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Feral Cats

Chama
October 28th, 2011, 09:35 AM
Hi everyone,

We have a mother cat and kitten outside of my workplace (unfortunately there were several more kittens but we believe maybe a fox got them) Unfortunately by the time I discovered the kitten, it was four months old and had no socialization with people otherwise I would have tried to adopt it out through the rescue that I foster for. We have been ensuring that they have lots of food and I managed to trap the kitten and have her spayed. We want to do the same with the mother but have been unable to trap her thus far.

We have noticed lately that the Mom hisses at the kitten (I call her a kitten but she is about six months) and won't allow her near the food while she eats. Don't get me wrong we make sure the kitten has enough food and people have seen her eating when the Mom isn't there. We are making a house for them with the winter months coming up (there is also a barn nearby) but our worry is that the Mom won't allow the kitten in the house with her. Could this be due to one being spayed and the other not being spayed? Or worst case scenario we are wondering if the mother is pregnant again and is getting more terretorial with the food? I noticed this morning that she was sleeping beside the food dish.

I know the ideal situation would be to get them into a rescue but we all know that we can't save them all and these two just aren't accustomed enough to human contact. We could bring them to animal control but worry that they will be euthanized with the overpopulation in this area and the fact that they don't allow us to handle them.

Any expertise you could provide would be appreciated.

Thanks!

sugarcatmom
October 28th, 2011, 09:45 AM
I'm betting that the hissing is because momma cat is either pregnant or hoping to be. Could also be partly due to the spay because the kitten came back smelling different and she didn't recognize her. Can you keep trying to trap mom? Put the trap in a different location maybe, with a towel over it and the stinkiest food you can find (sardines or some of the fish-flavoured Meow Mix pouches work well). If you have access to the trap for a while, tie the door up so it doesn't spring when she walks on the pressure plate. Put a thin towel like a dish towel over the bottom of the cage - some cats hate walking on the cage wires. Get her used to going in and out of it for food for a few days. Then one day untie the door and hopefully she'll get trapped. I would TNR her rather than take her to a rescue or animal control if she's truly feral, as long as you're able to keep feeding her and giving her shelter.

Good luck!!

Dog Dancer
October 28th, 2011, 10:34 AM
Sugarcatmom, question, if the kitten is only about six months old and were trapped, could it not be rehabilitated at such a young age?? I realize Mom is probably lost to the love of humans, but is the kitten lost already?? I would think with some serious work the kitty could be rescued. But that said, I have never done cat rescue so I'm just hoping that may be the case.

Love4himies
October 28th, 2011, 12:55 PM
How kind of you to take care of these poor kitties. :angel:


Sugarcatmom, question, if the kitten is only about six months old and were trapped, could it not be rehabilitated at such a young age?? I realize Mom is probably lost to the love of humans, but is the kitten lost already?? I would think with some serious work the kitty could be rescued. But that said, I have never done cat rescue so I'm just hoping that may be the case.


That depends entirely on the kitten.

My feral, who I got at 3 years old is a doll, with the exception of still not being able to pick her up. She did hiss at me for months, but now climbs on my lap for pats every night :cloud9:. However, she is the exception to the rule on taming ferals.

The rule of thumb it's best to get them at 3-5 weeks old to get them comfortable enough with humans. If this kitten in question has had regular exposure to humans, then I say it's worth a try. It may take some time, but with the right owner, it may be possible.

As for the momma, I agree with SCM, she may be going into heat now and trying to tell her kitten to leave her alone and her idea with the trap is wonderful!

Can the rescue even give you a name of somebody who may be able to help tame the kitten?

Chama
November 16th, 2011, 09:02 PM
Hi again everyone,

So I am really hoping someone can help me. It seems that Mom is pregnant again (which I hope to confirm tomorrow) It is getting cold and I really want the opportunity to tame the kittens this time. I am seriously considering trapping Mom and bringing her home to have her kittens in my garage. Has anyone ever brought a stray/feral home and is there anything I can do to help her and me.

I spoke to the rescue group and they have agreed to bring the kittens into the program and on the chance that mom comes around put her up for adoption as well. The alternative would be spay her after the kittens are weened and release her. I feel like it's kind of mean but if I can't socialize her then at least she will have some relief from this bitter cold coming up and a safe spot for her babies.

I guess I'm wondering, will she let me near the kittens?

If she is in fact pregnant, I will make sure she has a comfortable and warm spot for her and her kittens. In the event that she makes a good transition, I will probably give her a room inside the house.

sugarcatmom
November 16th, 2011, 11:20 PM
I am seriously considering trapping Mom and bringing her home to have her kittens in my garage. Has anyone ever brought a stray/feral home and is there anything I can do to help her and me.


