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Found two kittens and their parents, what should I do?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
A few days ago I found a kitten in my backyard, I put out milk and food for it and left it there since it kept running away from me. I came back the next morning and saw that it was two kittens, and right after that I saw its parents. They were staying in a small space beneath the bushes in my backyard. I put out two cans of cat food and milk each day so far, and only one of them doesn't run anymore when I get close. I really want to keep this one kitten and bring it home but I don't want to take it away from its family. Do they feel the same away about their family as humans do or do they naturally leave regardless of weather I take it or not? I read that the parents will most likely abandon it sooner or later but will its sibling do that as well? Is it morally right to take the kitten away from its family? It definantly looks old enough and was running around the yard and usually comes up to me when I go to put food.
post #2 of 20
Hello, and welcome to TCS! I wouldn't suggest taking away any kitties from their mamma's until they are like 8-10 weeks old. Do you have any idea how old these kitties are? Is the mamma nice, does she let you pet her or the babies? One thing I would suggest is trapping the mamma and getting her spayed, so she doesn't keep having litters! Keep us updated!
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have no idea how old they are but I figured they had to be old enough if they were already running around the yard and stuff. Is there any websites where I can compare the kittens in my yard to pictures of a kitten at all different ages? I see the mother cat washing the kittens and walking around with them from the window but the second that I come outside to give them food or something the mother darts off to hiding while the kittens stay there.
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMG229 View Post
I have no idea how old they are but I figured they had to be old enough if they were already running around the yard and stuff. Is there any websites where I can compare the kittens in my yard to pictures of a kitten at all different ages? I see the mother cat washing the kittens and walking around with them from the window but the second that I come outside to give them food or something the mother darts off to hiding while the kittens stay there.
Where do you live?? Kittens start to running around as early as 5 to 6 weeks of age but that doesn't mean that they are ready to be placed into homes. It would be best to work with a local rescue group. If there are lots of strays in your area, you should contact a TNR group.

Katie
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
I live in Queens, New York. They aren't many strays in the area and if I do decide to keep the kitten then I will call some sort of animal place to take the rest of the family but I don't know if I should do that to the kitten.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMG229 View Post
I live in Queens, New York. They aren't many strays in the area and if I do decide to keep the kitten then I will call some sort of animal place to take the rest of the family but I don't know if I should do that to the kitten.
I wouldn't seperate it from it's family at this stage....I would take the entire family inside. Both kittens will need to be vet checked. Do you have another cat at the moment?? If there are only 2 why not keep both of them?

Katie
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yeah I was thinking about keeping both of the kittens but even then, should I take them away from the parents?
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMG229 View Post
Yeah I was thinking about keeping both of the kittens but even then, should I take them away from the parents?
If possible...no....they should stay with mom if possible until 8 to 10 weeks of age. But the entire family, including mom should be taken indoors and then you can work with a rescue group to find a place for mom cat (once spayed). What irks me is that sometimes people take kittens and do nothing for mom...leaving her to get pregnant again and again and again.

Katie
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1 View Post
If possible...no....they should stay with mom if possible until 8 to 10 weeks of age.
Sorry, I dont agree with you here. This is an excellent overall rule yes, but the exception is semiferal/feral cats IF there is a waiting home for them.
EDIT: And especially if there is a friendly homecat who can help with company and fostering, be perhaps an extra mom.

They are as most easy socialized when 3-7 weeks old. Later on it is more difficult.
Of course, it is no point of taking in them and keeping them waiting in a bad catshelter or bad quarantene. In such case better to leave them with siblings and mom.
But here they would immediately have a home and family.

Another aspect is they can be helped now and here. But if MMG waits, there is some risk they move away when the kittens become halfgrown and are more movable. Or something evil happens to them.

I agree the very best is to help the whole family. Especielly as the mom surely isnt no real feral.
A real feral teaches her kittens to avoid humans. This one is herself cautious and shy, but lets the kittens meet the humans.
She was probably a homecat once, before she get abandoned or get astray.
Worth a try to resocialize her.

Ps. You MMG write parents. Is it a manner of speaking, or are both parents with them (mom and pa, or mom and auntie?)
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well one kitten is orange and white and another kitten is gray and white, and the cat who stays near them all the time is orange and white and I see a cat roaming around them from time to time which is gray. So I'm assuming the orange/white cat is their mother and the gray one is the father, but I'm not positive.
post #11 of 20
Cats do not live in 'families' as we know them - the father has no role other than making the mother pregnant. It is likely that the second cat is a male who is staying with the mother to mate with her, and that she is ready to mate now that the kittens are older. Female cats can come into heat and mate any time from a few days after the birth to a few weeks. Male cats have also been known to kill kittens so that they can mate with their mother and pass on their genes. A male cat does not know or care whether the kittens are his or not. So you need to get the mother and the kittens away from him as soon as possible, if it is a male. Can you borrow a trap from a vet or shelter and try to get them? The mother needs to be spayed to stop the cycle of kittens being born, and as said, I would agree that the sooner these kittens are socialised the better. Thank you for being concerned about them, and I hope you manage to catch them and take them in.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
Sorry, I dont agree with you here. This is an excellent overall rule yes, but the exception is semiferal/feral cats IF there is a waiting home for them.
Stefan...perhaps you didn't read my whole post. My hope is that she will trap and take in mom and kittens and we do not "know" that mom is feral. This is a board for ferals and strays and scared strays can initially come across as feral in their behavior.

