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

Kwik

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Thrilled to hear the good news!
Congratulations on your extended FAMILY- they are both adorably cute..... they are exactly where they should be

May I ask a little background on Momma cat? Where did you foster her from ,Im sure you mentioned that but I dont know how far back I have to go to find thst info-was she a TNR,a stray or did you foster from a shelter? Don't need alot of detail I'm just curious because of her wetting the bed

The reason I ask is becsusd you said she is sleeping in the bed as well- typically cats will not sleep where they urinate except its quite common for cats thst have been caged or confined to small crates to behave in this way.... I'd like to know a little more because it's likely one would assume she's marking your bed but it seems there might be more to it and sounds more stress related to me.... a cat that has been I'm confinement for a long time will often urinate where they sleep not to mark but its a stress related association

I hope we can find the reason behind this behavior so you can resolve the issue.... how many cats do you have,how many boxes do you have and if you wouldn't mind telling me where your boxes are placed I might be able to help you with some suggestions.... Oh & has your Vet ruled out any underlying heath conditions that might be a contributing factor ? If you've gotten the thumbs up & it's solely behavioral we can find a solution

God Bless you for opening your heart & home to this beautiful little lady and her cute little boy-its fantastic news to me❤
 
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emocatowner

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Thrilled to hear the good news!
Congratulations on your extended FAMILY- they are both adorably cute..... they are exactly where they should be

May I ask a little background on Momma cat? Where did you foster her from ,Im sure you mentioned that but I dont know how far back I have to go to find thst info-was she a TNR,a stray or did you foster from a shelter? Don't need alot of detail I'm just curious because of her wetting the bed

The reason I ask is becsusd you said she is sleeping in the bed as well- typically cats will not sleep where they urinate except its quite common for cats thst have been caged or confined to small crates to behave in this way.... I'd like to know a little more because it's likely one would assume she's marking your bed but it seems there might be more to it and sounds more stress related to me.... a cat that has been I'm confinement for a long time will often urinate where they sleep not to mark but its a stress related association

I hope we can find the reason behind this behavior so you can resolve the issue.... how many cats do you have,how many boxes do you have and if you wouldn't mind telling me where your boxes are placed I might be able to help you with some suggestions.... Oh & has your Vet ruled out any underlying heath conditions that might be a contributing factor ? If you've gotten the thumbs up & it's solely behavioral we can find a solution

God Bless you for opening your heart & home to this beautiful little lady and her cute little boy-its fantastic news to me❤
Many thanks! Trying to keep this short while including all relevant info:

She was a street cat, never been in a shelter, but has a bit of trauma (bonded brother hit by car, previous kittens killed by fox, bullied by other cats in the colony etc.)

She sleeps at the foot of the bed. She pees just under the pillows.

6 cats and 8 boxes, spread out with at least a box in almost every room. Scooped 2x/day.

I was stupid and used the bedroom as scent swapping location when doing cat introductions, but didn't have a litter box in there. I've added one since, tried several types of boxes and litters. She uses the boxes, even with us in the room, just sometimes decides to use the bed instead.

She used to pee on blankets when we first got her. I removed blankets for a while, and now that's stopped. It's only the bed that persisted, in spite of us locking her out of the bedroom for a few weeks.

Vet says she's healthy, just very stressed. Glucose is a bit high due to stress, otherwise normal values. Gave her L-tryptophan supplement, though that seems to cause her to overgroom to the point of hair loss (may be coincidence).

It used to happen while we were busy in another room, though last week she peed in-between us while we were asleep. I keep an eye on her via security camera, and go disturb her if I see her sniffing close to the pillows (just saying hi, maybe offering her a toy mousy, she always runs to the foot of the bed whenever she hears me going there)

She was fostered as a kitten, but apparently ended up just staring at a wall, refusing to eat. For some unfathomable reason, they took her back to the colony, unspayed and unvaccinated?! The rescue warned us she's a bit fragile and may be very stressed by being indoors. She used to howl every night after we took her in, went on for 5+ months, though that stopped a month ago. I kept her in a playpen the first few days, she hated it and kept leaping at the walls first day, but settled down. Then at night she'd scrape at the windows for about a week. She also hated having to be locked in the kitchen at night when we were still doing introductions, she tried to dart past us a few times. Now she has access to the entire 100m2 apartment (1076 sq feet?) and she isn't really showing any signs of wanting out, but she could still be very stressed about being confined.

Not sure what else to do, other than giving her time to settle in and helping her destress with lots of play.
 

Kwik

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Many thanks! Trying to keep this short while including all relevant info:

She was a street cat, never been in a shelter, but has a bit of trauma (bonded brother hit by car, previous kittens killed by fox, bullied by other cats in the colony etc.)

