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New to rescuing cats

jillybeanrocks
July 21st, 2008, 05:33 PM
When I first started reading these boards I read through the threads about rescuing and getting feral cats used to people, and I was impressed that people would take time out of their lives to save these cats. Well, I now find myself in that situation.

We have a momma cat and her one baby that have taken up residence in one of our sheds. We think the mom is just over a year and the baby looks to me about 3 months old. (I could be wrong on baby’s age) They showed up early last week and decided that our house was the nicest in the neighborhood to live. The mom goes out every morning around 6 am, she could come back during the day but we generally don’t see her around until 9:30 pm. We think the baby hides in the shed or the bush around the shed during the day until momma comes back. She has been taking pretty good care of him from what we’ve seen, one night she caught a mouse and came trotting down the driveway with it in her mouth and dropped it in front of baby, he happily played with it for a few minutes and then started devouring it.

We’ve decided that we need to help both of them and at the very least get momma spayed so we don’t have more rescues on our hands. We’ve been putting out food and making sure they see us putting out the food so they know that we’re the ones giving it to them. We talk to them when they’re out and about; the baby sits there cautiously and runs into the shed when we come too close.

I have a few questions, the big tom cat that claims our property as his own has a tendency to come in and eat the food that we leave out for the momma and her baby, can we stop this in any way? By the way, we think that the tom is the baby’s daddy because it looks identical to him, even down to a white patch in his black spot on his back. Will the tom cat attack the baby because it’s on “his property”?

This morning when I was leaving for work I saw the momma out strutting her stuff in front of yet another stray cat (an orange tabby this time). Could she be in heat again? (ugh I hope not!):pray:

I’ve attached pictures that I took through my living room window, so forgive that they are a little blurry, they move around a lot. The little one is cross-eyed… he’s so cute! :cloud9::lovestruck:

badger
July 21st, 2008, 06:47 PM
Sweet little family you've got there. I expect she had more than one kitten and the others didn't survive. If there are intact toms around, it's certain that she's pregnant again. At this stage, the best you can do is to trap her (animal control or rescue groups will often lend or rent humane traps) and take her immediately to the vet to be spayed. Of course the kittens would have to be sacrificed :sad:
Is it possible to close them up in the shed after the mother comes back in the evening? That way you could feed them away from the toms overnight and then let the mother cat out in the morning, because as long as she's outside, she'll want to hunt.
Good luck.
PS just because she's hunting doesn"t mean she's feral (born outside) or that she couldn't be 'brought around'. She's just being resourceful :laughing:

jillybeanrocks
July 23rd, 2008, 12:22 PM
The shed is large and is closed in by a tarp so we can't close her in. We are certain she's pregnant now because we saw our regular tom with her the other day.

I called my county office to see if they have live traps and they do, so we will be renting one. I also called our vet and she is booked for August 14th, it was their earliest appointment, so I took it. We will trap her close to that date and take her in. They said there is more of a chance of complications, but to avoid another litter it will have to be done. We are also in contact with a rescue group close to our house to see if they'll take the kitten in, maybe the momma too, if they can. We do think the momma could be brought around, she is shy but seems like she has a very good personality and likes to sit and watch us work on the house, even if it's just from a distance.

P.S. the county office says all the cat traps are out, but they do have skunk traps that we could use. Are they similar? Also, the vet tech says we should get the trap and set it so it doesn't go off and get the momma used to being fed in there without worry of being closed in, is this a good idea?

badger
July 23rd, 2008, 01:48 PM
It would definitely be a good idea to get the mother cat used to the trap by feeding her in there for a few days before springing it, maybe even inside the shed.
I have no idea what a skunk trap looks like, she'll be pretty traumatized anyway but the less trauma the better, obviously. Maybe the rescue you contacted could advise you.
Have you thought about what would happen to the kitten after the mother has been trapped? It would be important to keep putting food down so he doesn't stray.

jillybeanrocks
July 23rd, 2008, 03:00 PM
My fear/prediction is that the kitten will get trapped and the momma will be left outside of it, just because the kitten is around most of the time and momma is gone most of the time. In fact, I think she's pushing the kitten away because she's been around less and less and providing him with less and less food (from what we see).

