or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › Our Outdoor Family
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Our Outdoor Family

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
We've been living at our apartment complex for about a year, and have recently started feeding a couple of cats who we have frequently seen hovering around the dumpster. Our apartment complex is next to a freeway and a family fun park, not really a safe place for cats.

A week or two ago, we noticed that one of the cats had had kittens. There are now two kittens, and at least two adult cats (but there could be three). The kittens are maybe 10 weeks old, but I'm not sure exactly. None of the cats will let us get close enough to touch them. They do get close enough to check out what we're doing. They've learned to identify my boyfriend's car with feeding time.

We feed them in the parking lot, near the dumpster they frequent. Food and water dishes go down at dusk, in between my boyfriend's car and the fence. This creates sort of a safe area for them to hang out at night. We rarely see them during daylight hours. Is it possible that they belong to someone? They're not really friendly cats. My boyfriend says one of them hissed at him when he was setting down some food.

Today, we went to a local shelter to pick up a trap. We left a deposit, and they gave us a trap to use. Our plan is to get all of the cats and kittens spayed or neutered. The shelter from which we borrowed the trap has a low-cost spay/neuter program. The waiting list is 4 months, but since we're catching ferals they'll take us right away. They'll take only one cat at a time, though, so it could be a problem if we manage to catch two. We'll figure out something, I'm sure. I'd rather catch two than none at all.

I'm both nervous and excited. Mostly, I'm anxious to get started. We'll set the trap out tomorrow night. The shelter isn't open on Sunday, so we wouldn't be able to bring them in if we caught any tonight. I will be posting progress and frustrations to this thread.
post #2 of 52
good luck!! It is awesome that you are getting them altered, no more kittens!
post #3 of 52
That's great! Good luck!
post #4 of 52
Thread Starter 
We set our first trap out tonight, with some stinky wet food as bait. Saw 3 cats lurking toward it as soon as we had backed away. Heard the trap and saw a scatter of cats before we made it back upstairs.

The cat that we trapped wasn't one of the 3 we had seen. So far, there is:
-A fluffy black adult cat. This one looks like Nova, but black and with yellow-green eyes.
-An adult white cat with grey tabby patches... I think this one is the mother cat. She's usually with her kitten who is light-colored and I can't really tell what he/she looks like.
-The kitten (I thought there were two, but lately I've seen just one.)
-The one we caught tonight. Another white with grey tabby-patched cat. This one looks younger than the mother cat, possibly from a previous litter?

I feel sad for these cats. I feel really bad for the one we trapped. He/she was turning in circles and hissing in the trap. I have to keep reminding myself that we're doing a good thing. He/she will be less prone to illness, and there will be less cats living out of dumpsters in the future. Still, he/she looks so scared...

Nova was in the bedroom when we brought the trap in. We had been cleaning the apartment, so she wasn't too suspicious that we had closed her in the bedroom. Our little guest has been very quiet, and Nova probably doesn't even know that he/she is here.

Our guest will be spayed/neutered tomorrow morning. And we'll set the trap again tomorrow night. I hope we continue to have luck with the trapping. We set out food and water like normal for the ones still out there.

I wish there were some way to tell them that life is better indoors. The one who's in our bathroom now... I don't know if he or she could get used to being indoors. How do I know if they're a good candidate for indoor life? I think I may just have to accept that I can't keep them all in our little one bedroom apartment. Four feral cats, 1 tame cat, 2 turtles, 1 lizard, and 1 hermit crab. Yikes. I have to think of Nova's well-being also, and I think she would be very unhappy with 4 new roommates...
post #5 of 52
It is very difficult to tell if a feral will want to live indoors but it does happen. I have a feral who had a litter of kittens and then she was trapped and I just brought her home with me despite advice to put her back out. It was the beginning of winter and she would have been alone-no colony. She is very content living indoors but it took a good length of time. I am not sure of your location but is there any way that you could provide some safe shelters for the cats once they have been spayed/neutered? You are certainly doing a great job of providing them food and even better, getting them spayed/neutered. I hope you get the others, good luck!!
post #6 of 52
Thread Starter 
We didn't put our trap out tonight. We'll put it back out tomorrow night.

