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My Little Ferals

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Here are some pictures of our little feral kitties:

The brave one:




The timid one:


The momma kitty:
post #2 of 29
Aww!! They are precious!
post #3 of 29
OMG they are absolutely darling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you adopting them or fostering them? Looks like mum is outside and the kittens are inside? Is she still mommy-ing them? Are you going to trap her and have her spayed?



Laurie
post #4 of 29
They are absolutely adorable!!
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
I can't keep them, no.

Though I sure WISH I could - especially the brave one.

The brave one understood that I meant easy food the quickest. The first time I fed them I was stupid. I used my fingers, thinking hey it would bring my scent closer. They were SO scared of me, but SO hungry that their hunger flat out overrode their fear.

The timid one was actually the first one to eat from my hand, evidently he was the hungriest. Which now that I've been observing them I understand, the brave one gets the MOST food, because he's feisty and will stake a claim and fight for it, while the timid one takes more of a backseat, and thus eats less and over time gets far hungrier than the brave one.

So he ate from my hand first. Then the brave one saw it, and then HE took some food from my hand. And then, he decided he REALLY liked it, and I watched him slowly open his mouth, and so slowly bite down... and then watched his tiny little teeth poke INTO my flipping finger as he tried to GRAB my finger with the food and RUN off to eat it!

OMG it hurt SO bad! And I even KNEW better than to feed a wild animal from my hand.

So then I had a small rabies scare. LOL. Lovely huh? But it's been longer than 10 days and he's fine, so I should be fine too. But oh yeah it bothered me, especially since we first saw this family we saw THREE kittens and haven't seen the third after the second time we saw them all. So evidently that kitten didn't make it. And we have a TON of squirrels, so that they could carry rabies I guess. Along with all the other junk they carry.

But yeah, after a few weeks of freezing in the cold while feeding them from a spoon I decided I wanted to feed them in the house so I could be warmer and then maybe they'd see how NICE it was to eat inside where it wasn't raining or cold (well it's still cold as we don't have heaters except in the back rooms .. but it's still LESS cold than outside) and get used to the smells and sounds and the way houses work (like drawers and cupboards, etc.

The brave one has been eating in the kitchen for a while now. It's old hat for him. In fact EVERY time we open our back door now, he comes a running. And if we don't have food, he gets pissy and starts mewing for it and running around our feet. He is QUITE sure it is his due. lol. He will climb up on my leg and eat from the can of food f I am too slow spooning it out.

We can pet him and even hold him. He will actually come to us FOR petting and rub against us once he's inside and used to us. He still shys a tad when we stretch out a hand to pet him, but loves a good scratching and has an AWESOME purr - VERY loud and throaty. He is also fascinated by TV. lol. We've gotten him to play with us too. He will climb over both of us after he's been inside for a while. Has NO fear once he's gotten used to something. Even makes a huge show as he passes our puppy in his crate , so funny.

The timid one is only in the last couple of days running right into the house. Before it would take 20-45 minutes of watching the brave one eating before he got brave and then he'd sneak a piece off the spoon and run a bit off to eat it and come back. However the last few days ... he's RIGHT there. They are now doing this meerkat thing that cracks us up. As I'm preparing a spoonful they will sit up on their hind legs trying to be the first to get the spoon, and they will GRAB the spoon with their paws and drag it to their mouths to eat. Or just grab the food with their paws like a hamster and eat it. Cracks me up.

Now if I shuffle my feet (which I do the entire time so they get used to sudden noises and movement from humans while eating so they can associate that with a good thing (food) and no harm happening (they get to keep eating and nothing actually threatens or touches them) the timid one WILL bolt a little. And sometimes right out the door. But it comes back quicker and quicker each time. I HAVE managed to get in some pets and even picked the timid one up a few times. My general rule though - with ANY animal - is that you get them to trust being in your arms and wanting your touch enough to come and get it on their own by allowing THEM to dictate the time spent.

In other words, you sort of force the issue a few times - just so they see that being there isn't a BAD thing. But as SOON as they make ANY indication that they want to leave, you put them down. he goal is that YOU put them on the ground BEFORE they try to escape. This reinforces the concept that being in your arms isn't a trapped thing. That at ANY time they can leave.

So they might try to jump as their first indication, but so I grab them as they vault off and then swiftly bring them to the floor, sort of allowing them to "spill" out of my hands, and then give a quick pet down their back and up their tail (if they have one) and then just leave them alone.

