Mom cat in mourning
June 24, 2011 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Feral mother cat in mourning for her kittens - how long will it last?

I manage a feral cat colony in my backyard. Last year I caught and fixed three kittens and a not-related to them female cat. I could not catch their mother. Fast forward to this year; everyone is happy and hanging out mostly in my backyard and then a few days ago MomCat shows up with a new litter of 5 kittens. I make plans with Fix Nation to borrow traps and bring them in for neutering in a few weeks.

A couple of days ago the kittens start eating solid food and are looking good. Yesterday morning I went out to feed everyone and found two of them dead. It was horrible. The other three are missing, although I found no evidence that they were killed. I haven't seen raccoons around here in several years, but I don't know what else would have done that kind of damage. In the past when we've had raccoons, they've helped themselves to the cat food and there has been none of that. I suppose it might have been an intact male cat - but my gut tells me otherwise.

All the older cats are looking very skittish and staying away more than normal. The MomCat has just this afternoon started calling and calling and calling. I'm wondering how long I can expect her to be looking for them/calling. I know I shouldn't assign human emotions to her, but it's breaking my heart.
posted by jvilter to Pets & Animals (5 answers total)
You don't want to anthropomorphize the cat but at the moment she's at mercy of her hormones. The wailing will knock off as her milk dries up. Give it a few days. I'm sorry they didn't make it :(
posted by DarlingBri at 9:00 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks DarlingBri, of course it's hormones - that makes total sense. Poor wee babies.
posted by jvilter at 9:31 PM on June 24, 2011

What Bri said. Still, very sad. Thank you for getting the cats fixed when you could.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:55 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

That is so sad.

When I was young, our family had a cat that had one litter of kittens. We took all six to give them away, and came back home with one. The mom cat cried for her babies for about one day, then went back to normal, except completely ignored the one baby she had left.
posted by Safiya at 9:34 AM on June 25, 2011

Thanks everybody. Mom is still crying, but it seems not as frequently.

OnTheLastCastle, it's my pleasure to try and take care of these guys just a little bit. I enjoy them so much.
posted by jvilter at 10:51 AM on June 26, 2011

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