Right now, our first feral is recovering in a small dog kennel/crate. I gave her a clean towel to lay on, a shoebox lid filled with sand, fresh water, and a little bit of tuna to lure her from the trap. It'll be easy to transport her downstairs when it's time to release her. The plan is to keep her overnight, and possibly tomorow night as well.

She had like a million vaccinations in addition to her spay... poor thing. She's 8lbs, and about a year old. On a happy note- she tested negative for leukemia and fiv. On a slightly worrisome note, I was right- there are two kittens out there after all. So we have 4 more cats to go (at least). We had no idea we were feeding that many!
post #7 of 52
Thread Starter 
We caught our second cat tonight, possibly the mama cat. Unfortunately, we didn't get any kittens. Try again tomorrow.

This second cat, who is also grey and white, was quite rowdy in the trap (even after the trap was covered). She calmed down a great deal when we set her down next to the first cat, who will be released tomorrow. If a cat can look surprised, our second cat looked suprised to see her companion. I left the towel slightly up so they can see each other.

Nova is doing well with this. She's either oblivious, or doesn't mind that they're here. In any case, she has not acknowledged their presence and they're not making themselves known... so things are going smoothly.

So... we have at least two kittens and one adult left. There may be more, but we aren't sure. Hopefully there aren't too many out there, I worry about them.
post #8 of 52
it's stories like this i love hearing. i feel so sad for stray feral cats. its unfortunate that a lot of people dont care for the well being of animals.

I have 8 cats, all of which i have picked up from the street as babies.

i wish you all the luck in catching all of the kittens and other cat!

you're doing a wonderful thing
post #9 of 52
Hmm doesn't sound like they will adapt well indoors. I doubt they belong to anyone since they hang around the dumpster. I've seen cats like this before at my uncle's house/neighborhood.
post #10 of 52
Thread Starter 
Two cats spayed! I didn't want to give them names because I thought I'd get too attached, but I think I'll get attached anyway. So now they have names. The first, I've named "Quietus." Quietus is the masculine form of the Latin word meaning "at rest." The second, mama cat, I have named Mater. If you're curious, Ive posted photos of them here:

post #11 of 52
The kitties are beautiful! And I know what you mean about getting attached, I feed a feral every night on my front porch but I have only seen her a few times. She is going to be trapped and spayed very soon, I am just not sure if she has kittens somewhere so I hesitate to trap her now. I have named her Sophie and I worry about her all of the time. If I am successful in trapping her, she will spend time recuperating in my garage-with the heat on!! Keep us posted on your progress with the other cats.
post #12 of 52
All of the feral kitties I trap and release have names It's got nothing to do with getting attached, it's more to give them identities so they're not "just a feral cat". They are George, Henry, Ginny and Hermione, Kacey, Susan, Jimmy...
post #13 of 52
I name my ferals as well!! lol, Its hard not to. Though I give them dumb names. Like one I call Dwight (He is black and white, so Dark/White..Dwight lol).

Anyway, good job on the capture!!! I hate when I catch ferals I have already caught...I guess its good none of them look a like.
post #14 of 52
Thread Starter 
Last night we caught a kitten! Another grey and white girl. She was spayed today. She spent much of last night crying, though we set her next to the recovering Mater. She and Mater lay next to each other, and she (the kitten) cried considerably less. Today, I bought her a small litter pan and a SnuggleKittie. I hope the SnuggleKittie works for her.

One thing that's a little bit worrisome, is that the kitten has diarrhea. I hope it isn't chronic!
post #15 of 52
Thread Starter 
So our kitten stopped crying. This morning, she had poops that didn't look like diarrhea so that's a good sign. We had to return the trap today, as there is a list of people waiting to borrow them. This saddens me, because there are still 2 kittens out there and yesterday we saw another adult... another grey and white adult! This one looks to be around the same age as Quietus. At least 2 kittens, and 2 adults left.

