Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Stray Cats Question

questionkitty
November 25th, 2007, 06:54 PM
I have a couple of questions about two stray cats that live nearby.

Story: :shrug: Near the end of summer, I noticed a mother cat and her kitten (both black in colour) living in the shed of the demolished house next door. My brother and I fed them some dried fish snacks. Then soon my uncle bought cat food and dishes, and we started to feed them with that.

It's been starting to get colder and I kind of worry for them. I never noticed these cats before, and I'm not sure if they have been abandoned, or maybe they were strays from the start. Question 1:I am wondering if they can survive the winter.

My mom bought some cat toys and lately I have been playing with the little kitten. (The mother seems to disapprove..she always seems to be glaring at me from afar:o) Question 2: I am not sure where the mother cat uses for her bathroom, but the kitten digs where our garden area should be (it has soft dirt) What can I do to get the kitten to stop doing it's "business" there?

:fingerscr I am hoping for some answers/help. Thank you :):cat:

questionkitty
November 25th, 2007, 06:57 PM
I also forgot to mention that I am aware that the cats may not be fixed.. They are very cautious of people and I can never get near enough to them.

Also, my mom doesn't want them taken to the Humane Society, because our house isn't suitable for a cat(s) and they would die if no one adopts them.

Luba
November 25th, 2007, 07:27 PM
There are a lot of rescues for feral cats that can give you help and guidance and if you wanted to trap them they even let you borrow cages.

Do you have a garage or other insulated building for them that you can lure them to? If you do, you may want to do that. Keep feeding them, I do the same thing here to the neighbourhood strays.

If you can get some help froma feral rescue they often will help/teach you how to trap then can help with some vet care to make sure they are healthy, then get them fixed. They can then be kept often as indoor/outdoor cats or just returned to feral life.

I personally don't have a problem with feral cats in the country areas they are mostly barn type cats. I do have a problem with them in the city, many get hit by cars. However most of the cats I see hit by cars are often house cats that dont' have 'street sense' so to speak.

Then there are the idiots that trap/shoot/kill cats, that's always an issue. This feral cat you speak of could have been someones house cat at one point that was just abandoned.

When you feed them, each day move the dish closer and closer to a protective area of your property ie covered front porch/garage (if you can leave the garage open a little for them to get in/out.

Cats love chicken meat so if you buy a $5 dollar chicken from the store and boil it you can give them pieces each day they'll come to want to see you more often and try to trust you. Gonna take time though. It all depends on how far you want to go. If you tell us where you are located maybe we can help guide/direct you to a feral cat rescue or feral cat advisor so to speak.

Sometimes what 'we' want to do as humans that we think is best isn't always what makes the cat happy and thats something I think we should take into consideration. If you are willing to make a new friend or two and see if you can get them used to humans, it could be well worth it! :cat: for them and for you!

badger
November 25th, 2007, 08:05 PM
Questionkitty, you have a good heart.

The first thing you need to do is shut them up in that shed (I hope it isn't too too small, maybe even has a window). Can you make it escape proof? Put a litter boxe in there. When you interact with the mom cat, let her come to you. Take every opportunity to touch her (without risking your hands) but don't force it. She may be a true feral, with no experience of people, or a lost pet who has turned wild out of necessity. Time will tell.

If it is already cold where you are, make another shelter, preferably out of wood (the thicker the better). It doesn't have to be beautiful, just solid, with no cracks. Make the door just big enough for the cats to slip through. If you can get your hands on some straw, fill it with enough straw to make a cosy bed. Build the straw up on the sides for more insulation. If you don't have access to straw, a sleeping bag, old woolen blankets or old winter coats are fine.

Raise the shelter up off the floor of the shed with some boards (wooden pallets are ideal); just so the house isn't sitting on the floor. If possible, situate it away from the wall.

The mom cat may already be pregnant again. The sooner you get her fixed, the better, so you're not stuck with another load of kittens. Don't wait too long. When you can get her into a crate or a box without being slashed, take her to the vet. She'll probably be totally freaked out, but try to think of the long term benefit instead of the short-term trauma :).

I know this seems like alot of work - but you asked!

Are there any rescue groups in your area who could help you out? If so, I would call a couple and see if they can play a role, such as helping you adopt them out and providing information on low-cost spay clinics. The kitten should be vaccinated as well.

You want to avoid putting them back outside. It's a hard life, so many risks.

I hope this helps. Let us know what happens.

questionkitty
November 25th, 2007, 08:12 PM
Thank for answering, luba :)

Our garage is full with junk, cars, and machines. (although once I saw the little kitten crawl out of the garage through a hole in the window), and we have a shed, but the door falls off and leave a big crack, so I'm not sure it provides much warmth. The kitten wanders in, but the mother cat likes to stay on the demolished-house side.

