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Dr-Bonk
Dr-Bonk, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 227
Experience:  Five years as an associate veterinarian working with pets and treating feral felines.
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Dr. Bonk I wrote to you a bunch and you helped me with a

Customer Question

Dr. Bonk
I wrote to you a bunch and you helped me with a litter of a stray mother cat, Blackie, who has seven kitties. They are growing up fine and healthy. Two questions:
1. It looked like Blackie walked through white paint a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't figure it out, but she stayed so far away I couldn't do much. The white has slowly subsided but recently she is coming closer. I took a picture because I am concerned it is the nail area. Could she have lost her nails in panic when we transported her and kittens to my place? Looks like it is getting better- I hope! Should I do anything?
2. The kittens were born on February 21 and I am working very hard to find them homes. I have let Blackie be in charge, because when I didn't she would move the litter and I was afraid for them. Now I need to socialize the kitties so people can come see them without them hiding. I have picked them up when they are sleeping (of course that kitty awoke) and held him/her for 5 minutes. It seems to be taking the edge off things. Less running away or slower :-). Do you have suggestions for bringing them around?As always...thanks so much!
Sharon
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the update on the kitties. I love hearing how they are doing. The whiteness on Blackie is definitely different. It seems to be something extra on there like you said, paint. I'm wondering, you had said she was hiding behind the sheetrock, any chance she scratched some of the sheet rock and now its stuck around her claws? Does she seem sore with it?

You're doing exactly right with socializing the kittens. Cats are curious by nature, so anytime you can just sit with them and let them come up to you and explore helps without putting too much pressure on them. They will also be ready to wean in the next few weeks and then you can really get your hands on them. Just let them dictate how much handling they get, don't overdue it or push them further than they are ready for.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Dr. Bonk,
The white on her paws is slowly coming off, I am not sure what it is but she does not appear to be bothered by it. She is a nervous Nellie and hisses if I get too close or when I stand. The kittens are follow her lead and stay away. They moved from one kitty house to another further away. I really need them to be more social. Before I read your email, I was picking them up one at a time for about five minutes- I only got to four, and three of the four come the closest- but they moved their house and I don't want that to happen again. I could sit here forever and they would just ignore me. They have plenty of company and space to keep themselves content. Please advise. I need a kitty miracle!
Thanks!
Sharon
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

What works for us at the clinic is once the kittens are weaned, we keep them in a large cage in the back and everyone that goes through the room stops and pets them, so they get contact at least 10 times a day but only for a total of about 15 minutes. They hiss at us for awhile but soon come around.

Your best bet would be to wean them when they are old enough and ready and then separate them from Blackie so that they can no longer follow her lead. Then if you have a small area, like a bathroom, to keep them in where you could stop in and see them several times a day. Also, food is big motivator, so petting them while they eat can help.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay sounds good! I can easily do that! My bathrooms are a bit small but I bet this will work great. Will Blackie be broken hearted? I bet that can't be a priority. But still... She has done such a great job.
They were born on February 21.
When should I do this? Thanks 💕
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Then could I somehow accommodate Blackie as she allows m dad - her only human friend to pet her a bit.
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

You can wean them whenever they are eating food on their own very regularly. There will be some crying initially from the kittens and Blackie that is heartbreaking, but it usually doesn't take them long to get used to things.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Should I wait the full 8 weeks. Is that best for their development? It's difficult former to judge because Blackie jumps up and stands on guard when I come down. Also, Blackie doesn't completely hide anymore when I go to the basement. She will eat close by and then she will lay a bit away. She hisses if I come too close where she is laying (if I need to leave food or give water). So please tell me if I should hold out for 7 weeks or 8 weeks for the kitties. Then after I get them settled, I think Blackie may be willing to be more friendly...do you think I could work on her then? When my dad visits- which is hard for him to come by, Blackie lets him pet her. I would love to find Blackie a home too!!!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What if I purchased this canopy and set it up in the basement for Blackie and kittens for the socialization period?
Coleman
4.5 out of 5 stars 726 Reviews
Coleman 12 x 10 Instant Screened Canopy
Would it be seeing enough?
Thanks!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also should I rate you after every question? I really need help with these kitties it is a big job and I am so grateful for your help. Please let me know what is best for you.
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

If she is still nursing them fairly regularly then waiting until 7 or 8 weeks is better. If they are just mostly eating on their own, then anytime would be fine. You're right, Blackie might settle down a little bit when she no longer has the kittens to protect. You can try the same approach with her that you are going to do with the kittens. You could try the canopy, but usually it is just best to make a clean break and totally remove them from each other.