Katie
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyranson View Post
Cats do not live in 'families' as we know them - the father has no role other than making the mother pregnant. It is likely that the second cat is a male who is staying with the mother to mate with her, and that she is ready to mate now that the kittens are older.
Quite. The litterature hardly tells about family groups. Not free living in any case. Among loved homecats it is somewhat different.
So your interpretation JennyRanson with a courting ritual is the most likely. Still, there ARE cases where the father sticks around the mom cat and helps protect the kittens and bringing in food. Not necessary because he recognizes it is his offspring but more probably, him simply friend with the momcat.
One of our forumists wrote about such a case, he was going to help this little family who come to his neigborhood.

Ok. Here. If you MMG do believe they ARE family group you may try to take him in too, if he dont seems aggressive and it isnt too much trouble for you. Otherwise it is more then enough to do TNR on him. Ie spay him and let him back out.
If it is possible - it would be swell.
But the most important as now are the kittens and their mom.

Do you have own cats? If yes, try to use them to help in the socializing process (after the new ones are veterinary checked, get their shots etc - being in a quarantene room in the beginning).
If you dont have own cats or dogs - it is not as important with rigid quarantene... But be sure they are dewormed before you let them out in your home...

Good luck!
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
I don't have any cats of my own and I think that the MOST I would be able to do is to take the two kittens. Up until when I found them I never would've thought of keeping more than one pet at a time, and it was hard enough convincing my mom to agree to keeping one of them. So, do you guys think I should take the two kittens and call some sort of animal shelter to take the mother or should I leave them be and feed them all regularly like I've been doing?
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMG229 View Post
I don't have any cats of my own and I think that the MOST I would be able to do is to take the two kittens. Up until when I found them I never would've thought of keeping more than one pet at a time, and it was hard enough convincing my mom to agree to keeping one of them. So, do you guys think I should take the two kittens and call some sort of animal shelter to take the mother or should I leave them be and feed them all regularly like I've been doing?
Are the kittens eating solids?? If they are still nursing from mom...I wouldn't seperating them as then you would be responsible to provide bottlefeeding. I wouldn't bring them home until they have received an initial vet check.
Also, I would try to find a "rescue" for mom. It wouldn't be a nice thing at all to take her kittens and place her in a situation where she is likely to be euthanized.

Katie
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yeah the kittens are eating regular kitten food that I bought from the store. And yeah, If I do decide to keep them then I would look into someplace to send the mother that would be safe for her.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMG229 View Post
So, do you guys think I should take the two kittens and call some sort of animal shelter to take the mother
It is certainly one variation. Dont forget to tell the momcat is probably a former homecat.

And do mention this male cat as a TNR-project, but perhaps he also would pass for a fostering project if they have the possbilities...

It is usually in fact easier to have two cats who are friends with each other, than one alone cat. they play with each other, held company - dont depending on you as much as one alone cat. etc. Costs more, it does, but is easier.
Tell your mom this! So she agrees for both of the kittens.
post #18 of 20
Hope all goes well, I did mention food for ya You are a wonderful person for caring.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMG229 View Post
Well one kitten is orange and white and another kitten is gray and white, and the cat who stays near them all the time is orange and white and I see a cat roaming around them from time to time which is gray. So I'm assuming the orange/white cat is their mother and the gray one is the father, but I'm not positive.
Hi All,

I know that it's natural for us humans to assume that because there are two adult cats and two kittens, then the two adults must be mother cat and father cat to the kittens. But, there's just no sure thing where cats are concerned. But even if it turns out these are Mother and Auntie, or even, Dad and Cousin Dave (!), what Katie suggests, helping the whole group, is the best approach by far!

What IS clear is that there is some sort of bond among them all, and unless you have a clear reason to break that (such as if the adults were to consistently keep the kittens from socializing with humans who planned to make house pets of them), it's best to let them support one another as normally as you can.

Often, mother cats WILL bring their kittens out to feed like this, when the kittens are around 5 weeks of age (weaning time). But, the best way to tell their age is for a vet who works a lot with cats, to take a look at their teeth. (Even that is not an exact science) This can be part of the basic exam that they all should have.

Best,
Linda
post #20 of 20
The fact that the mother sticks around shows that she probably isn't truely wild or feral, just a former housecat or a stray who is not wary of people understandably. I have trapped cats who are freaking out and trying to claw through the trap and hissing and spitting. But once I stick them in my cozy bedroom or bathroom and feed them, the purring slowly starts and then soon they are rubbing my legs when I come in.

Anyways, I would TEMPORARILY get the mother and babies inside. Plan on keeping the babies like you said, that is great. But this way the mom won't get pregnant again and the babies can still be with her longer.

You can right now begin putting up fliers trying to rehome the mother once you get her spayed and vaccinated and tested (an adoption fee will cover those costs) You can advertize her on Petfinder.com, Craigslist.com and in your local paper. I am sure there are low cost clinics in your area, you can get the momma and both babies all done at once when the kittens are 8-10 weeks old and then they will be all set!

Good luck and thanks so much for caring!
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