All About Marie
- Marie Hulett
- Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at www.blogtalkradio.com/petplace; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 18 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of one baby boy, and pet parent of three cats, two dogs, and a cockatoo.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Pregnant Cat Abandoned
Several months ago, my neighbors, who were in the process of moving, asked me if I wanted their cat. They said they could not take it with them. I told them I really couldn’t and suggested they try other avenues. A week later, they were gone and the cat was still there. I had no idea where they had moved, and I didn’t even know their last name to try and look them up. They had never been very friendly during the short time they lived in my complex. But I was shocked that they had abandoned their pet. I felt sorry for it and began feeding it. I had no intention of keeping her; but I couldn’t let her starve. Well, now it seems as though the cat is pregnant. I guess now, I’ve "decided" to keep her; but I can’t keep all the kittens. I do want to find them good homes though. Got any suggestions on how to make the job easier?
What a sad story; but unfortunately, not uncommon. We live in a society where our pets are considered disposable items. The fact that animals are thinking, feeling beings completely escapes so many people. This leads to cruelty, neglect, and abandonment, as in the case of this poor kitty. I know you would have preferred to adopt a pet when you were ready, but I commend you for opening up your home to this little girl. By asking for advice, you have demonstrated that you truly care and I am sure you will be a wonderful owner.
Now, to the matter at hand—the imminent arrival of kittens. First of all, keep the expectant mother indoors at all times. I can’t advocate enough, the importance of making all cats strictly house pets. There are too many dangers lurking outside, ranging from contagious viral diseases, to coyotes, to cars. Not to mention, it is strictly unlawful to allow your cat to roam onto the private property of others; this is a citable offense. (I have mentioned this in previous columns.) As the mama kitty approaches her due-date, she will want to find a safe place to give birth. If she is an outdoor pet, chances are, she will roam far from home to find that safe place. Many mother cats are lost during this critical time period.
When the special event finally occurs, make sure you provide nutritious food for mama-kitty. She’ll need an extra good diet in order to produce nutritious milk for her kittens. Begin handling the babies as soon as possible. Studies have demonstrated that kittens who are handled and stroked several times a day from birth, grow up to be affectionate and highly bonded to human beings.
At about eight weeks of age, the kittens can be placed in homes. Check with family and friends for potential adoptive families. If you have no luck here, place an add in a local paper, advertising the kittens. Under no circumstances should you state the kittens are “Free to good homes.” There are too many unscrupulous individuals who you may have heard described as “bunchers.” These are people who collect domestic pets and sell them to research facilities. Often, they pose as "charming pet lovers" who just want a new kitten or puppy. You have the right to check up on anyone who wants to adopt one of your kittens. Ask for identification. Check and see where the individual lives. Ask for references. Beware of anyone who wants to take the whole litter.
Finally, collect money for the kittens. This gives the cats some perceived “worth” to the individuals who adopt them. (You might even collect a spay and neuter deposit for each kitten to make sure the new owners have their pets sterilized. We absolutely do not want the new generation to further add to the already overwhelming pet overpopulation problem!) When you are satisfied that all the kittens have been placed in good homes, take your mama kitty directly to the veterinarian to have her spayed! Then, relax and enjoy a wonderful life with your new friend.