As far as the rating goes, we can just wait until you are satisfied that you and the kittens will be okay.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I rarely see her nurse them now. so I will prepare the bathroom for their arrival, i.e. extra rugs for the floors. I will keep you posted. Thanks!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

I look forward to hearing about them!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much! I couldn't bear to bring myself to make the break yet. So this morning When I fed the kitties one crawled on my lap and fell asleep. The others let me pet them. Now they are hiding again, but was so happy there was some movement :-). They were nursing last night and this morning. A couple are still small, but they all look healthy. One gets sick now and then- not sure which one. What do you think? Thanks!!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

That's wonderful! What a major step! If they are still nursing, that would be the best thing for them, especially if Blackie is still letting them. By the time they are 8 weeks old though, they will definitely be okay on just cat food.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well she is an awesome mom and still nursing- this is the seventh week. They are back to hiding because the kitties broke through my barriers into an area that had wood beams with some nails. I had to get on there to move most of the beams with nails. Blackie was less than happy and reminds me with hisses when I am too close. The kitties are back to hiding and I hope they are all okay. I can't count gem when they hide 💕. Well this is week seven and we shall see. I have a few people that want kitties and hope they will be patient. Blavkie is an incredible mother. If a kittie wants to eat the food she is eating she will let them. If one bites on her tail when she is eating, she doesn't respond. B
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good example of patience! Thanks so much!!!!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

I hope that you are able to find them all again! She sounds like a great mom, if only she was a little more willing to attach to humans!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have some friends of friend who are interested in adopting two cats. They would like to come over Wednesday night to pick out two kitties, understanding that it would be two weeks before pickup. Would it be okay if I put them in a baby's playpen so they could see the kitties. I don't want to upset them, but I don't want to lose two good homes. Please suggest what you think is best. Thanks!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

You could try the playpen. I would worry about them jumping out. The bathroom might be better, especially if you could get them in there a few hours before the people came to look at them. Them they would have a chance to calm down and get adjusted to their surroundings. I hope this works out!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay! I can make that happen! Thanks! We will learn something either way :-)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well the family came to look at the kittens. I could only capture four as I came home from work and needed for them to have some time upstairs and the other three were too tricky to get. Three of the four were so cute and charming. But one hissed and tried to scratch anyone who came close. The family has decided to take two and will come back in ten days. I brought the kittens back downstairs and will visit them later. We all need a break😅.So I think they will be ready to socialization program starting Sunday. Do you suggest I bring them all up to the bathroom? Thanks so much!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

That's great! I'm happy at least two of them have homes. They should be ready as long as they are eating cat food well.

Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

I would get all of them if you can. Keep them together.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay. That will be my Saturday project. I will be calm and have plenty of time. How long does it take to socialize them to humans?
Also my bathroom is so small. Can I let them run around for a bit in the adjoining room?Wow! Looks like we did it- almost there! And my family is working on finding homes for everyone. That may take a bit more, but I am hopeful!!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

I would think they would come around pretty quickly where you have already been around them so much. They may backslide a little when you first get them by themselves, but that shouldn't last long. You can let them run anywhere as long as you can get them back! Just go slow and don't over do it. Short, frequent visits work best. Good luck!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay I caught three kitties and they are doing great. The other four are down stairs and more clever than ever. I could keep trying to catch them or I could train the three then adopt out- then the four. Is this okay? May be a bit less severe for Blackie too. Thanks for your help!!!!' It was a tough Saturday running after kitties- I don't mind doing it, but the three are doing good! And then I can rebuild up the trust of the four. If this is a bad idea , no prob.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The three kitties are heart broken. Crying up a storm this morning. I found purring sounds on YouTube, should I play that for them, or will it make them worse? I will experiment- as I feel for them!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The purring sounds soothed two upset one. So I tried others and the bird sounds seem to relax them. They became playful- intermittent crying. Still only the three. Hoping that's okay. Blackie has relocated the others and crying back to the kitties. I think the birds block her cries which is what is helping. This is a tough process seeing the kitties so sad! Thanks for your help!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They were born on Feb 21, and I know they are cat food downstairs, but still only seven weeks old. I noticed Blackie nursing the other four last night.
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

What you are doing is exactly right. I know it's heartbreaking to hear them cry like this, but it doesn't last forever. Soon they will look to you to provide for them which is exactly what you want. It's ok if she is super ill nursing the four. It doesn't mean the other three are missing anything. The first 3-4 days are always the hardest but they will settle into it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay they have been troopers! They are getting a great deal of sleep and that is so good!!! When they wake up I hear some pouting but they, like their mother, are amazing kitties. I will keep you posted. Thanks so much!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay these three kitties have decided I am okay and are almost completely comfortable. Climbing all over me. Two of the kitties are very active and the one petite kitty now cries when I leave. Wish there was a trick to keep her content. I think I will make milk replacement with the soaking hard cat food. Maybe that protein will soothe her?My cat, Tara, is staying in my room. She was a rescue from my parents neighborhood. Around other kitties, she was very dominating, but with me she has grown very affectionate. Is it okay I leave her in my room for so long? I don't want her to get upset and/or upset the others. She has food kitty litter and can look out the window. She wants to come out but not too many complaints.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks!!!!!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

That's great that the kitties are doing so well! You can try the milk, but it may be more of an emotional issue for the little kitty. She's ready for a home!

