So many questions - but how can I entertain a feral kitten?

2 dozen

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How wonderful you have homes waiting for the kittens. Can't wait!
 
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anticus

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All we had to do was show a picture of Pumpkin and tell a story about how smart Midnight is and the deals were done!
 
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Pumpkin has been very affectionate today. She actually played with me, but because Midnight played first. Thank God for him showing her the way. She has not accepted the room that I created for her. She investigates then runs out and I don't know why. There is a birthing box, a cat tree by a window, a litter box, various toys, a Chewy box with the paper packaging, a scratching post and other stuff. She is not interested. This is the only acceptable place in the house for her to give birth and it is stressful that she does not like it. I just know that she is going to have the litter in our bedroom closet and neither of us will be able to wear clothes again. Might as well move to Calcutta.

She has not been outside in days. It is amazing to think that a month ago she was full-on feral. Her transformation happened so quickly. One issue, and I may have written about this before, is when I am petting her, she flomps over onto her side and then reaches for my hand/arm, I suspect to guide me to where she wants to be petted, but due to a medication I am on, I turn into a slasher film victim. I stop petting her immediately and leave to give her the impression that I stop when she reaches for me, but I just don't think this is a long-term solution. I WANT her to have contact with me the way Midnight does. He is surprisingly gentle. I just don't know how to teach her. I think our relationship might hit a plateau if she is unable to touch me. Hopefully when we have her nails cut it will be better.

Midnight has his first vet appointment tomorrow. We are hoping they can provide a ballpark figure for how old he is. They are going to do an annual for him, test him for stuff, but not neutered yet. I am not looking forward to trying to get him in the carrier a second time.
 

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I had a cat give birth in a bedroom closet, no problem. No smell, no mess, like nothing had occurred. Seems like she loves you as much as you love her. Good luck with midnight's trip to the vet. So glad you have him now.
 
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Thanks, @2dozen - we are super thrilled he is part of the family. I really worry about betraying his trust when taking him to the vet. However I had to reschedule the visit. We are going to get several things done in one visit.

I had a good day with Pumpkin today. It's storming out so it was a good day to lay around. Dr. Wifey is working from home today and spread out her stuff on the dining room table, adjacent to the parlor where Pumpkin mainly hangs out. She likes having Dr. Wifey so close. However that meant I couldn't play with her because it would disrupt, but every time I passed through I would spend time with Pumpkin, giving her pets. She discovered how nice chin and throat pets can be. It was peaceful and it makes me feel good to give her some comfort and physical attention. She's probably a week away from giving birth.

I put two more litter boxes in the house; one upstairs in a nook adjacent to our guest bedroom that used to be a kitchenette and one in the room we want her to inhabit for the birth and nursing, which is our utility room just off the kitchen. I bought her another scratching post that she seemed interested in when I unboxed it - it is just a simple carpeted post on a base, but the packaging didn't include the screw needed to assemble it! The washer and allen wrench were there, but no screw. Ugh.

I am thinking of giving a piece of liver to cook for her since I suspect she needs some iron. Thoughts about that?
 

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I am not knowledgeable on nutrition, but I understand kitten food is good for pregnant cats, as is animal protein. My own diet is very deficient as I am a vegetarian who doesn't care for vegetables. I live on junk food. Dear husband makes his own meals as I don't cook, I microwave frozen vegetarian dinners nfor myself. When he makes pasta I eat that with him but he is a committed carnivore! Here is something I just googled:
What is the Best Diet for a Pregnant Cat? (animalwised.com)
 
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anticus

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I am not knowledgeable on nutrition, but I understand kitten food is good for pregnant cats, as is animal protein. My own diet is very deficient as I am a vegetarian who doesn't care for vegetables. I live on junk food. Dear husband makes his own meals as I don't cook, I microwave frozen vegetarian dinners nfor myself. When he makes pasta I eat that with him but he is a committed carnivore! Here is something I just googled:
What is the Best Diet for a Pregnant Cat? (animalwised.com)
Wow @2dozen! That is challenging!!!! My wife is also not a fan of meat but also not a fan of vegetables, so I get it. Her diet is that of an 8-year-old. Mac & cheese. Onion rings. When she wants fast food she takes the meat out of the burger and eats the bread and cheese. So I get it.
 