She sleeps at the foot of the bed. She pees just under the pillows.

6 cats and 8 boxes, spread out with at least a box in almost every room. Scooped 2x/day.

I was stupid and used the bedroom as scent swapping location when doing cat introductions, but didn't have a litter box in there. I've added one since, tried several types of boxes and litters. She uses the boxes, even with us in the room, just sometimes decides to use the bed instead.

She used to pee on blankets when we first got her. I removed blankets for a while, and now that's stopped. It's only the bed that persisted, in spite of us locking her out of the bedroom for a few weeks.

Vet says she's healthy, just very stressed. Glucose is a bit high due to stress, otherwise normal values. Gave her L-tryptophan supplement, though that seems to cause her to overgroom to the point of hair loss (may be coincidence).

It used to happen while we were busy in another room, though last week she peed in-between us while we were asleep. I keep an eye on her via security camera, and go disturb her if I see her sniffing close to the pillows (just saying hi, maybe offering her a toy mousy, she always runs to the foot of the bed whenever she hears me going there)

She was fostered as a kitten, but apparently ended up just staring at a wall, refusing to eat. For some unfathomable reason, they took her back to the colony, unspayed and unvaccinated?! The rescue warned us she's a bit fragile and may be very stressed by being indoors. She used to howl every night after we took her in, went on for 5+ months, though that stopped a month ago. I kept her in a playpen the first few days, she hated it and kept leaping at the walls first day, but settled down. Then at night she'd scrape at the windows for about a week. She also hated having to be locked in the kitchen at night when we were still doing introductions, she tried to dart past us a few times. Now she has access to the entire 100m2 apartment (1076 sq feet?) and she isn't really showing any signs of wanting out, but she could still be very stressed about being confined.

Not sure what else to do, other than giving her time to settle in and helping her destress with lots of play.
Thank you for the summary-very helpful ... Indeed she's stressed but I do think you are doing a fantastic job and you say it's only been 5 or 6 months,she's made tremendous progress in this short of time,really.Continuing on as you've been she will gradually feel less and less stress - it's stressful because it's a large environment to familiarizd herself with but I think you chose the lesser stressful option for your household rather than her being contained- after her past experiences - when a cat gets too stressed and gets depressed they can make themselves very sick by not eating,drinking or elininating- very dangerous ... It's too bad she went through that as a kitten so that's her association with people and confinement - so hats off to you for being patient and loving her AS IS

A lot of love goes a long way in another 6 months she will be very comfortable in her forever home ...She's marked up by the pillows which is where she probably feels safe because she's stressed,cats will mark a boundary this way and sleep not far from it- have you tried spraying Feliway or some pheramone spray by the pillows,under & on the blankets- you won't smell anything but she will - this will tell her it's already marked and may stop the matking
.
 
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emocatowner

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Thank you for the summary-very helpful ... Indeed she's stressed but I do think you are doing a fantastic job and you say it's only been 5 or 6 months,she's made tremendous progress in this short of time,really.Continuing on as you've been she will gradually feel less and less stress - it's stressful because it's a large environment to familiarizd herself with but I think you chose the lesser stressful option for your household rather than her being contained- after her past experiences - when a cat gets too stressed and gets depressed they can make themselves very sick by not eating,drinking or elininating- very dangerous ... It's too bad she went through that as a kitten so that's her association with people and confinement - so hats off to you for being patient and loving her AS IS

A lot of love goes a long way in another 6 months she will be very comfortable in her forever home ...She's marked up by the pillows which is where she probably feels safe because she's stressed,cats will mark a boundary this way and sleep not far from it- have you tried spraying Feliway or some pheramone spray by the pillows,under & on the blankets- you won't smell anything but she will - this will tell her it's already marked and may stop the matking
.
She has made a lot of progress! She started off hissing and growling whenever we enter the room, and look at her now (she was under the couch as I was sitting on the couch):


She really is a good cat. I remember a few months ago she sniffed my finger while it was smelling of treats, and she got confused and bit my finger. She realized her mistake before I could react and before she broke the skin. She immediately jumped back and started slow blinking at me repeatedly, as if saying “sorry, didn’t mean to do that, please don’t hurt me!”. She really cares, she’s just scared and confused. It’s impossible not to love her once you get to know her. Even my bf who is really disgusted by the bed peeing, still fell in love with her and is happy to keep her.

We do have a Feliway diffuser plugged in since the day they arrived. I tried using a Feliway spray in bed too, though maybe I wasn’t diligent enough with it, it’s only good for like 4h. I am now trying to rotate a blanket between the bed and her favorite hidey hole, so it already smells strongly like her. It hasn’t worked before, but maybe I wasn’t rotating it often enough.

