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karen.balch72

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Alright, my new friends ... talk my credit card out of my panicky little fingers! So, I know I've only known Stormy a little over a month, but she's been jumpy again for the last week. She ate almost her whole can of wet food earlier in the week. Yesterday, she only ate a quarter of it before panicking and bolting for her door, not to be seen again before I went inside for prime time tv. I forgot to leave her dry food for the night, though. Despite that, she wouldn't come out tonight for her wet food, even after I moved it pretty close to her door.

So Kitty Grandmas, can you reassure me that, considering the picture I shared was taken the first week of June, I SHOULDN'T buy a 3-tier wire cat playpen from PetSmart right now and storm the shed after I've blocked any other squirt-out spots and the playpen arrives in two days?

{breathe, Karen, BREATHE!}
 

Jcatbird

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I know the three tiered cage is awesome but.... do you have a quiet bathroom you could put her in at first? Lol Since you haven’t caught her yet, a room that has been made safe and “cat proofed” by removing and cleaning chemicals, or things she could chew on, play with that would be harmful. Also blocking any place she could hide where you cannot get to her. I actually did use some cages for socializing feral moms and kittens so it’s not unreasonable to be prepared. I would say, figure out if this can be a permanent fixture in your home and a place she can have as a private retreat after socializing. I have kept our cages for a place that all cats can come and go at will and they do use them. I don’t mind living with them out and do have the space for them. Even so, I have also used a small bathroom to start kitties out. I don’t know if you have stated whether you plan to catch and Spay or want her to have any possible kittens. If she has kittens before you catch her and they are somewhat feral at first, a cage might be helpful while introducing the kittens to household activities. Mom could go to higher levels to have a break from the kittens. There are many ways to handle this depending on your ability to adjust , when you catch her, whether you have her spayed etc. Weigh your options and your space requirements. If the cage still seems a good idea and the price is right....
If not, put that card back. Lol You are a great guardian for Stormy!
BTW do you know when she first got that bowling ball look? I am wondering how close she might be to delivering if she is pregnant.
 

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So Kitty Grandmas, can you reassure me that, considering the picture I shared was taken the first week of June, I SHOULDN'T buy a 3-tier wire cat playpen from PetSmart right now and storm the shed after I've blocked any other squirt-out spots and the playpen arrives in two days?
know the three tiered cage is awesome but.... do you have a quiet bathroom you could put her in at first? Lol Since you haven’t caught her yet, a room that has been made safe and “cat proofed” by removing and cleaning chemicals, or things she could chew on, play with that would be harmful. Also blocking any place she could hide where you cannot get to her.
I agree with Jcatbird Jcatbird , use the spare bathroom or a spare room first. Make it safe and escape proof which is much safer than a wired cage as Stormy may get hurt if she tries to escape and believe me, they will be very rough trying to get out and end up injuring themselves which I think you and us won't want that to happen to Stormy.
 
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karen.balch72

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BTW do you know when she first got that bowling ball look? I am wondering how close she might be to delivering if she is pregnant.
-- the picture was taken June 6. I can't specifically remember if she was that round when I met her two weeks before then. I'd have to assume that she was pregnant then, too since she wouldn't be that visible in 2 weeks, would she?

I agree ... use the spare bathroom or a spare room first. Make it safe and escape proof which is much safer than a wired cage as Stormy may get hurt if she tries to escape and believe me, they will be very rough trying to get out and end up injuring themselves which I think you and us won't want that to happen to Stormy.
-- we don't really have a spare room safe enough for her to go to that doesn't have a million places to hide (it's an over-packed storage room right now).

I know it sounds heartless because even thinking about actually doing it is making me feel like Cruella DeVille, but is there a point where terminating her pregnancy will not be an option anymore? I don't forsee the ability to take proper care for her the rest of her life AND half a dozen kittens for 4 months let alone the stressful situation of finding them good homes. But how much attention does she need after being spayed if I don't do a simple TNR and let the chips fall where they may. I mean this is about what is best for HER, not what I want, right?
 

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I have no problem with doing spay/aborts and see it as a completely reasonable alternative to unwanted kittens especially in a feral. The ones I have done have been relatively early....I saw a new cat in the area, sensed it might be a female and took her in for TNR, usually finding out from the vet that there had indeed been kittens. Because I have never been faced with this in a later term pregnancy, if that is what Stormy has, I don't know if there is a cut off date that is universally accepted by vets. I am sure that someone on TCS knows the answer to this, but my guess it that if she is really far along, one would not be done.

