Marina

Feral and Pregnant

April 23, 2024

VTTR

Location

Lexington, KY

Service

Prenatal Care, Neonatal Care, Spay

Partner

-

Diagnosis

Pregnant

Feral cats are a severe problem in Kentucky. Cats reproduce at a rapid rate, and once breeding starts with one pair, those cats continue to breed, overtaking local areas. Local shelters often trap these cats and perform Trap Neuter and Release or “TNR” to limit breeding and the spread of disease. If a feral comes in when the TNR crew is not present, it creates a problem for the staff. These cats are difficult to manage. Rehoming requires extensive rehabilitation, usually months. If they’re pregnant, often the shelter will abort the kittens/spay and send the cat back to where it was trapped, even if they are days from giving birth.

Marina was one of those pregnant, feral, cats. She was so feral, the shelter had opted to euthanize her. Thankfully, VTTR was called and offered to take her. Dr. Warren fostered her at her horse farm. She was kept in a large dog crate, with a smaller den within for her privacy. She hissed and lashed out every time the cage door was opened to feed/clean, but after a few days calmed down slightly. A week later she gave birth to three kittens, Angus, Alf, and Alex. Marina loved her kittens and could be heard purring and caring for them in her privacy den.

It’s important to handle the kittens daily about a week after they’re born, so they do not become feral too. This can be tricky. Any cat can be protective over her kittens, but a feral cat even more so. Over the next several weeks, Marina allowed her kittens to be handled, and they grew playful and well socialized. At eight weeks, the kittens were neutered and placed up for adoption. That left Marina, still feral, but in need of a barn home.

By that time, Marina and Dr. Warren had gotten to know each other well. Marina would still not let her touch her, but started to act curious and stare at her rather than attack. Marina was spayed, tested, microchipped and vaccinated, and allowed to recover from that for two more weeks. It was clear that Marina was home, and after moving her out of our nursery, into a tack room, a cat door was put in and Marina was let free.

Marina disappeared for two days. There was always a risk that she wouldn’t return and continue to live her feral life, but on the third morning, Marina was at the head of the barn aisle greeting Dr. Warren as she came to feed her horses! After a few weeks, it was obvious how happy Marina was as she watched Dr. Warren do her barn duties. Eventually, after a month, Marina approached and sniffed Dr. Warren’s open hand, and in another few days, allowed her to pet her.

It’s been a year since Marina joined the Warren family and she recently welcomed a sister feral cat, Rowena (more about her in the another case) She spends her days basking in the sun, hunting in the nearby wooded area and pastures, chatting with Dr. Warren, and running up and down the barn being silly. With patience, feral cats, can make wonderful additions to a family.

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Location

Lexington, KY

Service

Prenatal Care, Neonatal Care, Spay

Partner

-

Diagnosis

Pregnant