- 6 years ago
- Wedding: July 2013 - UK
People who have been following my posts on here will know that I am living in a remote jungle village in SE Asia, where I work. The village has a lot of feral and semi-feral cats, several of whom I have adopted.
Three days ago I went by the school and found a huge mother cat… seriously, cats here are small and this mum is about twice the size of the big male cats here. She had two kittens. She had been nesting in the kitchens, but the nest had been moved outside by the staff. They were not in a safe place, and there are a lot of semi-feral hunting dogs around who have eaten cats of mine before (hungry dogs are better hunters, so people do not feed them), so I caught them and moved all three to a big cardboard box nest in my room. The kittens are about 6 weeks old. Both will accept being syringe fed by me, and one has started to lap water from a dish and eat some solids. The other has not.
Mummy cat is extremely nervous and aggressive. I cannot even let her poke her head out of the door, or she will properly go for my other cats, even if they are quite a way away and minding their own business. Because of her size, she is a serious danger to my other cats. I am especially worried because I also have a 12 week old kitten. It is also quite stressful to care for the mother cat at times. Entering and leaving my room is like a military operation requiring careful planning.
There are pros and cons to keeping Mum around, and pros and cons to hand rearing the kittens.
Keep Mum: Mum will protect the kittens from other cats. If she goes, I will probably cage them at night, and allow my other cats to enter and exit. During the day, I will let them run free and keep my other cats out until they are about 12 weeks old. Caging has pros and cons as well… it will allow them to meet other cats in a safe environment, but one kitten is terrified if she is inside the cage and you put your hand in… it must be due to the light or something, as she is OK to be handled when she is in an open topped box.
Mum will also feed the kittens, although she is actively trying to wean them now and is pushing them away sometimes when they try to feed.
I only have about 2 weeks of hand rearing milk… once it’s gone, it’s gone, so they would have to be weaned by the time 2 weeks is up if I hand rear them! I also have an additional few weeks of kitten food, provided I reserve it for just them and my 12 week old.
Hand rear: Mum eats a lot, and I am worried about running out of cat food. Once it’s gone, it’s gone… I can’t get more and some of my animals need more than rice to live on.
Mum is also a fussy eater and hard to feed… she shows signs of restlessness when hungry as well, and is hard to contain. I then have to guess what it is she wants. Once she is restless, she tries to escape… and then immediately attacks the first cat she sees.
My other cats would not be in danger. In fact, I have decided that if she somehow gets free and goes for my 12 week old kitten, she will have to leave immediately.
I would not be in danger either… although she is coming around to me!
I am worried that the kittens will learn aggression from Mum. Now, they are happy to see me and be fed by me, but if Mum hisses then they start hissing as well.
Other factors: She has only been here for just under 72 hours, and has calmed down somewhat during that time. So she may get better. That said, I don’t think she will be OK with my other cats… ever… and I worry it’s not fair to them.
The longer I keep her, the more likely she is to return when I return her to the school… and the more likely she is to attack my other cats upon her return.
What are we thinking, guys? I think I can keep her for a maximum 7 more days before the food situation becomes so severe that she has to be returned to the school. How soon would you return her? Please help!