Easter Kittens In My Flower Bed!!!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by donna723, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Now what do I do? And why do some cats pick such stupid places to have kittens?!?! I haven't had to contend with this problem for a long time, but what do you do if a cat has picked the absolute worst spot possible to have a litter of kittens!

    She's a "first-timer", one of two little female cats remaining from a litter that was born under my house just about this same time last year. But at least their mother had sense enough to give birth to them under the house where it's warm and dry! There is a calico kitty and a gray one, but only the calico appeared to be pregnant. Friday afternoon I went out and put a brick border around my hostas and filled the bed with wood chips. By Friday evening both cats were curled up asleep in the flower bed on top of the wood chips. They are only technically "my" cats - neither one has ever allowed me to touch them - I'm just the nice lady who puts food and water out for them every day. Today I went out to pick up things in the yard before it's mowed ... The calico cat got up out of the flower bed and there are four newborn kittens that were under her! And the kittens are all gray, like the other cat!

    This is the worst place in the world to have kittens! They are right out in the open and it's been below freezing four nights in a row! Worse, this is in a "V" shaped corner space right off my little back porch where all the water runs off the roof when it rains! This house is ancient and there's an old (capped off) cistern under the porch that used to be used to catch the water that runs off the roof like a fire hose! This little porch is built like a deck with slight gaps between the boards ... the water runs right through!

    Not that I need kittens, but these poor little guys are either going to freeze to death or drown the first time it rains! There's a nice dry shed less than 15 feet away, but the cats have no interest in that at all. Anybody have any experience with this? If I move them, she'll probably move them right back. Any bright ideas?

    I've already discounted my son's idea of claiming that they are short-earred bunnies and giving them away to the first four kids that come down the street!
  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    If you make it known the you are around and that you make "threatening" advances toward them, she will most likely move them. If you find coyote pee (you can find this for your garden) around, she will definitely move them.

    I had this problem in my other house. First time moms would keep their litter under my shed. My dog would go nuts. The first time I made sure the mother knew I was there and she moved them, hissing at me. The second time it happened, I would go out to peek at them. One time I found half a kitten. Something severed it in half. It was gross. The mother moved all of the kittens right after that.

    Coyote pee keeps deer away and other critters. Unfortunately, it makes my dog nuts too. It smells awful!
  3. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    short eared bunny rabbits? :rofl:

    Imagine a kid going home and saying "look mommy, a nice lady gave me a short eared bunny rabbit. They are very rare."
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'd try Loth's suggestion and maybe put out something more appropriate for her to use as a shelter for the kittens. Maybe a rubbermaid box with a blanket in it or something.

    Short ear bunnies, huh? Too cute. :rofl:
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Well, son and I tried to move them a little bit further under the porch hoping the mama(s) would take them all the way under. It must be dry all the way back under there because the mama cats stay under there when it rains. We took two soft old t-shirts and my son put them as far back under the porch as his l-o-n-g arms would reach, then he put the kittens in to this little "nest", while the mama(s) watched from about 10 feet away. When I went out again, the calico had moved one back out onto the wood chips but she was back in the "nest" with the other three.

    We moved that one back in closer to the rest and left again. Next time I checked, they were all under the porch with BOTH mama cats curled up around them. So at this point, I'm not even sure which one of them had the kittens! The kittens all look exactly alike - gray with darker gray on their heads. The calico cat was definately pregnant, the grey cat was a "possible". So who knows!
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Awwwww. Glad to hear their where it is dry and warmer now. Hope Mama cat has the sense enough to keep them there.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's quite possible that both cats are mothering them. And as you discovered, you can move them with varying success. Sometimes you just have to be persistent. husband's childhood cat would refuse to use the special pen they had set up for the kittens and they watched her move them, worried she would snap their necks when she jumped with them (she was never light on her feet - a big, fluffy Persian).

    I had a feral cat that I adopted when I was a uni student. She had her litter of kittens under my bed, but I was able to move them into a nearby window seat with no trouble. I just kept the lid up on the window seat all the time, so mother cat could get in and out but the babies couldn't.

    We used to breed corgis when I was a kid. The people next door were even more keen breeders. One of ours had pups at about the same time that one of theirs had a caesarean delivery. Our female was 'borrowed', with her pups, to help nurse for the female who still had stitches and couldn't feed her own pups. Ours would let the other mother in with the pups too, but any other canine was kept away by our dog because she was so protective. She seemed to know that the other mother had a right to her babies and both dogs ended up looking after both litters with no squabbles between them. At weaning time we had no difficulty separating them.