As far as your cat, do whatever is going to be the least stressful for everyone, including you. If she is content enough to stay in your room, that would probably be the best. Cats tend to hold grudges so if she were to become upset by the kitties, she may continue to become upset every time she nears the bathroom for awhile, even after the kitties are gone.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Silly question
How do you tell a boy from a girl
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I googled and I am pretty confident I can figure this out.
Thanks!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

I'm sure you're got it! It's all about the spacing between the two holes. Girls are right next to each other, boys have a larger gap.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay two went to their new home today and the third, boy, is still with me and missing his siblings! I am in the basement trying to catch another sibling so he's not alone. We shall see. They are very tricky, even Blackie is trying to find them. Any tricks for catching stray, smart kitties?
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

Congratulations on finding two homes! Food is always a good way to entice them and get them to come out. Maybe some tuna fish?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yikes I caught a kitty and brought him upstairs and they didn't recognize each other. The kitty that was up here for a week is acting like he saw a ghost! NGOs back is up. I am hoping they can be friends.
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

I'm sure they will get reacquainted just fine. There will just be some hissing for a bit.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oh thank goodness!!!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

You're doing very well, these kitties are lucky to have you!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks!!! You made the whole process so much smoother! They are good little kitties and it will be so good to see them go to good homes.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ps the new kitty upstairs is adjusting well! Quicker with my friend jumping all over me :-).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Dr. Bonk,
Wanted to give you an update. The two kitties got along well. Then I brought up a third kitty- the littlest and she stayed stressed but after two 1/2 days warmed up a bit. A couple came over to look at the three kitties and they took the two bigger kitties that were better adjusted. Immediately the smaller kitty became affectionate when they left. Tonight I will try to bring up the last two kitties . I am a wee bit tired with tons of kitty scratches but things are moving along. I pray the people will take good care of the kitties! I let them know if anything comes up please feel free to bring them back.
Thanks so much! Everyone says the kitties look so healthy! Thanks to you and Blackie.
Best wishes,
Sharon
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

You're doing such a good job! I'm sure they will do great in their new homes. You're almost there! Thanks for the updates.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well the last kitty is up and he gave me such a fight, biting and scratching. Blackie tried to get involved but I scolded her and thank goodness she backed off. A little drama, but we have all calmed down now. So there are three kitties in the bathroom and I will give them until Thursday or Friday and see if they are ready for adoption.Is there anything I can do for Blackie? She is quiet now, but must be broken hearted. I will try to have my dad come visit. She likes him.Thanks for your encouragement!!!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Went to the doc and she put me on two antibiotics for bite and scratches. Had a yet is within ten years so good there. The two kitties are affectionate and playful (two girls and can be a little rough with one another). The other male kitty is still hiding when I visit but I have seen him play and eat. So hoping tomorrow brings more time I can spend visiting. We will see. Blackie has not come out but is eating and meows back infrequently. All is moving along. :-)
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear that you had to go to the doctor! Just remember you are doing such a good thing for these kitties. They need you and you're doing a great job!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the kind, supportive words! Another kitty was adopted tonight. Two more cutie pies to find homes for, then focus on Blackie.My cat has been putting on some weight, so I let her run around for awhile every day. Blackie, the mom, is in the basement and the two kitties in the second bathroom. I have been feeding my cat Rachel Rays natural hard food. Do you suggest I switch to wet food to help her slim down? The kitties I give can food and dry food.Thanks again and again!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

It would be best to find a light version of cat food. I'm not sure if Rachel Ray has a light formula or not. Light formulas are higher in fiber, but still have all the same nutrients and they still get to eat a lot of it. You can do canned food, it is higher in water, but check the fat content on it, sometimes it is higher than dry. Also, with canned food, you don't get the dental benefits that you get with dry.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Help! One of the little kittens- the one who is most scared got caught in the bathroom curtain and was hanging with the plastic curtain wrapped around his hip. He is having trouble walking but somehow got up to the sink to lie down in his favorite spot. I got him out but I think he is hurt. Should I take home to the emergency hospital for assessment? I hope you can answer quick. He is still a nervous cat but I am worried about him
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay he is exhausted and at first he looked like he wasn't able to walk. Perhaps I will let him sleep for two hours. Then check on him. What do you think?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is walking around and playing a bit with the other kitty. Oh my goodness! It looks like he will be okay!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry I wasn't here to answer sooner. I'm glad he's okay. Kitties are very tough and he might be sore for a day or two, but if he's moving around and eating, he should be fine.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is moving around, playing, a bit slower but he looks like he's making a great recovery- so scary! Thanks!!!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I found a home for another kitty, but he is the last one to be caught and still resistant to petting. He is beautiful! He comes closer everyday and the woman who wants him says her daughters are so excited. But I fear he will run away from everyone and hide. I put it odd until Monday. Should I tell her he needs more time? Thanks!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

It would probably be best to wait until he was more comfortable with people before you give him to them. I would hate for the girls to scare him and have them not bond with each other. You're almost there!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It is taking him quite some time, but his sister is with him and keeping each other amused. She is very friendly and plays a bit too much with me- attacking fingers, toes, climbs leg, etc. any tips for training her to calm down a bit when it comes to going after fingers, arms and toes? Thanks! The other guy is slow to be friendly but sitting closer and I pet him for a short time once or twice. Coming all fly slowly. Thanks again!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

When she gets too aggressive, just stop playing with her. Eventually she will learn that she has to tone it down, or she won't get to play with you at all. Also, offer her something else to bite at like a toy. I'm sure the little boy will come around. Keep up the good work!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well things are moving along. The male kitty is still shy but now let's me pet him periodically and purrs. The female kitty is so attached and having fun. This weekend they will both go to their new homes. The boy kitty got stuck in the sleeper sofa last night- so scary!!! But as usual he survived and I gained extra gray hairs! I think his new home will be able to give him more attention. I am principal of an elementary school and try to see the kitties everyday for lunch and play with them at night but not enough sometimes. I hope he adjusts well. He is so cute! Although he takes crazy risks. The girl kitty will be upset to go, but she has an adventurous personality- so she'll be fine! Next I will work on their mom, Blackie. Thanks so much for all your guidance!!!!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

I'm sure their new homes will really enjoy them! Just think, none of this would have happened if you hadn't taken charge and saved them!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You have been so supportive and kind! It was a good project to help them all, and I hope they are all okay and live a long life! Thanks!!!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The little boy is going home today. He was the shyest of them all. He allows me to pet him now. But not pick him up yet. I have a soft King Kong house that he loves to hide in. I took it out if the bathroom so he would be forced to interact with me and that helped. But should I send it home with him? I would rather he go in the little house than find an unsafe place to hide. What do you think? Thanks!The little girl goes home tomorrow - and my kittens will have all left for their new homes-- and on to the mother project. They have been a joy! It will be sad to see them all go, but I am so happy they all are in homes.
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

If he still seems attached to the little house and you're okay with it, you could send it with them at least for a few days so that he has something familiar. Once he gets a little settled, the new owners can remove it like you did and get him to come out of his shell a little more.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay. Will do! Thanks!
Also, the little girl, who goes to her new home tomorrow, has very sharp nails. She is super comfortable with me and climbs all all over me and very active with her nails. Should I cut them before she goes to her new owner? I could watch a YouTube and cut them tonight so tomorrow morning there is nothing out of the usual. I don't want to upset her too much. She will be very sad when her brother leaves.
Thanks for your help!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay should I suggest they keep him in the bathroom too?
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

It would be a good idea for them to keep him in the bathroom for a day or two. Also, you can definitely trim her nails. Regular human nail clippers work fine and cats are typically fairly easy because their claws are see-through so you can tell right where the quick is. Good luck!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have a new pair of clippers and on the way home ready for the job! I stopped by the male kittens new home to pick up my carrying case in case tomorrow's person picking up the little girl needs it. He seemed quiet and she said they were holding him and he was doing fine, with infrequent hissing. She also gave him a toy with catnip- which seemed to calm him down. He wasn't eating but all else was good. Is catnip a good idea to calm down Blackie? Thanks!
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 1 year ago.

I'm happy to hear he is settling in at least a little bit. You can sure try the catnip on her. Most cats really go for it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well we successfully found home for all seven kitties! Miss them, but happy they have homes that love them! Blackie is in heat again- the sound is maddening - and she has a visitor answering her cried. I hope my townhouse neighbors aren't subjected to it. Should I wait a few days before catnip or try it now?
As slays...thanks!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As always...thanks!