I don't blame you for not dealing with a shady rescue who does cull feral or pregnant cats. When I have TNRed females, I have always left them at the vet for a couple days. If you can bring her home and keep her in a safe place or room temporarily she should be fine. Most low cost spay/neuter places do not keep cats overnight although you might find one who does.

Try not to think too far ahead on this. My guess is that Stormy might become an outdoor feral who will come to you for food and shelter. Mother cats take wonderful care of their kittens on their own and by that time, if it plays out this way, you will be able to look for some resources to help find homes for the kittens.
 

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-- Thanks for the reminder of that. I can go a little crazy. 🤪 If I've gotten anything in the sale she doesn't like, I have a couple furry-ends whose servants I can offer them to as well as there's a mostly 4-legged homeless shelter (Humane Society has birds & other 2-legged animals) nearby that probably wouldn't mind receiving a donation of the rest.

-- Thanks for the information. I know how much I hate acne and I wouldn't want to be giving it to her! I got the plastic bowl because, honestly, it was cheap and I had no clue if she'd stick around. I want to get a saucer & bowl that matches/compliment our glass dishes - why should her dishes be much different than the rest of our family use 😉 - but I drag her dish around here in a zippy bag in a shoulder tote bag and I'm afraid I'd end up breaking it right now. I will definitely be aware of the acne and whisker sensitivities when we get something permanent.
Hello karen.balch72 karen.balch72 and welcome to TCS! I see a lot of posters have given a lot of great suggestions and information. To that, I would add: a mother cat giving birth to kittens is "queening". And if you can purchase a stainless steel dish (or two: one for food, one for water) from your nearest "pet" supply store or online, they are not expensive and they are the best, as they do not break or shatter, and can be boiled/sanitized.
Depending on when she comes in and how you feel on the subject, if she is pregnant, you maybe be able to have the vet spay/abort. While this sounds less than wonderful, the fact is that there are far too many innocent kittens being born, especially now as governmental authorities have deemed spay/neuter "non-essential" in animal controls and shelters due to the COVID-19 prioritizing of human medical equipment and needs (which I absolutely disagree with, but no one asked me) for them to find loving forever homes; and even if you managed to find such homes for any kittens your beautiful torti may have, that means other kittens will NOT find those homes. So in the animal advocacy/welfare community of which I am a member, we strongly advocate for spay/abort when it is possible. My ex and I worked for years to spay/neuter, adopt or rehome the many community cats in our area two locations ago. One was a beautiful young mom-to-be. When she came in to us, our vet informed us that she was FeLV+. We made the heartbreaking decision to let her AND her unborn babies go, because she was feral or semi-feral, in a community with a large number of community cats, and this was before the newest findings/opinions about FeLV+. I will never forget them, and I will always love them and regret having to have made that decision. But it needed to be made, at that time. We ended up spaying/neutering and adopting a total of 31 cats ourselves; and we were able to get several young kittens into rescue.
In any situation where there is a loved one involved (and ALL cats are loved by me) and I am or can be responsible for them, my bottom line is, what would I want for myself? How would I want someone to act if I was in that situation?
 
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calicosrspecial

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-- the picture was taken June 6. I can't specifically remember if she was that round when I met her two weeks before then. I'd have to assume that she was pregnant then, too since she wouldn't be that visible in 2 weeks, would she?

-- we don't really have a spare room safe enough for her to go to that doesn't have a million places to hide (it's an over-packed storage room right now).

I know it sounds heartless because even thinking about actually doing it is making me feel like Cruella DeVille, but is there a point where terminating her pregnancy will not be an option anymore? I don't forsee the ability to take proper care for her the rest of her life AND half a dozen kittens for 4 months let alone the stressful situation of finding them good homes. But how much attention does she need after being spayed if I don't do a simple TNR and let the chips fall where they may. I mean this is about what is best for HER, not what I want, right?
PLEASE do not be too hard on yourself. I don't have a sense you ever will be confused with Cruella DeVille. Decisions an be difficult but if we make the best decision we can (whatever that may be) for the benefit for all the cats involved then that is all one can ask of oneself. People with different experience levels and different time availability chose different paths. All we can do is our best. I am sure you will make the best decision, your heart is in the right place.

Whatever path you decide on going down we will support you and give our best advice to make it the best possible situation.

We do want to make sure she has good food and clean water and as safe of a place as possible and if she does give birth we don't take her away from the kittens or vice versa (too early).
 