Last night when I went to feed the cats, Quietus started to run away but she only ran a short distance before stopping and watching me. When I looked up at her, she hissed... but she didn't run any further. I guess it's progress.

This morning, I cleaned out Mater's kennel and she ran behind the toilet. I angled the kennel so that she had no choice but to run into it if she tried to run away. I tried guiding her with my hand. (This had worked with guiding the kitten from the trap into a carrier.) It didn't work. I flushed the toilet, and she backed further in. So I tried petting her back, and finally, she ran back into the kennel. I feel guilty for scaring her, because she's not agressive at all... just terrified. Poor thing.

On a somewhat silly note, I just peeked in to see if she needs more food, and she's using her litterbox as a bed. The kitten is also using her litter as a sleepy spot. I gave them both clean, fluffly towels this morning...

Anyway, I think we'll be purchasing our own trap. The cold months are approaching, and the kittens are growing fast... so it'll be best to get a trap as soon as possible.

I'll probably set Mater free tonight. I'd love to keep her, but she'll need a lot of patience and care and I'm not sure we have the space or the time if we want to keep trapping as well.
post #16 of 52
Thread Starter 
Well, I let Mater go tonight. When she and the kitten were together, they seemed more at ease... no more crying from the kitten.

This morning, I noticed that the kitten's diarrhea had returned, so I wiped down the carrier she was in. I tried to put her in Mater's kennel, but it just seemed too snug in there for them both. So, thinking I was so smart, I built a barricade and let the kennel door open into a small part of the laundry. Well, my baricade wasn't high enough, and both Mater and the kitten jumped over it and onto the laundry room shelves.

I realized how silly I was to try to keep Mater, and let her go. I didn't have any place where I could let her remain unconfined, and it was difficult to juggle the two cats with so little space (and supplies). I feel really bad about this, because she was already very afraid... but I put on a pair of gloves, picked her up, and put her back in the kennel. She hissed something awful. I don't know who was more afraid- her or me. I feel really sad for her, she's the same age as Nova but looks... more tattered.

Now, the kitten is crying again. I'll take her to the vet tomorrow to figure out about her diarrhea. She's eating, and I think she's drinking water too. She knows to use the litter box, but she doesn't know how to play with toys. Maybe I'm in way over my head, I hope everything works out OK.
post #17 of 52
Thread Starter 
It rained yesterday, and I did not see my ferals. Today, I came home a bit late from Thanksgiving dinner. They were hungrily poking about the dumpster, so I brought them out some food and water. One of the two kittens out there was so hungry, that he didn't run too far when I approached. I saw both Quietus and Mater, they watched me from close up but didn't hiss. I hope our trap arrives soon so we can catch some more kittens! (There's also another adult to catch... but he's so smart, I think it'll be difficult to get him.)

Our kitten now rubs on us for cuddles. She's a little bit underweight, so I'm going to try to fatten her up. I have no idea how to go about getting her adopted. I don't want to let her go to a new home, but we need the space to keep working with other kitties.

