Phoebe and Family

Another surprise when doing a good deed.

As I understand things, this beautiful long-hair feral mama was trapped to keep a cat-killing dog from eating her and her kittens. She had six kittens only a few days old.

Because she is feral, she was kept in the trap since yesterday evening while a place for her little family was sought. Her babies who are only a few days old were put in with her.

Unfortunately during the time since then she pooped in the trap. Cats will almost NEVER poop where they sleep unless they REALLY need to go and cannot go elsewhere. She pooped. A big pile.

The space in the trap was so small it was impossible for her to not get in the poop. She got it all over her undercarriage. ALL OVER. I have never seen a cat that dirty.

The kittens were removed but mama was COVERED in poop.

Unfortunately, only 4 of the kittens made it to the Duncan Home For Wayward Cats.

I did not know that was the case before she was delivered.

How does one bathe a feral cat covered in poop. She had to be cleaned before she could be put back with her babies.

She was too scared and stressed to be handled. I thought perhaps a vet visit and sedation could get her a good bath. However, no local vet was open 8:30 at night. Waiting till morning would deprive the kitten's of being able to nurse for another 12-15 hours minimum. When days old and needing to nurse every 2 hours, that would be a long time. Too long.

Called the Emergency vet in Longview only to be told they would not sedate her because the kitten's would be affected by the drugs in her system.

So much for that bad idea plan.

Back to the drawing board.

How do you bathe a long-hair feral cat covered in poop and live to tell about it?



You start by turning a portable heater up to 95 to warm up the bathroom.

Then, you put her back in a transfer cage… carefully… and then run the walk-in tub full of 106 degree water, then you dip, swish and swirl her around while still in the cage until the worst of the poop is sloshed off. Not a perfect bath but better than no bath. 

Amazingly, the warm water calmed her down.

Way down.

Next, how do you dry off a very wet long-hair feral cat? Cautiously and carefully reaching inside each end of the transfer cage while she is still calm.

Several large towels and a roll of paper towels later, her calmness starts wearing off and the hissing and biting resumed.

I guess that's dry enough.

Now she gets to bask alone in the bathroom which is 95 degrees for another 45 minutes before rejoining her kittens.

We stocked her kennel with dry food, wet food, chicken baby food, fresh water, a fresh litter box, and four kittens in a soft bed with a heating pad sequestered in a custom cubby hole.

Before the bath, she would not get near her kittens in the kennel. I think she knew she could make them sick if they ingested the poop covering her nipples. I hoped the bath would make a difference in her interaction with the kittens.

After she was all dry and warm I released her back in the kennel and she went straight into the cubby hole with her kittens.

Now, we hope for the best tonight and hope that they nurse and that she mothers.

Hopefully, in the morning her food will be eaten and the babies will be doing well.

Of course, I'll be up at about 3-4 am to look in on them.

This is not the evening I had planned and I am sure it's not what she and her kittens had planned either.

Being a single mama in a cruel world is tough.

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