So both kittens have had that so far. But the timid one ... will take more time. I could already have the brave one - but I'm using him to bring our scent to their nest. Since he will roll on us and let us pet and scratch him and come into all parts of our house with us ... I want him to show the timid one and maybe even the momma that we are safe.

Momma kitty still is nervous. There was a huge commotion though a few weeks back when the neighbors were moving stuff, and the upstairs neighbors had their truck in our back yard uploading stuff, while we were feeding the kittens. At the time she would only look at us from the other side of the fence, she wouldn't come out for her share until we left. She decided that WE were safer than the neighbors - even with the truck in the backyard and the upstairs neighbors moving stuff around and actually came onto OUR side of the fence!

She will watch us with her babies. Last week, I think she came into the kitchen and stole a can of the cat food and took it outside to eat cuz all a sudden there was a can gone and we found it later outside.

Then a few days ago, I started trying to shut the kitchen door. Cuz it's flipping COLD and since we don't have a heater for the house, it takes HOURS to regain some level of warmth after we feed the kittens. And because I wanted to see how they handled no escape route and I wanted to force the timid one a little more to seeing us.

So I have this old crate that our puppy outgrew. Too small really for both kittens and a litterbox and a bed, but still. So I got the timid one into the cage at one point. And it wasn't happy. So I started having doubts. Started worrying that I'd pushed TOO hard too fast. That maybe this was just too much too soon for that one. And then I got worried that if that was true maybe if I let it out it would never come back. But in the end, I let him go.

But the kittens had been mewing at the door demanding to be let out for like ... an hour or so and so I thought well let's teach them that being inside is safe and doesn't mean they have to escape. Like the arms thing only with the house, right? Well it didn't occur to me that momma had been HEARING her babies and that maybe she was on the other side! So anyway I let them out and then tried coaxing them back inside. The brave one was in - no problem, he LIKES being warm and inside LOL.

But the timid one, would come in and just BAIL. So I decided to hide behind the door so I could close it. And so all a sudden I see his head scoping it all out and he's stepping towards the food away from the door, and then I see ANOTHER head and I think OMG! It's the OTHER kitten! It's still alive oh yay!!! But no, it's not! It's MOMMA!! IN MY KITCHEN! Like INCHES away from my feet! And she has NO clue that I'm RIGHT behind her! So I sort of make soem gentle noises to alert her that I'm there so she's not scared and she freezes. So I start to move away soooooooo slowly and of course she splits, but still. She come in I could have had her, and then I moved away so that HAS to be good, right?

And then last NIGHT - she came in to EAT. Right in the MIDDLE of the kitchen!! And sniffed the little litterbox that was for the kittens that my adult cat has been using, lol. I figured well it might show them what it's meant for lol.

So I laid down on the floor in the other room and she stopped and then started eating again. So that is VERY good I think.

I would be worried about my cat and dog, but both of my pets are fully vaccinated and as the vet pointed out, if they are in my yard, they are ALREADY in contact with my indoor/outdoor cat and my puppy so any diseases they might have would already be spread. So the real issue is getting them fixed and their shots and de-wormed - cuz they HAVE to be chock full of roundworms.

But yeah ... they are pretty and just something about the momma screams stray cat to me. That she used to be an indoor kitty. Will be interesting to see if she has a chip - maybe she got lost and someone has been missing her and looking for her! Her babies are another story though ... they need help for just themselves.
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Oh I didn't answer a question, sorry!

She DOES momma them still yes. They were SO tiny when we saw them that we think we started seeing them around 4 weeks of age. That was I think around the last week of October. They weren't as pretty then as they are now. I think all the food I've fed them has been helping as I'm only feeding fish flavors and I think the fish oil has really helped their coats.

The timid one had that gummy eye that kittens can get for like a week or so but it's cleared up now.

They do apparently sleep with momma in their nest. And evidently they are also under our house too. My fiance told me just a few minutes ago he saw a tiny grey head peeking out from one of the vents in the foundation lol.

They roam without her, but she usually winds up seeing what they are up to. She is an accomplished hunter, if all the tiny little corpses I find in the yard from the mice and birds she was catching before I started feeding them were any indication, lol.

I think I could get both kittens really easy. I think the brave one would be fine by himself. But I think the timid one would do better with the brave one and even better with momma and the other kitten. I could do okay with both babies and not the momma, but I have a feeling it would be much harder to get momma without these guys. And I'd REALLY like this to be the LAST litter from her.
post #7 of 29
What a sweet story!

I'd have to agree with you - momma's got to be a stray-gone-feral. We've worked with many multi-generational ferals, and there is no way any of them would have come into a kitchen. She must have belonged to a person at some point, poor baby.

This has always been a debate, because kittens are SO much easier to adopt out when they're 8 - 10 weeks old - but we always left them with momma until they were 12 weeks - that's the age she'd be done teaching them things and they'd be on their own. Then we'd trap her, get her spayed, and trap the kittens.

But we live in a very rural area, and there's not much danger lurking around for ferals or kittens.

Many people take in the kittens - to adopt them themselves or to foster them until they can be adopted and trap the mom. Seems to me like the best way to do this for you is to borrow a have-a-hart trap from a vet or shelter, and put food out in it at a very regular time (without the trap set). Get mom used to getting her food in there while still feeding the kittens in the kitchen. When you're ready to separate mom and kittens, set the trap to catch her to have her spayed. She may bolt after this. Sometimes our feral females would stick around - sometimes they didn't.

You've got a couple of real cuties on your hands! And they're very lucky to have found you.

Laurie
post #8 of 29
They are absolutely precious...
sending vibes that you are able to trap Mama and get them all neutered or spayed.
Thank you for caring about these sweeties.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
What a sweet story!

I'd have to agree with you - momma's got to be a stray-gone-feral. We've worked with many multi-generational ferals, and there is no way any of them would have come into a kitchen. She must have belonged to a person at some point, poor baby.

This has always been a debate, because kittens are SO much easier to adopt out when they're 8 - 10 weeks old - but we always left them with momma until they were 12 weeks - that's the age she'd be done teaching them things and they'd be on their own. Then we'd trap her, get her spayed, and trap the kittens.

But we live in a very rural area, and there's not much danger lurking around for ferals or kittens.

Many people take in the kittens - to adopt them themselves or to foster them until they can be adopted and trap the mom. Seems to me like the best way to do this for you is to borrow a have-a-hart trap from a vet or shelter, and put food out in it at a very regular time (without the trap set). Get mom used to getting her food in there while still feeding the kittens in the kitchen. When you're ready to separate mom and kittens, set the trap to catch her to have her spayed. She may bolt after this. Sometimes our feral females would stick around - sometimes they didn't.

You've got a couple of real cuties on your hands! And they're very lucky to have found you.

Laurie
This is excellent advice. The two kittens should be pretty easy to adopt out (especially because they are just gorgeous ) You could contact your local humane society, tell them your situation but also say that you want to continue fostering them (so they won't take up shelter space) and just want to have them listed on petfinder through the humane society. Also see if they can spay them.

Momma should be trapped and spayed (there are lots of low-cost places, depending where you live). She does sound like a missing pet, not completely feral. She may not be adoptable though.

They are so lucky to have found you! All 3 are just beautiful, the kittens look just like their mama.
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm glad folks seem to agree, and that is an excellent idea for getting the momma while the kittens are eating!!

I just made them a rubbermaid shelter too ... I don't have access to straw, but am hoping our setup will work!

And THANK YOU all for sending us GOOD vibes!!!
post #11 of 29
Very cute! Looks like you get pretty close to them for them being feral!
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
To be honest I only use feral because I don't really know what else to call them!

They aren't a stray, and were never owned, and they weren't raised around a human and were (and are) scared of humans, but then .... they aren't like a "real" feral either.

I mean, what exactly *do* you call a cat that hasn't ever been owned or raised around humans besides feral?

Sort of where I kind of got stuck at.

I dislike the term feral for them because they aren't what I'd actually consider to be a feral cat. Ferals aren't nice in general. You don't get as far as I have as quickly as I have with a real true blue feral ... they just are way too wild. But I really can't figure out quite WHAT to label them as being LOL.

I think the only reason I have had it this easy though, is because I think I inserted myself into their lives while I'm pretty sure they were still partially nursing. They were REALLY tiny when I started with them.

But yeah, I don't really think of them being ferals though technically I think that is what they are. And momma kitty ... I am convinced she is a stray gone slightly feral. I have a good feeling that she could be brought back once in a home and fed and loved on, I think she'd remember how nice it was.
post #13 of 29
I have a weakness for grey babbies..........how darling are they? Momma cat is certainly beautiful as well!!!
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
She actually is getting a LOT braver with me, and crept sooooo close to me.

I tried the blinking thing, but she looks away SO fast, it's hard to time it right.

I tried to shoot some video of them today, and I think I got some of momma too.
post #15 of 29
Lovely pictures and a sweet story. I do hope you will be successful in neutering all three of them when they are ready
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
OMG! So much has happened. LOL.

The house we were renting was repossessed because the landlord didn't pay his mortgage. We had to move to another city and for the last two months we've been moving and commuting to feed the kitties.

Monday was our last day. We haven't seen momma kitty for 3-4 weeks, so it's possible she's pregnant again.

But we DID trap both kittens successfully on Monday and brought them to our new place.

And OMG. The mess they have made, LOL.

Sooo what is good for waste management? Litter didnt work, they didnt get it and litter wound up everywhere.

Newspapper they are making a mess of as well.

Water bowl was turned over on all the spilled litter. Fun fun.

So how to deliver water without the mess? Water bottle?

And they aren't eating very much. I am trying to get them to the vet, but need help for the meantime until I can get them fixed and checked out.
post #17 of 29
lovely picture's!

such a touching story aswel
post #18 of 29
Some of the feral experts here have suggested using clean and untreated potting soil- no fertilizer, etc. and mixing it in with the litter and gradually wean them off dirt.

There is also a kitten and cat attract product available online that some OPs have mentioned that might help.

They're still babies, too. They'll learn.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post
Some of the feral experts here have suggested using clean and untreated potting soil- no fertilizer, etc. and mixing it in with the litter and gradually wean them off dirt.

There is also a kitten and cat attract product available online that some OPs have mentioned that might help.

They're still babies, too. They'll learn.


For the litterbox, start off with almost straight soil because they really just don't know what that sandbox is for. They are used to using dirt. Gradually mix litter in with the soil over time before switching to straight litter. They'll get it. Momma taught them well.

For the water...that's a little harder. Maybe try a bowl of water on a cookie sheet or something so if it tips the cookie sheet will catch (most of) it, and they would still have water available.

And it's absolutely heartwarming that you are caring for these babies so wonderfully! They really are gorgeous.
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
What a BRILLANT idea!

But how do you know when to change it? I mean the poo is easy enough but what about the urine?
post #21 of 29
You'll be able to see it and smell it.

The other thing you can try is having a regular box of litter - maybe like a plastic storage container so the sides are really tall and just cut down the front a little so it's easy to get in there, but the tall sides on three sides will limit the mess. Have this in addition to the dirt boxes. Scoop out some "dirt pee" and a poop from the dirt box, and put it in the box with litter. One of our kitties switched to using the litter box properly right away after doing this.

I'm so sorry you had to move in such a rush. We had the exact same thing happen to us last year. That was really wonderful of you to commute to care for the kitties! And I'm so glad you were at least able to nab the kittens.

Laurie
post #22 of 29
They are very pretty
post #23 of 29
I the pictures! Especially the first one......in fact I them all!
post #24 of 29
Oh - I forgot to add - make sure you clean up any "accidents" that happened outside the litterbox with an enzyme cleaner (Nature's Miracle is available at most pet stores or supermarkets, but use A LOT of it!!!!!!!!!!! ....and you may need to apply it again). An enzyme cleaner is the only thing that will end up making the smell go away from the cats' perspective. After following the instructions, when you get to the part to just leave it to dry, we always cover the area with aluminum foil, to help deter further use of the area. But if they can smell their pee or poop at all, it will continue to encourage them to want to go in that same place.

And all our kitten feral rescues loved playing in the litter box - even though they also used it for a bathroom.

Laurie
post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 
Bless your hearts!

We did some organic potting soil (I was a bit worried about added fertilizers) and BAM. Those kitties were right in there in like 5 minutes. LOL.

Not sure if I had added this link in before... but I'm making them their own set on our puppy's Flickr account:

Feral Kitties on Flickr


We haven't taken any recent pics of them since we trapped them though. Considering naming them Penn and Teller - since the brave one talks and talks and talks and the timid one never utters a mew. LOL.
post #26 of 29
Glad you ALL found some relief!

And they are just SO darling! I always wanted a soft grey kitty. Didn't work out that way - but I just love your babies.

Laurie
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by catloverin_ks View Post
Aww!! They are precious!
'course, i'm a real sucker for blue cats... they look blue to me, anyway - are they, or are they black?
post #28 of 29
They are just too sweet!!!
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
Just hoping I can tame them up and get them good homes!
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