I posted a photo of her here: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=181803
post #18 of 52
Hey Nova, You 2 are doing a wonderful thing. I trapped and fixed several cats and kittens when Nova's dad was a youngster. The only reward is that you know those cats will be better off. Let me tell you about my first ferral cat. I was 16 and had cats and kittens all my life but never a solid black one which I decided I wanted. I told my mom I wanted a black kitten and she said her friend had a beautiful little black "homeless" kitten that needed a home. So I took a cardboard box to go pick it up. Mom's friend's hubby laughed when he saw the box I had brough and asked if I had some gloves. ??? gloves to get a little kitten I asked. He chuckled again and said "I have some. Come see the kitten." Wow the "kitten" was a beautiful black male cat about 1 year old and wild as it could be. He picked it up hissing and clawing out of a cage and put it in the box and taped it up and said "good luck". My mom and her friend had trapped this one in the alley behind the friend's house. I took the cat home and fussed at mom who assured me he "just needs love". I let him go in my room and fed him under my bed. I named him Satan and he lived under my bed for ages but eventually he tamed down and he was a wonderful cat that lived a long happy life.
I'm so proud of you two for helping your outside family. You 2 are s!
post #19 of 52
Thread Starter 
Our trap came on Tuesday, but we haven't done any trapping... we've been so busy at work and school that we don't have much time to take care of whoever we trap in addition to taking care of our usual pets and our foster kitten. It's a bit more complicated because our kitten has Giardia and we'd have to do quite a bit of juggling to keep all of the cats separate and their living areas clean.

Something horrible happened last night or this morning. I am so worried! Last night, we went out to dinner and before we left I saw that there were just a few kibbles left in their bowl. I didn't take the bowl in because I thought if someone had missed feeding time, at least they would find something. This morning, I went to pick up the bowls and noticed a puddle. My first thought was that some animal had sprayed the area to mark it as his territory. But when I turned on my car, it said "Check Coolant." Sure enough, the puddle was coolant. None dripped into their food or water. But their water was nearby and I'm worried that if someone came for a drink of water, they noticed the coolant and drank that instead.

The stray kibbles were gone, but I have no idea when they were eaten. And I have no idea when the coolant leaked. I really really really hope that they had moved on before the coolant leaked. I can't stand the thought of any one of them being poisoned out there.
post #20 of 52
Thread Starter 
I am so relieved. I couldn't help myself, and went to the parking lot of the family fun park to look for sick cats/kittens. I saw both kittens (they seem to be living under the water slide). I will look for the adults at feeding time tonight. I feel a little bit better about where they live because it isn't used in the cold months, and I think they can get out of the rain too.
post #21 of 52
I am happy you found your kittens, it is such a worry when you care for ferals. I am caring for a stray at my husband's office, he has 2 shelters and he is offered to come inside, he lately has been staying outside, not really sure why since it is so cold, he must prefer the outdoors. But I am feeding a feral by my home, I never see her anymore but her food plate is empty every morning. I am positive it is not a raccoon because the plate is exactly where I leave it, just empty. I do not where she hides even though I have provided a shelter for her. I am planning to trap her this month and she can recuperate inside for a few days, I am positive she is a female but not sure if there are kittens out there somewhere. That is why I have put off trapping her, I am afraid she may have had kittens and I don't want them to be stranded without her until they are old enough. I'm glad you are giving those cats such good care.
post #22 of 52
Thread Starter 
A couple of nights ago, we re-trapped Quietus. Poor thing. She doesn't seem to hiss at me quite as much. I noticed tonight that she's limping, and of course, I'm worried. But there's only so much we can do at one time.

A couple of nights ago, I noticed that the black cat was sneezing.I didn't see him tonight. I hope he's OK. We haven't trapped him yet. I'm a bit worried because Nova's been sneezing today too. I hope I haven't helped to spread anything!

Our kitten, "Vesper" is now ready to be adopted out. I feel sad about letting her go to a new home, even though the time for that hasn't come yet. Tonight, we caught another kitten so we've got one in our bathroom and one in our laundry room. I've got a lot of work to do this week, so juggling them around will be... stressful. M and I are in disagreement about how picky to be about the prospective owners.
post #23 of 52
Thread Starter 
Our other kitten turned out to be a boy. He's a medium haired tabby, very cute. He's so so scared, but he tries to be brave. He's a little bit congested, so we're treating him for that. The black cat disappeared after my last post and reappeared tonight. We tried to trap the last kitten, because the nights are getting cold. Unfortunately, we didn't get him/her.

