Sunday, April 5, 2009
One Boy and One Pregnant Kitty...and My Feral Cat Dilemma
I took two kitties to get fixed at No More Homeless Pets today. I trapped them on Friday night and attempted to trap more last night but it started to rain shortly after I set up the traps. *sigh*
I left the traps out for about 30 minutes just in case, but I didn't think any cats would be out in the rain. At least I got two! One is a boy (the bottom picture) and the other is a girl kitty who was pregnant! The vet estimated that she was about 3-4 weeks into the pregnancy. (The gestational period for a cat is approximately 63 days)
I looked at both of these cats, without knowing if they were boys or girls or not, and tried to see if they looked pregnant. I didn't see any big bellies. If I did see that one or both were pregnant, I would have had a tough decision to make.
The first time this happened, with Daisy, I cried and cried! I felt so badly that I had "killed" her kittens. I didn't know she was pregnant either (but we suspected it) but it still upset me to know that she was pregnant and her kittens were aborted.
With so many cats and kittens already alive and the pet overpopulation problem, I don't feel right about having new ones being born--especially to a feral cat. It can get really tricky with a feral mother. If a kitty is pregnant and she is tame, I feel differently about aborting a pregnancy. If the cat is feral, I believe it is in the cat's best interest and my best interest to have the kittens aborted.
If a feral kitty has kittens (assuming she does not reject them), she would have to be in a cage for at least 12 weeks after their birth. How could I release her outside after being inside for so long? It would not be humane. So, then I am stuck with a feral cat-yes, stuck. A feral cat is fearful of humans and does not want to be near us. It is a bad situation for me and for them. A feral cat is happier outside but I would be forced, sort of, to keep her inside. I say sort of because, yes, I could release her but I do not think it is humane after 3 months or more of being inside.
The stress in a ferals' life is also a factor. When cats are outside, they may not receive the nutrition that a house cat gets and may be malnutritioned. Being pregnant causes great stress on their bodies and being caged and surrounded by humans, causes even more stress. An already weakened kitty who becomes pregnant, gives birth to kittens more susceptible to illness.
If she is pregnant, it may be her first pregnancy or her 5th. Pregnancies take it's toll on a cat. Also, there is a lot of inbreeding within colonies which cause kittens to have sometimes severe health problems.
So, for ferals, I will always have their pregnancies aborted.