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They're Back!

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

They're back as of this morning, and Daddy's with them, too! We didn't have time to take them to the Vet and the shelter, so we put their food in the cage. All the kittens ran in there to eat it, so we should be able to trap them pretty easily. Don't know about "Mom & Dad" though. The adults have always been far more wary than the kittens. We'll have to wait and see. We hope they stick around until tomorrow when we'll have time to take the two (who we have a home for) to the Vet and get the third to the shelter. Although potentially premature (who knows if they'll be here?), but I'm so psyched!

Any tips on what to do with Mom and/or Dad? If they see the kittens trapped, will they never go in the cage to eat the food after that? We really want to get them spayed/neutered.

Any and all suggestions appreciated. Thanks!
post #2 of 32
Thread Starter 
Oops, sorry. I accidentally created a new thread instead of posting a reply to the "My" Kitties Need Your Prayers. Sorry!
post #3 of 32
Oh, shame, shame!! I guess this is part two, but Hissy might have to stand you in a corner. I am so pleased that they're back. It's so kind of you to take care of these babies. Just think of the wonderful life they'll have now! I know the adults are more difficult, but Hissy has loads of tricks for hiding the trap and baiting it. She can also help you with taming them, but I know that it may take a long time and a lot of patience. I'll just rejoice with you. I know how worried you were!
post #4 of 32
No standing in the corner from me!

The best way to trap the whole family is to find a large cardboard box the trap will fit in easily. Put the box sideways, insert the trap and secure the tripper so it doesn't capture right away and just feed the family in there. Once they get used to this big old cardboard box that magically brings food, bait the trap, set it, and when then see who gets captured. It will take time, but you are getting very good at this. You have my deep admiration for your efforts and love!
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Should we put the time in to finding a cardboard box? It might delay everything a few days - but I guess it might increase our chance of getting them all. Should we go ahead and trap the kittens (who already go into the cage) and then using the cardboard box trick on Mom (and maybe Dad?) The other problem I have is the kittens are getting more and more aggressive, and we're feeding Booger/Rocki outside still because of the two kitties we adopted and that now live inside - and the rest of the feral family are starting to chase her away from her food, and I sure don't want her run off! (So I guess I'm leaning towards nabbing the kitties and then finding a cardboard box to lure Mom into the trap).

The other problem is Mom always lets kittens eat first - when they start wandering away, then she'll go eat. Don't know about Dad - we know the cat, but have never seen him with the family before. Actually haven't seen him around since Winter.

And thanks for the admiration - but outside of Boog/Rocki, our involvement with the rest of the kitties started with fascination with the cats, an aching heart for the struggling family, and outrage. There are many farms around here, and the barn kitties get loose or not taken proper care of, and this is what happens. And we heard that the people who own this property were going to start putting out poison. That was more than even my formerly cat-hating husband could take!

And P.S. although he loves both our kitties, he and Shelly have such an incredible thing going! Shelly sleeps on his shoulder during the day, buts him in the head to wake him in the morning for pets - and Shel grabs his hand with his paw then rolls over on his back to have his stomach rubbed! Shelly sleeps next to Gary (and uses his pillow for his head, too!), and even Gary is willing to admit that Shelly has changed his life. A cat! (He's been calling all his cat-owning friends and apologizing to them!)
post #6 of 32
If time is of the essence and you do not have an appliance store nearby..*G* Then do what works. If mom and dad are trap wary, either the cardboard box, or decorating the trap with branches and shrubs will work. So will lining the bottom of the trap with newspaper, but not enough to take away the effectiveness of the trip spring. Sometimes feral kitties do not like the feel of wire on their paws. You can also hang fish heads from the inside, using only a little bit of absorbable cotton thread to secure them. Good luck!
post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 
We caught the three kittens in our crate, not the cage, with no problem. Our friends who wanted two of them changed their minds. The no-kill shelter that accepts ferals is overfull and wouldn't take them (even though we'd called two weeks ago. I guess a number came in since then). We took them to the Vet and re-released them - we didn't know what else to do. In the meantime, we set the trap in hopes of catching mom or dad while we took the kitties we thought, to Vet then friends/shelter. Upon coming home, we found we'd caught a large possum.

We'll still try to catch mom or dad to get spayed or neutered, but with the kittens around, we don't know how to get the adults in there as the kittens will always eat first. And other than releasing the kittens back to the woods after getting their vaccinations (no fleas, ticks, mites or lice!), we didn't know what to do. Any thoughts on what we should do, other than continue feeding/watering them? We've left word with the shelter to call when they have room, but who knows when that will be. We're stumped.
post #8 of 32
Any possibility of securing two traps? They do make kitten traps, I have several and if I were closer, you could have them in a heart beat. They are specifically made so an adult cannot enter, but several small kitties can?

