Fostering a momma cat and her 5 kittens for the first time!

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emocatowner

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BF got a great idea last night. He remembered us watching a Jackson Galaxy video where he was saying how some cats really hate course-feeling litter, and end up seeking softer stuff to pee on. Momma has also peed in some blankets we had in the kitchen for them to sleep on, so it fits... We're using Cat's Best Original, which isn't too bad, but not perfect either.
I just ordered some Cat's Best Sensitive, it's much finer and softer, although it costs 2x. But it's an easier sell to tell an adopter "you have to use this specific litter" compared to "oh she'll pee on your bed sometimes". I'll set out the blankets in the kitchen again, that way we'll have a test to see if it's working, that won't horribly disgust my bf.
Also, I love that man! He's furious his bed got peed on, he is upset with momma for scratching him repeatedly while he's giving her treats etc, yet is still trying to find ways to help her. ❤

Another thing I'm gonna try is putting a bowl of kibble in bed. Cats hate peeing where they eat, right? So if there's food, maybe she'll find somewhere else to go. We often give the kittens and our resident cats treats in bed anyway, maybe that's why they never peed in bed.

I'm hopeful something will work. 🤞
 
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I think I found the perfect home for momma and the kitten!
They have everything I don't, a big yard, lots of free time etc. Plus they grew up with cats, so very experienced, love black cats and think momma is gorgeous. They were very patient with meeting them, and were understanding of momma being a bit spooked and the kitten hiding a lot. And they are going to come back several times, get to know them, form a bond before adopting, which I love! I won't be sending her off in a strange place with a stranger, she'll be there with someone she knows is nice.
They were even unfazed about her peeing in bed, they had a cat that did a lot worse (she hasn't peed in bed in a couple weeks now, btw, dunno what worked but something did, so hopefully it won't be an issue at all for them)

Introductions between the resident gals and the kittens we're keeping are going reasonably well. The gals are getting used to the kittens. My emo gal even played with the kittens, and she nose booped with the momma cat! The other is a bit more hissy and tends to get overstimulated and chase them away, but is slowly extending the time she tolerates them for.

So good news overall! Today was a good day :)
 

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I think she’s marking her territory, and is in particular doing it when something stresses her since she hasn’t done it in 2 weeks. Can you think of anything that might have stressed her on that day?

How about covering the bed with a plastic sheet when she is in there? Much easier to clean!
 
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I think she’s marking her territory, and is in particular doing it when something stresses her since she hasn’t done it in 2 weeks. Can you think of anything that might have stressed her on that day?

How about covering the bed with a plastic sheet when she is in there? Much easier to clean!
It could be. Cat introductions are going quite well, they've all been spending more time together lately. They actually spent more hours than ever together earlier today. Until my growly resident gal entered the fosters' kitchen, growling like mad. Nothing happened, she didn't go near anyone, she just growled a bit and left, while I was there to intervene. But I see how this would stress momma a ton.

Hmm would a plastic sheet be easier to clean? As it stands, I have a washable puppy pad under the top cover, so I spray with enzyme cleaner, then throw the pad and the cover in the washing machine. All while being nice to sit on when I grab my laptop and work in bed, to sit with the kittens.
It might help with my bf's ick factor, though, I'll talk to him about it.
 
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Well, the adopter backed out, even before I got to mention the most recent pee incident. I can't blame them, it's not exactly a good sell to tell them "here's a cat that will just stare at you frozen the whole time, oh and she might pee in your bed sometimes"

I wonder if something like calming pills will help too... I need to talk to the vet about this
So far I ordered a few more types of litter and litter boxes.

On the bright side, she learned a second clicker training trick! She seems to really enjoy our sessions. She really is going to be a great cat one day...
 
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Just an eventless update. Still got momma, I'm starting to think it will be a while until we manage to find a home for her and her favorite kitten.

Momma is still peeing in bed. But she's getting more and more relaxed, even hopping in bed and chilling with me sometimes.
She is still a bit chubby, but her weight is now stable.

The kittens are huge! The boys now weigh more than momma did when we first got her! They're gonna get neutered in the next couple weeks.
The gal is lagging a bit behind weight-wise still, though still gaining at least 100g a week. She sneezes often, I gotta bug a vet about that, but she seems happy and playful.
They're all having hours' worth of zoomies every day. I hope my downstairs neighbors don't hate me too much, I at least try to keep them out of the bedroom at night.

