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Help! feral cat has 3 kittens under my porch

althe
May 15th, 2012, 01:38 PM
Feral cat has been populating the neighborhood for nearly 2 years and she had 3 kittens under my porch who are 1 month old tomorrow (about 18 days old in photo). She used to bolt at first sight of me but now stays in the box when I leave the food. The cardboard box is now too small for their size + mother. Shouldn't I be putting them in a bigger box. She's very protective and has refused to eat the 3 or 4 times that I've examined her babies. Who knows how she'll react to me changing the box. I don't think I'd approach while she's there, I don't trust her not to attack.

How do I proceed to try and save this family? It crossed my mind to try and trap her and then to transfer the family to a room in my basement. This way I'd be fairly sure to save the kittens but I don't honestly know if this is actually a viable option. If she decides to move them, I'd likely lose sight of them which would result in three more unsterilized feral cats in an already overpopulated neighborhood.

I don't have much real life experience with a situation like this. I live in east end Montreal and the pound is a well known high kill place (Berger Blanc) and I don't know if there are, or how to contact, any TNR (catch neuter release) in my area or even if they could help. Advice of members will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Teresa

Love4himies
May 15th, 2012, 03:47 PM
Thank you for caring for these guys :lovestruck:. I'm hoping she is only semi-feral, meaning she has had some life exposure to humans and can get used to them again.

The only way to break the cycle is to spay the momma (she will thank you :thumbs up) and socialize the kittens to be adopted out.

If it was me, I would try to trap the mom, bring her into the house (locked in a room) along with her kittens. It sounds like in time she will get used to humans. I would not, however try to pick her up or the kittens while she is around because she may indeed get angry. How aggressive has she been with you? How close have you gotten to her?

As for the box, can you put out a bigger box beside the used one and put the blanket (and the kittens) in the new box when momma isn't around? Leaving the scent for them is quite important.

Good luck!

Longblades
May 15th, 2012, 04:04 PM
Double Ditto above. I'd try to live trap Mom while the kittens are too small to skitter off and away. You are lucky to find the kittens. I would also guess that the Mom isn't as wild as she lets on, otherwise I doubt she'd have chosen your porch.

althe
May 15th, 2012, 08:15 PM
Thank you Love4 and Longblades. You've confirmed that my options are limited.

Only once did I go to within 4 feet from her when she was in the box and at that range I felt like she might lunge at me. She stiffened and raised her head out and hissed and she was Wide-eyed and yep a bit scary. I've never gotten within 10 yards of her the times that I've seen her crossing through the yard. She takes off like a bat outta hell, but she stops once or twice to look straight at me and hiss. Iíd be more than happy to keep her if sheíd let me.

The weather was very cold and wet when she had them, which was extra incentive for her to use the box which was under the porch. There's also only one small opening through the trellis side panels to get under there.

I'll start making calls tomorrow to try and find an appropriate cage and cross my fingers this works. If she doesn't become a bit less fearful, socializing the kittens and trapping her a 2nd time after keeping her in the basement could also be difficult. We're moving in August so I won't get another chance to do this. I really hope it works.

Teresa

Koteburo
May 16th, 2012, 06:24 AM
Thank you for caring for this little family!
Please let us know what happened if you caught her.
I'd do the same as adviced. Capture the mom and put her with her babies in a room until things are good enough to proceed and spay her and socialize the kittens to find homes for them.
And again: Thank you :lovestruck: and keep us updated please

Love4himies
May 16th, 2012, 08:14 AM
Good luck!

marko
May 16th, 2012, 09:33 AM
Any updates on this? Thanks and good luck!!

Edenca
May 16th, 2012, 01:52 PM
Have you tried to research other rescue groups in Montreal? I'm sure there must be a few who would be willing to offer some suggestions. I live in a city of 350,000 and there are at least 8 different groups.

althe
May 16th, 2012, 07:10 PM
Today:

Tried to change the box this morning but mother was fairly aggressive, so I simply stayed put for 3-4 minutes, looked at her, didn't touch kittens, then I left.

Spoke to a person who has worked in rescue shelters and explained possibly live trapping mother and bringing the family into a room in the basement. She advised against this, saying that stress on the mother could cause her to freak out and urinate & defecate & basically do damage.

Went back under porch several times during the day, mother was always there. Each time I took a step closer, stayed calm, then left. An hour ago I went again with the new box and quickly did the switch. She watched me from about 10 feet away. I looked at her for a few minutes then I left. She didn't seem as angry and aggressive as during prior visits.

Just got off the phone with my vet who said that he personally wouldn't try keeping her in the basement and that she could react very negatively. His first suggestion was trying to find someone who'd be willing to bottle feed the kittens beginning now. His second suggestion is that I continue visits under the porch as often as possible like I did today, and see if that elicits a bit more trust from her, and try to do this for 2 more weeks... the kittens would then be 6 weeks old. Of course there's always a risk that mother will decide to move them. I can only cross my fingers that she likes the food & shelter enough to stay.