Yes, we moved the dishes to the middle of our yard, near the garage a while ago.

It'd be great for you help me find a feral cat advisor, but I don't want to put my location onto the internet. (thanks, though) I searched on the internet, and I found this on the city site: "What is the law?
-Cats cannot run at large in _______. This means that a cat is not allowed on any property other than that of its owner.
-Effective January 1, 2007, all cats must be licensed."
Would it apply to me? I do not own the cats.

Thanks~! I am hoping for them to get used to the family. :goodvibes:

kashtin's kin
November 26th, 2007, 12:39 AM
Hi 'Q.K'...luba and badger have already been good enough to give you some excellent advice, I see. I first posted on this board about 1 1/2 yrs. ago, looking for some advice on dealing with feral cats on land right beside my TINY farm. I was really clueless :confused: -there was a mom and 3 young kittens, and it was late spring-except for knowing that it would be best to have them all fixed, and maybe adopt the kittens, if possible!?

It was a crazy summer, but with some advice and tons of encouragement from this BB :thumbs up , we were all (cats and people) lucky enough that things worked out about as well as they could have. I ended up livetrapping the momcat-and 3 'accidental tomcats' along the way...had them fixed too-and releasing her after her vet visit. Two kittens were absorbed by our household of a few indoor cats and 2 dogs, while the third was adopted by a cat savvy s.i.l.

Livetrapping works for many cats; I borrowed a trap from a feed store at first, then finally got my own. But, there has been at least one cat that I just could not trap :shrug: ...and I tried all the tricks I could find (Alley Cat Allies in the U.S. has a great website with lots of advice). I was fortunate that by talking to and feeding the kittens all summer, they ended up first eating in our back porch with the outer door open, and then were trapped in there-heh heh.

It's taken a bit of $$ we really could not spare to do all that (I couldn't tame/adopt every feral family for emotional and financial reasons); I'm just crossing my fingers that no more ferals show up for a while...the momcat was really wild after she recovered from her spay, so she was released; a year later, she's still making this place her home (gets feed etc., and an insulated box/shelter). In fact, just in the past few weeks, she has started to let me first touch, then FINALLY really pet her :D.

Everyone is going to have different experiences with feral cats i.e. according to your 'environment', how much time and/or $$ you can spare and so forth. As someone mentioned, perhaps the majority of feral cats in North America are originally domestic cats who somehow lost their people/home, and then had kittens who were born wild...unless socialized by humans.

I am a definite SPAY/NEUTER advocate; even fixing ONE pair of cats helps (or even one cat, period). I managed to get my feral family done because if I hadn't, I would have had the same situation and worse this year, and so on. It's great that you're concerned about this mom and kitten, and have gone to the trouble of looking for help/advice-the felines thank you :thumbs up ! I've found my feral experience to be very rewarding, and educational...again, each person has to make personal decisions, but you've gotten off to a good start.

Re: the cat 'bylaws' wherever you are, I'm not encouraging criminal :eek: behaviour!, but I'd just stay under the radar, and try to find local cat rescue people that work privately (Humane Societies do good work, but independant folks tend to be more committed, and are not bound by bureaucracy). Even if there is no cat rescue really close, hopefully you may find some by phoning around...many people do their stuff very privately, but I've found that there are likely a lot more folks than you might think in your area.

With the pooping in the garden/soft earth issue, there are ways to discourage that, but I'm not an expert...which is why my garden is a mess right now! Providing the cats with a sheltered sort of litter box is one thing that should help...my feral mom likes to poop right beside a huge compost bin I use for pony poop; must be a 'group' thing??

Well, I do hope you've managed to wade through all the above...or at least skimmed it for the best stuff?! Whatever the case, without laying a guilt trip on ya, it is really nice that you care about these 2 cats, and I really hope :fingerscr that you will end up having an experience a bit like mine. Please do keep posting with any questions and concerns (I had a million!), as there are quite a few people with excellent advice etc. to pass along...and a lot more ready to cheer you on, and make you feel you're not alone! :cat:

questionkitty
November 27th, 2007, 08:29 PM
Thank you, badger and kashtin's kin!:pawprint:

When is was warm we had bought a plastic storage box (personally reminds me of a toybox...), and a cat door, which my uncle installed into the box.
It is placed near the garage sort of in the middle of our backyard. (the dishes are also placed in front of it.) Both of these items are lifted off the ground with a wooden boards. The cats don't seem to get the hint! I don't think they know to push on the door to go in, or that inside isn't their ideal place, although we filled it with some cloth. I sometimes poke a stick in so that the door opens, but they never want to go in...