We will of course still feed whichever one is left, if it's the baby I'm sure the baby will be traumatized seeing it's mom freak out in a trap or vice versa. I think we will attempt to get 2 traps from the county and see if we can catch both (probably wishful thinking).

jillybeanrocks
July 24th, 2008, 12:01 PM
I'm not sure if anyone is reading this thread or not, but we had a great night with the kitties last night.

After dinner we went out to work on our renovations and the kitties were out by the sheds. I quickly went to grab the dry food and slowly walked over talking softly and shaking the food. The momma came over cautiously and waited until I put the food down to start eating it. The kitten wasn't going to come over while I was there so I put the food down and sat about 5 feet away. The kitten came and ate while I was sitting there.

I got the idea of getting some wet kitten food that we had in the closet from when Willie was a kitten. I brought it out and both were immediately interested in it. The momma even ate it from the dish as I was holding it, she sniffed my hand too. I had to walk away again to let the kitten eat as well, but I was even closer to them.

After they ate the kitten was playing happily with the momma, I was still sitting there so I started playing with a leaf to get kitten's attention and it worked! The kitten came over to me and started playing with the leaf, I showed him my hand and he started licking my finger! I was so happy. :lovestruck:

I figured that was enough for them so I left them alone and went inside. I hope I can do the same thing tonight and maybe I'll even get to pet them. With any luck I wont need the live trap to catch them. I'm thrilled! :cloud9:

I was able to get my camera to get better pictures.

jillybeanrocks
July 24th, 2008, 12:03 PM
Here are a couple more pictures!

Love4himies
July 24th, 2008, 12:36 PM
Of course we are reading these posts, lol.
Do you think the cats will trust you enough to pick them up?

If they do, then maybe you can use a carrier, put the food in the back of the carrier and as soon as the cat goes into eat, shut the door quickly. There wouldn't be the scary, slamming noise.

It doesn't sound like they are totally feral, but the longer they are living outside the harder it will be to socialize them.

Thank you for taking care of these sweeties.:lovestruck:

jillybeanrocks
July 24th, 2008, 01:39 PM
Thank you! I knew I had to share my success with you guys because I was so very happy that I'm actually getting somewhere with them.

Well, to me it was a big surprise that I was able to get as close as I did last night. But, I will try tonight to see if they'll let me pet them and pick them up if I can, but I don't want to do too much too soon.

They were by the sheds this morning when I was leaving for work so I walked over talking to them. The kitten jumped down off the barrel he was laying on and started coming towards me but then hesitated and headed back for his momma. I think I will have better luck tonight. :thumbs up

Once the momma gets spayed, I'm hoping my hubby lets me keep her, she is very sweet. :lovestruck: It might be hard to convince him, but I will try my best.

Love4himies
July 24th, 2008, 02:25 PM
Sounds like you are making headway :thumbs up Good luck!

sugarcatmom
July 24th, 2008, 02:34 PM
Wow, that kitten's eyes are mesmerizing:lovestruck:. Fingers crossed that you can keep momma and the little one safe. I agree that you probably don't want to rush it though. Picking them up too soon could backfire. Coaxing them into a carrier sounds like the best option.

kathryn
July 24th, 2008, 04:25 PM
http://alleycat.org/pdf/abcs.pdf

http://alleycat.org/pdf/Congratulations.pdf

http://alleycat.org/pdf/stressreduction.pdf

http://alleycat.org/pdf/5FAQcombo.pdf

http://alleycat.org/pdf/socializingferal.pdf

http://www.straycatalliance.org/trapping.php

http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/info/trapping.htm

http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/info/adoption.htm

http://www.feralcat.com/trapinst.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trap-Neuter-Return

http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=cruelty_tnr




Wash the skunk trap first. It should be roughly the same size.

Not sure if anyone else knows much about TNR and rescuing stray and ferals. It's sort of my job though. Let me know if you need any specific help.

jillybeanrocks
July 24th, 2008, 04:45 PM
Thank you very much for all the information Kathryn, I really appreciate it.

phoozles
July 24th, 2008, 05:46 PM
Sounds like things are going well so far - it's so exciting when you see glimmers of trust coming from them!

I agree to try and take it easy - reach out a hand to pet one or both of them, but if they jump, back off for a while - and try to avoid too sudden of movements..

:fingerscr that things will progress even further tonight!

kathryn
July 24th, 2008, 07:38 PM
Thank you very much for all the information Kathryn, I really appreciate it.

