange experience for me. Not yet able to even express it to myself. I knew from the beginning that it was a fight against time. But we did seem to be winning. All day yesterday and into this morning, I kept hearing kittens crying every time I went outside. There is a possibility that I actually am hearing actual kittens and I know of, through reports of family, that others litters are out there. But I am thinking that I was hearing what I was listening for.

I have had cats since second grade through high school graduation. I have also dealt with strays from time to time. My wife knew nothing about cats until we got one, Foo, together. She read a, yes a single book, and is the family expert on cats, in her mind anyway.

My friend suggested I post my story here so that it could serve as an example of what can go wrong when trying to save a family of cats. He has a few of his own and looks after two different cat colonies, one near home the other near work. I know some of the Herat wrenching difficulties he has had, not all.

This is a much bigger undertaking than most realize. Bigger than what I realized, but that is not a problem as we decided to do this regardless the difficulties and outcomes. My son brought some friends from school around yesterday to show off the cage we used to catch two of the cats. He his proud of me for rescuing the three. He is also very worried about the remaining two. It is not easy to lie to him saying we hope they were rescued by others when I know where their remains are.

Those of you who have gone through this, know of the many different aspects. The ups and downs. If we had not been watching them for over a month, understanding their a bit of their individual personalities, I suppose it would not be so hard. I am 52 and a navy vet. This bothers me much more than I thought it would.

Good news. The white kitten is regaining strength. It’s eyes are much better and its coat fluffier. It is eating and using the litter box for number two. While a bit sad, the joy overshadows this aspect. I just cleaned the filthy, though new, travel cage and laid down new newspaper, fresh food and water and the white kitten urinated outside the litter box. This was my first proof that this severely dehydrated kitten was getting enough to drink and its system still working. I remembered to use absorbent sheets after that and glad I did as she still urinates outside the litter box. Messy, tiresome but important information to have.

I worry about this kitten. So thin, fragile. Falls down like a kitten just learning to walk, unlike its sister who can still climb and jump as it once did. Today it was able to climb up to the second level and with the scratching pad we bought for a bridge, able to climb up to mommy. My concerns have yet to subside but hope is building. All go back to the vet Friday. The first two will get their first vaccine if the vet judges them to be healthy enough.
 

Furballsmom

Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
34,354
Purraise
45,827
Location
Colorado US
. I am 52 and a navy vet. This bothers me much more than I thought it would.
I don't think it can be explained, but I've read similar comments to yours.

RIP sweet, darling babies. Your time here was far too short, but you were loved :hearthrob::hearthrob::rbheart::hearthrob::hearthrob:

Perhaps this may help;

I will lend to you a kitten, God said,
for you to love while it lives, and mourn when it's dead.
Maybe for 12 or 14 years, or maybe 2 or 3,
but will you, 'till I call them back, take care of them for me?
They'll bring their charms to gladden you, and should their stay be brief,
you'll always have their memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise they will stay for all from Earth return,
but there are lessons taught below I want this kitten to learn.

I've looked the whole world over in search of teachers true,
and from the folk's that crowd life's land I have chosen you.
Now will you give it all your love, nor think the labor vain?
Nor hate me when I come to take my kitten home again?
My heart replied, "My Lord, Thy Will Be Done",
for all the joys this kitten brings the risk of grief I'll run.
We'll shelter it with tenderness, we'll love it while we may,
And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.
But should you call it back much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.
If by our love we've managed your wishes to achieve,
Then in memory of it whom we loved, please help us while we grieve.
When our cherished kitten departs this world of strife,
Please send yet another needing soul for us to love all it's life.

Author Unknown

Hopefully your wife is able to become more open-minded or maybe your friend could suggest further reading for her? In fact this site has numerous articles, in the Articles Section; Ferals & Rescue – TheCatSite Articles but there are more categories;
TheCatSite Articles

Additionally, I wouldn't have made the choice you did regarding what to tell your son. It doesn't matter what his age is, a teaching moment about life and its reality is always a beneficial thing. Cats who are outside face a world that can be incredibly harsh, as you realize from your own experience now and from your friend's struggles, hardships and successes with and for them. Perhaps your friend would be willing to have your son help him on occasion so that he can learn more.