You'll want to wash that trap out again before using it. Wild possum pee is skanky to say the least and the odor will be enough to drive the cats away for days. If you cannot find a good placement or home, what I would do is capture the adults take them in to be fixed and then re-release the family and become a feral guardian of them. Give them food and water, maybe even make them a nice shelter of sorts- I have a three sided type shed, that I just fill with loose hay and straw and the cats go in bury themselves in the straw to sleep and feel quite secure because of the one open side that faces away from the wind direction. Perhaps that will work? Bless you for caring BTW.
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
I can't believe it - we didn't even clean the cage. Hubby was just playing with it, really, wondering what would happen. Put food in there - and caught Mom! She must have been much hungrier than we though - although we have been putting the food in the cage for the past few days. Whatever happened, she's at the vet now, getting a bath and being spayed later today. We're having them use disolvable stitches, and the Vet will board her until it's safe to release her without risk of infection. They've asked us to check in daily.

Love the idea of a shed, but I think the people who own this place would kick us out! What we did instead was buy several cheap plastic cat houses, which are small enough they might not notice, even in winter when bushes/trees are bare. Sraw is a great idea - I'm assuming we should change it regularly. How often do you suggest?

P.S. Hubby attached a rubber overhang to each to prevent rain from getting in.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HELP!!!!! We'll keep you posted.
post #10 of 32
Y'all must be so pleased that you caught the momma cat! Yippee!!!!!

Pat each other on the back for me for a job well done!
post #11 of 32
This is great news! I change the straw about once a week. Even feral kitties do not eliminate waste on their bedding, though they do spray the outside of the shed to warn others to stay away! GREAT JOB GAL!!!
post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 
I can't believe he used to hate cats. (Boy does he feel guilty about that now!) Hubby deserves all the congrats.

...about changing the straw, I was just worried about fleas, ticks, etc. Since we're not allowed to have pets, we're already going to great lengths to hide the litter in the garbage - the straw will be a daunting challenge! :tounge2:
post #13 of 32
Oh, Laurie! How sad that animals lovers like you aren't allowed to keep a pet. You are showing such care and appreciation for "All Creatures, Great and Small." You deserve some of the joy. I'd be tempted to capture them all and move! Congratulations on capturing Mother and babies. I hope you find homes for the little ones!
post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
The owners of the property keep pets, but I guess they didn't want the liability of renters' pets. We've got Shelly and Laz anyway, and we've informed the owners we're trapping the ferals/strays to get them spayed/neutered. I guess they know we're feeding them, but choose to look the other way. Boog/Rocki hangs out here so much now (and we're not letting her in until the kittens get bigger) it would be hard not to notice! But we are trying to not make it obvious we're flaunting the rules!

The funny thing is now I can't imagine moving - what would we do with Booger (are we more important or his her territory more important?), and with the feral family we're now taking care of because the shelter is full and we can't find them homes? They all need us now!
post #15 of 32
I believe they would go with the food, but you'd have to confine them for weeks after you moved them. If you would decide to do that, there are threads we could find for you from people in the same position. It's just sad that you're in that position. Bodlover just moved some ferals that she's been caring for, and there are other members who would have good advice for you. In the meantime, I hope the surgery goes well. You really have a heart of gold!
post #16 of 32
Thread Starter 
Because we have no place for Mommy feral to recuperate here, unfortunately we have to leave her boarding at the Vet until she's past the risk of infection (and they used disolving stitches). They said she's doing great, and we should be able to pick her up Monday to re-release her.

Meanwhile, more (potentially) good news! One of the employees of the Vet says they think they want to adopt the orange kitten. We're spending the afternoon out back, hoping to catch a picture on the digital camera for her.
post #17 of 32
That's great news about mother cat and the orange kitten! Are you still trying to get the male? Please continue to update us. Bless your heart for taking care of these animals!
post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 
The Vet has allowed us to keep the trap here. They'll call if they need it. (We might be their biggest customers at this point!) We haven't seen sign of the male since trapping Mom, but he's around. He was here last winter, so I'm now confident that we'll be able to capture him at some point. Don't know if it'll be before he gets somebody else pregnant. There's at least one other large grey striped female we're aware of, but haven't seen for some time.

We live in an RV park on a farm, so during the summer we don't see a lot of most of the cats because of all the activity. After August and all the summer/weekend visitors leave, the cats'll come out. This year we're prepared!

P.S. Hubby spoke to the owner of the property and informed them of our desire to trap and have the cats spayed/neutered. They've agreed to stop using the poison, and have given us permission to take care of the strays and ferals. They know we're releasing the adults back into the wild, and trying to find homes for the kittens. (They don't know we've kept two of the kittens for pets, but I feel no need to tell them that since they're strictly indoor cats!)
post #19 of 32
Woo Hoo!!!!!

I am so glad the landlord is being reasonable. You must have excellent powers of persuasion!
post #20 of 32
Thread Starter 
Just in case anyone's keeping tabs on our feral family, thought I'd let you know we brought Mom home today. Vet thought she needed one more day, so we went at lunch today instead of yesterday. She looked great, though a little forlorn. The kittens weren't here since yesterday, but (Yeah!) were home (and hungry!) when we returned with Mom. After reading about introduction/reintroduction problems on this site, (although I've never read about mother/kitten problems - but the kitties are probably 3 - 3 1/2 months old now), we decided to do the following. We put food and water out for the kittens right near the cage where mom & kitties could see each other. We opened cage and put in a little food and water for mom. Kitties weren't hungry enough to come down while we were there, so we disappeared for a few. Came back - kitties had eaten and were up near the burrow - mom had eaten, so we were reassured she feels o.k. We opened the cage door, and she ran up the hill into the woods with the kitties. We were so relieved!