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Check with your spay and neuter clinics to see how late they will do one. I certainly do not think you are like Cruella! The lack of spaying and neutering is a cruelty, in my opinion, as it leads to so many deaths and unwanted animals that are just dumped on the street. If the clinic will do it and it is the right choice for Stormy's care, then you are doing it out of compassion.

Our one former feral, Freya, was only 4 months when we got her and already pregnant. Thankfully, she was in early stages of pregnancy so they spay went smoothly. Freya is a rather small cat (closer to 5 lbs than 6) and was super small at 4 months. The vet doubted her ability to survive pregnancy and delivery.
 

tabbytom

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I know it sounds heartless because even thinking about actually doing it is making me feel like Cruella DeVille, but is there a point where terminating her pregnancy will not be an option anymore? I don't forsee the ability to take proper care for her the rest of her life AND half a dozen kittens for 4 months let alone the stressful situation of finding them good homes. But how much attention does she need after being spayed if I don't do a simple TNR and let the chips fall where they may. I mean this is about what is best for HER, not what I want, right?
Very good answers from fionasmom fionasmom , tarasgirl06 tarasgirl06 , C calicosrspecial and Elphaba09 Elphaba09

Many strays and ferals are returned back to the colony after TNR exercise. So I don't think you should worry so much.
 

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Is she back out and eating well today?
Late term spays are done in many places. It’s not uncommon due to the need of preventing unwanted and uncared for kitties who will have to struggle to survive. It is what is best for Stormy. I had one female who was Durant minute and the vet declined the Spay. Only one of all the pregnant kitties I caught in the colony. She gave birth about two days later and all kittens were adopted. If you can manage to have just Stormy as a member of the family, her life will be easier. A catio or outside safe enclosure is an option. If that she is safe some adaptations to it might work. I am wondering if Stormy is more of a dumped or stray kitty than a true feral. Sadly, many people dump pregnant cats. If she is not a born feral, she wil need your help for survival as she will not have feral skills to help her to hunt and stay safe. I have had vets hel me to find good homes so when she goes in for spaying, you can ask for help and for any resources that they have knowledge of for adoptions. Did you give up the idea of the cage? If she is not feral, a cage may not be as scary to her. Much of this can be decided as things progress. Just concentrate on trying to get her first. I am hoping you catch her before any kittens arrive because that will make everything much simpler. One step at a time.
 
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karen.balch72

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So, for the 3rd evening her wet food only fed flies. I now believe that she's moved on to a new, "safer" hiding spot. I found out that my father-in-law has been trying to get her when he's outside smoking. And worse, my husband has suddenly decided that the small tree and rose of sharon plants hiding her "back door" are too overgrown so he's been digging to get to their roots and clanking into the concrete under the shed but has also been sticking his face at her front door, too.

I'm forgiving my father-in-law because he's not all that aware about speaking Cat but my husband's not as easy.

I'm still holding out hope she'll be fine and return but I don't think I'll be putting out wet food until I see she's back. Does anyone have any tricks I can use to keep dry kibble out for her but not raccoons and squirrels? I'm also going to look into being able to get a humane trap so I can get her spayed as soon as I can.
 

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Trapping her is probably the best option right now. Disturbing her hiding place may send her to a new one but try offering her one that is near you. A box on top of a low patio table and under a tarp is a good sleeping place. I made feral shelters all around my yard by tying tarps between trees or draping them over things like patio furniture. Some acted as hiding places and others as feeding stations. If you give her options you are very likely to find she chooses one or two as favorite spots. I had one over furniture at my back door and that made life easy because a feral and her kittens turned up there. I had a large carrier under it and fed them there while I sat near. Eventually I snuck up and shut them in. I got mom and babies all at once. Lucky day! If food is left out at all times, other creatures tend to show up. I always took it up shortly after dark and put new food out around daybreak. Try sticking to your feeding routine for now. She should return when things are quiet again but giving her options can work too if you feel she is scared to return.
 

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Maybe these will give you some simple solutions if you need another shelter. Two tarps. One slightly higher than the other so they formed a double layer. Placed in A frame shape or pup tent design. A rope pulled the middle up and all corners were secured to the ground to keep the wind from blowing everything. Crates and chairs underneath to provide different levels and feeding outside of the kitty tents.
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calicosrspecial

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So, for the 3rd evening her wet food only fed flies. I now believe that she's moved on to a new, "safer" hiding spot. I found out that my father-in-law has been trying to get her when he's outside smoking. And worse, my husband has suddenly decided that the small tree and rose of sharon plants hiding her "back door" are too overgrown so he's been digging to get to their roots and clanking into the concrete under the shed but has also been sticking his face at her front door, too.