You may be able to supplement the thin one--see what the vet thinks, but it sounds as though it's starting to catch up. You should consider helping mom with kitten glop so that her milk for the kittens is as nutritional as possible.
 
Last edited:

IndyJones

Adopt don't shop.
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Messages
2,606
Purraise
1,575
Location
Where do you think?
Please tell your son the truth. It's only a matter of time before he finds out on his own and will take it much harder than if you just come clean with him.

It hurts when parents lie to their children even if it is with good intentions. I speak from experience. My mom told me our dog ran away when I was very young and I found out he was killed by coyotes on my own. I was hurt and upset, not over the dog dieing but the fact my mom tried to hide it from me.

Please tell your son the truth about finding the dead kittens. Don't damage your relationship by trying to cover it up. Just explain that sometimes nature can be harsh and not all animals make it. It is the cycle of life, all lives come to an end at some point, some earlier than others. It is a fact we have no control over.
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
10,087
Purraise
56,989
Location
Southern U.S.
I am a long time cat rescuer and consider myself fairly hardened to the cruelties that happen but this one got to me. I have seen so much. My heart is with you all.
Let me start by saying that I have socialized many cats that have been through great trauma. Mom cat is in shock but can totally be helped and in time she can be much, much better. There are methods used to help these cats. Besides the Feliway mentioned and the cat music, I strongly suggest going online and finding recorded sounds of purring and of cat heartbeats for mom and babies. When babies can be handled well, putting them against your chest to hear your heartbeat is very reassuring to them. Eventually mom cat may decide it is safe to be out and laying beside her or sort of curled around her without touching is a way she may be restored to more trust and to feeling safer. I suspect she does not want to be taken out due to feeling safer where she is. It is very likely that she witnessed everything. Liken it to how a human would react to seeing and hearing what happened. Cats are tough but they do get traumatized. That said, don’t give up on any of them. With patience, love, kindness and care, even the most horribly trauamatized cat can become adoring and grateful to humans that save them. I don’t just think this, I have repeatedly experienced it first hand. The father cat may be able to help. If he can come in with the mom, he will be very likely to help her to recover. There are bonds between cats that most people don’t even realize exist. I basically moved into a feral colony and observed the cats. I was amazed at how they protected, took care of and loved each other. They would risk their lives for each other. And many did. I do admire all you have done and I also understand the pain and despair over the ones lost snd the damaged done. Please keep doing what you are doing. Go slowly and let the cats recover at their pace. Patience will win out and the rewards of seeing them happy and healed will restore your heart as well. There will be joy in their future and in yours. I am so very, very sorry your wife got hurt so badly. She is quite a loving lady and she wanted to help mom. I have some old wounds myself. At the time they were painful and concerning but all these years later, I see them and they are reminders of the lives saved, the suffering stopped and the love I got in return. I would not change a thing. My hope is that you all heal quickly and well. Please do keep us updated and ask any questions as you go. This site is exactly where you need to be since so many of us have traveled the road you are on now. Our hearts will all be with you and family as this proceeds. Thank you for saving the ones that were meant to be saved. We cannot save them all and that is the hardest part but every life saved counts. You are a kitty guardian and a kitty hero.:grouphug2:
 

IndyJones

Adopt don't shop.
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Messages
2,606
Purraise
1,575
Location
Where do you think?
If the father cat does have an owner as you suspect please track them down and ask them before you try this.

You can run into legal issues if you petnap him. Not to mention the distress the owners would have if their cat disappeared.

