Friday, April 17, 2015

Kittens, kittens, where are the kittens??



For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you know that when I walked into the kitten room yesterday morning two of the kittens were outside of the basket I am using for a nest for the family. It was so funny watching the two of them swim around the room because they were unable to get their feet underneath them that I had to run back upstairs to get my phone to take some photos and video that I shared on Instagram.

I picked up the kittens and gave them a once over, they seemed totally fine and I put them back in the basket and went off to work.

I brought up the dropcam website and scrolled back through the night to see when the kittens got out of the basket. I was expecting to find they climbed out, but it turns out Mina pulled them out of the basket herself.




I cobbled the video together of what happened. It started at 8 AM and I first went into see them at 8:30ish, so they weren't out for long so I was even less worried. The fact that she attempted to take The Kraken out and got distracted while doing it made me think she simply wanted out of the basket, possibly because I hadn't changed the bedding and it was really starting to smell like her and the kittens - a dangerous thing when there are predators about. I made mental note to change it out when I got home.

Then sometime in the early afternoon she ended up moving all five of them out of the basket and put them under the couch where she hung out so often when she was pregnant.

When you share things like this on social media, you often get advice as to what is going wrong and what you should do. I was told more than once that there must be something wrong with the two kittens she "kicked out" of the nest. One person even stated that I should remove them and hand rear them before Mina smothered them. There was also some speculation that the basket was just too small for the growing family (this has actually been speculated on several times over the past couple of weeks)

I share this as a starting point of a discussion. As you can see by my archives over there, I've been fostering since 2002.  I have no idea how many mothers I've fostered nor how many cats have given birth at my house (I do need to go back through my archives though because I have wondered that many times) but I know it has been a lot.

In my experience, cats do not abandoned kittens because there is 'something wrong' with them. I have had a few younger mothers with larger litters have issues but more because they were overwhelmed with the number of mouths to feed. They have a tendency to move the kittens they want to keep to a new nest while leaving some others behind. When I find that happening I will get some goat milk and feed mom as well as do a feeding with all of the kittens once or twice a day. This is simply a supplement to the nutritious milk that mom provides, and gives her a bit of a break. I would also double up on the monitoring and making sure they are well fed and are gaining weight to try to head off any serious problems.

I have also experienced mother cats care for and protect kittens that had no hope of survival. I had a mother cat continue to love and care for a kitten that had 'something wrong' and who had no hope of getting past her 12 week.

So to simply assume that a kitten outside of the nest has something wrong is a pure myth that needs to die; people need to stop making and sharing that assumption. If I were new to fostering and I had listened to the woman who said that Mina would smother her kittens I would have deprived them of several weeks of the nutrition that mom provides and would have put them on a milk replacer, many of which are made with sugar based and or GMO ingredients. It would have also deprived them of critical socialization time with their siblings. Yes this happens to orphan kittens all the time and they grow up 'just fine' but we really do not know the long term effects. Kitten milk replacer is so very helpful when there is no other options, but in this - and many other instances - we have the option to leave the kits with the mom.

As for the not having enough room, when given choices, mother cats often choose small spaces for their families. I've had a few mothers choose to move their families from where I have them to smaller spaces. They like to keep their kittens close.

So in this case, where were the kittens?? &When I got home from work Mina was sitting in front of the empty basket (see first photo up there at the top of this post)

this cat bed was peeking out from under the couch
Mina apparently isn't very good at the hide part of hide and seek
LADY!! we was sleepin!
The Kraken really does make me laugh
the space they are in vs the space they were in
and they are back in the basket.. but with new bedding
As you can see I changed out the old bedding and I also turned the heat back on in the room. I had turned it off because we have been having such warm weather, but apparently it has been getting cold at night, so part of me wonders if she didn't move them for reasons of warmth. If she moves them again overnight, I will just move the camera to wherever they are and deal with it and maybe I'll set them up in the cage over the weekend and see if that helps.

What cat myths do you wish would stop being spread

17 comments:

  1. Went and watched the video it was so damn adorable

    ReplyDelete
  2. you're a wise lady with great instincts,xx Rachel

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have complete faith in you and your ability to manage moms and kittens... the only one I trust just as much is my breeder, who has never lost a kitten in 30 years.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've retyped this comment a few times, but all I want to say is: You Know Best. Keep your own counsel, and read those FB comments with a smile; easier to ignore them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, but I prefer not to ignore them. I consider each one an opportunity to share experiences. We are all here to learn from one another. When I first started out on my journey to learn more about the creatures I invited to inhabit my home, I ran into a woman who was going to feed raw, and I asked her "why since my vet says..." and she didn't have an explanation. If she had, if I had listened, my cats would have gotten on raw years earlier and I might have spared my cats some of the health issues they have gone through.

      I want to be the person that says "well because".. and explain why I believe the way I do, so maybe just maybe myths will start go fade away..

      Delete
  5. No matter how many "perfect" nesting spots I set up, seems the Mama cats always choose the one place I wish they wouldn't! Ha. As far as myths so, I've had people freak out that a mama was trying to "kill" her kittens, when in fact she was just grooming or playing with them. I've never had a mama flat out reject a kitten. Some mama/kitten behavior CAN be alarming if you haven't been exposed to it ("why are all the babies nursing right now except for THAT one?!"), so I try to take the comments with a grain of salt. Bottom line is, I'm doing it and they're not, so ... If people think they can do a better job of it than I can, super! Volunteer! We need more foster homes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. like giving birth in the closet over my nice clean sheets.. yeah, that they do. :)

      Delete
  6. There are so many myths about cats that I dislike. . .but the biggest one is that you "must" declaw them. Don't even get me started. . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that is a good one. My other is the dry food cleans teeth one..

      Delete
    2. AAARGH. THAT one hit our mom's button!!!! Dry food...grrrrrrrrrrrrr

      Delete
  7. ah the joys of the internet....more advice that we can ever want or need. :)

    sounds like Mina knows what she is doing and is in good hands. and like you, The Kraken kracks us up :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. One of the best things about your website is all the great information from experience you share. Mina is such a good Mom.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The kitties trust you, we trust you, and fortunately you trust yourself and your experience : that's all that matters. Purrs

    ReplyDelete
  10. This sounds like a job for The Crepes Case! I wish people would stop thinking they have to dump their cats when they have a baby. - Crepes.

    ReplyDelete
  11. We trust your judgement and we know you're taking the best care of those kits. Won't be long now before those kits will be on the move themselves.

    The myth we wish would stop is that cats suck the breath out of babies. Really???

    ReplyDelete
  12. I too have done tons of cat/kitten rescue, LOTS of mama's and babies born here over the years. Sometimes there is no reason why mama moves them that I could figure out. I had one mama that continuously opened the bathroom cabinet under the sink and put the kittens in there and then shut the cabinet door. She would go in and feed them and sometimes leave the door open too. She just liked them in that cabinet even if there was nothing in there but the hard wood. I had to put a babylock on it cause I was terrified a head/neck would get caught in the door when it was closing. Do you think Mina wants them less in the open maybe? It was the only thing I could try to reason with the mama cat I had with the cabinet door.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Those kittens are adorable and we think their mom and you are giving them excellent care. Bless you for all the kittens you have cared for and saved. Hugs and nose kisses

    ReplyDelete

All spam will be fed to the kittens

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...