The duplex I live in has a 2-car carport with a wall on one side, the side of the duplex on the other, and a pony wall across the front end. I have to walk across my little “front yard” to get to it, but the family in A parks right beside their front door. This picture taken last December through my living room window gives you an idea of the layout, with my Toyota Crayola parked on the left.
I mention this because earlier this afternoon, my neighbor in “A” plonged on the doorbell and said that a feral (?) cat had had a litter of five kittens under my car, right beside my left front tire. I don’t think she had them there. Their eyes were not open but they were moving around, and they look too big to me to be newborns. The momma kitty is apparently habituated to people as Mrs. “A” and her oldest boy (4) have been peering under my car at her. Earlier this afternoon, I took some cat food and water in plastic containers and slid them under the car near her, hoping she will stay put and not abandon the litter until I can find a shelter to take them.
Later, I remembered there is at least one large feral tom in the area (that’s him at left making himself at home in my back yard) and the food could attract his unwanted attentions. (He’s probably the daddy of at least some of the kittens.) I went out there just now and she had eaten almost all the half cup of cat food I’d given her, so I brought her out another half cupful.
Then I got a fairly large corrugated cardboard box I had, taped it shut and cut about an 8″ x 6″ hole right beside a corner. During the time it took for me to get the box ready, she ate almost all the half cup of cat food. I put an old hand towel inside the box and put the food container inside it with a whole cupful of food, and I put a container of water outside by the door. I put the box in the corner of the carport in front of my car, and put a brick on top of it so it would stay put.
She readily went into the box after the food. While she was chowing down, I fished the kittens out from under the car and put them in the box with her: three marmalade tabbies, a light grey classic tabby and a dark grey tabby. The dark grey one looked pretty lethargic. The others seemed more active and did the straight legged thing and meowed when I picked them up. They look to be maybe a week old.
My rationale for the box is that it provides a more defensible shelter than under my car. The door is small enough that she has to crouch to enter, the idea being that the smaller the entrance, the easier it will be for her to defend it.
She seems friendly. She let me come right up to her and put food down for her. (She may have been dumped.) The poor thing is just skeletal. I hope she’ll settle down and nurse the kittens. She looks young enough to be a first-time mother, which does not bode well. I’m not nearly as worried about her as I am the kittens.
I’ll go out again after a while and check on her — and maybe remember to bring my camera with me. Watch this space.
Update: When I went out at about 9 o’clock this evening, the momma kitty was lying on the concrete beside the box. She had eaten about half of the cup of food I brought out when I brought her the box. At least four of the kittens are still alive. I could not reach the third marmalade tabby kitten to check on it. I went and got a screwdriver and punched a bunch of holes in the top of the box for ventilation, which I should have done to begin with. The box was in the shade, so hopefully, it didn’t get too hot inside. It’s up on the little raised walkway that goes across the front of the carport.