... The father cat may be able to help. If he can come in with the mom, he will be very likely to help her to recover. ...
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
10,087
Purraise
56,989
Location
Southern U.S.
Just to be clear, no one would want you to catnap a cat that belongs to someone else. IndyJones IndyJones stated, it can be a legal issue as well as someone thinking their cat has met a sad fate. However, another cat owner may sympathize and allow the father cat to come in for visits and if he is not “owned” then he might be in for longer periods to visit the mom cat. Bonded cats can be very bonded. I believe you mentioned that he led the mom to the food in the beginning? She trusts him. If he is a well cared for stray then you may have other people near who can be helpful.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13

CatJ

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jul 4, 2022
Messages
46
Purraise
106
I don't think it can be explained, but I've read similar comments to yours.

RIP sweet, darling babies. Your time here was far too short, but you were loved :hearthrob::hearthrob::rbheart::hearthrob::hearthrob:

Perhaps this may help;

I will lend to you a kitten, God said,
for you to love while it lives, and mourn when it's dead.
Maybe for 12 or 14 years, or maybe 2 or 3,
but will you, 'till I call them back, take care of them for me?
They'll bring their charms to gladden you, and should their stay be brief,
you'll always have their memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise they will stay for all from Earth return,
but there are lessons taught below I want this kitten to learn.

I've looked the whole world over in search of teachers true,
and from the folk's that crowd life's land I have chosen you.
Now will you give it all your love, nor think the labor vain?
Nor hate me when I come to take my kitten home again?
My heart replied, "My Lord, Thy Will Be Done",
for all the joys this kitten brings the risk of grief I'll run.
We'll shelter it with tenderness, we'll love it while we may,
And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.
But should you call it back much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.
If by our love we've managed your wishes to achieve,
Then in memory of it whom we loved, please help us while we grieve.
When our cherished kitten departs this world of strife,
Please send yet another needing soul for us to love all it's life.

Author Unknown

Hopefully your wife is able to become more open-minded or maybe your friend could suggest further reading for her? In fact this site has numerous articles, in the Articles Section; Ferals & Rescue – TheCatSite Articles but there are more categories;
TheCatSite Articles

Additionally, I wouldn't have made the choice you did regarding what to tell your son. It doesn't matter what his age is, a teaching moment about life and its reality is always a beneficial thing. Cats who are outside face a world that can be incredibly harsh, as you realize from your own experience now and from your friend's struggles, hardships and successes with and for them. Perhaps your friend would be willing to have your son help him on occasion so that he can learn more.

You may be able to supplement the thin one--see what the vet thinks, but it sounds as though it's starting to catch up. You should consider helping mom with a recipe from this site so that her milk for the kittens is as nutritional as possible;
Kitten Glop Recipes - Supplementing Cats and Kittens with nutritious formula you make at home: presented by Bengal Cat breeder Foothill Felines.
Thanks again. Means more than you…or perhaps, given your experience, as much as you know.

With my son, it is difficult. He has seen two recently killed cats, one right in front of our drive way. Used the occasions to remind him why we keep our cats indoors and why he needs to look both ways before crossing the street. Among the reasons for having pets are those you mention. Our cat Foo, is not long for this world. She is losing weight and the vet can not figure out why. Still energetic and sometimes as playful as she was as a kitten, but she is old and has trouble descending the stairs. If not this year, then soon, he will learn about loss.

He has had 1/3 of his childhood stolen from him due to covid restrictions. Every single thing he has been looking forward for these past 2 and 1/2 years has been cancelled. We just applied for a school event as we did the last two years only to have them cancelled at the last minute. Will this one also be cancelled? With the case count going up again, it is anyone’s guess. He, and all children around the world, has had far more disappointment, hopes dashed, dreams crushed these past 2 and a half years than most previously did through out their entire childhoods. He needs not this extra burden. Not now. If it were not for this, I would most likely tell him. He has been told that those we rescued are not well and may not survive. Especially the white one, who jumped today for the first time that we have seen since rescued. Improving, but not out of the woods.

Thanks for the recipe for the mother cat, called “Mother Cat” in our house. I have looked through parts of the website and plan to do so more in depth as time allows. Lots of great resources.

