Setting up friendly feral mama's "Lying-in" kennels

I am working with a local rescue to TnR the feral cat colony in my housing complex. The kitties are now familiar with me feeding them at their set times, and most are quite approachable, including 2 little queens who look to be in their final trimester.

I’ve tried to find fosters for these pregnant mamas, but all I contacted are already full, so I have agreed to foster these two street walkers during their lying-in period so they can have their kittens in safety. We don’t have an extra room, and our senior cats are sensitive to change, so I decided to set them up in 2 separate large dog kennels (on loan from the rescue) in our insulated garage. Its not a perfect solution, but it is quiet, safe and private and it beats giving birth in the storm drain. It also guarantees that the whole brood will be vetted and put up for adoption through a reputable rescue when they are old enough.

I am gathering old but clean towels and fleece blankets, and will purchase a pet-safe heating pad for each cat and Capstar for fleas. I have small litter boxes, and food/water bowls that attach to the kennel walls so they are not easily knocked over. RC mother & baby cat is stocked up and ready to fuel hungry, nursing moms.

My biggest question is what litter to use. Everything I have read says to NOT use clumping/scoopable cat litter. We are Fresh Step devotees, since I hate the smell of Johnny cat or similar non-clumping clay litters. Paper pellets (yesterday’s news) was recommended as the kittens won’t eat it and it wont stick to their fur, but I’m curious to what other people have used. Swheat scoop?

I am hopeful that at least one of these young mothers can become a civilized proper lady and become a house pet, so I don’t want to confuse her with too many litter changes. In other words, I would like to use the same litter for her and for her kittens when they eventually use the litter box.

What do you experienced kitty doulas and fosters recommend? What else should I have on-hand? I must admit I am excited to get these 2 lovies off the street and hopefully socialize them so they can become adoptable pets along with their kittens.


Oh how fun! Baby kitties are the best. :heart::heart:

I’ve only done orphans–it’s so much easier when momma raises them! Still, it might be a good idea to lay in some KMR in case someone needs a little extra help or there’s some other problem. I like these miracle nipples (oh, they’re unavailable there, but Google around, still lots of buying options) if you do need to feed, they’re so much better than the old school bottle set up. Better to have and not need, than need and not have!

I’ve always used the clumping walnut litter for kittens with no problems, but I’m also the one wiping their butts so it’s still a little different :rofl: Surprised to hear that pellets are recommended at all–I’ve had a lot of cats through the house and most are really mehhhhh on that. They want something more sand/dirt like. Maybe sawdust if the rescue is really opposed to clumping options?

Have fun! Post pictures! Try not to keep too many of them–it’s sure hard to let them go!!

I had the same thought on the pellets - they are SO different than what most people use for their cats it might lead to litter confusion down the road. Thanks for the walnut suggestion - looks like there are a few options with that material.

I’ve always wanted to foster - I wish it was under different circumstances where the kitties could have their own room, but these little girls need help now. No lie, I can not wait for kittens to play with and socialize. I am hoping my SO falls in love with one so we can keep one, but I’m going to try really hard to not let one steal my heart - 4 kitties is plenty! haha

Lots of old towels and a large wire crate are the way to go. I work sometimes with a couple that does TNR in our community and that’s what they use. I also use the Swheat scoop. It doesn’t smell nice sometimes but if a baby decides to sample it it won’t do them any harm like clumping or clay litter might. They use a regular size pan for Mama and for the babies use foil pie tins or 9x9 square foil pans. They can be thrown away and are low enough for babies to climb in and out of. I have a big enough bathroom to let any boarders wander around in but at night and while I was at work they were in their kennel.

Thank you for helping your “tramps.” Pics of babies when they appear, please.