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I don't know what to do. There are so many of them...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
There are about 25-30 feral cats living in the alley behind my house and they keep reproducing. I just realized upon seeing a 2-3 month old kitten that there's been a 4th litter since I moved here in May. They all seem pretty happy and are in a relatively safe location, but they are just going to keep breeding. I don't want to bust up their family. I'd love to be able to trap-alter-release them all, but I can't even tell the difference between a handful of them and have no idea how one is supposed to go about tackling a population this large. This morning I counted ten of them playing pawsy with my own indoor former stray cat through the crack between the floor and the kitchen door. I've emailed the 3 feral organizations I could find in my area (Los Angeles), but haven't heard back from any of them yet. Do any of you have any suggestions about this? Please?
post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noon View Post
There are about 25-30 feral cats living in the alley behind my house and they keep reproducing. I just realized upon seeing a 2-3 month old kitten that there's been a 4th litter since I moved here in May. They all seem pretty happy and are in a relatively safe location, but they are just going to keep breeding. I don't want to bust up their family. I'd love to be able to trap-alter-release them all, but I can't even tell the difference between a handful of them and have no idea how one is supposed to go about tackling a population this large. This morning I counted ten of them playing pawsy with my own indoor former stray cat through the crack between the floor and the kitchen door. I've emailed the 3 feral organizations I could find in my area (Los Angeles), but haven't heard back from any of them yet. Do any of you have any suggestions about this? Please?
Can you call the Humane Society, see what they suggest, or ask if they know of a TNR trapneuterreturn organization that you can call? Just start calling people, someone will know what to do and who to do it! Good Luck and thanks for caring about those babies! Do you have enough money to buy and lg bag of food? maybe if you do, I would if it were me, feed them something. Just don't call the shelter unless it is a no kill!

Monique
post #3 of 10
Hi! I am in similar situation and I've started a Trap, Neuter and Release program. Here's how: get traps (more than 1, like 4) and trap 4 of these cats at a time. Get help from a LOW COST spay/neuter organization.

They can either a) cover the cost or b) help you. In my case, I'm paying part of the cost, getting help with the rest, luckily or I could not do on my income.

When you get them trapped, and take them for fixing, the vet will cut a small part of one ear tip off. This is called "ear tipping" it does NOT hurt the cat
and will let you tell which cats have been fixed, which remain to be done.

At 4 a pop, it may take a few months of weekly trapping, but you WILL get there! I have 20/24 and I have ALREADY done 10! Yayyy!! I will do 4 more this weekend, take a break for work next weekend, and trap again at the end of the month. I will at the end of month have done 7 more cats, for a total of 17 cats fixed!! Yayyy! That will leave 6 cats to be done, which I will do
in 2 at a time... or even 3 at a time.

Be aware, as you get more trapped and fixed, that it becomes harder to trap the ones that are "smart" and won't go into a trap. You may need to trap longer, use more traps and release the already ear tipped ones.

But, the main thing is the MORE you fix, the LESS the breeding!! Fewer cats = better lives for them. And you.

The Humane Society, Alley Cat Allies (on the web) and other places like this board, can connect you to the people you need to hook up with for assistance.

God bless you for thinking and under taking this. And know that you ARE NOT alone, this is the RIGHT thing to do and you are an animal ANGEL!
post #4 of 10
Hi, I also just experienced a similar situation. One minitue I'm chasing a sick little cat and after four more women stopped, we became friends in an effort to help the cats. I know nothing about cats besides loving them. I am learning as I go with the help of others (these wonderful people on this board). I called the local no kill shelter in the next county; we don't have any type animal shelter. They gave us vouchers to take to vets around the area that participate in the program to get them spayed/neutered. We pool our money to pay vet costs for the ones that are sick. Shelter pays altering.
It is well worth the effort.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi,

First of all, I just want to thank you all for your responses.

