Fostering cats can be an extremely rewarding experience, with the sure knowledge that you are making a difference by offering the hope of life to unfortunate cats that would otherwise be euthanized in kill shelters.
Have you ever fostered a pregnant queen? Was it a cat that showed up at your door, or did you work with a cat rescue group? Would you do anything differently the next time around? Share your experiences for the benefit of readers contemplating becoming a cat foster. Note:This form is not for asking questions or replying to another reader. Think of it as your own mini-article on the About.com Cat site.
New Fosterer Here
- I just started fostering for the first time, last night. I brought home, from the no-kill shelter, a momma kitty, with five of her own young, and four surrogates that she seemed okay with nursing at the shelter. My biggest fear is that the kittens who aren't hers will receive less sufficient care...though when I arrange regular feeding, she doesn't seem to mind the kitten swap...I allow her to nurse her five and then swap them out for the other four. She's not keen on the kittens being in the bathtub (with heating pad and thermometer to ensure their body temps stay constant), but when she tried to move them under the bathroom sink, she couldn't open the cabinet door AND hold the kitten, so she put it back. My other concern is that the kittens that aren't hers are also a few days younger, and therefore probably didn't get the benefits of colostrum with their initial nursing. Time will tell...this is definitely an adventure!
- —Guest Nikki
- A month or two ago i saw a calico cat on our farm. I started to feed her and noticed that she looked like she had had kittens recently. She was very skinny and scared. After a while i found 3 little kittens in a old hollowed out tree. After they grew a little i found their dad that i still haven't been able to catch yet. I sent all the kittens to my brothers but 1, the littlest one. Now named Lilly.( Still unsure about her/ his sex). Now the kitten is healthy and strong. I have not caught her/ his Dad yet but i think i will soon. Now they all have a happy family.
- —Guest EKJ
Hey There, Delilah
- Last year, my friend's cat had kittens. I immediately said I would take one. I lived half a state away, but when it came time (when his father threatened to drown the two remaining), my sister went to get Delilah, and left as well with her ginger brother, Franky. They are both beautiful cats, but Delilah got pregnant (we suspect to two or three different cats, as one of the kittens looks like our feral, Neville Longbottom, and she already carries the ginger gene, so we'll never know). The four kittens that were born are a source of joy - Sebastian, Sunday, Matilda and the previously-named Susan Sto Helit, who happens not to be a girl, so I think we will call him either Greebo, Death or Tomjon. Terry Pratchett reference, of course. When I move, I plan to ask the protection society in Sydney if they have any pregnant queens that need care, or any black kittens that need a home (sadly, black cats are rarely ever adopted).
- —Guest KittyLovett
Just a little heat . . .
- Dear Prudence, a pregnant stray torti I brought home from a construction site; was set her up in a nice room of her own to give birth to and raise her kittens, but she would still try to dash out to attack our other two cats, Rosie and Charley. To avoid this chase-and-hiss drama, I put a baby gate in front of the door, so when I opened it I would at least have a chance of getting in and shutting the door before she got out. Eventually, when her kittens were old enough, we introduced them to the other cats (with mom still in her room). Aunt Rosie and Uncle Charley took to the kittens, grooming them and playing with them. Pru got used to their smell on her kittens, but still intimidated the other cats whenever she had the chance. About 7 weeks after giving birth, she came into heat and started “putting the moves” on sweet, neutered Charley, complete with butt-lifting, purring, and chirping while creeping close to him. He didn’t know what to think! Pru was spayed right after her estrus cycle.
Blessings and Sorrows
- After fostering for a local shelter for almost ten years, I've gone through more births then I can count. It is so much fun when everything goes right, watching kits open their eyes and take their first steps, but so many things can - and do - go wrong. It pains me to see people wanting to breed their cats (who are often still kittens) to "have the experience" not realizing that many cats do not live through it. I've been fortunate that none of my mother cats have lost the battle of birthing babies, but too many kits have passed because they did not have a proper start to life. People balk at me when I suggest spaying a newly pregnant cat, but I've seen too many little lives come into this world and not make it, and mothers drain their few reserves trying to nourish their litter to not suggest it. When I tell people I foster, they all exclaim they could never do it, that they wouldn't be able to give them up, but in giving them up, I get new kittens and get to do it all again.
- —Guest Foster home
Convenience store cat
- About five years ago my neighbor (who kept telling me I should not take on any more cats) arrived at my door with a very pregnant, very scrawny little tabby. She was a sweet cat and I was happy to feed her and give her a warm bed. The very next day she delivered four tiny "white" kittens. One was still born and two died within a couple of days. The mama cat took very good care of the remaining kitten. When the kitten was old enough, I had the mother spayed. Soon after, she wandered off. I got a call from someone a couple of miles away that they had found her (she had a collar and tag), so I went and retrieved her. She left again in a couple of weeks, never to be heard from again. The kitten, who looks, and acts, like a Siamese is now a beautiful cat sitting on the desk watching me type this.