If the kitties are there tomorrow, we'll try to catch the orange one. The woman at the Vet's confirmed she wants him, so we're really psyched!

P.S. Hubby does have great powers of persuasion, and I'm so pleased about it all!
post #21 of 32
Glad to hear everything went well with Mom. (She really needs a name... ) Thanks for the update. I hope you can catch the little orange kitten for the lady at the vet's office. And please, keep updating us! I can't be the only one keeping up with your feral family saga.
post #22 of 32
What great news. I am so very pleased that it is working out so well.

Bravo to you and hubby for doing all of this hard work!
post #23 of 32
Great! This is all going so well. Now DADDY KITTY, get in that trap! Good for our little orange kitten. I agree with Heidi. Mom needs a name. So does DAD. I think he's a Don Juan or Casanova.
post #24 of 32
Thread Starter 
After spending several hours up on the hill in the woods near their burrow, Mommy & Kittens disappeared for another venture. Expect (hope) they'll be back soon. We're prepared for when they show up - we found a home for the chocolate/grey (Lazlo's "twin")! YIPPEEEE!! We had to take Laz and Shel in for the follow-up vaccinations yesterday, and, thankfully, apparently all the people working at the Vet are cat lovers. Shel and Laz both have a "twin" kitty, so we're down to just one that needs a home.

You're so right about the names - but Mommy just has to be Mommy - we've been calling her that for several months now. We love Don Juan for Dad, thanks for the suggestion! We haven't seen Donny around lately, but there is a newcomer. I don't know if it's a feral or just a neighbor's cat. We immediately named him the unoriginal Shadow. He's a BEAUTIFUL all black cat. I doubt he's feral, his coat was gorgeous, but he did not have on a collar. He just slipped by on the "cat trail" while we were outside feeding Booger. Never seen him before - I so hope he belongs to someone and heads back home.
post #25 of 32
Ferals quickly spread the word. You will soon be amazed at how many suddenly *appear* out of the woodwork, or in this case the forest. I just want to thank you for all you are doing. The vet care cost alone can be staggering. I know a huge reward is waiting for you down the road for caring for what most people would just ignore! Your place is now a safeguard for these neglected kitties, and more will be showing up.
post #26 of 32
Thread Starter 
We're happy to take care of any and all who show up, and the Vet is working with us, too. We're not getting discounts, but when the cats get spayed they're not charging us for boarding while they recouperate before we re-release them, and they're allowing us to pay over several months instead of all at once.

As you know, we'd primarily been taking care of just the one family. We keep clean water up there all the time, but we only put food out when we know the family is around. We live near the wilderness in the midst of lots of farms, so we're afraid of attracting skunks, possums, (foxes?), or just feeding the squirrels. And while I doubt our cat food would attract bears, there are a lot of them around here, and one that was a problem over the winter last year. But do we leave food out only when we know there's a cat or cats around? Or should we put food out at a certain time, and bring it in before we go to bed if it hasn't been eaten? Or just leave it out, and feed what comes?

Thanks, again, for the advice. Actually, I just remembered there's a resource link Hissy posted recently. I'll go check that out, too. Thanks!
post #27 of 32
My way is that I feed only during certain times in the day, but at night the food stays out all the time. I feed in cookie trays propped on wood to keep it up off the ground and so the bugs don't find it first. All sorts of cats come out here at night to feed. I had a feral feeder, a raised platform with a ramp that the cats could go up and feed safely on, but I knocked it down awhile back because the big old orange feral that I can't trap was abushing kitties while they were on it. It worked well though especially when the rain starts so will probably build another one soon. Also I scrub out the trays everyday with bleach/water vinegar combination to cut down on disease.
post #28 of 32
I put the food in a bowl inside an upside-down laundry basket with a small hole cut in the side. I then weight the basket down with a big block of concrete. This keeps out the dogs and all but the baby racoons. However, the birds feel free to go in and steal the food. I feed my ferals during the day to cut down on the number of racoons that come to the house.
post #29 of 32
I also tried a similiar trick. Took a rubbermaid trash can with lid (secure fitting lid) cut a hole in the side near the bottom of it and filled it with dry food. The food spilled out of the hole, and when it was stuck, the cats just stuck their paw into the hole to release more BUT the racoons were quite adept at learning to remove the lids by jumping on top of the trash can, knocking it over and spilling out the contents. It was an expensive lesson to learn- now I free feed out of a bin that is secure and in the house.
post #30 of 32
Thread Starter 
We've decided to build a shelter akin to what is described on the resource website Hissy posted. We'll put food out mid-afternoon and leave it there until mid-evening. We'll make sure there's water - and we'll try to find out how many cats there are around here! Haven't seen "Daddy" or Shadow around since last sightings. And no sign of Mom since re-releasing her. Trapped orangie - posted a new thread about that story. Little grey one is still here, despite today's escapades with the trap. He has a home (still), when and if we can trap him. Still trying!
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