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need a few questions answered

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I did post this at the end of my other post - but I need this info quickly and didnt want my questions to go unseen. <Sorry - if thats not allowed>

This morning I realized I havent seen the kittens in my backyard for a day and a half - the food has not been touched. I dont know if thats a normal situation or not - maybe they were just passing thru sort of thing. Although they came from 4 buildings down where the 20+ cats live - so i guess them going home is another possibly - i did check the woods just now and my dog didnt pick up their scents. Just hope theyre ok. Do groups of cats/kittens often wander away from their colony?

2nd the food/water dishes i set out yesterday for the cats at the other building were removed. So I guess someone is against this. Im not going to have this become an on going war - but I cant leave my dishes out to be taken every single day either. Im leaving hte food on the ground. Will the cats be ok w/out water - how should I go about that? I did just leave water though because its sooo hot - but im sure i just lost another dish. (i did pick up $ store trays - so losing those wasnt huge - but again im not buying one for every day.)

3rdly - the Animal Control guy wants me to try to move the cats from the 1st building towards mine (farther from the st)... however yesterday I put a 2nd food dish in the other corner of the same yard - and the food wasnt touched!!!! Cant they smell it???? How can i get them to move if there not eating food that is 80 feet away?? Any tips on getting them to move - and how long should this process take - id like to move all 20+ cats 4 buildings over. Is this even a good idea?

post #2 of 15
Go to the dollar store and get some cheapo Glad-type containers - if they get tossed, no biggie. I think they are 10 for a dollar.
post #3 of 15
Lure them with tuna or a fishy smelling wet food. My cats come come running when the wet food comes out. They can't resist the smell.
post #4 of 15
Bless you for caring and for trying so hard to help these cats.
So often people see sick or homeless cats and turn their backs. You have gotten great advice. I do not have the experience of most here but will throw out my ideas.

Cats are excellent at hiding. They may still be there or somewhere close by.

We also have poured food on the ground. Make sure it is not poured on a surface where antifreeze may have leaked. In the dirt or grass will work. You mentioned woods. Put the food on the ground out of view in the edge of the woods out of site. You may be able to put a clear plastic container of water out of site in there also.

There are articles on moving a colony that I will try to find. Might help. I think the idea is to get them used to a food source and gradually move it little by little to where you want them. They will follow the food.

The cats are active late at night when humans aren't around. Are you in a safe area that you could feed them late at night or in the early dawn?

What you are doing is awesome. Sometimes rescuing and helping these homeless yet feral babies helps to take the focus off of the daily worries in life and refocus a positive energy doing something meaningful for the cats. Yes, sometimes it is heartbreaking. More rewarding to know their life is better because you cared. Hang in there. Lots of help around. May find good articles and help.
post #5 of 15
I just so applaud you again for wanting to help these cats!

If they're not eating food that is 80 feet away, they've got another source of food somewhere and aren't hungry.

I don't know how old the kittens are to which you refer, but they do go exploring after around 8 - 10 weeks, though they won't go far from mom. After 12 weeks, they're (usually) on their own. Cats can "mature" sexually as early as five months, though it's usually after 6 months. At that point they definitely go wandering - especially females in heat or males smelling a female in heat or in search of a female in heat.

I think the very best thing to do, if you can afford it, is to get a high quality stinky dry food. Tuna and salmon (for humans) aren't very good for cats, but will also help. I agree with Skimble's advice to put the food out near the edge of the woods.

If you're going to be feeding all the woodland wildlife, I wouldn't put it on the ground. I don't know what your schedule is like, but we put food out for the feral colony in the morning at around 7:00am for 1 1/2 hours (an hour would be fine) and around dusk for 1 1/2 hours. We have to do this or we're just feeding raccoons and possums. We go out and pick it up. If you can only do it once a day, that's fine too.

If you do this for a week or two, my guess would be that the cats will come, slowly but surely. Being regular about it (however often a day it is or what time of day it is) is what's important.

If they don't come after a week or two of doing this - then you have to make a decision. Either you have to move the food down to where they are - or just keep trying to find someone to help you - or just know in your heart you tried to help.

If they don't come - I believe you mentioned before your building manager was sympathetic? Does he know the manager of the other apartment building? If you're willing to provide the food and dishes for water, maybe the other building apt manager will put it out - or ask around to find someone to put it out? Maybe allow you to post fliers about helping "solve" the stray/feral cat overpopulation problem and enlist some help from the other building?

Have you contacted Alley Cat Allies or yet? Have they replied? They're both usually very good about replying.

for wanting to pursue this.

post #6 of 15
Something else you can do is leave a trail of tuna juice leading toward your new food spot. Good luck!
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you sooo much for all the wonderful ideas and support.

I finally saw a cat in my backyard yesterday and the food was gone. So at least one of them is still there. And strangely enough - as of yet anyway no other animals have touched the food - that was my biggest worry of attracting the wrong animals. But i know at some point it may happen.

Moving this colony is going to be a huge deal - i guess ill keep them there for a little while and slowly move them - there is a patch of woods between this building and the next - so I hope that doesnt discourage them to move with me. ALSO another issue - is these tenants are used to the cats - those in the other buildings not so much - SO even though hte maintenance man and animal control want me to move them - i could cause a lot of problems w other tenants who may not want a colony living behind their condos - ALTHOUGH the one condo has a huge backyard and the woods are pretty far back - so if i feed them hopefully they wont go to the condo itself. Where they are now - there is hardly a yard so their very close to the condo....

I guess i just have to talk to the maintenance guy and see what he thinks and like someone mentioned hand out flyers to EVERYONE in the property and tell them whats happening - i just KNOW someone is going to have a problem with it. So THATS what im not looking forward to - but they really do need to move ASAP. The small amount of woods that they r in now - is way to close to a street behind them where homeowners are calling Animal control to have them taken.... The lot i want to move them to is mostly summer tenants so if i can get them there after they leave.... although NEXT summer Ill have crap to deal w - they are the picky ones.

Thanks again for everything - you will all hear from me soon - guaranteed.
post #8 of 15
We're here. Whether it's more advice or just support.

People usually have the problem with cats when they're spraying and fighting. Once they're spayed and neutered, they stop spraying. They also generally stop fighting. They also won't be out nosing around for food.

Hang in there! And sending lots of vibes that all goes well.

post #9 of 15
I have noticed that once they are fed steadily they seem to calm down and chill out a little. They have something they can count on and that is a good thing.
You are doing a good thing and there will be dissenters naturally but don't let them stop you from caring for the homeless cats.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
I had been thinking about this - and where else to ask but here!!!

Is there any concerns i should have for my indoor cat - as far as bringing in diseases and such from my shoes, etc (I had heard thats possible). I was going to keep the cages on my porch when not in use - but i have to bring it indoors to get to my porch and my cat does go out there too - bad idea???

Also - i dont think i asked this - I was thinking i should get them all neutered before moving them all - right??? Cause i could lose some in the move (those that dont follow)? Plus I was thinking - not that moving them is a big task - im only moving the food - but neutering and moving at the same time could be a big deal for them..

Also - it is the people on the other st. that are complaining to animal control - do you think if im feeding them daily - they should stop going in that area- or is it too late now?

with all these cats - should i feed twice a day??

didnt think i had that many questions.
post #11 of 15
You do need to take precaution to prevent bringing in disease and parasites from the ferals to your indoor kitties. The biggest problem would really only be an upper respiratory virus - those are the most easily communicable. Round worm could be transmitted - but that would require kitties licking your shoes or something. The really nasty diseases can only be transmitted through saliva or blood (direct bites).

An easy thing to do is keep antimicrobial wipes at the door, take them off when you go in, and wipe the bottoms of your shoes - then set them down wherever they go and go wash your hands.

It is best if your pet doesn't have access to the trap. It's going to have smells all over your kitty will probably want to explore. Any way to prevent her from being out on the porch during this? Or maybe just find a plastic tarp or something to cover it with - you can more or less cut it to size and cut a slot for the handle in the top. If you have to set it on the floor inside your house, I'd keep a piece of the plastic to set it down on - just pick it up when the trap doesn't need to be on it. That should do the trick.

And the easiest way to trap kitties is when they're used to eating some place regularly. That way you know where they are, they're attracted by the food to begin with, (it's food that is going to lure them into the trap), and you know roughly when they're going to be there. So if this were us, we'd focus on the feeding first, getting the schedule set, making sure cats are there to eat - and then we'd get to the trapping. When trapping multiple cats at an area where we haven't been feeding before, we used to take a week or two with the regular feeding before beginning the trapping.

I wouldn't worry too much about the people on the other side of the street. Animal control knows what you're doing, right? And he's giving you advice?

Actually, you may want to take a look through this:

...and specifically this:

....and the flyers and brochures here may help you:

And if you have time to do it twice a day, I'd do it only if you have the time to trap both times and get the trapped kitties to the vet. Otherwise I'd do it twice a day once the cat population is more or less stabilized (most of the kitties have been sterilized).

BTW - before you trap, have something worked out with a vet. Both for care and costs, and whatever treatment you're going to have done (if any). Rabies is required here, so we do that. Also, FeLV and FIV are not a problem in specific areas, so we don't test - but we do test initially in new areas. They can be expensive, so that totally depends upon your budget. We don't have any other vaccinations done. Many TNR programs have none done.

Also, we have it worked out with the vet that when we have a cat in a trap, we just bring it in and drop it off. They get to the spay or neuter when they can. Some places require appointments - especially if you've got a low cost place worked out, so that can be more difficult to co-ordinate.

When we trap, we leave the males at the vet overnight and pick them up the next day (if it's not pouring rain).

We worked it out in advance, but we make sure the vet uses dissolving stitches on the females for spays.

The vet ear-tips the cats. This is so when you have an ear-tipped cat in the trap, you know you've already trapped this cat and you don't waste your time getting it to the vet. Sometimes descriptions you keep of the cats you get fixed aren't good enough - some of them can really look alike!

Also, it really helps to get a book to log a description of each cat trapped - if you've got a digital camera, take a pic and put it in the book. You can also log where, date, and time of day. You never know if the info will be useful.

....and as long as we're on the subject of trapping, you should have another tarp for your car. Many ferals we've trapped have peed out of fear during transport, so protect your car seat.

post #12 of 15

She pretty much said anything I would have said. They will get used to eating in the same place and once they are neutered they won't wander as far as usual. You should be able to keep them near.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Im sorry - i meant should I FEED them twice a day??

The last 2 days Ive seen the same 6 cats... for awhile they were different - so Im HOPING they just go off and do their own thing and arent always waiting for food. I wish they would be there waiting - so i could keep track of them. Plus it makes me nervous that some of them have left too.

I can only get them neutered once a week!!! And i only have 2 traps - unless with my bf's help we can get 2 more. I have to wait till wednesday - and I cant - im so anxious to get this started for their sake and im scared more cats will get pregnant during hte time it takes to do this.... I read somewhere that cats go in heat a few times a year??
By the way i found an organization who will neuter at no cost to me - but again its once a week. I am calling other organ. to see if they have volunteers who will help me.

I talked to the maintenance man again - thinking I could make progress with figuring out where on our property to move them to and I made no progress - all that happened was he told me that 2 kittens were hit that morning. I was depressed for a couple of hours. I know i cant totally protect these cats - but it really breaks my heart. He also told me one of the neighbors complained that morning because her brand new car had cat paw prints on it.... That really pissed me off - she & everyone else presently living in that building have done nothing to prevent the cat population - but they WILL complain and over very selfish, petty things. I dont think im going to talk to the maintenance guy anymore...
post #14 of 15
Until most of the colony is trapped, I would only feed them at the time you want to be trapping them. They need to get used to that schedule. The food is how you lure them to the trap, so you have to get them being in the right place at the right time.

post #15 of 15
Keeping to a schedule is a must. Cats love routine.
I would avoid the maintenance man too. What a downer. I have had people complain about having cat fur on their outdoor furniture.
To me that is part of the outdoors. We humans don't own everything and we DO share this earth with others. It tees me off when people act like that.

RIP two little kittens.
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