I'm introducing them all to my resident gals. All the kittens keep dashing into the rooms they aren't supposed to, so I don't have much choice. One of my gals is very stressed by it all, growling at them, sometimes chasing them. I try to make sure I cut the supervised meets before that happens, though I sometimes overestimate how calm she is. Momma cat is perfectly chill, non-reactive even when my gal growled and swatted at her (soft paw only), my bad for letting them get close at all. I'm glad nobody is getting hurt, and they seem to be able to tolerate each other for longer and longer. And my emo resident gal started playing with the kittens, they take turns chasing each other tail up!
 

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So, I got my boy neutered today, and it's not going quite as smoothly as with the gals...

He keeps licking himself. Like every minute, head to nether regions.
I put a cone on him. He isn't very happy about it, keeps struggling to take it off, but it seems to be getting the job done.

We were told to separate them for at least 24h, ideally 48h. But him and his sister kept meowing on opposite sides of a door, and were getting really agitated, so we decided to let her in.
He is having some crazy zoomies. Can't even pet him, he keeps trying to play with my hand. His sis is already exhausted and keeps needing to rest. I am starting to consider putting him in a play pen.

Any tips? I've had several spays but this is my first neuter.
 

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Aww, his boy parts are a bit sensitive from the surgery today. You can ditch the cone and let him lick. It won’t hurt anything. He finds it soothing. All my male cats and kittens have all licked after their neuters. It stops in a day or two.

He may be “zoomy” because his anesthesia is wearing off and he feels a bit funny, or he’s just happy to find himself back in his home environment after his bewildering experience.

Has he eaten? Food should calm him down. He’ll probably sleep well tonight. Hang in there!

emocatowner emocatowner
 
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Aww, his boy parts are a bit sensitive from the surgery today. You can ditch the cone and let him lick. It won’t hurt anything. He finds it soothing. All my male cats and kittens have all licked after their neuters. It stops in a day or two.

He may be “zoomy” because his anesthesia is wearing off and he feels a bit funny, or he’s just happy to find himself back in his home environment after his bewildering experience.

Has he eaten? Food should calm him down. He’ll probably sleep well tonight. Hang in there!

emocatowner emocatowner
Many thanks!

I talked to the vet today and they'd like me to keep the cone on until at least Sunday. Poor baby...
I guess most are fine, but a small % end up actually tearing something or causing an infection? We'll see if we need to take this gamble later on.
We have a disinfectant to spray on there, and that seems to help soothe him a little bit.

He's always been the zoomiest of the kittens. I think he scared his sister a bit by being extra playful...
I took her back to momma & other bro for now and will try to keep the kitten entertained while still working. More toys should be arriving in the mail today.

He ate really well. Vet said to not give him too much the first evening. He seems to still have a healthy appetite this morning, and he took his pain meds in a liquid treat.

He ended up sleeping in bed with us, was relatively chill.
Though now he's doubled his obsessiveness with the nether regions. And I think he's figured out how to reach even with the cone on. I have a better cone to try out if he continues (I couldn't find it yesterday).
 
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Baby is fine, he stopped licking himself as much, appears to be healing well. Cone is off and he's back with his siblings.

New problem with momma, though. I just noticed she's missing a bit of fur. You can only really see it when she's stretched out a bit.
She has a vet appointment in a couple days, to look at this and for follow-up vaccines. Her favorite kitten is going with her to get neutered.

Any idea what this could be? Just for me to read up on it in advance to keep busy, and to keep an eye out for relevant symptoms.
 

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It’s probably a dermatological hotspot. The vet should provide a topical cream for this, as well as an anti-inflammatory med if needed.

Do you see her scratching this area with her hind foot?
 
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It’s probably a dermatological hotspot. The vet should provide a topical cream for this, as well as an anti-inflammatory med if needed.

Do you see her scratching this area with her hind foot?
The cream will be a problem, I still can only touch her head sometimes, barely. If there is no alternative, I'll pin her down and apply it, though I hope we will be able to find something less stressful. Meds should be fine, she's happy to eat them in liquid treats.

I haven't seen her scratch that much.

Looking through photos and videos, I see she had a small patch there last Wednesday, but it was smaller. So I guess it's getting worse over time :(

I wonder if my resident grumpy gal scratched her and it got infected... I've been letting all the cats together during the day, until my gal starts getting agitated. As far as I could tell, she only used soft paws to bap them, but she has long nails, so an injury is possible.
 