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Pumpkin played with me for about 30 minutes today. In the past, she has been afraid of every toy I've tried. Even balled up paper. But today I started with the laser pointer and she responded immediately. After a few minutes of that, I switched to a wand toy and she was ready to stalk and pounce on it. I mean, she was still afraid of it a few times, but I had her engaged for half an hour. Midnight slept in a box. I exchanged the scratching post and assembled it, and she has zero interest in it. Sigh.
 
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Another update: This time it's litter box related. No real issue, but both Pumpkin and Midnight are using the same box. I have four around the house - two of those in the same bathroom. It's a small downstairs bathroom and the large boxes are across from each other on opposing walls. Pumpkin was the first to use one. Then Midnight chose the other box and Pumpkin followed because she wants to do everything he does. So they both use the same box and the other is ignored. I presume this isn't an issue since it is her choice?

I played with her a bit more today. Dr Wifey is working from home so my activity is limited to avoid distraction, but I do quietly pet Pumpkin whenever I pass through so she won't feel ignored. Today is Day 57 of pregnancy. She hasn't shown any interest in her two birthing rooms or boxes. However yesterday she walked over to the box Midnight was peacefully sleeping in and she bonked him on the head! They had a spat, naturally, then I played with her a bit. I hesitate to engage her with lots of physical activity because she is one plump loaf.
IMG_0423.JPG
 
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anticus

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Day 60 of Pumpkin's pregnancy. She has been very needy, which I am okay with. I will give her a massage for 30 minutes if she'll let me, just a slow pet to let her know that I am not going to hurt her and that I will protect her. She let me kiss her on the forehead today.

A prominent local dentist with a large social media presence asked if he could feature Pumpkin for his Pet of the Week, and I agreed. Although I don't quite consider her a pet yet. Also yes she has an Instagram account.

I just want her to be happy again.

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anticus

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Pumpkin squeaks every time I touch her. Squeaking is her voice, and this is not new. I don't know what it means. Is it "hello," or a positive reaction, or something else. She is not very communicative. She is good at letting me know where she wants to be pet, but other than telling me when it is meal time, I don't often know what she wants. Dr Wifey thinks Pumpkin has been telling her that she's scared, but we are trying our best to provide her with the best possible situation for her birthing. She's safe, she's fed, she's warm, she's loved. The thing is: I doubt she will let us pick her up if needed, like if she needed emergency help. We haven't tried to yet, as we don't want to handle her while pregnant, but I think our trust isn't that strong yet, and that makes us nervous.

She cries a lot at night, and Dr Wifey and I take turns attending to her. Eventually we will just let her be but as she is so close to giving birth we want her to be as comfy as possible. Last night, I gave her some pets, then settled down on the floor with her to go to sleep. She wasn't so interested. She wanted to play or eat, I think, but it was 4am and it wasn't time for either. Maybe I should have played with her, but I need to find games and toys that interest her beyond the laser pointer. I bought one of those treat puzzles, where she has to detect where the treat is and open a compartment and she is not interested in it, but yesterday Midnight made short business of it. It is supposed to be difficult but he attacked it like he had invented it. Like if there was a competition, he would have won it.

Here's a short clip of Midnight attending to her.
 
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Pumpkin had her kittens on Tuesday. Five big beautiful kittens. She was amazing! She did everything herself - and it was all perfect. We are so proud of her. She is a loving and committed mama. AND she has been tremendous - she is a loving mama.
 

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anticus

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I cannot adequately express the joy I feel when I see Pumpkin now and she runs up to me to head bunt me and rub her cheek on my face. I thought it would never happen. Now it is a regular occurrence.