- —Guest LalahCatlady
Rescued feral moms
- I have been involved in cat rescue for aprox. 20 years now. Most of the cats I rescue have to be trapped either because they are feral or scared strays. It seems that each year there are more abandoned. This past summer was my first experience with birthing. The first was a young 1st time mom who gave birth to 3 kits 48 hrs after catching her. Mom was sociable and everything went well. I found a home for her and all 3 kits. The 2nd was a semi-feral who gave birth to 6 kits - 1 week after catching her. All 6 survived and found homes. She was spayed and returned to her caretaker. The 3rd was also semi-feral from the same area - a little more trouble with her. She birthed 2 weeks after being caught. Lots of trouble. She 3 kits in her litter box instead of the birthing box. I found them in time and had to tie-off and cut the umbilical cords. 5 kits the 1st day then a 6th still born the day after. I had to place them all in foster care and only 2 of the kits survived - very sad.
- —Guest Julie
Mysteriously she arrived!
- I had left a pet carrier outside our door & as the nights grew colder, I noticed a huge pair of eyes looking out at me from the back of it..so in the dark of this nightime, I got a torch and took a look...it was a young black and white young cat. I thought maybe she was put out at night by her owners so didn't start to feed her, but left the carrier there. Every night I would look in it and there she was, but every day it was empty. So it was that one really frosty winters night about a month later, I decided to take a better look at her, and as I tried to coax her out with a little cat food, she enthusiastically came towards me and ate like a starving cat. She was pregnant and quickly adopted us! She had 5 beautiful kittens, who we kept. I had to hand rear them as after only 3 weeks she had to have a serious operation. But she lived :) Now she is my best friend- she never leaves my side, even when I cross from one side of the room to the other, so does she. Truly loyal, dear 'Mystery
- I have fostered several queens but I will share the story of Beauty. She was a neighbor's cat and they did not properly care for her, feeding her scraps and dog food and not vetting her at all. She kept getting pregnant, over and over, and she would bring her kittens to my porch. I fed them all, played with them to socialize them and when they were old enough, I took them to a local pet shop to be sold. Finally, my husband and I got sick of this- Beauty was weak and tired, could not handle so many litters one right after another. We made the decision to kit-nap her and have her spayed after the current litter was born. We kept her for 2-3 months and after she was fixed, we let her back outside to reunite with her owner. They thought she was lost and were surprised when she showed up again. A few years later, we found her dead inside our garage, during the winter. She was thin so we think her owners weren't feeding her. I feel guilty to this day for not keeping her myself.
- —Guest Shawna718
Pregnant and Only a Kitten Yourself
- I have a lot of experience in taking care of pregnant cats. Some of the stories are ugly and some are full of hope. I have some advice for people that have a stray that is pregnant. Here is the story of "Little" Little was a pregnant kitten and she lived under my house after the neighbors moved without her. I sat talking to her outside night and day, and finally she came into my kitchen door, hungry and tired, and she ate an ice-cream bar out of my hands. She then proceeded to fall in love with my husband and I . We eventually moved from that house, and to alleviate stress for her, she was the last to go. She thought she was being abandoned again. Someone told me once that cats only have about 48 hours of memory. Don't believe it. When we came back for our last load, I looked at her and she had the look that said,"YOU CAME BACK". The bittersweet story of this is that Little died a year later. But folks, if in your lifetime you could have one friend on earth, it would be her
Rescued Pregnant Queen Due Any Day
- Our hearts were stolen by a young pregnant cat who approached me and asked for affection. She is a gorgeous Snowshoe Siamese and my family committed ourselves to adopting her and giving her a safe place to deliver her kittens (1 of which we'll keep). She is very healthy and the sonogram shows 5-6 kittens which are due any day. We are nervously keeping watch and giving her lots of love. Can't wait for them to arrive!
- —Guest Lori
- We just took in a pregnant kitty last night and named her Blossom. Her tummy is quite active with all the kittens moving and am sure she will have them before the end of the week. She seems quite comfy in her new surroundings, as she has a room to herself away from our own 9 cats and 3 foster cats. It is rewarding to see them grow and nurture their kittens. At the moment Blossom is at the vets being feluek tested and possibly getting us an arrival date. She looks very healthy and I think all will end fantastic for this beautiful little lady and her family.
- —Guest koikitty
- I took care of a pregnant cat. I gave her a box with blankets. I kept food by the box everyday. I found homes for each one of her kittens. 5 days after her kittens were born they all disappeared. I thought kids had stolen them and may hurt them. Nope. she moved them to another spot. It is in a mom cats nature to do this. So be prepaired.
- —Guest Scott
i have taken in a pregnant cat
- i have taken in a cat, who had 5 kittens last time and was not looked after well, she was hungry for milk and i started feeding her and her kittens, which were eventually given away by the cats so called owner god knows where. i wanted to get her sterlized, but the owner did not let me do so, she is pregnant again, but this time i have taken complete charge of her, feeding, her bed, litter box, place for her kittens everything i have arranged. she looks full term pregnant. i am working, but thanks to my mom, who is 73, she looks after her really like a princess. though i have allotted my cat a full room, she loves to sleep in ours, i am not sure where is she going to have her kitten, but i am ok with anything. both my mom and i are very excited about the whole thing. once her kittens grow i will sterlize her and return to her owner if she wants her, or else i would love to keep her:)
- —Guest mamta
- We are fostering a tabby and white cat who actually got pregnant by her own son(s). We are worried about the babies. The momma cat's name is Trouble and please pray for her unborn kitten
- —Guest Zafrina