My boyfriend’s theory is that she’s trying to make us smell like her, because we already smell strongly of every other cat in this household, but we can’t pet her yet, so we don’t smell of her. She pees where it smells the strongest of us because that’s the only way she can think of to mark us and not lose us to the other cats? If he’s right, the situation should resolve itself as soon as she trusts us enough to let us touch her.
 

Kwik

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Love the video-shes adorable

You're boyfriend is not way off however,it's not likely to resolve itself.....You've got to continue to clean the area she has gotten into the "habit" of marking to the best of your ability and try to make thst area an undesirable place to leave her scent.....cats do not like anything sticky under their paws do you can try 2sided tape ontop the blanket around the pillows so she won't want to step there,tin foil,crinkly plastic .... it's more effective to prevent as opposed to correct Try,this certainly is something you want to address-surely as she gets used to the other cats and her environment her anxiety will subside thst initially cause this behavior but the longer it goes on it becomes a " habit"

Funnily enough,habits are formed & broken in 30 days for people and most animals too- so that might motivate you to distract her into avoiding the area for 30 days- sort of a guidline for altering undesirable behavior....of course that's not set in stone but gives us a good idea of how long it takes and thst a week or 2 or 3 is not long enough time to train or retrain an animal with bad habits.....

I hope thst helps- your doing a great job with her-shes a darling little sweetheart and so playful- Easy to see why you fell in love with her- too cute!
 
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emocatowner

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Love the video-shes adorable

You're boyfriend is not way off however,it's not likely to resolve itself.....You've got to continue to clean the area she has gotten into the "habit" of marking to the best of your ability and try to make thst area an undesirable place to leave her scent.....cats do not like anything sticky under their paws do you can try 2sided tape ontop the blanket around the pillows so she won't want to step there,tin foil,crinkly plastic .... it's more effective to prevent as opposed to correct Try,this certainly is something you want to address-surely as she gets used to the other cats and her environment her anxiety will subside thst initially cause this behavior but the longer it goes on it becomes a " habit"

Funnily enough,habits are formed & broken in 30 days for people and most animals too- so that might motivate you to distract her into avoiding the area for 30 days- sort of a guidline for altering undesirable behavior....of course that's not set in stone but gives us a good idea of how long it takes and thst a week or 2 or 3 is not long enough time to train or retrain an animal with bad habits.....

I hope thst helps- your doing a great job with her-shes a darling little sweetheart and so playful- Easy to see why you fell in love with her- too cute!
I appreciate you helping me think this through 🤗
You're definitely right that there's a huge risk this will become a habit. It's happened like a dozen times already, so it's fairly bad.

I actually tried aluminum foil covering the area where she usually pees. All the cats seem startled by it. She ended up peeing right next to it, a bit further down in the bed 😣
IMG_9319.jpeg

We considered just covering the whole bed in foil or some other unpleasant thing for cats, but the thing is, we want to encourage the other cats to be in bed, we really love snuggling, and they're not in bed much as is.

We tried to just keep the bedroom door closed while we're in another room. It worked for a few days, in spite of the kittens trying to dart in there or begging us to open the door. Then momma decided she'd join us in the bedroom while we are asleep and camp in a hidey hole or under the heater the whole day. Shoo-ing her out will probably just stress her out more. And now she started peeing while we're asleep in that bed too. If this keeps happening, we'll have to lock them out at night as well, no snuggles while watching TV in the evenings, no cats greeting us in the morning etc.

I guess I can also go through with making the bed unpleasant for a month, then just re-training the cats to be in bed afterwards? I might have to if this continues.

I'm also terrified at the thought of her starting to pee somewhere else. As it is, I have a rewashable puppy pad on the bed, so when it happens, I just generously spray enzyme cleaner on it, then throw it in the washing machine. So it's annoying and disgusting, but manageable. If she were to start peeing on chairs, laundry, floor etc., that would cause a lot more problems. So I'm a bit nervous to disrupt things too much 😬

For now, we're trying to diligently keep an eye on the security camera while we're in another room, and interrupting her whenever she looks like she's about to pee. So far, we're 8 days pee-free! But we went for 3 weeks once, so not celebrating yet.
 

Kwik

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Yeah-you have to just roll it out smooth across the bed... and I would go with keeping everyone off the bed until there is no litter box avoidance ,accidents or marking ---- getting them to enjoy the bed later on will not be a problem,lol.....

You'd have to make good use of Feliway sprays ( unfortunately you do have to spray often ) on places like chairs,cushions etc that can potentially look like an invitation to mark----- It doesn't seem likely she'll pick another spot though ,she's made up her mind the bed is hers - hmmph,lol

You're very patient and any obstacle can be overcome with an attitude such as yours👍
 
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