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Feral kittens...To catch or not to catch?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
There is a momma cat, her 2 kittens, and a tom cat that hang out behind my apartment. I've been feeding the mom cat for about 2 months and a couple weeks ago she started bringing her 2 kittens with her. The tom cat seems like he used to be someone's pet, but is not pretty skiddish and feral.

I've been trying hard to get the kittens used to me bceause mom is beyond socialization. One kitten has made little to no progress. The other kitten, however, will let me pet it while it's eating and rarely runs off any more. Also, she'll(I assume it's a girl, I'm not sure) come right up to me and take chicken out of my hand. I guess I found her weakness, lol.

Anyways, I could EASILY snatch up the nicer kitten in a heartbeat. She'd probably freak out, but I think I could get her inside without too much difficulty.

The only thing stopping me is that I have caught one feral kitten before, my cat, Bestia, and when I caught her she TOTALLY spazzed. For the first couple weeks she would cry for her mom, was scared, and her mom would sit outside the house and look for her baby.

I felt so horribly guilty about catching her and almost let her go, but I held on because I knew that her living on the streets was no life for a cat. She would have just grown up feral and produced more kittens.

So, here I am debating whether or not I should catch the nice kitten and try and socialise her. I THINK that there is hope with her and that she could become a sweet kitty, just like Bestia, but once I take her in there's no turning back.

What do you guys think? Should I take her in?

BTW, hubby and I plan on moving in less then a month and then there will be no one to feed these kitties.

Here are pics of the kitten and her mommy(the other kitten wasn't there for pic-time):








How old do you think she is?
post #2 of 26
I am not sure how old she is. I just remembered the one time I picked up a feral kitten. They sure look cute and cuddly, but man do they turn into spitfires when they are grabbed. It felt like a squirmy pincushion attacked my hand.

I hope you can catch him/her. A similar thing happened last year to me. A mom and 2 kittens were hanging around, and I nabbed the friendlier kitten. That kitten is Sohni, my black and white fluffer.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I learned that the hard way, lol. When I caught Bestia she was probably 8 weeks old, tops, and she I nabbed her she started SCREAMING! Then she bit down on my finger and wouldn't let go(thankfully she only had kitten teeth...). That's how she got her name, Bestia, it's Spanish for "beast".

I'm fully prepared for a spitfire, but I don't want to put the kitten through all that stress if it's not going to work out.

I've been putting it off too long cause the longer I wait the harder it will be for the kitten to adjust. :\\
post #4 of 26
Yes, grab the kittens, trap the parents, and get them all spayed and neutered. Mum's probably already pregnant again if the male is still hanging around.

Contact a local group to help with the trapping, and make sure you have gloves when you get the kittens, and have a cage nearby to put them into. You'll need to pick them up by the scruff of the neck, and get them spayed/neutered as soon as possible as well.

I'd say they're maybe 14 weeks old - definitely old enough to be fixed!

Good luck
post #5 of 26
They might be 4 or 5 months. I would catch her and give her a better life. I still have scars from the ones I caught years ago but it was worth it.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
The mom looks about 7 months old, tops, but I don't think the kitten is 4-5 months old. Mom only started bringing them about 2 weeks ago, so my guess was that they are probably 8-10 weeks old. Mom is really tiny, so it make the kitten look older. :/

I don't think I can catch the other kitten, it's too weary, but I can certainly catch the nicer kitty.

As for getting EVERYONE spayed/neutered, unfortunately, I can't afford to do that right now. We're in the process of buying a home and all our money is going to that and AFTER we buy the house it's a fixer upper so every penny will go towards that as well. :/ Not to mention that it's in a different state(moving costs are a killer!).

However, if there's anyone nearby that could pick up the parents and get them fixed and return them back(TNR) then I'd be more then happy to borrow some humane traps and TRY and catch them(they're uber smart!).

I normally do everything I an to help strays either get new homes or TNR, but at this time I simply can't afford to do that with all the kitties.

I would, however, at least like to be able to help one or both of the kittens since they have the best chance of socialization and finding new homes so that there are 2 fewer stray/reproducing kitties living on the streets.
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
I think I'm going to go ahead and try and catch the kitten.