Oh, the idea of having him help my friend is excellent except that he lives far away. We met online much as you and I have, but on a differnt interest. We have met in person only once, at an event showcasing our other mutual interest.

Thanks again, cats are improving. Back to the vet tomorrow.
 

Furballsmom

Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
34,354
Purraise
45,827
Location
Colorado US
Understood.

Let us know what the vet says :)

Are you using a supplement that has glucosamine/chondroitin/msm for Foo's joints (you need all three)? Typically this doesn't require a prescription.
In case she needs help with eating, there are really good tips and tricks here in the two articles and the additional posts by members;
Any Good Tips To Get Your Cats To Eat? Share Them Here!
 
Last edited:

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
10,087
Purraise
56,989
Location
Southern U.S.
I am so sorry about all your son has been through lately. I am hoping that the kitties there will make a full recovery and give him lots of joy. Kittens are very good at bringing laughter into a house. The kitten glop recipes are very good! The mixture has put weight and strength into many little ones. Good for Mother Cat and kittens. Your resident kitty might like a bit too if the vet approves.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17

CatJ

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jul 4, 2022
Messages
46
Purraise
106
Please tell your son the truth. It's only a matter of time before he finds out on his own and will take it much harder than if you just come clean with him.

It hurts when parents lie to their children even if it is with good intentions. I speak from experience. My mom told me our dog ran away when I was very young and I found out he was killed by coyotes on my own. I was hurt and upset, not over the dog dieing but the fact my mom tried to hide it from me.

Please tell your son the truth about finding the dead kittens. Don't damage your relationship by trying to cover it up. Just explain that sometimes nature can be harsh and not all animals make it. It is the cycle of life, all lives come to an end at some point, some earlier than others. It is a fact we have no control over.
Usually, I would be singing the same tune. But doing so now will destroy what little hope he has left. After a decade of declining, the suicide rate in Japan has skyrocketed these past two years. Women and school children experiencing the highest increases. Now is not the time.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18

CatJ

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jul 4, 2022
Messages
46
Purraise
106
Understood.

Let us know what the vet says :)

Are you using a supplement that has glucosamine/chondroitin/msm for Foo's joints (you need all three)? Typically this doesn't require a prescription.
In case she needs help with eating, there are really good tips and tricks here in the two articles and the additional posts by members;
Any Good Tips To Get Your Cats To Eat? Share Them Here!
Foo eats which is the puzzling part. We have reason to suspect organ or gland failure given some other known signs, but others seem to rule these out. She is currently served food for renal care.

Will update you all on the vet’s findings.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19

CatJ

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jul 4, 2022
Messages
46
Purraise
106
If the father cat does have an owner as you suspect please track them down and ask them before you try this.

You can run into legal issues if you petnap him. Not to mention the distress the owners would have if their cat disappeared.
Besides the legal issues, which I know exist but did not consider, we would be horrified to take someone’s pet. When my wife asked what we should do if the father was trapped, we both said immediately, Let him go. He is healthy and not in need of assistance.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20

CatJ

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jul 4, 2022
Messages
46
Purraise
106
Just to be clear, no one would want you to catnap a cat that belongs to someone else. IndyJones IndyJones stated, it can be a legal issue as well as someone thinking their cat has met a sad fate. However, another cat owner may sympathize and allow the father cat to come in for visits and if he is not “owned” then he might be in for longer periods to visit the mom cat. Bonded cats can be very bonded. I believe you mentioned that he led the mom to the food in the beginning? She trusts him. If he is a well cared for stray then you may have other people near who can be helpful.
As I related to IndyJones, the thought of taking someone else’s pet horrifies us.
It has been well over a week since we saw the father cat. He used to make nightly visits. I believe that if he were able to be around this past week, his two lost kittens may still be alive, especially the one who was attacked. I have thought about putting the rescued cats near the sliding door so that he can at least know they live. As much for him as his family.

I am not sure he would have the hoped for calming influence. He may not approve of them being in a cage. Now that the weather has turned, leaving the door open is no longer practical. It was a race against time from the start.
 
Top