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So, momma's been to the vet. She had to be sedated for the vets to check her, with something even stronger than the sedative I gave her at home :(

It seems momma has some skin irritation. There's some on her shoulder, and some on her inner thigh.
It doesn't seem to be anything too bad, based on checking a quick scrape under a microscope, but we'd need to pay a lot of $ to check if it's allergies or something that wouldn't be immediately obvious.

The vet wants us to apply a cream on there1-2 times a day for 8-10 days... which is proving to be mission impossible.
We tried pinning her down with bite-proof gloves, she was so agitated, and she bit my bf so hard he got bruises... through the gloves!
We tried with a long stick while she's in her hidey hole, but that's proving tricky, and I keep smearing it in the wrong places, plus it's hard to keep her from licking the cream after.
I think I need to give up, hope it's just stress and time will make her better...

I really am starting to get attached to her after having her for 4 months now, though her stress levels are the main thing stopping me from really considering keeping her. If she is this stressed with just my 2 resident cats and her kittens, I can't even imagine how she'll be if I foster another momma and kittens... And even if I quit fostering, she's still very very stressed. It's not even just bad for us with peeing the bed, it's to the point where I'm worried about her health. I really hope we can find a chill home for her and her kitten.

At least the kitten is doing well after neutering. A lot better than my boy, he isn't super interested in his nethers. And I swear he's more cuddly and purry, though it's only been 2 days!
 

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I agree it’s not worth stressing her more to try to put the cream on. I also think that over time she will mellow out, and I still believe that going to a new home now would set her back terribly — even if there are no other cats there. Some cats are skittish and can take a year or more to adapt.
 
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I agree it’s not worth stressing her more to try to put the cream on. I also think that over time she will mellow out, and I still believe that going to a new home now would set her back terribly — even if there are no other cats there. Some cats are skittish and can take a year or more to adapt.
I hope you're right, because it sounds like she's gonna be stuck with me for a while!

Here's a cute pic of her and her favorite kitten, both just back from the vet and a bit woozy.

That heater almost killed her yesterday... she tried dropping down behind it, and got herself stuck. She flailed about and vomited. I rushed to call my SO and grabbed a box to put under her feet so she can push herself up, and thankfully that worked. She was panting like crazy. And she didn't run off... I think it was the first time me and my SO were so close to her, and she didn't bolt. I think she understood that we just helped her, when she was completely vulnerable. And then we ruined it by trying to take off the bandage they put on her paw where the catheter was, and to apply that stupid cream... But she's still more confident than ever around us. I need to figure out how to cat-proof that heater a bit better...

IMG_9681.jpeg
 
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We decided to keep her and her favorite kitten!

I tried really hard to find a home for her, videos on social media etc. Several people asked about the kitten. Only a couple were actually interested in her, and I got ghosted after I mentioned she peed in our bed. I can't really blame them, I'm not sure I would have dared to adopt a cat with so many issues, if I wasn't already so attached to her, and used to dealing with all her issues.

And her reward for our decision? The night we told the rescue we want to keep her, she decided to join us in bed while we were asleep... and pee right between me and my bf 🤣

She probably just needs time to settle in fully. She is getting more and more relaxed, and we play with her every day, she's more eager than the kittens! We stopped giving her the calming supplement, and now her bald patches are starting to grow hair again, dunno if it was some kinda allergy to the supplement, or it was making her drowsy and more stressed, or just coincidence, but that seems to be getting better. Whenever I see her grooming herself a lot in one spot, I bring her a toy mousy. It usually gets her to stop, and sometimes she even starts playing with the mousy.

She still loves her kittens, and they still try to suckle from her every so often, even though they weigh as much as her now! And they all get along reasonably well with my resident gals too, the gals play with the kittens, and they tolerate momma without conflict.

It does mean I'll stop fostering until she fully settles in, but I'll try to help in other ways in the meanwhile. I'm really happy we are keeping them, her favorite kitten is becoming so incredibly cute and cuddly!

Here's some videos of her playing:
 

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How did you teach her to peel the potatoes emocatowner emocatowner ?
That's one of the kittens we were planning on keeping from before, we just fell in love with him.
He is officially the potato inspector. Every time anyone is peeling potatoes, he is right there, investigating each and every one of them. This is one of my favorite pictures of him.
He is a complete troublemaker. Bites everything, and almost constantly in zoomy mode. I love him to bits!
 
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