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My Feral Cat And Her Kittens Have Disappeared Two Days Ago!

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by Salessi, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Salessi

    Salessi Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jun 16, 2019
    Hi all, I have been feeding the most beautiful black feral cat with bright yellow eyes since the winter. She was living under my outdoor furniture on my back deck. I ran a heating pad out under the furniture to help her stay warm during the winter. I live on a two acre plot with lots of woods. In the spring she stopped coming around and then she started coming by with another black car. A friend of mine who does rescue, suggested that we trap her and have her fixed. We were able to trap her and when we took her to the vet he said that she was already lactating and must have kittens somewhere. I quickly returned her to my property and released her. She came by everyday and would sit on my patio staring at the window until I came out to feed her but would never let me near her. She would often sleep on the deck like she was home. I never saw the kittens. After about a month, I thought I heard something on my front deck. There she was with 4 jet black kittens with beautiful blue eyes. The cutest things I've ever seen. They moved in under my front deck. Every morning she would let them come out and play, nurse them and then back under the deck they went. I was waiting until they were weaned to try and catch them to socialize them as I have friends who have agreed to give them homes. I noticed that when I fed her, the kittens started licking the plate when she was through.I assume they were starting to wean. This is all new to me. She has been a fixture on my deck, as have the kittens. It has been so beautiful to watch them romping and playing with mom's watchful eye on them at all times. The day before yesterday they were all gone and I have not seen them since. I have been walking through the woods and calling her. She never misses a meal. I am frantic and worried sick. Why would she leave a safe place and her food source. I just don't understand it. I am worried something nefarious has happened. Is this normal for them to move on like this. I want to protect her and the kittens from making more babies, and would love to be able to give them good homes. Do you think she'll be back? Any advice is appreciated... Thanks Susan
     

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Hi!
    I'm sending all my positive thoughts!!
     
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  3. Salessi

    Salessi Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jun 16, 2019
    Thanks so much I'm just sick with worry over this...
     
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  4. Salessi

    Salessi Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jun 16, 2019
    Thanks so very much, I'm just sick with worry.. I too have a soft spot for black cats.
     
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  5. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Hi. I am so sorry this has happened. Do you think a neighbor took them? If you can, ask around. Maybe another animal threatened them, and mom has moved them to what she thinks is a safer place? Keep us posted and keep looking for them.
     

  6. abyeb

    abyeb Charlie's Purrson Staff Member Forum Helper

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    I’m so sorry to hear about this. I hope you can find mom and kittens soon! I would recommend checking in with all of your neighbors, putting up signs, and calling local animal shelters. Maybe she moved the kittens, if she felt that they were in danger, with the intention of returning, and a well-meaning individual decided to take them in.
     

  7. Salessi

    Salessi Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jun 16, 2019
    That could be. I just can't figure it out. Thanks.
     
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  8. Salessi

    Salessi Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jun 16, 2019
    That's a good thought I will check with my neighbors in the morning.
     

  9. Salessi

    Salessi Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jun 16, 2019
    Thanks so much.
     
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  10. EmersonandEvie

    EmersonandEvie Mom to Evie, Emerson and Dexter Super Cat

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    I hope this will be of some comfort:

    My mom has a small colonly of five cats (mama + older babies, 6+ months). One weekend, they all vanished. Nobody came for breakfast. Nobody came for dinner. Nobody at breakfast on day 2. Dry food untouched. I was worried sick- I was sure coyotes had gotten them. Then they slowly started to come back- I saw mama cat on Sunday (had gone missing Thursday night) and slowly, slowly, they started to come back. I have no clue what happened or why they decided to move house, but all five are back now. I hope, hope, hope this is the case with your mama and four kittens! Sending all the paws-itive vibes your way!

    :vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes:
     
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  11. Salessi

    Salessi Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jun 16, 2019
    Thanks so much... That's is very comforting..I hope I have the same outcome. Glad you had a happy ending.. Hope I do too..:)
     
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  12. kittychick

    kittychick TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

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    I'm so glad you came to this site - - it's full of lots of very kind people, many with lots of experience so they can offer suggestions on alot of topics...but almost more importantly, they're happy to lend an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry/worry on. And I know how absolutely nerve-wracking this is! You've done everything right to make her and those adorable-sounding babies comfortable and cozy (and a BIG yeah for you on already working on getting the babies homes when they're old enough, and working to get mom spayed - - which I'm sure you'll get another chance at!!!!). Maybe this story will give you some hope...

    We have a feral colony in our neighborhood that my hubby and I have TNRd (trap/neuter/release) for quite some time now. One of the ferals - a little grey kitty with a flick of white in the shape of a heart on her chest, which is why we called her "Flick" - wasn't allowed by the rest of the colony anywhere near them. When they ate, they kept her at least 20 feet away. That broke out hearts (she has a light case of cerebellar hypoplasia - which manifests itself in her as a funny walk - as hubby says "she walks like she has scotch tape stuck to her back feet!" It's probably why she was shunned by the group). We trapped her, fixed her, and re-released her, and after a few days, she was back. She showed up for food like clockwork - just like your girl. My hubby started making friends with her - -she started following him around as he gardened. One day (after telling me "we've got plenty of kitties inside already - -we're not bringing Flick in") a pink cat bed appeared on our back steps (one guess as to who put it there). She was on that pink bed almost 24/7 for weeks. She even started to let us pet her, and after weeks of treats and pets on that pink bed, she climbed into my lap. Our hearts melted. we started talking about bringing her inside. Then one evening, after months of "clockwork" on the pink bed, we came home ---- no Flick on the pink bed. We tried not to panic (I didn't do very well at that :bawling2:). We walked around our neighborhood for days, hoping we'd see her. No luck. We stepped up the search, knocking on neighbors' doors, asking if they'd please check their garages, tool sheds, etc. in case she was accidentally closed in somewhere. Nothing. Our hearts were broken. Then we found out a neighbor was poisoning any feral cats he saw. So we REALLY panicked - - and started looking all over again. Days later - we open the door......there's Flick sleeping on the pink bed, with a look of "what'd I do?"!!!! Needless to say, Flick immediately became a full-time indoor kitty that day (I included a pic of when we brought Flick in)! I can tell you ----I worried myself sick while she was gone, so I 100% know how you feel!!!!!!!