carwashcats, I'm hesitant about contacting the "Humane" Society because I'm worried that, if they actually did come out to and trap the cats, they'd be euthanized. A few months ago, one of the cats gave birth to a litter under my neighbors house. We became aware of 3 screaming kittens. A fourth died from excessive flea bites and had to be buried in her yard. My neighbor, first, called around to various no kill shelters and they all claimed to be too full. So, she called an animal control group of some sort and they said they would come out to get the other kittens, but didn't show up. She wound up giving the kittens baths (the water was red from all the fleas), putting them in a box, ringing the bell of a nearby animal hospital and running away. I got my cat from one of our local kill shelters and the place was packed with kitties most of whom I doubt made it out of there alive. I really don't think death is preferable to their current situation. One of the organizations I contacted has gotten back to me. They rent traps for a $50 deposit on each and have a monthly free sterilization clinic. They offered no assistance beyond that. I have no experience with this kind of situation whatsoever. I, also, got in touch with a member of this board who has a lot of experience with ferals and says she will look into finding people with experience doing this in my area and I'm waiting to hear if she's found anyone. So, that's where I am right now.

opilot, can you, please, tell me more about the trapping process itself and your experiences with it? I've never done this. Really, cutting their ears doesn't hurt them? Is there an alternative (like maybe making a small tattoo on the ear) which would be non-disfiguring? I'm really impressed with the number of cats you've caught! I have a hard enough time trying to catch my own to try to get her to the vet. Yeah, don't the cats start to notice that when the others go in the cage, they get stuck and disappear for a while? Another concern of mine is the vulnerability of the cats trapped in the cages; other cats can attack them from all angles and they have no escape route or any real way to properly defend themselves while confined. Another question, is it any way realistic to say,"Okay, we're just going to sterilize the males or we're just going to sterilize the females" and take care of the problem or will they just attract cats from farther away to meet the biological need? Also, I have a small car and a bad back and can't quite tell from the pictures I've seen on the web how large these cages are, can you tell me? These cats are incredibly skittish; I can't even open my kitchen windows without them scurrying off and, if you're out in the yard, they'll edge closer out of curiosity, but they won't let you within about five feet of them. Also, I heard another couple of cats getting it on a few nights ago which likely means that another litter is on the way.

Skimble, I'm so glad you have a supportive group to tackle this problem with. A little background on the situation here: One of my neighbors feeds the cats on a regular basis. I believe one of the original cats (or more) were his own outdoor/unfixed cats and the rest are the progeny of those. When one of my neighbors (before I moved in) attempted to deal with the population issue by trapping-altering-releasing he was less than helpful and she had such a difficult time that after managing to sterilize one cat, gave up. I haven't spoken with her lately about the problem and I'm still a bit vague on what the details of her experience were, but it wasn't a positive experience for her and the population has more than doubled since I moved here in May. I will attempt to speak with her again about the problem and, maybe when she sees me making an effort, she'll be encouraged to help out. I'm not sure what the deal with the guy who feeds them is, but they aren't getting enough food. I, usually, give them a can a day (can't really afford to do more unless I gave them lower quality food than I give to my own cat who, because of Eosinophilic Granuloma, is on a pricey diet) and they gobble the whole thing up in a matter of minutes. On the plus side, we have no rats or mice around here.

Anyway, thanks everyone. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this situation.
post #6 of 10
Noon:

The ear tipping doesn't hurt because the cat is alseep when it is done.
They really don't feel it, I assure you!!

Now, as to the trapping - you must observe the traps. This CANNOT be done and left alone. YOU MUST STAY and OBSERVE the traps. Immediately a cat goes in and gets caught, you throw a cover over the trap. This calms the cats, prevents others from seeing it and attacking.

Collect the traps and put them in the back of the car - the seats should be covered in plastic tarp and newspaper to catch any pee and prevent any dirt etc from getting in the car.