I'm forgiving my father-in-law because he's not all that aware about speaking Cat but my husband's not as easy.

I'm still holding out hope she'll be fine and return but I don't think I'll be putting out wet food until I see she's back. Does anyone have any tricks I can use to keep dry kibble out for her but not raccoons and squirrels? I'm also going to look into being able to get a humane trap so I can get her spayed as soon as I can.
Well, it happens. Try to forgive your husband. Cats take on our emotions so trying to be as calm, confident as positive as possible is best.

Cats do return to where they food has been so I suspect she will be back at some point.

I agree, I would not put wet food out unless you see her. She will remember you and food so that should lead to success (eating).

On hard food and other animals, not really a great solution that I have found. :(

Sticking to the "normal" time is best (cats are creatures of habit so the time of day - the sun - is best).
Also, keep clean water out there for her.

Remember, cats are resilient and good hunters and mice is a very good diet for them so do your best about getting her food but know that if you don't see her it doesn't have to be a bad situation. Really important to stay as positive as possible.
 
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karen.balch72

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YEAH!!! Someone tore open my trash bag yesterday!!!
Ok, I know that sounds like a 🤪 weird thing to be so excited about. See, the thing is that I've never had a problem with squirrels or raccoons bothering the little diaper trash bag I have hanging on the side of the shed the whole time I've been doing this. I'll have 5 or 6 empty cat food cans in a bag before I tie and toss it. But there IS a particular furry face that knows EXACTLY what they are! 💖😺💖

Thanks to the encouragement, I got thinking a bit outside the box at @Jcatbirdhant the poptents. I remember being told one way to make one is tossing a tarp over a low hanging branch and staking down the corners. She wouldn't need anything that tall but I remembered ... we have a pile of cut limbs that are a bit curved. With some strategic moves and ends tucked into the chain-link fence, I bet it can make another spot for her to go. I've already baited some catnip on the ground near an accidental "front door" and rubbed some on a tree I've seen her use to get into our yard. Here's hoping y'all!

See you at the scratching posts :bluepaw: :bluepaw:
 

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YEAH!!! Someone tore open my trash bag yesterday!!!
Ok, I know that sounds like a 🤪 weird thing to be so excited about. See, the thing is that I've never had a problem with squirrels or raccoons bothering the little diaper trash bag I have hanging on the side of the shed the whole time I've been doing this. I'll have 5 or 6 empty cat food cans in a bag before I tie and toss it. But there IS a particular furry face that knows EXACTLY what they are! 💖😺💖

Thanks to the encouragement, I got thinking a bit outside the box at @Jcatbirdhant the poptents. I remember being told one way to make one is tossing a tarp over a low hanging branch and staking down the corners. She wouldn't need anything that tall but I remembered ... we have a pile of cut limbs that are a bit curved. With some strategic moves and ends tucked into the chain-link fence, I bet it can make another spot for her to go. I've already baited some catnip on the ground near an accidental "front door" and rubbed some on a tree I've seen her use to get into our yard. Here's hoping y'all!

See you at the scratching posts :bluepaw: :bluepaw:
:crossfingers:
 
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karen.balch72

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She's back!! I've seen her several days now. I freshen up her water and put out her bowl with a day's worth of dry food in the mornings and still come out in the afternoons and evenings.

She seems to be moving carefully when I see her but her middle is hanging pretty low, too. Do the mommas do that later in the pregnancy (I know I waddled like hell at the end of my two!), she checking out if it's still a safe place, or could she be hurt? I know I'm a worry and wanted to ask about the two other possibilities before I freak out and storm the shed again.

See you at the scratching posts :bluepaw: :bluepaw:
 

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She's back!! I've seen her several days now. I freshen up her water and put out her bowl with a day's worth of dry food in the mornings and still come out in the afternoons and evenings.

She seems to be moving carefully when I see her but her middle is hanging pretty low, too. Do the mommas do that later in the pregnancy (I know I waddled like hell at the end of my two!), she checking out if it's still a safe place, or could she be hurt? I know I'm a worry and wanted to ask about the two other possibilities before I freak out and storm the shed again.

See you at the scratching posts :bluepaw: :bluepaw:
Yes, they get pretty low. Consider that they might have not one, not two, but a whole FAMILY in there! And yes, and yes, maybe. We can't know from sightings from a distance.
 
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