It's really hard to predict how these things will pan out. Every cat is an individual and their reactions to new situations can vary widely. I did trap a (semi)feral last summer and she had 5 kittens in my spare room. I kept her (and 2 kittens) and she is absolutely amazing and wonderful, has really come out of her shell. She's not a lap-cat, but she loves her some good vigorous petting sessions :cloud9:. Here's the main thread on her story: http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=71227&highlight=advice

You might want to think about a spay/abortion if she's still early in the pregnancy. Something to maybe discuss with the vet anyway.

One thing I really want to emphasize if you do catch her is to make sure that wherever you put her is completely cat proof and escape proof. If she is indeed feral, she may try with every ounce of her being to get out, and if that happens you won't have another chance. Block access to nooks and crannies that she could crawl into, but give her the choice of a couple of boxes or something similar to hide in. Access to something higher up like a shelf might help give her confidence. Or you could try a really large dog crate for a while (although some cats may freak out at that degree of confinement).

Some tasty treats would be extremely helpful in trying to win her over. Temptations seem to work really well. If you could just sit in the room with her and gently talk to her or read a book out loud, while tossing her treats, that'll get her comfortable with your presence. One thing that might work in your favour is that cats often become extra affectionate in the late stages of pregnancy. Or once inside, they lose the feral-tude and resort to the house-cats they used to (or want to) be. Hopefully that's the case with this girl.

Good luck!

barbp
November 20th, 2011, 07:22 PM
I do TNR in Long Island NY USA since 1999 and working with ferals is all about the proper equipment. You need a humane trap to get Mom and nowadays the vets involved with TNR do abortions up to delivery day.(Don't ask, vet will just give you back a non-pregnant cat). (Too many kittens after May of every year and just way too many cats in general.). I have traps that have what is referred to as a guillotine door at one end (slides up and down) and I transfer cat to a bigger trap with similar type door for the 3 day recuperation period. No escapes, no fuss and the trap is large enough to sit up, to sleep at one end, BR at other end and food in middle on paperplates. (36 x 14 x 14-trucatch but I am sure other firms make similar traps.) Having 2 doors makes recuperation a breeze for changing paper etc.

From my experiences, most cats will become friendly to the feeder. But the issue is, how many folks, general public, want a cat they can not pick up and that hides from everyone who is not well known. Limited adoption group of folks for these cats. And to take a feral from it's location to say a barn, it is not good to just release without holding in a cage for about 2 weeks to 2 months. If there are other cats at the barn they may run the cat off if just released, or the cat itself will leave, trying to get back to old location.

On Long Island, we are very suburban and do not have lots of cat predators-worse ones are the car and nasty humans. And so many people like to feed but do not sterilize for various reasons.

Anyway, Chama, I would opt to catch and abort Mom and then provide her shelter and food where she is. Unless you take her home and keep her in the house as a house feral. And cruel as it sounds, I would opt for abortion. Kittens will be very friendly, but do you know folks that will adopt them and spay/neuter them of course? And then you are stuck with Mom as a house feral cause by the time she finishes the 5 week plus nursing of the kittens, it would be a bit cruel to dump her back to her old location. My opinion of course.

Chama
November 21st, 2011, 03:07 PM
Thanks to both of you for your responses-it helps a lot! I caught her Friday and brought her home to my garage as she has an appointment tomorrow morning and didn't want to risk not catching her. Now that I have gotten a better look at her, she is plump but if pregnant probably not too terribly far along.

She does come out and seems pretty calm but I haven't tried to pet her or anything. I feel bad putting her back out after she recovers but at least now I know there won't be anymore babies and we all feed her so no worries there.

One last question, is it normal for a feral to use the litter box right away? I can't help but wonder if she was once someone's pet :(

chico2
November 21st, 2011, 04:15 PM
Chama,I have nothing to add after all the advice you've gotten already,I just want to thank you so very much for what you are doing.:grouphug:
Please continue to keep us posted..

Dog Dancer
November 21st, 2011, 04:40 PM
I'm with Chico. Bless you for helping this kitty out. Having her spayed will certainly be the best gift you could give her. Well that and some shelter if you have to put her back out. Bless you for helping and caring.:angel2:

Jim Hall
November 21st, 2011, 05:32 PM
sounds like you have been adopted
bring her inside and she will probably will retire amd be a great pet as fir the kits if you sit while they are eating eventually and i mean eventually they may be come socilaiesed

Chama
November 24th, 2011, 03:33 PM
Hi everyone,

Unfortunately this girl doesn't seem to be coming around and she has started trying to escape :(

I feel bad but I think her going back out may be the only option. The vet that does TNR in my area only does it on Tuesday and I didn't do a very good job when I tried to catch her and couldn't catch her in time for the appointment so now I have to wait until next Tuesday.