No problem. AlleyCat.org has the best info. Like I said, need any help just PM me I am online almost daily anymore. I've rescued 8 cats to call my own and 9 kittens. I still have 5 (ones adoption is pending!) and so I know alot about rehabing the kittens to make them become friendly. 4 kittens were 5 weeks and totally feral when I found them, never touched by humans hands let alone seen a human before. By a couple weeks later, all adopted into separate homes to become loving companions :) To think they tried to rip my hands apart when I first found them hissing and growling at me.

jillybeanrocks
July 25th, 2008, 01:30 PM
Well, last night wasn't a very good night for us. Momma was around but we couldn't see or hear baby anywhere. We thought maybe I got too close the day before and she took the baby elsewhere. I fed momma, but she stayed quite far away so I just left out for her and went inside.

It was after 10 when my husband came in to the bedroom where I was reading before bed and told me the baby was there now but he didn't look good. I started to panic and brought some wet food outside so I could take a good look. The baby looked like he was wet and crouching down or maybe injured in some way, hubby suggested maybe he got attacked by a dog or something. I was freaking out!

The wet food worked to get momma close but the baby didn't even try to come close to it, even if I walked away from it. I went to the food dish with the spoon (momma didn't move from the dish, I think she trusts me) and I took some food out. I walked over to baby very slowly, it took several tries to get close enough to let him smell the spoon, I held it out and he finally ate a little but was very withdrawn and soaking wet. From what it looked like, he fell in some water and couldn't get out of it, later on I found out that hubby has some pails with a small amount of oil that may have had a loose lid on them :wall: they could have collected water from all the rain we've been having.

So, I'm not sure, but maybe the baby was struggling to get out of a pail of water (or the pond or oil and water :frustrated:). It was so dark I couldn't really see if he was injured, he was walking fine but he had no interest in eating and seemed withdrawn. I couldn't even sleep last night I was so upset and worried.

I checked this morning before I went to work but they were no where to be found. I've been worried sick all day and I know I can't do anything because I can't catch them just yet. :fingerscr I hope momma is taking care of her baby, I hope he was dry and had a good sleep last night, where ever they ended up. :sad:

14+kitties
July 25th, 2008, 01:34 PM
I checked this morning before I went to work but they were no where to be found. I've been worried sick all day and I know I can't do anything because I can't catch them just yet. :fingerscr I hope momma is taking care of her baby, I hope he was dry and had a good sleep last night, where ever they ended up. :sad:


Remind me again about why you can't catch them yet? If the baby looks like he is lethargic, not interested in food, withdrawn, injured then PLEASE do catch him and get him to a vet asap!!! Kittens can go downhill very very fast. Please take him to a vet as soon as you can.

Love4himies
July 25th, 2008, 01:35 PM
Oh no, if it was oil, you are going to have to take extreme measures and capture that baby ASAP. Momma can wait until later.

jillybeanrocks
July 25th, 2008, 02:06 PM
Phew... I just talked to my husband on the phone, when he left for work this morning he checked all the pails and all had their lids on firmly so it looks like the baby didn't get into the oil. Thank Dog!

14+, I don't have the live traps from the county yet and after I went inside to talk to my husband, that's when he told me about the oil, when I looked back outside they were both gone where ever they go at night. It wasn't the shed because we looked in there. They weren't around this morning either when I left for work so I couldn't check up on them. He didn't look injured because he was walking fine and following mom, just wet and withdrawn (perhaps cold?).

I will have to wait until I get home from work to check into things further. We will take a treck into the bush to see if we can see them, but I doubt they'll come out of hiding if we're stomping around in chest high grasses/weeds.

I just have to hope that momma cleaned him up and got him dry and safe for the night.

14+kitties
July 25th, 2008, 02:18 PM
I guess what I was saying was if he is letting you get pretty close then you have to take a chance and reach out and grab him. You don't need a live trap. If momma is starting to trust you then I don't think you will need a trap for her either. She should be able to be scooped up and put into a regular cat carrier.
Kittens can get very very sick very quickly if they get wet. It doesn't matter if it is just water. If he got in a pail or pool or something and was having problems getting out it is hard to say how much water he may have aspirated.Thankfully it wasn't the oil. Even in the summer time they can get sick. Please take him in if you can get near him just to be checked.

You are doing a great thing trying to catch these two and get them fixed. :highfive: I am just very worried about the tiny one.