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Local Stray with Litter: need advice!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
MODS: My apologies-- I just realized that I posted this in the wrong forum. Can you move it to SOS?

Hello all! My boyfriend and I recently noticed that down the street from us, under a grating, is a mother cat and her two or three kittens. They are still nursing but have their eyes open.

We're not sure how we would get to them, since they're behind a tall fence and under a chained grating, but we might be able to get the building management to help us.

More importantly, we have next to no experience with TNR or fostering! We've done a bit of colony feeding, but that's it. We imagine the mother is quite feral, unless she was someone's pet. At the age described, we don't know whether the kittens would be feral or not.

We live in Washington Heights in Manhattan. Does anyone have some good resources? We would probably be willing to foster, so long as their are no major disease issues (we have two resident cats and our apt isn't big enough for full quarantine).

These kittens have no shelter and I'm amazed they're still alive with the weather we've been having. Also, every day that goes by makes it harder for them to be socialized.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! We're going to drop some wet food down for her in the meantime, but beyond that we're directionless.
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've tried calling a few local groups, but haven't gotten any responses yet. I called the city animal control folks and left a message, but I think if they call back I'll tell them the cats are gone, since the shelter here has a high-kill rate (I didn't leave the location when I called).

We're thinking that we may be able to get the two kittens with the help of a butterfly net or something along those lines, but we don't know about the mother. At what age is it okay to take kittens from their mother in such a situation?

They've got their eyes opening and are running around, though they're still a little wobbly. They're definitely still nursing. Their eyes are still light, but transitioning away from blue to a sort of grayish color.

Lastly, if we manage to catch them and have them in a dog crate, separated from our other cats by a door, is there anything other than URIs that we need to worry about? FELV and FIV are only transmittable by direct contact like biting and mating, right?
post #3 of 7
Between these and your resident cats, you would also need to worry about parasites like worms and fleas. Just keep them separate of course like you mentioned. FIV is only spread through deep bites and FeLV is a little easier to spread between exchange of bodily fluids. It doesn't live very long outside of the cat's body so you won't transfer it between cats but I would still wash your hands in between anyways.

They may not be feral, but be wary of the mother wanting to protect her babies. Observe them when you get them in the crate for a day or so and feed them at the same times and sit with them and if the mother is seeking attention you are good and they can stay with mom. But if she is lashing out, hissing, growling after a few days, they may be more on the feral side and you might want to remove the babies early.

If their eyes are open they can be anywhere from 2 weeks+ or so. If they are all friendly, they should be with mom until 12 weeks when they can ALL be spayed/neutered.

Are there low cost clinics near you?
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
I think there are a few clinics around Manhattan that do $25 spay/neuter. Our personal vet is fantastic as well, and shockingly inexpensive for the city, so that's another option.

The big problem is figuring out how to get them out. I don't know how willing to help the super would be about letting us in there in the first place. We wouldn't be able to just go in and out, so setting a trap isn't an option. We were thinking of trying to use some sort of net, like animal control agents use, but it's still iffy whether we'd be able to catch the mother or not.

Basically, there's an eight food tall fence made from vertical metal posts. It runs along the sidewalk. Between the fence and the building is the grating and about four feet below that is where the cats are. They're in an area about five feet by ten feet. The entire thing is covered by the grating, so there's no shelter.

For all we know, the grating might actually be rusted in place.

Thanks for the reply! If we find some way of getting in there, we'll definitely try and catch the mother as well.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Argh, this is so frustrating! We just can't figure anything out. As far as we can tell, there's no live in super at the building. We put in a call to the management company, but there was no answer, and I doubt they'll send someone out for this anyway.

We ended up calling Animal Control and I spoke to someone who said that they'll only send someone out if an animal is trapped or injured.

It's so irritating to see them so nearly in reach, but just not be able to do anything.
post #6 of 7
If you put food out, can the mom bring out the babies to it?? Also, you might anchor a small tarp over part of the grating, to add some sort of protection. where do you think that mama kitty is getting access for food and water?
Setting them on a feeding schedule is a good way to encourage her to bring them out.
Bless you for caring for that family in need
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Well, my boyfriend climbed over the fence, net in hand, and we had no luck at all.

There's a little hidey-hole that the kittens can fit into, so the second they saw my bf, the mother took off like a bat out of hell, and the kittens went into the hole and wouldn't come out.

We waited a while, lowered some fishing pole toys, brought out some stinky food, etc., and nothing happened.

So, unfortunately, I think it's a no-go.
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