This project is almost a full time job. I'll post developments.
teresa

Longblades
May 17th, 2012, 04:46 PM
Well that is not encouraging but I've done it and I'd try it again. If the mother did freak out at least I'd have the kittens. If she didn't then they could nurse. If she did freak out and would harm or not nurse the kittens I'd have her spayed and try to release in a safe spot. Though they may not spay a nursing mother, probably will not, in fact.

I'm thinking of my own basement though. We built a cage and the one feral was able to hide as much as she wanted. The one I have right now was pretty freaked out but now, after + two months, he is ready for a home. A special home. I kept him in a cage in my office where he had to see me many, many times a day but I ignored him as much as I could at first.

I must be totally honest though and I have not had the exact same situation. Not the mother and such young kittens at once. As wild? Yes, but not as wild and with such young kittens. Good luck.

althe
May 17th, 2012, 08:06 PM
It's a delicate situation, that's for sure. Right now, the kittens are in a box that's 26 inches high, and about 2 feet by 3 feet. There's an small table up against the box which is about the same height as the box. Mother can sit/lay on the table when she doesn't want to be in there with the kittens. For now, there's no way those kittens can get out of that box unless she grabs them and jumps out with them. I think she's finding it comfortable, so I'm not pushing my luck by snooping around in there too much. I'm even keeping my own cat inside so as not to annoy her (I saw her picking a fight with my cat a week ago). Tomorrow I'll go to the box store to see if there's an even bigger/higher box for the next transfer of the kittens, who'll become increasingly active in the coming week(s). I have a vet clinic lined up who'll do an emergency sterilization when I trap her, which hopefully will be successful. I'm taking this day by day, hour by hour... she left them alone for quite a while today, nearly all afternoon. I'm hoping that the more she trusts me, the easier it will be to trap her. I'm not giving up that it will all work out for the best.

teresa

Love4himies
May 18th, 2012, 07:17 AM
Yes, the mother could have a fit in your basement for a bit, but then settle down, depending on whether she was ever living in a home before or never adjust to a home. All you can do is try your best, do what you can to try to get her spayed, recovered, then release if she can't adjust to home life. You are her angel and only hope right now :angel: :grouphug:

My Sweet Pea took months before she would allow any human to come close enough to get her when she was living on the streets and you know what, when she came into a home, she was so relieved. She was a whole different cat.

Rose was a factory cat who would hiss at me for months while she was in my basement, but now she is the most loving out of all my cats. Still can't pick her up, but she loves being a house kitty. :lovestruck:.

BenMax
May 18th, 2012, 02:08 PM
There is infact a TNR program in the Montreal area. Please advise your municipality and I will provide you a name of an organization that handles this. Also, they just may assist in placing the babies into forever homes.
Let me know and I will enquire and advise.

14+kitties
May 18th, 2012, 06:32 PM
I have and still do when necessary use a large dog crate to contain feral cats. If you would like to try to bring the mom and babies in I would suggest waiting until the kittens are another week or so old - when they have started eating solid foods. Mom will be teaching them soon how to do so.
Once you know they are eating solids you can separate the babies from the mom and then try trapping the mom. It may be fairly easy as she will be looking for her babies. After she is trapped you can reunite them. I did this with a very very feral cat a few years back. I am to this day the only human she will allow close but I pick her up and give her snuggles and kisses every day.
Set up the crate with a sleeping area in the back and a feeding area on one side with a litter box on the other side at the front. That way when you need to clean the litter you don't have to reach over mom to do so. I have had a lot of success doing it this way over the years. At the moment I have rigged two crates (one had two doors) together and have a momma stray with her five babies in it. The one crate is for sleeping and playing. The other is for eating and litter. Although don't tell the kitties that. They think it's all for playing!!!
Take BenMax up on her offer of giving you a t/n/r name. She is a wonderful resource in that area. :cloud9: You should be able to pick up a fairly cheap used dog crate in the wanted ads or kijiji.

althe
May 18th, 2012, 08:19 PM
Thank you all so much for your input and kindness and support. Thank you.

Love4, I don't think mother as ever lived indoors. I've watched her for about 2 years now. She had a litter last year same time under a neighbor's porch and I think that was her first; this neighbor was not very kind to her. She had another litter last fall and a kind person I know bottle fed them from birth and successfully adopted them out. One attempt to trap her in my basement failed and she seemed pretty wise to my few other attempts after that. I might still bring her indoors, but at the moment that feels more like a last resort option. I have other obstacles to bringing her indoors not the least of which is my house is for sale and I have a dog who's still not calm around cats.

BenMax, I live in Rosemont-Petite-Patrie.

14+ the dog crate idea sounds good! I'm gonna start looking for 1 or 2 tonight.

If I'm to separate them and trap her after the kittens start eating solid food, then I should put some food in their box soon. I don't want the mother to take them out of the box to show them how to catch their dinner.

Thank you everyone, I appreciate it. I have to believe it's all gonna work out. I hope I can find those cages, that would allow for mother staying with kittens as long as possible. I'll keep checking in.

teresa

althe
May 19th, 2012, 01:53 PM
I saw mother carrying a kitten toward the back of the yard this morning. I had to take that kitten from her as well as another one she'd already moved. All 3 kittens are now back inside their cardboard box which I've placed inside a large dog crate, and the crate is right up against the trap cage. Mother will hopefully walk into trap cage for the food in there and to retrieve her kittens.