    We never did figure out what spooked her so badly. But obviously something did. And mama cats with kittens are hypersensitive to anything new/different (even something like a car backfiring can be enough to scare a feral kitty away for some time). Mama kitties are programmed not to take chances when they have babies - -- their lives revolve around their little ones. If they perceive even a hint of what might be a threat, they move their babies. And some mama cats move their litters periodically even if there isn't a threat. And as several members noted (like @abyeb and @FeebysOwner) - a well-meaning neighbor may have seen her and the babies and taken them in, unaware you were already caring for them.

    So (after a super long note) my advice is to try not to panic...to continue to put food out as you had been doing. Maybe even supplement it with something I use to lure ferals into traps to TNR - - canned mackerel ---stinks to high heaven but kitties LOVE it and the scent travels quite a ways, so it might lure her in if she's moved them somewhere nearby. Walk through your neighborhood and make any noise or calls to her that you have in the past - like if you normally "call her for dinner." Hearing your familiar voice may not bring her running, but it may remind her that your still there, with lots of good food. And absolutely talk to your neighbors - - if you have a picture of mama, that's great to show them. Ask them to look in their sheds/garages/etc - - and see if they'd be ok with you checking bushes, etc. in their yards (DO ask first on that last one!). And call all the local shelters/humane societies - - someone could have picked the whole family up and taken them somewhere like that, again, thinking they were helping her.

    Above all, don't give up! Truly - my guess is she's just moved them, and will likely move them back. Please please please keep us posted!!!!!

    (and here's a photo of Flick in her pink bed before she took off, and one of her after she came in - - to show you they DO often come back!!!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. kittychick

    kittychick TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Ohio
    (and as I feel I always have to say - - sorry such a long story - but hope it gives you a little comfort!)
     

  14. fionasmom

    fionasmom TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Los Angeles
    Mother cats will move kittens if they sense danger or have experienced a traumatic experience. This is not the best story, but I had a feral litter last year who took up residence under a neighbor's house. Very agreeable woman who did not want them harmed. However, the mom let them play at night on the front lawn and one night a coyote got one of the kittens. We did not see the mom or litter for several days but finally she returned with the three remaining kittens.

    I am so sorry that you are faced with this and understand your fear. I hope that they return or that you are able to locate them if someone has taken them.
     

  15. Salessi

    Salessi Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jun 16, 2019
    Thank you so much for the kind words and advice. I really appreciate it and I just love little flick. What a cutie.. Thank you for your time and support... I am still hopeful she'll return.
     
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  16. Salessi

    Salessi Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jun 16, 2019
    Thanks I am hopeful.. Trying not to think the worst...
     
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  17. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    No luck with the neighbors, I take it? :(
     
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  18. kittychick

    kittychick TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Ohio
    Fingers crossed still! I do hope you get a chance to talk to your neighbors. I know when we did when Flick disappeared - we were surprised at the number of neighbors who are extremely sympathetic and were willing to help look in their sheds/garages/etc. and willing to let me look in their bushes, etc. I had been very worried about even letting most of our neighbors know we were doing the TNR work, as I knew there was a vocal group that was VERY upset we even had feral cats in the neighborhood. But I was also very surprised that almost all of them - even those who'd been very vocal in their "anti-cat" rhetoric - when I explained what we were doing through TNR (so that the number didn't just keep growing and growing) and how we'd been finding homes for kittens, etc. - - - FAR more people were understanding and willing to help once they got that hubby and I weren't "crazy cat people" who just wanted to "feed and breed!" I think we actually made some converts!

    So keep looking - -don't give up! Hopefully talking with the neighbors, calling for her (like you do when it's feeding time) and putting out some mackerel will bring her back soon (or at least you find where she's moved to). I know I said it before - but try to keep in the back of your mind that mama cats often move kittens. Some mama cats (especially first-time moms who are extra nervous) move them often - -sometimes several times in a day! Mama's entire DNA is programmed to keep those babies safe at all costs - - - so she's likely moving them around.

    Just keep us posted - -we've all got our fingers and toes crossed for you!
     
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  19. Salessi

    Salessi Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jun 16, 2019
    Hi Friends,
    Thank you all for your great advice and support. Thank heaven! She's back! She came back with all 4 kittens day before yesterday. It's been so long I feared the worst. I was so relieved! But then
    the next day they disappeared again and this morning I only see 2 kittens. When she first came back two of the smaller kittens were still nursing. The 2 kittens I saw today are eating the food I put out for her. Hopefully the other kittens are ok. This is the original 4. Their eyes are now yellow like their mom's. The mom still hisses at me when I bring out the food but then comes right over to me. Very contradictory but I don't mind. I know she feels safe because she sleeps out in the open on my deck. I pray the other kittens show up. Do you think it's time to try to catch the kittens? Do you think they can be tamed? I have homes for them all. What should I do...thanks so much to all of you! So happy I found this site! Best Susan
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    Gee whiz, they're beautiful! I think they can be tamed, definitely :)

    I think wait a bit, since there are two kittens still nursing.
     

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