If a pregnant feral cat is lingering in your vicinity, don't simply feed her and call it a day. The issue goes deeper than a matter of feeding a homeless cat. Unfixed animals contribute to overpopulation, and feral cats and kittens typically live brief lives of danger and suffering.
Catch the pregnant feline humanely and safely using a feral cat trap. Such devices are available for purchase at some pet supplies stores or for rental or borrowing from many animal welfare organizations and animal control agencies. Since feral cats are by nature extremely frightened and intimidated by people, trapping may be the only realistic means of getting them inside. It's the safest for you, since you won't have to come near the cat.
Transport the pregnant cat to the spay/neuter clinic. Keep her in the same trap you used to safely catch her. The Stanford University Cat Network urges citizens to spay cats even if they are pregnant; once you've trapped a feral cat, your chances of getting her in a trap again are slim. Once you arrive at the clinic, indicate to the veterinarian that the cat is currently pregnant with a litter of kittens. The procedure for spaying pregnant cats is slightly different and more complex than the normal surgeries, as it involves pregnancy termination. The price is usually a little bit higher, too.
Keep the mother cat in the trap or a carrier for the recovery process when the clinic returns the cat to you after spaying. Do not take her out while she is recovering. Ensure that her "holding space" is as comfortable and soothing as possible, with a fluffy towel covering the floors. Once you arrive back home, keep her trap or carrier in a dim, low-traffic and quiet locale of your household. Once about 24 hours has gone by, and the cat seems fully awake and vigilant, take her back to her natural habitat. Carefully open the carrier or trap door, then ease away from it. The confused mama cat may dart out and away immediately, but after a few days she will probably be back, especially if you have been caring for her for a while.
- Colorado State University: Pregnancy Termination in Dogs and Cats
- Animal Protective League: Feral Cat Frequently Asked Questions
- Alley Cat Allies: How to Help Feral Cats
- Feral Cat Project: Truths About Feral Cats
- Alley Cat Allies: Kitten and Mom Scenarios and How to Trap
- ASPCA: Weaning
- Contra Costa Humane Society: Feral Cats
- Austin Humane Society: Flank Spay Information
- Speak to the vet about recovery feeding. Follow the directions given closely and do not attempt to feed the cat any sooner than the recommended time. Do not attempt to touch the feral cat while she is in the cage, as her fear and disorientation may cause her to bite or scratch. Do not attempt to open the door in general. Exercise extreme caution. The veterinary clinic workers may be able to place an amount of dry food and water onto the carrier door -- while the cat is still unconscious and unaware -- immediately after surgery.
- Some feral cats that were pregnant may need more than one or two days to heal after anesthesia and surgery. If a feral cat still seems a little on the woozy side, wait a little longer before letting her back outdoors. Contact the veterinarian if the wooziness seems especially prolonged or if you notice any other problems during surgery recovery, whether bleeding, swelling or anything else.
- Never touch a feral cat while she is conscious, whether she's a few weeks old or a few years. It simply isn't safe. Cat scratches and bites, particularly those of feral cats, are no joke. They can lead to dangerous infectious diseases including rabies.