Do you guys think that by catching just one kitten it will ruin my chances of working with and possibly catching the other one?
post #8 of 26
I think that food will change their minds pretty quick if they do get leery.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
True, they DO love their wetfood, lol.

Not even the MOM cat resist the chicken and she's 110% feral, even hisses when I so much a LOOK at her wrong!
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS!

Good news- I was actually playing with the nicer kitten! I have a feather teaser toy and the kitten was going NUTS for it!

Bad news- the other kitten seems to have something wrong with it's front paw. It was limping on it. I got pretty close, about 2 feet away, and the foot didn't seem swollen or anything, so I'm guess that the kitten stepped on something or maybe it got stung by a wasp(wasps like to swarm around the food dish, argh). Poor baby.

I'm going to catch the nicer kitty tomorrow, if I can get the guts to do it. As for the other kitten, I'm going to TRY and catch it, but no guarantees. If I DO catch it then I'll hopefully be able to check out the foot.

I think they'd do alot better if I could catch em both. Then they'd at least have each other.
post #11 of 26
I caught my Saffron, the blue girl in the above picture and had the same experience of her crying for her Mommy. Her Mommy cried for her too. So then a week later I caught her sister Sachi who was like a demon from the bowels of Hades. I was actually afraid of her! Now they are loves.
You can catch them both. I had my brother and ex husband catch them using a box. We put the food way back in the box and then turned it over and covered the top. We carried the box inside and transferred them to carriers. They were only 5 and 6 weeks old.

Definitely catch them.

Also for Tom and Mom you may be able to find a Feral Coalition who will spay and neuter for free or 10 dollars each. Mom cat is certainly pretty.

BTW I ended up catching the mother and now she is my Lucia the one in the avatar.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
If I feed them too late at night then they'll all come running and won't give a hoot if I'm there, so MAYBE I can catch the 2nd kitten if I just wait til they're so hungry they don't care, lol.

As for mom, she'll come up to me for chicken, but I know it's going to be hell to catch her. :\\ I'll try though. If I can catch all 3, but can't afford to get them all fixed then maybe I can just spay/release mom and wait to spay the kittens, since they won't be going back outside.

Daddy will be a HUGE pain to catch. He used to come up to me, but know he won't for some reason.
post #13 of 26
Sending successful "catching" prayers and vibes for you and your wild crew
They are such a beautiful blue color and I love those ears
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
I caught the nicer kitten!!!!!!! :cheers:

I tried grabbing her with my hands(tested the waters by putting my hands around her waist) and she spazzed, so I had to take a different approach...

I rigged my ferrets' show cage as a trap:



I would go over to the door and peek out to see if the kittens were there. When I saw that one was in the cage I SLOWLY pulled the rope to raise the door and trap the kitten inside. It worked WAY better then the traps the cat has to activate cause those REALLY freak out the cats. This one was nice and quiet. I waited for the kitten to realise he/she was trapped before going out to get the cage. That way it wouldn't freak out and slam into where the door used to be, thinking it was still open. :roll:

I set up my spare glider cage with ferret bedding for the kittens:


Here's the poor, frightened baby huddled in the cage.


The kitten's nose was all bloody when I caught her. I don't think it was from the cage cause I never saw her hit her face on it, so I'm guessing maybe another cat scratched her in the nose or that maybe it was just caused by stress. I'll wait and see if it improves. If not I'll go ahead and take her to the vet. I'm hoping I don't have to take her though, cause I don't think she would handle that very well.

(I gave up on typing he/she and just stuck with she, lol)

Hopefully I can catch the other kitten tonight so she doesn't have to be alone.

I'll think I'll hold off on picking names, in case I can't socialize them and had to spay/release. This one's a little spitfire and already a couple months old, so I'm just praying that it's not too late. :cry:
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
I caught the nicer kitten!!!!!!!

I tried grabbing her with my hands(tested the waters by putting my hands around her waist) and she spazzed, so I had to take a different approach...

I rigged my ferrets' show cage as a trap:



I would go over to the door and peek out to see if the kittens were there. When I saw that one was in the cage I SLOWLY pulled the rope to raise the door and trap the kitten inside. It worked WAY better then the traps the cat has to activate cause those REALLY freak out the cats. This one was nice and quiet. I waited for the kitten to realise he/she was trapped before going out to get the cage. That way it wouldn't freak out and slam into where the door used to be, thinking it was still open.

I set up my spare glider cage with ferret bedding for the kittens:


Here's the poor, frightened baby huddled in the cage.


The kitten's nose was all bloody when I caught her. I don't think it was from the cage cause I never saw her hit her face on it, so I'm guessing maybe another cat scratched her in the nose or that maybe it was just caused by stress. I'll wait and see if it improves. If not I'll go ahead and take her to the vet. I'm hoping I don't have to take her though, cause I don't think she would handle that very well.

(I gave up on typing he/she and just stuck with she, lol)

Hopefully I can catch the other kitten tonight so she doesn't have to be alone.

I'll think I'll hold off on picking names, in case I can't socialize them and had to spay/release. This one's a little spitfire and already a couple months old, so I'm just praying that it's not too late.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Awwwww.....wook at the wee wittle kitty!

post #17 of 26
Oh I wove the wittle bwue kitties.

I like your set up. You are very well prepared. The rig looks like a good idea. I may try it.
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well it worked REALLY well, so I highly recommend it to anyone trying to catch kitties. The cage is from Petsmart and is called a Wabbitat.

BTW, the kitten is a skitzo! lol. He'll hiss and spit up a storm, but as soon as I pick him up he immediately calms down, purrs, and will even roll over so I can scratch his belly!

Maybe I'll call him Skitzo in memory of a kitten we had that recently passed away.
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Here are some new pics:

See, he's not mean-looking anymore


Meowing at my hand cause I stopped petting him, lol


Being a goof


Proof that he likes having his back scratched


Ok, he looks evil in this pic cause his eyes are squinted
post #20 of 26
He is a cutie pie with a BIG purrsonality! I love the kitties with big personalities. My blue Saffron is like that. She lets you know exactly how she is feeling.

I love the pic where he is yelling at you for more pets.
post #21 of 26
Any updates on the other kitten, mom or dad? I hope you can find an organization that will help you out with them. It would be great to see mom spayed-no more kitties!!
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hey! Sorry I haven't updated.

I still haven't been able to catch the other kitten or mom.

However, the kitten I already caught is doing REALLY great! He's made himself right at home and is a very demanding little man! He fully expects wet food in the morning and evening, pets throughout the day, and full access to our bedroom.

He's going to be SUCH a spoiled brat!
post #23 of 26
Thanks for the update, I hope the other kitten,mom and dad can be helped before you move. Maybe someone in your neighborhood will help out once you have moved. Your kitty is adorable!! I have a feral that had a litter of kittens, we rescued 2 of the 3 and I have always felt so bad for never catching the third, although I tried for weeks. But the mom came back and went right into the trap set for the third kitten. She was as wild as can be and even my vet suggested to put her back outside. I didn't have the heart and now a year and a half later, she is such a love. She would let me pet her 24 hours a day, it is amazing what love and patience can do!! Good luck!!
post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
I doubt I'll ever catch the dad, he's rarely around here.

I'm trying to catch mom and baby at the same time cause if I catch mom then the baby won't come back and if I catch the baby then mom won't come back. :\\
post #25 of 26
Where are you at in Illinois? You might be able to find a rescue group that will TNR the rest of the cats for you. If you have been feeding these cats they are dependent on you as their caregiver. When you move, they need another caregiver. A rescue group may be able to help you with that situation.

I'm a bit alarmed by the other kitten with the injured paw. Kittens in the wild with injuries rarely survive. I don't want to sound negative here, but it is the reality of the situation. I've been working with feral cats for about 20 years now and have seen this happen first hand.
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm in Addison, IL.

The kitten that had the injury is fine. He/She has fine the next night(sorry, I forgot to tell ya'll). My assumption is that the kitten probably was trying to catch a wasp and got stung cause wasps like to hang out around the food dish.

My kitty, Binx, did that was and was limping all day, but was fine by the next day. He learned his lesson, lol.
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