SO and I took in a pregnant stray kitty a few weeks ago and she had three kittens Friday. She loffed them and rarely left the box they were in. This morning however, she was carrying them all over the house, sticking them under the desk and bookcase and growling at me when I tried to put them back in their box. (Box was in its own corner with covered litter box, cat food, and baby gate to keep the dogs and other cat away from them.)
She finally decided they could stay there, so I went to the barn, left the dogs at home for the three hours I was gone, and came back to find three dead kittens in the living room. I'm assuming mama kitty took the kittens back over the baby gate again (the dogs respect baby gates 150% and the corner is all but impossible for one of them to jump into and get back out) and the dogs thought the small squeaking things would be fun to play with, not realizing that when you're 40 pounds and the tiny kittens are less than a pound, they can't be carried around.
So now mama kitty is really stressing out about her babies. She ran right to the door when I got home and has been following me around meowing and wanting to be held nonstop. Is there anything I can do to help her calm down? I feel really bad for her!
I would imagine in time she will calm down and be less stressed but is there a shelter in your area that might have a kitten she could adopt? That would give her an outlet for her maternal instincts.
It won't help now, but I have found that when a mother kitty decides to move her litter it is best to let her do so, they usually will just keep moving the kittens to the place she has selected every time you put them back.
Good idea about finding a litter of motherless kittens. The shelters/rescues won't let you adopt such young ones, but even better, they will let you foster, and be grateful you have a lactating mother. Call and see; it is round two of kitten season in these parts, and there are lots of needy kittens.
Oh, that's awful. And yes, the mother will move the kittens around, and it's best not to try and move them back, but obviously, barn door, horses, gone, etc. If you can find a way to keep her and any foster kittens in a place where she can't get access to the dogs, I would see if the shelter has any kittens in need of a foster mother. Just be careful about introducing them.
How awful! I'm sorry for your (and your kitties) loss. I would contact a shelter and see if they have an abandoned litter she can foster.
If you find a litter, please find a more private place for the mother. Even if the dogs can't get to her, a small corner with lots of activity behind the baby gate is a stressful place. Also, cats don't like to eat, use the litter box, and raise kittens all in one small place. If you have a quiet, dog free room, she'll likely leave the kittens in the box.
I called the shelter, but they didn't have any kittens young enough. I left my number with them though, in case something comes up in the next few days. She's currently running around the house like a maniac after a jungly ball and she doesn't seem to be moping so much.
I kept her in the corner (it's more like a little hallway) because our tiny house has a really open floor plan, and the only room I could lock her in would be the closet sized bathroom or our bedroom. Everything else just flows into another room with no doors. As...understanding....(read: sucker) as SO is about my animal hoarding (read: even bigger sucker), he drew the line at kittens in the bedroom. I did, however, convince him to let her sleep with us for the past two nights where she promptly buried herself under the covers and slept between us all night.
Thanks for the suggestions. She'll be getting spayed in two weeks so at least we won't have kitten drama again anytime soon.