Dr. Wifey is interfering too much, in my opinion, with the kittens. She is concerned that they are too cold, aren't eating enough, etc. but it is making Pumpkin nervous and she is looking for another spot in the house to move them. I have begged her to curtail her curiosity, but I am on the losing side here.

Pumpkin is a wonderful mother. I wonder what her reaction will be if/when we keep one of her kittens. Midnight wants nothing to do with being in the house now, which disturbs me. He used to spend all day lounging inside and now he wants to eat and leave. It is going to make it difficult when he gets snipped in a few weeks.

Pumpkin looks so tiny now. She has lost nearly all of her baby weight. I'm so used to her being a chonky loaf!

IMG_3716.JPG
 
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Here is another question for the experience masses: should I get a playpen for the kittens? We intend to re-home all but one at 8 weeks but will need a dedicated space for them to hang out between 4-8 weeks? Will they still live in the birthing box until 6 weeks?

We didn't really think this through properly and our house is not kitten-proof. He have two rooms they can have for themselves but neither of them is the room where the birthing box is (our parlor). Tomorrow is the one week birthday of the little furballs. They are actually not so little.
 

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Get the Pumpkin family into one of those nice rooms right away. Kitten proof the room as the kittens will leave the nest at around 3 weeks of age to begin toddling and exploring. They do not need a play pen.

They will still be too small for whole house access and will still eat only from mama until they are 5-6 weeks old. Eight weeks is too young to separate them from mom. Twelve to 14 weeks is better as they learn kitten manners from mom. Mom should be spayed when the kittens are 8 weeks old.

You’ll see over time who mom favors most and that is the kitten you should keep. I advise spaying and neutering all the kittens at 12 weeks before they are re-homed.

You’ll have weaning to soft foods questions and litter training questions as things move along, so keep them all in this same thread.
 
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anticus

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Oh wow! I was under the impression that 8 weeks was when the kittens could be re-homed, so thank you for the correction. That is also an excellent suggestion about keeping Pumpkin's favorite.

Another question: At 8 weeks do you think we can move the kittens from one room to the other? One of them is much larger than the other, but is our mud room/utility room, which currently gets down to 50 or 60 degrees at night. In 6 weeks it will be warm all the time. Or should we continue to confine them to the smaller room?
 

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“Thanks, Sarthur! You don't think Pumpkin will be confused by moving her and the kittens to a room she hasn't chosen herself? I feel like she might freak out if I pick up her birthing box and walk away with it. While she and I are close, we don't communicate as clearly as I do with Midnight.“

Answer: Pumpkin may not like it at first, but she will adjust to the move. Move her food, water, and litter into the room first, then move the box with her babies. She will follow. The door is to be closed for now, though you can visit and she can come out for breaks if she wants to.
 

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Put them in the warmer room and let them stay there until they are weaned, which is usually around 6 weeks. They will still nurse mom, but at that point you can decide how much of the house they can explore. What size is the room? Is it a bedroom? I think I need clarification on the 2 rooms available.
 
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anticus

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Sarthur2 Sarthur2 The warmer and smaller room is a 6x6 kitchenette off of the guest bedroom upstairs that we would gate closed. It's no longer a functioning kitchenette and it most likely was a closet for another owner. The utility room/mud room is a 12x6 area but has a door to the outside and is not air conditioned/heated but is insulated. The parlor, where they are now is a 15x15 room, quiet, and dark when the drapes are closed (which has been always since Pumpkin arrived). The birthing box is by the fireplace, next to where Pumpkin used to sleep. I made 5 boxes and that is the one she chose. It is not a high traffic area even though the only occupants are Dr Wifey and me and Pumpkin has been pretty content there, but it is an open room with an entry off the foyer and to the dining room.

I don't think we are ever going to let all the kittens roam the entire house. There are too many nooks and places to hide and get lost. Pumpkin has had free reign and while she has explored every room before the kittens were born, she prefers to spend her time in the parlor.
 
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Sarthur2

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Just be advised that everything changes when the kittens are close to 3 weeks old. You’ll see! 😊
 
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