How to care for a new momma cat?

Our neighbour’s cat has just given birth to 5 kittens in our garden… she’s tucked up in a corner of the shrubbery, in a nice sheltered spot.

It’s v. warm at the moment - 30C - and the nights are about 20C.

The kittens were born this morning sometime, I think

I’ve given her some water and some dry cat-food. She’s lapping up the water like she’s not drunk for days, and is munching the cat-food with gusto.

Couple of questions:

  1. Will she “over-eat” at all? I’ve left plenty of food and water for here - I figured she’ll need as much as she can get at the moment? Should I regulate her intake for her, or can I trust that she knows what her body needs?

  2. Will she be warm enough at night? Should I put an old blanket over her “nest” to keep the chill off, or will 20C be OK?

  3. When can the neighbours come round and take the kittens back to their house? I don’t want to upset the kittens but they’d be safer off inside I guess.

  4. Is there anything else I can do to make sure mummy cat and the little ones are safe and sound?

Thanks all - never had a cat before, so not sure what I’m doing… I feel v. protective though, as she’s chosen our garden to bring the kittens into the world.

She knows how much she needs. In fact, you should be giving her kitten food, and as much of it as she’ll eat. Nursing five kittens takes a huge amount of energy.

I would put the blanket, if it doesn’t bother her. The kittens will huddle next to her for warmth, as they can’t generate their own body heat yet, but a blanket would help keep everybody warm and also give her more seclusion.

Unless they look obviously ill or distressed, try not to touch the kittens until they’re three weeks old. After that (when they’ve opened their eyes and are walking on their own), handle and play with them as much as possible to get them used to humans, but they’re not ready to be taken from their mother yet. 8 weeks is a good time to start giving the kittens to their new owners – please don’t do it before them, as they’ll not be fully weaned yet (even if they are eating solid food by then), and will miss out on important socialization.

They’ll need worming at a set schedule – contact your local vet for the details. Try not to disturb the new family for a few weeks, lest mother cat get nervous and move them somewhere else. Even the friendliest cats get really defensive if they think their nest is being threatened.

And please try to get that mother cat spayed.

if you can, try to have her food and water somewhere “in”. in a door way, in a garage, that sort of thing. this will get mom accustomed to you, and make it easier to rescue the kitten.

we had a preg. cat use our deck as her birthing den. we would put the food down just inside the kitchen door, we would keep the door open. while mom ate the kittens would explore the kitchen. sometimes mom would go a few feet away for an after meal wash up and the kitten was still in the kitchen. mom would call her when she wanted her out.

we were able to use a paper bag to catch the kitten when she was about 8 weeks old. we just laid the bag on its side, kitten went in, stand bag up, viola!!
closed the kitchen door and moved the bag to another room, and the bestest kitten in the world was mine.

sometimes cats will choose a diffrent spot for thier kittens when they are about 3- 5 days old. got to stay one step ahead of the preditors. try to make a spot for her to move to that will give you easy access.

I’m no expert. I’ve only had one momma cat and she gave birth indoors. (She started labor while lying on my tummy – awwww.)

But I don’t like the thought of new kittens being left outdoors for three weeks, even if it’s in a sheltered spot.

I’d ask your neighbors to crate momma and her kittens and take them home.

On the other hand, if momma cat doesn’t think her family is safe, she will move them herself. Trouble with that is you might not find them for awhile, and like yBeayf said, the kittens need to be socialized while they’re young.

I’ve asked the neighbours to come over - will let them decide (she’s their cat really), but I’ll keep an eye on them tonight.

Please give her kitten food, and all of it she can eat. Of course plenty of water is essential. And please talk with her owner about having her sterilized - she will be pregnant again as soon as this litter is weaned, if not before. I love kittens, but having homeless cats put to sleeo makes SCL cry.

Make sure not to put any dairy milk out, not good for her.

Your main concern should be to prevent unwanted visitors, such as dogs, children etc

Well… mummy cat and the kittens made it through the night. :slight_smile:

Next-door’s kids are off school this week, so I’ve told them to pop over the fence anytime to check on progress. This is mummy cat’s second litter, and they have another new litter in their own garden, so they know what to do with them.