    Some animals can be more generous than you think.

  8. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Well it sounds like things are working out. Do you have a ccapture spay and release program in your area? I would call them in about 8 weeks if you do. Otherwise you will be over run with cats. -RM
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Boy, oh boy, talk about a hot topic in this household!

    (I'm backing up and inserting here, just to be sure that I am not misunderstood. I understand that you are talking about feral cats that you did not purchase or purposely adopt. I realize that some people feel "That's just what cats do". I disagree wholeheartedly. That's what any animal (human, too) will do if left out with no food or shelter. Shame on whoever left those cats out there to fend for themselves!)

    We are personally of the belief that there is no such thing as an outdoor pet. There are farm animals, including dogs and cats that work the animals and the barn, but no outdoor dogs or cats. Feral dogs are to be picked up by animal control. Feral cats are a huge problem that no one is adressing. There are a lot of goofy numbers out there about cats multiplying exponentially, but realistically, a feral female can be the matriarch of a family of anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 in a 7 year period.


    I know it's tempting to feed them, but we don't. It only makes them healthy enough to reproduce. They also are a danger to have around in that they can spread "cat scratch fever" (Yes, it's not just a song!) which can be very severe.

    We had a neighbor who trapped cats and brought them to the humane societies. Other neighbors got angry because some of their "pets" got trapped and taken away. But those cats were 5 acres away from home, without a collar or identification. Believe you me, if my dog was in their yard, not only would my neighbor report me, but animal control would come get him, free of charge. Not to mention how unpopular I would be if my dog was pooping in the neighbor's yard and having litters of puppies uncontrolled!

    I hope that you will be able to get this mama and her brood to a responsible organization to take care of them. I don't like feral cats, but even I don't like to see them suffer and fend for themselves in the elements.
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    These aren't really "wild" cats. For at least a year after I moved into this house there were two little gray striped cats that were always playing in my yard. I would see them out in the yard in the evenings chasing lightning bugs. I never fed them. Then the winter before last when it was really cold they started sitting on my window AC unit and staring in at me - really pitiful. I felt sorry for them and started feeding them. Then last spring, I looked out one day and there were four tiny kittens on my porch trying to chew the dry cat food. When they got older, one by one they wandered off and these two were the only ones left, two of the kittens. So they were born here under my house and I've always fed them. If I were patient enough and had enough time, I probably could have gotten them used to being handled, if I had started when they were little.

    Actually, my dog, Ragan, considers them to be "hers". She worries about them when they're not around and comes to get me to feed them if she thinks I'm taking my time too much. Then I have to leave the back door open so she can look out the glass storm door and watch them eat! I would miss them if they were gone. And this was my fourth winter in this house and the very first one where there were no mice in the house! :biggrin:
  11. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    A "feral" cat is a domesticated cat that has been abandoned by it's owner, and/or it's offspring. Hope you find someone to help.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree with you about feral animals, witzend. They're a huge problem for us too. My cat when I was a student - she was pregnant to bursting when she adopted me and I found homes for her three kittens and did my best to organise spaying.

    I later adopted another feral kitten and had him spayed as soon as he was old enough. Unfortunately, he was too wild and moved away from me and in with a little old lady who fed him tinned sardines. At least he wouldn't be increasing the population, though.

    Our family's favourite cats - my brother brought them home from a farm he did a health inspection on. The farmer happily gave him these kittens, who had been born in an outlying shed - feral cats would move in and he would go round and eradicate every so often. But these two cats were firm friends for many years. They grew up with our dog and all three would play together. We had all three spayed, too. And for feral cats, these were so tame and loving, it was amazing. I've seen a lot of feral cats remain wild no matter what you do - not this pair. They became inside cats, very content to be cuddled in front of the TV every night.

    We now live too close to wilderness to have any carnivorous pet. I would love a cat, but the wildlife here is too precious. A neighbour had an inside cat down the road but it still hunted. One day it brought in what the neighbour thought was a baby ringtail possum. It wasn't - it was a rare pygmy possum, a tiny thing with big trusting eyes that would fit into the palm of the hand. That neighbour lives right next to one of only two colonies known in Sydney. And a bell on the collar won't protect these little possums - they hibernate when they sleep, every day. The only reason the cat didn't kill it is because it thought it was already dead. But the possum woke up as the warmth from my hand warmed it. I gave it a feed of nectar and then told my neighbour to let it go where he found it, and keep the cat inside from then on. He was insistent that he loves animals and loves wildlife, but couldn't see the problems his cat could cause.