Feral cats, also known as strays, are homeless because they may have been abandoned by their owners or born to other strays. Because these animals are uncared for, many of them have not been spayed or neutered, resulting in feral cat pregnancies. There are some signs to indicate that a feral cat is pregnant and various solutions for solving this problem.
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Dangers of Feral Cats
Approach feral cats with extreme caution and do not corner them since you run the risk of being bitten or scratched by one. It is best to have no contact with a feral cat, and if you are concerned a cat is pregnant, contact a veterinarian or organisation specialising in stray cat control. If you have no contact with the cat, then there is no risk of spreading disease. Feral cats often carry many diseases and may pass it along to humans. According to the Center for Disease Control, there were 37 reported cases of rabies from feral cats to humans from 1981-1999. The ideal way to prevent the spread of disease is to have animals vaccinated regularly.
Signs of Feral Cat Pregnancy
Check a feral cat for some noticeable signs of pregnancy if you suspect she may be expecting kittens. Determine whether the cat is tame before you do this or if it is acting erratically. If the cat seems calm enough, then approach it with caution. There are few physical signs, but you can look for the nipples hardening and becoming pinker. The cat may also reduce her physical activity and rest frequently as the pregnancy adds body weight. About halfway through the pregnancy--at four or five weeks--feel her tummy; there will be golf ball size masses in her belly if she is pregnant. You may even be able to feel the number of foetuses in her stomach. Check in a week or two after that, and there will be a noticeable swell in her belly, which will be a telltale sign of pregnancy.
Preventing Feral Cat Pregnancy
Preventing feral cat pregnancy is not always an easy task since feral cats are stray animals. Many veterinarians provide low-cost spay and neuter surgeries to feral cats to prevent and terminate current pregnancies. The feral cat can often be brought in for the surgery and returned back to its home if the animal is not adopted. A cat can be spayed while she is pregnant, and it is often at the discretion of the veterinarian. Many people feel this process is unethical, but it can be a better solution than bringing more stray cats into the world. Spaying and neutering cats can help limit the feral cat population and help prevent future stray cats.
Caring for Feral Kittens
Leave feral kittens with their mothers until they are six to eight weeks old. After that, they will have developed teeth and can be weaned from their mothers and start on solid food. If you remove them too early, they will have to be bottle fed every three to four hours, which can be time consuming. Try to handle the kittens only when the mother is not around while they are still nursing.This will help them get accustomed to socialising with people. The mother cat may feel threatened if you are around too often and may abandon the kittens before they are ready to be weaned. Once the kittens are on their own, take them to a veterinarian or an organisation that adopts kittens. Healthy kittens have a better chance of being adopted than adult feral cats do.
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