I really need her to walk into that cage... otherwise, I have 3 one-month old kittens that will really have to be fed some other way.

althe
May 19th, 2012, 02:36 PM
How long can these kittens go without their feeding? They've been separated from mother since about 7a.m.

althe
May 19th, 2012, 09:57 PM
I have her!! Took until 9:45 p.m. We just transferred mom from the trap cage into the dog crate with her babies. Thank god!!

What a harrowing day it's been. I didn't have time to find a used dog crate so I had to buy a new one because everything just happened so fast today. My next hurdle will be making it comfortable for this little family to spend another 4 to 6 weeks together. I hope I can find a used affordable dog crate to use with the new one. The SPCA gave me an email address to reach someone about a TNR program. I'll post photos as soon as I can.

teresa

14+kitties
May 19th, 2012, 11:15 PM
That is great news. I'm sorry I was working when you posted earlier. I would have had you put in some watered down canned cat or kitten food for the kittens and/or some kitten milk. You can get it at good pet stores. At the age they are they will be ok. Especially now that mom is with them. Can you put some food in the crate for her? I'm sure she will settle. Be careful opening the door that she doesn't run for it. Open it only far enough to do what needs done.

If you are going to get another crate you'll have to make sure it has two doors so you can attach the crates with one door opening and still have another door to work with/open to clean boxes/etc.

Good job!!! You are on your way to being a fantastic cat rescuer!!!

lindapalm
May 20th, 2012, 12:44 AM
You did a great job, and are such a nice person to devote so much time an care into helping the Mom and her kittens. Thank You.

Koteburo
May 22nd, 2012, 09:30 PM
You did a great job, and are such a nice person to devote so much time an care into helping the Mom and her kittens. Thank You.

I have to agree with the quote above
Thank you~ :)

Love4himies
May 23rd, 2012, 02:23 PM
YAY! How are they doing?

Barkingdog
May 23rd, 2012, 11:17 PM
Thank you for caring for these guys :lovestruck:. I'm hoping she is only semi-feral, meaning she has had some life exposure to humans and can get used to them again.

The only way to break the cycle is to spay the momma (she will thank you :thumbs up) and socialize the kittens to be adopted out.

If it was me, I would try to trap the mom, bring her into the house (locked in a room) along with her kittens. It sounds like in time she will get used to humans. I would not, however try to pick her up or the kittens while she is around because she may indeed get angry. How aggressive has she been with you? How close have you gotten to her?

As for the box, can you put out a bigger box beside the used one and put the blanket (and the kittens) in the new box when momma isn't around? Leaving the scent for them is quite important.

Good luck!

I would not touch the kittens , this could made the mother reject them when she smell a human scene on her kittens. The cats could also have a lot fleas and they would get on the OP pets.

Barkingdog
May 23rd, 2012, 11:24 PM
Feral cat has been populating the neighborhood for nearly 2 years and she had 3 kittens under my porch who are 1 month old tomorrow (about 18 days old in photo). She used to bolt at first sight of me but now stays in the box when I leave the food. The cardboard box is now too small for their size + mother. Shouldn't I be putting them in a bigger box. She's very protective and has refused to eat the 3 or 4 times that I've examined her babies. Who knows how she'll react to me changing the box. I don't think I'd approach while she's there, I don't trust her not to attack.

How do I proceed to try and save this family? It crossed my mind to try and trap her and then to transfer the family to a room in my basement. This way I'd be fairly sure to save the kittens but I don't honestly know if this is actually a viable option. If she decides to move them, I'd likely lose sight of them which would result in three more unsterilized feral cats in an already overpopulated neighborhood.

I don't have much real life experience with a situation like this. I live in east end Montreal and the pound is a well known high kill place (Berger Blanc) and I don't know if there are, or how to contact, any TNR (catch neuter release) in my area or even if they could help. Advice of members will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Teresa

I was thinking if you could put a pill in the cat food to made the mother relax a little and got some good heavy gloves and another person to help you put the mother in a crate. Then you would be able to bring them all to no kill a shelter. Does this sound too crazy??

althe
May 25th, 2012, 09:32 AM
Hello everyone,

I wanted to share recent developments with you all. Iím attaching a photo of the two dog crates we have joined together for this feral mom and her 3 kittens.

This cat is not just a bit feral, sheís feral period and shows no signs at all of ever having had any human contact. She growls and hisses and is threatening and she has lunged at me through the crate a couple times. I approach with extreme caution only to clean litter and leave food.

The feral mother has been inside this crate/housing for 5-6 days now and she is clearly very stressed. She has destroyed all the strips of cardboard we had tied around the bottom of crates simply to protect kittens from larger openings and she has been gradually destroying the very sturdy cardboard box the kittens were born in which we had placed inside the crate. This entire housing unit has been covered over with blankets; itís placed in a workshop area behind the garage where thereís almost no noise or traffic. She does not use the litter box normally like a domesticated cat; a few times she has done her business outside the box and then emptied the litter box to cover her mess. Several times I found the litter box had been completely emptied it I could find no evidence that she had peed/pooed; she had just emptied the box. Maybe this is also a sign of stress. She eats the food I leave her.

The kittens are 5 weeks old this week. One of the 3 started exploring around the crate-housing 48 hours ago and started nibbling on the wet cat food. The other 2 only started this morning. I donít spend any time with them, I donít handle them. They will stay with their mother until at least 8 weeks old (approx. June 18). Iíve found a family for 1 kitten and still have to find homes for the other 2.

Iíve spoken with someone whoís involved in a local csr/tnr program. Thank god I have this personís support and help because thereís no way I would have known how to proceed from this point onward. Iíve been given a lot of information about how to deal with a feral cat in this situation, which is not easy, fairly complicated, and sadly, does not always have a positive outcome.

If I have correctly understood, this is how it will unfold: After the kittens are separated from mother, I will transport her to a clinic where sheíll be tested for feline aids/leukemia. If she tests positive for either of these diseases, sheíll be euthanized. If she tests negative, sheíll be spayed. She will not be released back into my [her] neighborhood because I have immediate neighbors who have told me they would kill her, and this is the general point of view of many people around here. She will therefore have to be relocated to a new environment, and this will be the most difficult part of this whole experience.

Iíve been told that, based on the past experiences of relocating feral cats, approximately 40% have been lost; they simply disappeared so were possibly killed by vehicles or starved for lack of finding a food source. These ferals simply donít successfully root to their new environment despite the work that dedicated people do to carefully and gradually try to acclimate them to the new environment before completely releasing them.

I had no idea what I was getting into. I will be moving away in a couple months and after watching this cat for nearly two years just barely survive our harsh winters and have three litters under the bushes, I simply couldnít leave without at least trying to do something to at least stop this cycle. I have no experience with rescue, I have limited resources, and if it wasnít for the support and advice of animal lovers on this website and the help of my local SPCA and the connection they gave me to a person who is dedicated and knowledgeable about feral cats, I would have been lost.

Thank you all for being here and for helping me. I will start another thread early next week in the hope of finding a guardian angel for this feral cat, because she really is going to need a guardian angel in about one monthís time if sheís going to have any chance of surviving.

teresa

Love4himies
May 25th, 2012, 09:53 AM
I would not touch the kittens , this could made the mother reject them when she smell a human scene on her kittens. The cats could also have a lot fleas and they would get on the OP pets.

I don't think so.

Love4himies
May 25th, 2012, 10:03 AM
Hello everyone,

I wanted to share recent developments with you all. I’m attaching a photo of the two dog crates we have joined together for this feral mom and her 3 kittens.

This cat is not just a bit feral, she’s feral period and shows no signs at all of ever having had any human contact. She growls and hisses and is threatening and she has lunged at me through the crate a couple times. I approach with extreme caution only to clean litter and leave food.

This is the way Rose reacted when she was caged in at the HS, she was a totally different cat at home. I think it was fear making her behave in such a way. Even I was scared of her when I visited her during her short stay there and I had her in my home for months before that.

The feral mother has been inside this crate/housing for 5-6 days now and she is clearly very stressed. She has destroyed all the strips of cardboard we had tied around the bottom of crates simply to protect kittens from larger openings and she has been gradually destroying the very sturdy cardboard box the kittens were born in which we had placed inside the crate. This entire housing unit has been covered over with blankets; it’s placed in a workshop area behind the garage where there’s almost no noise or traffic. She does not use the litter box normally like a domesticated cat; a few times she has done her business outside the box and then emptied the litter box to cover her mess. Several times I found the litter box had been completely emptied it I could find no evidence that she had peed/pooed; she had just emptied the box. Maybe this is also a sign of stress. She eats the food I leave her.


Once again, that was how Rose was when I first had her in the kitten room. Every morning & evening, I had to sweep the litter back into the box :rolleyes:. Are you cleaning with an enzyme cleaner? I found a deeper litter box was much better for her. She stopped chewing every piece of cardboard about 2 years after she came to me.

The kittens are 5 weeks old this week. One of the 3 started exploring around the crate-housing 48 hours ago and started nibbling on the wet cat food. The other 2 only started this morning. I don’t spend any time with them, I don’t handle them. They will stay with their mother until at least 8 weeks old (approx. June 18). I’ve found a family for 1 kitten and still have to find homes for the other 2.

I think the earlier you start handling the kittens, the better. AND I would be handling them away from their momma if possible so momma can't react aggressively towards you, teaching the kittens that humans are bad

I’ve spoken with someone who’s involved in a local csr/tnr program. Thank god I have this person’s support and help because there’s no way I would have known how to proceed from this point onward. I’ve been given a lot of information about how to deal with a feral cat in this situation, which is not easy, fairly complicated, and sadly, does not always have a positive outcome.

It is very difficult when the cat doesn't have a background with humans :(

If I have correctly understood, this is how it will unfold: After the kittens are separated from mother, I will transport her to a clinic where she’ll be tested for feline aids/leukemia. If she tests positive for either of these diseases, she’ll be euthanized. If she tests negative, she’ll be spayed. She will not be released back into my [her] neighborhood because I have immediate neighbors who have told me they would kill her, and this is the general point of view of many people around here. She will therefore have to be relocated to a new environment, and this will be the most difficult part of this whole experience.

I’ve been told that, based on the past experiences of relocating feral cats, approximately 40% have been lost; they simply disappeared so were possibly killed by vehicles or starved for lack of finding a food source. These ferals simply don’t successfully root to their new environment despite the work that dedicated people do to carefully and gradually try to acclimate them to the new environment before completely releasing them.

I had no idea what I was getting into. I will be moving away in a couple months and after watching this cat for nearly two years just barely survive our harsh winters and have three litters under the bushes, I simply couldn’t leave without at least trying to do something to at least stop this cycle. I have no experience with rescue, I have limited resources, and if it wasn’t for the support and advice of animal lovers on this website and the help of my local SPCA and the connection they gave me to a person who is dedicated and knowledgeable about feral cats, I would have been lost.

Thank you all for being here and for helping me. I will start another thread early next week in the hope of finding a guardian angel for this feral cat, because she really is going to need a guardian angel in about one month’s time if she’s going to have any chance of surviving.

teresa

I hope you find one :pray:. I'll pm cpietra to see if she has any suggestions for momma.

Longblades
May 25th, 2012, 10:30 AM
I'm not going to say your feral Momma is the same as the cat I have but perhaps if I relate my current experience you will be a bit reassured.

I know this kitten was born feral. His Mum might have been a dumpee but he is the result. Along with two sisters who are now both ordinary house pets and were trapped at age 6 months.

He, the one I have, was about age 7 months when live trapped, now 11 or 12 months.

He acted just like your Momma cat, out of fear I am convinced. I mean the hissing and aggressive behaviour. Except he only charged the door at the Vet's. Here he cowered at the back of his cardboard box. He took a nice slice out the Vet's hand when she tried to sex him pre-neuter. Have my doubts about that Vet.

He also ripped up his cardboard box. I'm sure it was stress but as it seemed to be an outlet to relieve the stress I left the cardboard. I did look every day to assess whether the amount of new cardboard shreds seemed to match what was missing from the box. Other wise I was afraid if he ate it there would be trouble. I'm sure he didn't eat it.

Luckily for me he was very good in the litterbox and did not go outside it.

Once I started playing with him, with a stick that wiggled, he would get stressed and hyperventilate/pant. I was very careful to not look him in the eye and to make conservative hand motions.

Long story short he is not completely tame but is now loose in my house during the day, gated in my office at night. He will come to me and ask for a pet or a play but I cannot pick him up. I am clicker training him to that end but it makes my dog think he is missing out. :) He is ready for a home. This kitten that both the Vet and the cat rescue said was not worth the bother and to just neuter and release back where he was found.

I heartily agree with L4h that handling the kittens as young as you can is imperative. A 5 or 6 week old that we had was tame enough to go to a new home in a month and a half. If they are going to be pets the younger the better for handling.

ETA: Oh, and your crate arrangement looks GREAT. Hmmm, my OH made a special crate because I was afraid even the bigger kitten might be able to get though the grid on my dog crate. Or at least try and get stuck. How big is the grid on that dog crate?

Love4himies
May 25th, 2012, 01:15 PM
I was very careful to not look him in the eye and to make conservative hand motions.

L

Great point!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still do this with Rose if I want to pat her in a room or position is not one of the "normal, safe place to be pat" ones.

Barkingdog
May 25th, 2012, 04:33 PM
I don't think so.

http://www.ehow.com/about_6453197_would-stop-nursing-its-kittens_.html




I had rescued homeless cats and they had fleas.

Barkingdog
May 25th, 2012, 04:49 PM
Hello everyone,

I wanted to share recent developments with you all. Iím attaching a photo of the two dog crates we have joined together for this feral mom and her 3 kittens.

This cat is not just a bit feral, sheís feral period and shows no signs at all of ever having had any human contact. She growls and hisses and is threatening and she has lunged at me through the crate a couple times. I approach with extreme caution only to clean litter and leave food.

The feral mother has been inside this crate/housing for 5-6 days now and she is clearly very stressed. She has destroyed all the strips of cardboard we had tied around the bottom of crates simply to protect kittens from larger openings and she has been gradually destroying the very sturdy cardboard box the kittens were born in which we had placed inside the crate. This entire housing unit has been covered over with blankets; itís placed in a workshop area behind the garage where thereís almost no noise or traffic. She does not use the litter box normally like a domesticated cat; a few times she has done her business outside the box and then emptied the litter box to cover her mess. Several times I found the litter box had been completely emptied it I could find no evidence that she had peed/pooed; she had just emptied the box. Maybe this is also a sign of stress. She eats the food I leave her.

The kittens are 5 weeks old this week. One of the 3 started exploring around the crate-housing 48 hours ago and started nibbling on the wet cat food. The other 2 only started this morning. I donít spend any time with them, I donít handle them. They will stay with their mother until at least 8 weeks old (approx. June 18). Iíve found a family for 1 kitten and still have to find homes for the other 2.

Iíve spoken with someone whoís involved in a local csr/tnr program. Thank god I have this personís support and help because thereís no way I would have known how to proceed from this point onward. Iíve been given a lot of information about how to deal with a feral cat in this situation, which is not easy, fairly complicated, and sadly, does not always have a positive outcome.

If I have correctly understood, this is how it will unfold: After the kittens are separated from mother, I will transport her to a clinic where sheíll be tested for feline aids/leukemia. If she tests positive for either of these diseases, sheíll be euthanized. If she tests negative, sheíll be spayed. She will not be released back into my [her] neighborhood because I have immediate neighbors who have told me they would kill her, and this is the general point of view of many people around here. She will therefore have to be relocated to a new environment, and this will be the most difficult part of this whole experience.

Iíve been told that, based on the past experiences of relocating feral cats, approximately 40% have been lost; they simply disappeared so were possibly killed by vehicles or starved for lack of finding a food source. These ferals simply donít successfully root to their new environment despite the work that dedicated people do to carefully and gradually try to acclimate them to the new environment before completely releasing them.

I had no idea what I was getting into. I will be moving away in a couple months and after watching this cat for nearly two years just barely survive our harsh winters and have three litters under the bushes, I simply couldnít leave without at least trying to do something to at least stop this cycle. I have no experience with rescue, I have limited resources, and if it wasnít for the support and advice of animal lovers on this website and the help of my local SPCA and the connection they gave me to a person who is dedicated and knowledgeable about feral cats, I would have been lost.

Thank you all for being here and for helping me. I will start another thread early next week in the hope of finding a guardian angel for this feral cat, because she really is going to need a guardian angel in about one monthís time if sheís going to have any chance of surviving.

teresa

Wow, I can't believe people will kill the cat if you release her back in her
habitat. I hate to say this if you can't find a person to care for the cat it may be kinder to put her down than have moved her to a new place. I think you had done a wonderful job in helping the cat and her kittens. That cat had to known your house was a safe place to have her kittens. Animals are good at finding kind people.

althe
May 25th, 2012, 05:59 PM
RE: Are you cleaning with an enzyme cleaner?

Enzyme cleaner???? Help! What should I be using to clean the bottom of the crate? I was simply wiping it down with clean wet rags then wiping dry. The litter situation (being thrown out all over the place) is really wearing me down and I have to find a solution. It's back-breaking to have to clean up 3-4 times a day and I'm not that young anymore. Also, the kittens seem to suddenly be eating quite a bit of wet food, which I wasn't expecting this quickly, so even more reason to find a solution for the litter box mess. I was going to go looking for a small covered litter box tomorrow.

Different people have differing opinions about any number of things, in this case handling of the kittens. As it turns out, 2 of them came running to the crate door to greet me a few minutes ago. They are becoming increasingly active very quickly now and I suspect a couple minutes a day away from their mother might do them good, even if it's only for some play time without mom.

teresa

Longblades
May 25th, 2012, 06:37 PM
Yes, they might have fleas. Our little fella was live trapped in the middle of winter and he had fleas. The Vet gave him Revolution. I'm not fond of flea sprays/powders but I'd read the label on what is available and use it if I could. Make sure it's safe for kittens.

Failing an enzyme cleaner like Nature's Miracle, plain old vinegar should work. Do NOT use amonia. Smells like cat pee and may accomplish the reverse of what you want. Hey, that's an idea. Put a small drop of amonia in the kitty litter. It is a method to try to train cats on a litter box. I forgot about that.

I put the litter tray inside a bigger cardboard box. Any kicked out lands in the box. But my feral is nearly full grown and obviously that won't work for the wee kittens.

You are doing a great job. It's a lot to take on. We are all rooting for you and the little family.

lindapalm
May 25th, 2012, 11:11 PM
I agree that the kittens should be handled by you now, and as often as possible. I don't know if you want to bother with it, but when I would have an adult cat that I trapped, and I wanted him to get used to being touched and I didn't want to get bitten or scratched, I would take a glove and stuff it with kleenex. Make sure the fingers are stuffed, too. Insert a 2-3 foot dowel or stick into the middle finger, and tape the wrist of the glove around the dowel. I left the hand part of the glove in the cage, and the dowel part outside, inbetween the bars. Throughout the day I would go and pet the cat with the glove, starting out VERY slowly. The cat wasn't very happy to start, but I wasn't worried about getting hurt, so I didn't care if he tried to kill the glove. It took awhile, but I really think it safely helped him get used to being touched.

14+kitties
May 25th, 2012, 11:36 PM
Sounds absolutely right to me. Of course mom is stressed. But she is eating, she is using (somewhat) the litter box, she is doing what she can. Can you try putting a few things in the box for her to play with? She may not go near them when you are there but she will likely play with them when it's quiet. She is likely bored out of her skull too. Don't forget before you trapped her she was able to roam and do what she wanted.

Please, please, please play with the kittens. The longer they go without human interaction the harder it is going to be to tame them.They need the touch of humans. (If you are thinking of treating them for fleas please do not use any over the counter flea meds. Especially for tiny babes.)

Love the crate set up. Mine is an L shaped but that's because of the spot it's in. Great job!!

It's stressful trying to do what you think is right. Keep on keeping on. Eventually it becomes so worth it.

Here's some great info for handling feral kittens. They are at the right age for it...
http://www.messybeast.com/feralkit.htm

Love4himies
May 26th, 2012, 07:02 AM
http://www.ehow.com/about_6453197_would-stop-nursing-its-kittens_.html




I had rescued homeless cats and they had fleas.

I meant about the mother rejecting the kittens. Not the fleas. Fleas can come into a house on a human's socks.

Longblades
May 26th, 2012, 07:32 AM
Re. the stuffed glove on a stick. I do something similar with a play stick. I find they can't resist play. The stick allows me to indulge in play at a distance, with not moving my hands too much. The stick also helps convey the message that my hand movements impart fun. I gradually am able to make more definite moves with my hands. And I pet them in the middle of play with the stick.

I count a significant breakthough when the cat/kitten looks at me when the stick stops moving. To me that is an indication he/she knows it's me who is moving the stick and the look is a solicitation for more play. When I get to this stage we are in for fun as I find relations start to really improve.

LOL, I cut some slender branches off several bushes and I have a favorite stick out of the bunch of them that seems to handle the best for me. Isn't that silly? A favorite stick? :) When my little man goes to his new home his stick will go with him.

cpietra16
May 26th, 2012, 09:00 PM
Hi Althe, I just got a pm from L4H and I just wanted to put in my two cents...Everyone here has given you great advise and knowing someone from a rescue is great. I have done a lot of TNR and I only release cats that are extremely timid and will never ever feel safe in a home. I should also say that I re-release them in their own area...so they have a better chance to survive.
As far as how she reacts...it is very normal. I had a few ferals in my home who destroyed the curtains trying to escape thru the window. Your mommy cat is just scared. She has never been inside a home. It would be the same if you were sent to a different country with different customs and a language you never heard of...for a cat it is 10x worse.
These cats can be tamed but it takes years and a lot of patience to do so. I have two feral cats who have lived with me for 4 years...they are both around 7 years old. One is still hissing and the other will rub up to me. They are approachable but only with me and my kids.
I know many will not agree, but If were given the choice of relocating the mom to a different place or euthanize...I would euthanize...it is not fair fo rthe mom to have to try and make it into another colony. Many colonies will fight other cats from coming in. anyway just my two cents.
feel free to PM me and I will give you more info and more names of people who may be able to help mom. good luck

Barkingdog
May 26th, 2012, 09:22 PM
I meant about the mother rejecting the kittens. Not the fleas. Fleas can come into a house on a human's socks.

Did you check out the link I posted , it said this can happen . Feral cats are wild animals and you should never touch wild animals babies. When I was in Canada I was told not touch the babies seals if I did their mother would reject them and the babies would die.

Barkingdog
May 26th, 2012, 09:28 PM
Hi Althe, I just got a pm from L4H and I just wanted to put in my two cents...Everyone here has given you great advise and knowing someone from a rescue is great. I have done a lot of TNR and I only release cats that are extremely timid and will never ever feel safe in a home. I should also say that I re-release them in their own area...so they have a better chance to survive.
As far as how she reacts...it is very normal. I had a few ferals in my home who destroyed the curtains trying to escape thru the window. Your mommy cat is just scared. She has never been inside a home. It would be the same if you were sent to a different country with different customs and a language you never heard of...for a cat it is 10x worse.
These cats can be tamed but it takes years and a lot of patience to do so. I have two feral cats who have lived with me for 4 years...they are both around 7 years old. One is still hissing and the other will rub up to me. They are approachable but only with me and my kids.
I know many will not agree, but If were given the choice of relocating the mom to a different place or euthanize...I would euthanize...it is not fair fo rthe mom to have to try and make it into another colony. Many colonies will fight other cats from coming in. anyway just my two cents.
feel free to PM me and I will give you more info and more names of people who may be able to help mom. good luck
I agree it would a lot kinder to euthanize the mother cat than trying to relocate it and having trying to find food to eat and shelter.

Love4himies
May 27th, 2012, 08:02 AM
How are momma and babes doing this morning?

althe
May 27th, 2012, 08:18 AM
You're all so wonderful, thank you so much. I re-read all of you just now, and I can see how dedicated you all are, and I just broke down in tears. I'm feeling very overwhelmed at the moment. My dog had surgery on a paw 10 days ago and she's in a splint and requires special care for 2 more weeks. My own cat became very ill quite suddenly Friday morning and is now hospitalized with an as yet unidentified affliction, he possibly ingested something toxic. And with caring for the feral and the kittens... I'm having a few mini meltdowns here and there.

I've now got a makeshift enclosure for the kittens where they have access to a great cat tree/condo and some kitten toys etc. One kitten is quite fearless, another is a bit iffy and approaches cautiously and hesitantly, and the other kitten is already showing all the behavior of a feral cat. He starts hissing as soon as he hears me coming, he cowers behind his mother, hides in the farthest deepest corner he can, and now I realize I've never even seem him engage with his siblings. Fearless & Cautious are in the enclosure now having a grand old time playing together and exploring, but little feral kitten stays put behind mother and hisses. Even when they are inside the crate together, this kitten stays apart and away from his siblings. I have no idea right now how I'm going to get him out of there for some socializing.

I really had no clue what I was getting myself into, but what else could I have done. I just have to have faith that it will work out for the best.

cpietra, thank you so much for your input. I will pm you.

teresa

cpietra16
May 27th, 2012, 09:11 AM
The problem right now is that the kittens are going to pick up on mom's fears and learning exactly what needs to be done as a feral..."stay away from humans"....you need to seperate them if you want to have success with the kittens.
The older the kittens get the more feral they will act. They are learning from mom every day. If it is ok with you I will post the pics and send them to some friends who may have time and rooms for the mom...

This mom will not have much of a chance unless we have someone who does not mind taking in a feral and not a 'cuddly kitty'...and someone who has other cats would be helpful.
My ferals are not afraid of me because they see how my other cats behave with me and they have learned to trust me...at least as trusting as a pair of ferals will trust:rolleyes:
The best chance for this mom is sterilizing her and bring her back into your neighbourhood where she will die in a year or two if lucky..or euthanize....PLEASE believe me, I say this with a heavy heart....it is a hard lesson I learned many years ago...I hate this but unless people start treating cats with respect and sterilize them and keep them as a remember of their family and not a disposable property..this cat and many more will always suffer.:(
If you can keep her seperate from others and if you see any signs of her trusting you, maybe there might be a chance...slim but still a chance. :shrug:

althe
May 27th, 2012, 11:23 AM
All three kittens are now separated from their mother. They have a nice safe enclosure in the family room. Unfortunately, at the moment they don't have a happy domesticated adult cat they can socialize with. My cat is extremely ill and I'm just scared to death of losing him right now. And yet, life has to go on...
teresa

chico2
May 27th, 2012, 02:34 PM
Wow,I just finished reading all the posts,Althe,you are an angel for caring for these kitties,where so many don't give a darn.
As for advice,14+,Love4Himies,CPietra,BenMax and several others are very knowledgable about cats feral or not and I'd take their advice any time.
I feel really saddened about the beautiful moma-cat,but hope there is someone who could help her to somehow accept a life in safety.
I am sorry about your dog and cat both having trouble right now,but hopefully things will get better:pray:.
Thank you for what you are doing:thankyou:

14+kitties
May 28th, 2012, 01:08 AM
Barkingdog - please understand that ehow.com is not written by experts. Anyone who cares can go on and write a piece. That does not make it so. Over the years I have and still do deal with a large number of cats. Quite a few have been feral. I have yet had a mother stop feeding or harm their kittens because I handled them.
You did make a great point about carrying fleas from the kittens to your indoor cats but, as L4H pointed out, you yourself can bring a flea into your home on your socks.

althe - great job you are doing. Keep up the good work. cpietra can continue to guide you. :thumbs up

Love4himies
May 28th, 2012, 08:14 AM
Oh althe, I am so sorry you are going through all of this :grouphug:. How stressed you must be.

Even though your kitty may not be happy with the kittens, the kittens will still learn from him. They will pick up that humans are NOT bad, they will bring food and give loving pets that feel so good.

I have to agree with the others, if momma doesn't find a place where she will be fed and kept safe, then euthanasia is the most humane option :(.

My first experience with feral kittens had one little male that was so very hissy at me, but he ended up being the suckiest :p

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=52289&highlight=Bambi&page=2

It's the little tabby (Bambi) that would cower and hiss at me :lovestruck:.

cpietra16
May 29th, 2012, 08:33 PM
Just to update:
The mommy cat has a home as long as her tests come back negative. She will be sterilized and vaccinated and will be heading to her new home in Vermont.
I was wondering if anyone could help with transportation. I may be able to get her there, but my car is not very reliable anymore....if there is anyone:rolleyes: who likes to go shopping in Vermont and you would like to have a passenger...please pm me...:rolleyes:
ALTHE will make sure that all the papers needed to cross the boarder are in order...
thank you guys!!!!!

Love4himies
May 30th, 2012, 08:02 AM
Just to update:
The mommy cat has a home as long as her tests come back negative. She will be sterilized and vaccinated and will be heading to her new home in Vermont.
I was wondering if anyone could help with transportation. I may be able to get her there, but my car is not very reliable anymore....if there is anyone:rolleyes: who likes to go shopping in Vermont and you would like to have a passenger...please pm me...:rolleyes:
ALTHE will make sure that all the papers needed to cross the boarder are in order...
thank you guys!!!!!

Wahoo!!!!!!!!!!!! What wonderful news!

Luckypenny I believes lives south of Montreal, perhaps she may be able to help.

sugarcatmom
May 30th, 2012, 08:35 AM
Just to update:
The mommy cat has a home as long as her tests come back negative. She will be sterilized and vaccinated and will be heading to her new home in Vermont.


OMG this totally made me cry with joy. Cpietra16 and althe, you are 2 amazing wonderful people. I wish I lived out your way so I could help somehow. If you need gas money or anything else, pm me. In the meantime, sending you both (and the little kitty family) good vibes. :goodvibes: