Dear PoPville – Stray pregnant cat

Photo by PoPville flickr user brandita1973

“Dear PoPville,

I just moved to a new house and we have a stray cat who hangs around the back yard and the backyard next door. She is very friendly and used to people and has tried multiple times to follow us inside. We can’t take her in because we have a dog who would love to have a cat snack. We had a friend come by the other day to see if he might want to adopt her, and that’s when we realized she’s pregnant. We have no way of knowing how far along she is and I am torn between letting nature take its course since cats are generally good at taking care of themselves and taking her somewhere because I do think that after she has kittens she would be highly adoptable as she is very cute and friendly. She may have even been someone’s pet before.

Any advice PoPville has about which shelters (if any) might be best or any experience others have would be appreciated. Yes, I started feeding her, so I am a bit invested at this point…”

39 Comment

  • I’d call the Washington Humane Society. The kittens will be easily adoptable and the mother should be spayed so she doesn’t produce more offspring. She may be adoptable too, unless she’s too feral, in which case TNR is your best bet (contact Alley Cat Allies). Or, just bring her to the vet and they’ll probably give you a discount on the spaying and shots if you explain the situation. God luck and thanks for trying to do the right thing by this animal.

  • There are so many organizations in DC that help with this.

    I volunteer with which may be able to help. You can also bring it to the humane society. It would be best just to get her into some sort of care- even if she wants to be a feral cat (which it doesn’t look like) her kittens could be adopted out.

  • saf

    Take her in and find a rescue or shelter to work with. If those kittens are born outside they WILL be feral, and you will see a cascade of kitty births and…. please, get her off the street.

    • Not necessarily – my two cats were born outside, and have taken to indoor life pretty well. In fact, they are two of the neediest cats I’ve ever known in terms of human affection.

      Granted, they were brought inside while still young, maybe 4-6 months, and they are brothers who have never been apart, so perhaps that helps socialize them, but not all cats born outside are lost causes.

  • No wonder why she is preggers…look at her sprawl out there on the floor, all suggestive-like…hussy. /joking

    • haha! I was trying to formulate the same joke without sounding all creepy. Not sure I would have pulled it off… but you did.

      captcha: mmew

  • Another great organization that does a great job of adopting out kittens is WARL, Washington Animal Rescue League –
    They are also involved in TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) events in the city. They once helped me with a whole family (mom and kittens – gave them shots, neutered/spayed them, etc.). They may even have more resources than WHS. Please do call them and certainly get help for momma kitten!

    • WARL does not take individual surrenders. They only take animals from other organizations.

      • anonymouse_dianne

        That is not true. Go to WARL and count the number of cats and dogs where source is “Owner Surrender”. All shelters in North America are full of cats. Kittens get adopted easily. Try WHS first as WARL is dealing with a parvo outbreak. I think only dogs can catch it but its highly contagious.

  • It’s folks like you who restore my faith in humanity.

    Please, PLEASE do not let nature take its course! I have a crop of 5 neutered/spayed alley cats behind my home. Until I started feeding them daily, they were wasting away. Cats aren’t able to take care of themselves.

    I would recommend the same shelter as Mr. T. Kharma is going to thank you for this!

    • I agree that she should take it somewhere. I have a house cat that I love very much. But I have to disagree that cats can’t take care of themselves.

      They are probably the most bad-ass creatures many of us will ever encounter. They can jump like ten times their height, survive for weeks without food, and re-hydrate with ocean water.

      Cats are amazing at taking care of themselves, that’s why there are 50 million feral cats in this country. Just giving that cat it’s due.

      • But doing it no favors. Cats in a city are NOT able to take care of themselves. The strays you talk about are often sick and/or malnourished. They lead short and hard lives.

        My family and I have fed and taken in/taken to shelters probably 20 cats over the past 20 years. Sorry, friend, but you’re flat out wrong.

    • We also have 5 or 6 alley cats–I wonder if we’re feeding the same ones! Our outside cats (we also have an inside cat and a dog) are awesome and I am seriously going to miss them if we ever move.

      To the OP, please please please contact WHS or WARL. Our inside cat was born to a pregnant stray that someone took in–the kittens are almost definitely adoptable and the mom may be, too.

  • I adopted a cat from Alley Cats after she had a litter of kittens. She was part of our family for over 10 years.

  • Take them to Washington Humane Society. I volunteer there and it will be a great place. If you let them live on the streets (where they would continue to procreate) the problem gets much worse. WHS takes animals in 24/7. I have left the information below.

    202-BE-HUMANE (202-234-8626)

    New York Ave shelter-
    1201 New York Avenue, NE
    Washington, DC 20002

    Georgia Ave shelter-
    7319 Georgia Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20012

    They should not live on the streets.

  • Thanks to everyone for your help & resources – you’ve convinced me to try to help her more than just giving her a little bowl of dog food. I wish I had a pic – she is too cute and so sweet. Unfortunately our dog would make her life a living hell, so we’ll have to try to find her another home.

  • Contact Washington Humane Society. They offer low cost spay services to individuals. They also run a program called CatNiPP which provides free spay and neuter services to ferals in DC.

    She can be spayed now before you have to worry about what to do with the kittens, and then she can be adopted. I realize the idea of spaying a pregnant cat can be controversial, and I’m not prepared to make that argument in length via blog comment. Please just call the folks at Washington Humane Society and speak to them.

  • Take her in right away! The WHS has a program, CatNipp which is their spay and release program. The unborn kittens will be terminated and the mother spayed, ear-tipped, and returned to be released on the streets. Anybody who thinks kittens are “easily adopted” is fooling themselves. You’ll end up feeding all of those cats and their offspring until they each get killed one by one by cars, etc. End it now and get the cat spayed.

  • Hmm, wonder if I can convince the missus to let me take in a cat full of cats…

  • Ugg, cats are so disgusting. Feral cats are even worse.

  • She’s not feral if she’s friendly and trying to follow them into their house. I once fostered a cat that turned out to be feral. That was fun.

  • 1. Why do you think she is less adoptable post-birth than pre-birth? Is it because her figure is shot after having a baby like my wife? In which case, you’re right.

    2. Maybe she is perfectly able to support her babies and you have no right to take them away. Just because she takes to the pole doesn’t mean she can’t provide.

  • I would adopt the mother after she has the kittens and is fixed.

    Please be gentle and maybe PoP can get us in touch. I live in a pet-friendly apt. building and would love to house a rescued kitty!

    Kittens should be easily adoptable on a local listserv or humane society.

    • Please note: kittens are not legally adopted, rehomeable, sellable, etc until 8 weeks/2 lbs. They would need 8 weeks of foster care. This is very difficult. If anyone wants to foster, please contact your local rescue group or shelter.

  • One of my cats came from a cat rescue group that worked with feral cats; when they found a pregnant feral who was somewhat social they would foster her so the kittens could be born inside and socialized (thereafter easy adoptions).

    I tried to look them up as a reference but it is possible they don’t exist anymore (that kitten is now 10!) but I found another that sounds like they have a similar program:

    It is worth calling them because even if they can take in another foster at this time, they might be able to refer you to other groups that can. Both WHS and WARL are great, but if their are groups out there with this particular mission I would start with them.

    (BTW that kitten is the sweetest girl ever, I am forever grateful to Libby who took in her pregnant Mom.)

  • binpetworth

    Hey! That’s my kitty in the photo…I assure you she’s not pregnant, just experiencing a little middle-age spread 🙂

    • Your cat is adorable! Love the pose, the curled-up front paws, the self-satisfied look on her face (it almost looks like she’s smiling), and the middle-age spread! Does she often sleep in this position?

  • Please contact a no-kill rescue organization to ger her off the streets. If she is friendly, chances are that she was abandoned. Many orgs are more willing to take in pregnant females than other types of cats. A couple years ago, I rescued a pregnant cat that would have died if she hadn’t received medical attention. Here are 2 organizations that I have worked with:

    King Street Cats: 703-231-7199
    I called them when a cute gray stray showed up. I put him in a carrier and took him to Fort Hunt Hospital, where they neutered him an dgave him his shots. He was adopted out a couple weeks later.

    Capital Cats: 202-547-8497
    They operate a network of foster homes in this area…hopefully someone can take her in right away.

  • I grew up on a farm with lots of cats and watched over many, many litters of kittens. It is truly a joy to watch them from birth through adoption (or to adulthood). It’s a great experience for children older than toddler age . if someone in the neighborhood is interested in adopting the cat before she has the kittens, I will help you get set up for the arrival of the litter and then through the next 8 weeks til the kittens are adoptable. And I will help you get them adopted.

  • And I agree–if she is trying to follow you inside, she is definitely not feral, so don’t bother with Alley Cats. . She’s lost or abandoned, which seems to happen a lot around here. I found a kitten in Rock Creek Cemetary last winter, which makes two cats and a dog for me now, otherwise I’d take yours.

  • we also take care of 6 “semi alley” cats on Monroe St., we have been taking care of them for 5 years now and LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Shots, flea medicine, food and water, and a warm bed in winter and they are fine and healthy, but only because we care for them daily. So, as other have suggested, you can do the trap and release back to your home and feed, love, and water her and she will do well. The kittens will be adopted and her fix will make sure this does not happen again….

  • I did say *8 weeks* in my post. That’s 2 months of joy for the right family. And I would do it if I didn’t have a dog and 2 cats already. But if someone who hasn’t had this amazing experience is willing to volunteer, I am willing to help you. It is chaos and commotion, but a wonderful, heartwarming 2 months.

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