She has already been caught in the trap once so she is understandingly not cooperating. Does anyone have any tips. I know I probably need to take food away prior to so that I can catch her but what timelines should I use and I guess salmon or something really stinky would work best?

We have already built a shelter for her and the remaining kitten from her last litter at work. I know it's not ideal but at least she will be spayed and regularly fed with shelter from the elements. I believe they may go to a barn nearby when it gets really cold but we have made a house to help if not.

Thanks again for all your feedback!

Chama
December 7th, 2011, 08:22 AM
Well, I got this girl fixed and gave her a week to recover before releasing her. She is not happy and I feel bad because she doesn't want anything to do with me.

The reason I am posting is to see if anyone can give me some advice on catching her again. She is obviously on to me with the trap but I don't really have any other options to catch her. She won't let me any closer than about three feet. So I took her food away last night at about six and then set the trap at midnight with some really smelly sardines in there. She didn't go in (not that I can blame her after the last time she got surgery). How long can I not give her food so that she is hungry enough to be enticed to go in. The last thing I want to do is starve her and believe me, I got no sleep last night because I felt so bad about having to trap her again.

Does anyone have any tips?

Love4himies
December 7th, 2011, 09:12 AM
Glad to hear she's been spayed.


Depending on how food motivated she is, it may be difficult to get her into the trap again. The only thing I can think of is to cover the bottom of the trap with a towel, put the food only about 1/3 way into the trap so she doesn't have to go too far in, then next time move the food a bit further back. This will build up her trust in the trap until you can get the food far enough back for her to trip the release on the trap.


Is there a particular reason for having to trap her again?

Good luck!

Chama
December 7th, 2011, 09:41 AM
Thanks very much...I will try that!

I feel bad because I don't think I handled this very well. I was trying to do the right thing and do a TNR but when I initially caught her to take for her spay, it was going to be a few days before I could take her in so I let her out in my garage and I had some trouble catching her that time as well and missed the first scheduled appointment (they only do ferals once a week). I did manage to catch her with salmon and now that I took her to be spayed, she really doesn't want to go back in the trap..can't say I blame her. The rescue I deal with had said that I should wait a week to make sure there were no infections etc. following her spay. She wasn't pregnant as we originally thought (just fat from everyone at work feeding her)

I need to release her and she really wants out but I want to take her back to her original home as at least that way there are barns etc. for her to take cover.

I don't know that she has ever had any human touch and all she wants is for me to leave her alone....

Love4himies
December 7th, 2011, 10:02 AM
Thanks very much...I will try that!

I feel bad because I don't think I handled this very well. I was trying to do the right thing and do a TNR but when I initially caught her to take for her spay, it was going to be a few days before I could take her in so I let her out in my garage and I had some trouble catching her that time as well and missed the first scheduled appointment (they only do ferals once a week). I did manage to catch her with salmon and now that I took her to be spayed, she really doesn't want to go back in the trap..can't say I blame her. The rescue I deal with had said that I should wait a week to make sure there were no infections etc. following her spay. She wasn't pregnant as we originally thought (just fat from everyone at work feeding her)

I need to release her and she really wants out but I want to take her back to her original home as at least that way there are barns etc. for her to take cover.

I don't know that she has ever had any human touch and all she wants is for me to leave her alone....

I know how you feel, I have a little feral girl myself. It's been 3 years and I can't put two hands around her chest to pick up or get my face close enough to give her a kiss :cry:.


I agree, she needs to get back to her territory, it will be much better for her.

For a last resort, there was a pill that I got from my vet, it is a controlled substance, so not easy to get, that I gave my feral when I had to get her to the vet for bloodwork. I can't remember what it's called, but it relaxed her enough that I was able to quickly pick her up and put her in a top loading carrier. Not sure if that's an option for you. The problem with this med is that it can have the opposite affect and make the cat hyper.

I would try the moving the food in the trap first, though. You may even have to start with the food right on the edge of the trap.

chico2
December 7th, 2011, 12:23 PM
Good advice from L4H,when I trapped a semi-feral cat,I too put a towel covering the trap itself and also covered the entire cage,except for the opening.
I am really glad she's spayed and she was not pregnant again...:grouphug: