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  #31  
Old May 25th, 2012, 03:49 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Originally Posted by althe View Post
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.

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.

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’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.

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
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.
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  #32  
Old May 25th, 2012, 04:59 PM
althe althe is offline
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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
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  #33  
Old May 25th, 2012, 05:37 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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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.
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  #34  
Old May 25th, 2012, 10:11 PM
lindapalm lindapalm is offline
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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.
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  #35  
Old May 25th, 2012, 10:36 PM
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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
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  #36  
Old May 26th, 2012, 06:02 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkingdog View Post
http://www.ehow.com/about_6453197_wo...-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.
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  #37  
Old May 26th, 2012, 06:32 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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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.
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  #38  
Old May 26th, 2012, 08:00 PM
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cpietra16 cpietra16 is offline
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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
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  #39  
Old May 26th, 2012, 08:22 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Love4himies View Post
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.
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  #40  
Old May 26th, 2012, 08:28 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Originally Posted by cpietra16 View Post
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.
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  #41  
Old May 27th, 2012, 07:02 AM
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How are momma and babes doing this morning?
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Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

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  #42  
Old May 27th, 2012, 07:18 AM
althe althe is offline
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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
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  #43  
Old May 27th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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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
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.
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  #44  
Old May 27th, 2012, 10:23 AM
althe althe is offline
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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
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  #45  
Old May 27th, 2012, 01:34 PM
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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.
Thank you for what you are doing
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  #46  
Old May 28th, 2012, 12:08 AM
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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.
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  #47  
Old May 28th, 2012, 07:14 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Oh althe, I am so sorry you are going through all of this . 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

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread....t=Bambi&page=2

It's the little tabby (Bambi) that would cower and hiss at me .
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Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

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  #48  
Old May 29th, 2012, 07:33 PM
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cpietra16 cpietra16 is offline
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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 who likes to go shopping in Vermont and you would like to have a passenger...please pm me...
ALTHE will make sure that all the papers needed to cross the boarder are in order...
thank you guys!!!!!
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  #49  
Old May 30th, 2012, 07:02 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpietra16 View Post
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 who likes to go shopping in Vermont and you would like to have a passenger...please pm me...
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.
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Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
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  #50  
Old May 30th, 2012, 07:35 AM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Originally Posted by cpietra16 View Post
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.
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