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I need some advice concerning feral kittens (long)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
We have a feral mother who has had kittens under our house. We have known of these babies for approx 2 mos. now. Mom sometimes is near her babies, however, most times one of her kittens is next door with her and the other 2 (the ones that are most shy) are under the front of our house. We feed them (all four of them) a couple of times a day and provide them with constant fresh water.

We have an additional mother and her two kittens who we intend to keep with us that we have been caring for for the past 2 1/2 years. We have taken them to have them spayed/neutered, their ear cropped, FIV tests (negative) and their vaccines. This was somewhat costly.

My concern is that two of the three kittens have some sort of eye issue. They have a discharge coming out of them and one of the little one's (we call her Star) eyes is shut. DBF picked her up yesturday and wiped it clean and tonight it is completely shut again. It also looks like the other little one (we call her Mango) who sleeps under the house with Star has a little something starting in her eye. My other family keeps away from the others and vise-versa.

I would love to have these kittens go to good homes as they have the most precious little personalities. How soon can I take them from their mother? I'm trying to get the funds together to take them to have them looked over but since money is so tight - I don't know how I can afford it. Are there any low cost solutions to help with the cost? I can't seem to find any.

With my last brood, I was told that they could be spayed/neutered as soon as mom stopped nursing them and I did that. I don't ever see their Mom nursing them and I want to take them at the beginning of next month to have them fixed/tested. I simply can't stand to see any animal suffering and they don't understand that we only want to help them. They are still under the impression that we are going to eat them when we go near them (except to put down their food). We are trying to get Star tonight so that we can wipe out her eyes and put some Visine drops in them (just in case she has dirt in them) but after 45 mins. we have decided to give up tonight. She's too scared right now.

I want to do what is best for them and just don't know what that is. Are they better off with their mom?

How do I socialize them if I can't get near them except to feed them?

How do I afford to have them checked out by a vet? The last feral kitten we found (Sunny) we ended up bringing in to live with us. We have spent well over $800 getting him healthy and have approx. $300 more to go. I don't have that kind of money and ended up selling my gold jewelry to pay for his medical care (and I'd do it again in a heartbeat- I just don't have anymore jewelry to sell).

What are the chances of them finding suitable homes if I have to take them to the Humane Society? It would kill me to take them there, but if I had to in order to find them a forever home - I would do that.

I apologize for the lengthiness of this posting, I just have so many questions and concerns with these precious little babies.
post #2 of 4
Thanks for wanting to help these kitties!

They're weaned if they've been there for 2 months. But mom's teaching them things now - they usually stay together as a family for about 12 weeks.

The new batch of kitties really need medical attention. Please do not use Visine - this is a problem with a virus, not dirt. It may just be a cold - it may be herpes. (Herpes virus is very common).

There are several places you can search to find help. The mom will probably have to be spayed, ear tipped and released - but the kitties - if you can find someone to do it - can be fostered and then adopted out.

The best places to search for low-cost help are the shelters:


But the best place to search for fosters are the organizations that adopt out kitties. Go to http://www.petfinder.com, type in your zipcode and just that you're searching for a cat, nothing else. It will pull up pages of cats available for adoption near you. Scroll through them - you'll see the organization adopting them out on the right. Click on the link or on the cat pic to take you to a place where you'll find a link to be able to e-mail the org or a website where you can get contact info.

And just start e-mailing and calling! Tell them that you've been helping cats around your home, but that continuing to fund it is a real problem, and you want these kittens to have a chance. These are young kitties, the perfect age for fostering and adoption.

It may take a few days to get any responses. We just did an e-mail campaign and sent out 22 e-mails and got back 3 responses. But it worked. Just remember most of these orgs are under-funded and don't have a large staff. But e-mail everyone, unless they state clearly that they do not have a foster network. And another tip - most of the e-mails for the contacts are personal e-mails of people working for the orgs, so write down each e-mail address and the name of the org associated with it so it's easier to track who actually replies to you.

Hope this helps,

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the information. I have every intention of spaying mom and another female adult that has been hanging around our house for the past 3 months. I'm getting the money together to have her spayed next month, along with Sunny, my indoor kitten (formerly a very sickly feral kitten). My rule is, if I feed them, I will spay/neuter them.

We have alot of apartments around our neighborhood and the feral cat population has been growing by leaps and bounds. My neighbor feeds approx. 30 of them and I mentioned to her that we could work together to take them a few at a time to be spayed/neutered. Her reply was "I'm volunteering at the Humane Society so I'll definately be taking them to get them fixed". Well, that was 1 1/2 years ago and nothing. Just more cats and kittens. My cats (formerly from next door) are quite territorial so they pretty much chase any other cats from our (their) yard. It's kinda hard for me to get anywhere near them. Right now I have 9 cats and kittens that I am feeding and getting/attempting to get medical treatment for. It's tough, but there's no way I can turn them away if they show up hungry or hurt.

I had no idea that herpes is common in cats. Where do they get it from?

I'll definately email all of the sites you mentioned as these kittens are far too precious to be out there on their own. They deserve a loving home and someone deserves to have a fantastic little kitten of their own.
post #4 of 4
Originally Posted by chadsgirl374 View Post
I had no idea that herpes is common in cats. Where do they get it from?
You know, I have no idea! It's like the cold virus, I guess. But if that's what it is, it can be really hard on especially the eyes (and sinuses) if not caught early. Our kitty, Flowerbelle, had to have her eye removed because of it.

Supplementing their food with lysine can help - but I have no idea how much to give them, and there's no way to make sure each cat eats out of the same bowl, etc. etc.

Maybe talk to your neighbor and see what happened? It may just be she's not getting them there quick enough and they're reproducing faster - or the expense of it became overwhelming? It can multiply quickly and get really out of control (as you're seeing). It'd be worth seeing if there are any TNR groups in your area that can help her?

You can use the http://www.pets911.com to look up Rescue groups (same list as the shelters). You can also try Alley Cat Allies, to see if there are any "Feral Friends" (individuals or orgs) in your area: http://www.alleycat.org/NetCommunity...=444&srcid=431 Just click that you're seeking individual assistance, and go from there.

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