Sunday, March 28, 2010
Newborns -- Lots to learn about feral mothers
We have newborns... this breaks most of the rules of welfare groups, which mainly want to abort all kittens, period, end of discussion.
Generally KWCS goes along with this practice when trapping, since it is how it's done, but we truly do hope that someday soon each cat/kitten life is so precious that no one will kill them in utero, but will spay neuter as early as possible after birth.
That said, a few weeks ago, I agreed to take in a very pregnant feral mother. The colony caretaker loves her (untouchable and wild as she is) and has dragged his feet on TNR because he just hates the whole idea of trapping. This mom has had 4-5 litters already, and the colony has produced MANY kittens... I am working with the people to get the whole thing under control and everything fixed, and thus, I said, okay I will let her have the babies, then we'll get her fixed and the rest of them.
I waited, and waited for her to give birth, 2 weeks!!! Yesterday I went into her room, and Surprise, 3 newborns in a carrier all snuggly. She was over under a bookcase. Well, a few hours later a fourth... that was this morning. Unfortunately one was dead, lying apart from the others. She again was under the bookcase. I saw her nursing them yesterday, but am still concerned that she's not with them constantly. They MUST have warmth and food now to survive. Especially warmth.
I removed the dead kitten, and went to get my heating pad for the carrier. When I got back to set it up, Surprise, a 5th kitten! She apparently is going under the bookcase to deliver them, then cleans them up and deposits them in the carrier.
Then my concern was that instead of feeding them, she was off waiting for another one to be born in her birthing area. So I went and mixed up some KMR and with trepidation (not sure about interfering with this whole natural process but dreading finding another dead one because she could not manage birthing and feeding simultaneously) went to give them each a small amount of kitten milk. Each one did drink a bit. One even pooped for me (celebrate!)...
They are now sleeping in a bundle on the heating pad in a carrier, while mom is about 2 feet away under her bookcase. Will she have a sixth? A seventh????
If you are interested in this little family, let me know. These kittens all have unusual markings and will be beautiful pets (assuming they survive these crucial first few weeks!)...