Hold the cats in the trap till the vet can see them (sometimes over night)
A basment, shed, bathroom or other sheltered area like garage with doors is fine to put the cats in the traps in. Take them in, get snipped. Observe that they come out of the anethesia. Then take home to the sheltered area and let them rest in covered safe cage for 24 hrs. Feed a small amount of
wet food during this time...

Then release back where you found them. They really will be fine.

I strongly urge you to find Alley Cat Allies on the web, email and get the feral friends list. These are the BEST folks to help you ... and they will probably
hook you up with other resources they know about.

At worst, you can get low cost spay neuter certificates from Friends of Animals also found on the web BTW. These aren't that expensive. But with 20 or more, you need help RIGHT AWAY. These babies need to stop breeding!!

Other things like shelters for the cats, feeders etc. may be worked on later. The first thing is FIXING em!

I currently have a drop dead beautiful Flame Point (red) Siamese kitten of 3.5 months age at my home, taming down. He is a total love, and for a feral guy very sweet. When I turn him round, he will be put up for adoption. It is a crying shame to see cats of any stripe in this condition, but to see a pure breed is specially heart breaking. FIX THOSE CATS.

Please! And don't give up. YOU CAN DO IT. One at a time if you have to.

Hugs and many thanks from the animals you are saving...

A good resource to contact is Ally Cat Allies, they will send you via email a list of people that are "FERAL FRIENDS" and will either a) lend you traps for free OR b) come help you start trapping. (Hand holding in a word).

You can PM for more details if you like (private message me).
post #7 of 10
Hi Noon,
It's funny you said 3 screaming kittens, that is why I named the runt of the litter 'the screamer' or just Scream that is her in my icon picture...... I trapped the cats I have now, which were
wild, all at our local carwash, that is why my username is carwashcats. Best thing I have ever done! I had no trapping experience,
but one of my clients had a trap, she also is a trapper, life-saver, in the sm. town next to mine. I got her trap, took it to the car wash, put a can of tuna inside at the other end from which they enter, and covered it with a beach towel, the end in which they enter was the only part open! My son and I left for about 30 min. when we returned we
had a cat in tow. and straight to the vet he went. I should of took him home after his operation, but I was just TNR , we had names for all of them, because I had been stopping there twice daily for several months, feeding them. I had noticed that the mama
of them was pg again that's when I knew I had to do something before it got worse.
I had even started seeing the males hanging around, after mama had the litter that Puff, Love, Sha-na-na, and Biscuit came from! Puff was the first trapped, after I had returned him there, it wasn't a wk or so later I was taking my son to school, and he had been run over! We bawled! We just about had him tamed! Anyway, on with the trapping, We trapped Love next the same way we did Puff, it worked fine. Oh and the traps are probably 1 ft. wide. by 2 1/2 long, pretty lightweight, made of wire. The hard cat to trap was going to be Mama, she was pretty smart but pretty hungry, especially for tuna, which the cats had never eaten wet food let alone tuna, which I won't normally feed cats tuna, but to trap them it had to be something they thought to be special, and smelly! I know she saw the others go in and not come back and I wondered if she would even fall for it, but she did, she was the most wild one of all and when I took her to the Vet , he called me back and said, She's pg, and to far along to operate. He told me to just take her to my house and let her have her kittens, I said , "That cat is wild and she has never been to my house" he said "She is not wild" well I knew he was crazy, but I went to pick her up and sure enough she was tame, she was a bit skiddish still and still is to this day, but she was the best cat ever, I put her in my son's playroom and about a month later she had 3 kittens, Fred, Ethel, and Scream!
That is Scream looking at ya! Our humane Society here is all about foster care until homes are found they don't kill, now our animal shelter is kill and I wouldn't bring a snake there! Maybe you could start putting flyers up asking folks if they are interested in helping and set up a day in which the trapping will take place, tell them it is for the over population of unwanted animals, heck some of them might have a truck, or 2, ask if they would bring a beach towel , or something. You will only get responses from the people who are true animal lovers, many people don't give a damn!sorry but it's true!
Your going to need help, so don't be afraid to ask for it! Our humane society helped me with the cost (1/2)of the operations,of course I didn't as many as you do there! I just took them all home with me and I wouldn't know what to do without them!
I wish you all the luck and courage in the world! Be brave and it will all work out! I know it will! I had heard of a woman one time in NY that did this for a feral community and they did return them all to the building where they came from and she continued feeding them all! She did die and the ASPCA was looking for someone in that area to take the feed job over since she died!!! I admire you and you have my blessings! Please stay in touch!!!!!
Monique
post #8 of 10
This is Kurby, one of our ferals, who is ear-tipped. Eartipping is the nationally recognized method of identifying sterilized, free-roaming cats that are part of a managed colony. It is painless and humane. While the cat is under anesthesia for the spay/neuter surgery, the point of the left ear is flattened ¼ inch.

If a cat that has been eartipped enters a trap again, it can be released without having to go to a veterinarian to determine if it has been sterilized. The ability to know that a cat has been sterilized just by looking at its left ear, prevents that cat from enduring the additional trauma and risk of another trip to the clinic, being put under anesthesia, and in some cases undergoing exploratory surgery. Not only does the absence of eartipping cause further trauma and risk to sterilized cats, it wastes valuable resources such as money for veterinary services.

Often people bring free-roaming, primarily feral, cats in to be euthanized because they don’t know that there is another way to stop the breeding. On occasion when they learn that the eartip means that the cat is sterilized and part of a managed colony people have been known to take the cat back where they trapped it and returned it to their colony

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by HouseofCats View Post
This is Kurby, one of our ferals, who is ear-tipped. Eartipping is the nationally recognized method of identifying sterilized, free-roaming cats that are part of a managed colony. It is painless and humane. While the cat is under anesthesia for the spay/neuter surgery, the point of the left ear is flattened ¼ inch.

If a cat that has been eartipped enters a trap again, it can be released without having to go to a veterinarian to determine if it has been sterilized. The ability to know that a cat has been sterilized just by looking at its left ear, prevents that cat from enduring the additional trauma and risk of another trip to the clinic, being put under anesthesia, and in some cases undergoing exploratory surgery. Not only does the absence of eartipping cause further trauma and risk to sterilized cats, it wastes valuable resources such as money for veterinary services.

Often people bring free-roaming, primarily feral, cats in to be euthanized because they don’t know that there is another way to stop the breeding. On occasion when they learn that the eartip means that the cat is sterilized and part of a managed colony people have been known to take the cat back where they trapped it and returned it to their colony

YOU ARE MY HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I need you here where I live!!! We are in dyer need of people like you! but so is so many places and NOON is the focus at the moment!! Kurby is so beautiful!!!! and so lucky!!!!!! In your opinion, do you really think feral colony cats have enough to eat? I know there are people who feed them, I would be one of them!
anyway I could probably have long chats with you sometime, just for some advise, and a new spin on things! I know everyone is busy, but if you have the time sometime, would you mind if I PMed you? I just wanted you to know
how much admiration I have for people like you! Thanks
Monique
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by carwashcats View Post
YOU ARE MY HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I need you here where I live!!! We are in dyer need of people like you! but so is so many places and NOON is the focus at the moment!! Kurby is so beautiful!!!! and so lucky!!!!!! In your opinion, do you really think feral colony cats have enough to eat? I know there are people who feed them, I would be one of them!
anyway I could probably have long chats with you sometime, just for some advise, and a new spin on things! I know everyone is busy, but if you have the time sometime, would you mind if I PMed you? I just wanted you to know
how much admiration I have for people like you! Thanks
Monique
As you can see from Kurby he does not look like he's not getting enough to eat. We've gone nightly now for over 9 years feeding/trapping etc. They are by no means hungry. You can pm me anytime. Thank you!!!
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