Today, I was playing with the kitten, so I opened the door with the stick and threw the toy into the box. When the kitten climbed in, I gently closed the door on it, and it didn't know how to get out! Oh the sounds it made! Meowing and meowing, until I finally opened the door a little bit and it bolted out into the shed. I hope I didn't give it a traumatizing experience that it will never go in the box again...
Should I try and trap it in there, again, and take it to the vet, maybe? I never had an pet such as a cat or dog, before, so I never dealt with the vet before! (let my mom handle all that, maybe.)

My grandma thinks that the mom cat does belong to a family, and maybe that it just gave birth to the kitten but it wasn't accepted into the house or something, because apparently, she saw the mother cat go into someone else's backyard all the time. (or maybe it has a certain path there..?)

I will try to keep update on this :)

&to kashtin's kin: I am glad you have been finally able to pet the momcat! :thumbs up

: I forgot to mention that before I see that the mother cat likes to bat it's kitten... and hiss at it. Is this normal? Is the kitten being bad so it is just being punished? Or is the mother cat being abusive?

Also, here is a picture I took before it started snowing, and before they started wandering around our yard. http://fc04.deviantart.com/fs20/f/2007/308/a/5/kitties_before_snow_by_lil_kendra_bear.jpg

kashtin's kin
November 29th, 2007, 02:16 AM
It was good to read your update qc, even if things have been a bit frustrating i.e. mom and kitten not so keen on the shelter yet. I found when we put out our insulated catbox-with-porch last fall, it took quite a while for our momcat WW to use it. She'd eat and drink on the 'porch', but I wasn't sure she ever used the box until one night when I unthinkingly!! knocked some snow off the roof; WOW:eek:, WW tore out of the shelter in a blur of black fur!

If you can put their food right by the entrance, that would hopefully make them more comfortable; I lured my feral kittens inside by moving the food closer and closer to the door, and then right inside with the door open... It also might help to put some cat nip or tuna/salmon right inside. If not for tuna, I don't think I would have been able to make such good friends with the ferals in the initial stages of our friendship (i.e. been able to convince them to let me serve them hand and foot :rolleyes:).

This fall we changed 'Casa WW' a bit, and it took about 3 weeks-and cooler, ickier weather...that may work in your favour, too-before WW decided to check out her altered catpad. If you are able to get either cat into a crate, I would be inclined to get them to a vet for spaying/shots; at this time of year, you'd just have to make sure they could be in a warmish/confined place for a few days of recovery time.

I know that's a tough call, as you don't want to lose the trust you've established. Even though WW is getting positively demanding with her pat/scratch sessions, I am not getting her in to the vet for her shots this year...I can see doing it next year (took her a looooong time to forgive me for the spay visit, plus I had to livetrap her). But if the cat/kitten aren't spayed etc., that sort of puts the pressure on :shrug:.

Regarding the mother batting the kitten a bit, I should be a bit more with-it regarding 'cat dynamics', but my feral kitties always came to eat without mum (she was too shy in the daylight hours), so I didn't see her interact with them much. Perhaps mum is just teaching her kiddo to be a bit more independant...or playing?? She MAY be suffering from cranky mother syndrome, but I would be surprised if she was overly hostile or rough.

Anyhoo, it sounds like you're handling things well :angel:, despite the shelter etc. issue. Along with advice from others, you sort of have to problem solve as you go, sometimes just trusting your instincts-after all, you're the one who is experiencing things first hand. It took me a while to trust my own judgement a bit more, instead of having a meltdown (lucky my fella is a very CALM type). But I posted in a panic quite a few times :eek: !!

It's GREAT that you got some pics up-helps everyone to relate to the whole situation better (we're all suckers for critter pics), so good work :D! Hang in there, and things will work out...bonus, you'll end up with a doctorate in 'catology' in a while!

p.s. re: the shelter, is there a way to maybe prop? the door open for a while or something?? Also, two of my feral kittens ending up being called Pepper (one with us, and one with my s.i.l.)...so take that as a good omen :cat:!...just looked at your pics again, and 'kitty pepper' looks just about the size of my kittens when I got them inside...soooooo cute (and nice captions too).

babykitten
March 1st, 2008, 08:40 PM
normally you never touch kitten out side the mother close .once you do the smell is different and she might a baned them after she smell you on them . is the mother still around ? do they look heathy ? how old are they you think ? are