It's a zoo trying to juggle the kittens and Nova. Nova has a respiratory infection too. So, we've got 3 cats on Cefa drops. Loki is taking something for Giardia as a precaution. I'll be gone for most of this week, so my poor SO will be medicating, cleaning up after, and making appointments for all the cats.

We had Loki in a carrier in the restroom today as we cleaned the laundry room, and he and Vesper were hissing at each other. They lived together 3 weeks ago, why are they hissing?

Today at the pet store, Petsmart (can I say the name?), we met a group of ladies who adopt out kittens. We told (or rather my SO told) them about our feral babies and they welcomed us to bring them to their adoption days! This is great news for us, as our apartment is getting full of kittens... and we weren't getting many replies from interested persons.

When I took Loki to the vet's office the other day, one of the techs was complaining that many people were putting down rather than treating their pets because of the economy.

I really want these little ones to find nice homes. I would love to keep them all.
post #24 of 52
Thread Starter 
Wow, my last update was on Dec 15 at 2:17 AM. I was running on very little sleep, and my post was somewhat incoherent! I'm a little bit better rested this time. I was gone most of the week and my SO took care of all of our cats! This was quite a feat as we now have Nova +3 kittens (we caught the last kitten!).

I have some great news! Vesper has a home! A very nice man who works with my SO wanted a cat, and he called about Vesper and they both really liked each other! He will take her home in about a week. I guess in the meantime, I can get used to the idea that she's leaving us. My first foster kitty.

It's been very cold out. We have been trying hard to fatten up the adult cats by giving them kitten food and trying to feed them everytime we see them. Once they wander away, we take their food bowl in to avoid attracting wildlife. I'm trying to think of a way to provide them some shelter, but there isn't really a place in our parking lot where we might be able to put a shelter box for them. Maybe I'll come up with something.
post #25 of 52
Thread Starter 
Vesper's still got giardia. She's not showing symptoms, but it showed up in her fecal. I really want her to be able to go to her new home.

Loki seems OK but he and our latest kitten are both in the laundry room and I think they're passing the sniffles back and forth. They don't share food or water or litter boxes, just the breathing space. Everybody's got something going on.

Another grey and white adult cat has joined the feral colony since the kittens were brought in. (She looks a lot like Mater and Quietus! How many are there!?) So I guess we've got two more adults out there to spay/neuter. We need for Vesper to go to her new home because we're out of rooms to keep cats in.
post #26 of 52
What a wonderful thing you are doing. I have three feral, or should I say they have me. I had them all spayed/nutered. They are a momma & her two babies. I can pick up and love on Momma & Smokie, but little Cali is such a pistol, she will rub all over my legs, even give me headbutts every once in awhile, but if you try to pet her, she hisses and has drawn blood on occasion. They are now part of the family, luckily we have a big garage so they can get out of the weather.

Keep up the good work, hope everyone's health issue's get resolved.
post #27 of 52
What a terrific thing you are doing. i wish a lot more people would do this. I also trapped, neutered, released a litter of kittens, 6 and the mother, 2 girls 4 boys, I kept 2 of the kittens and released mother and 4 kittens. The two I took was a little more trusting. I would have taken the others but they would never have been able to be socialized, 2 of them destroyed the carriers they were put in and when I released them all the mom and 2 kittens ran off and I never saw them again. Which I feel so bad about. I am feeding the 2 that didin't run off. At least I know there will be no kittens from them. I have the 2 boys in my house, Wheezer and Patch, Wheezer had a URI when I picked him up (hence the name Wheezer). When ever I see a new cat around and am fairly certain they are not owned, I trapped them and get them spay/neutered. Good luck on your tremendous task. Prayers and that they all get well.
post #28 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thank you, everyone, for the kind words. When I feel overwhelmed by all of their health issues, I come back to this thread and read everyone's replies.

Today, Vesper can finally go home with her new owner! Two more kittens to adopt out, hopefully as a pair because they're always together. (They were always together outside too.)

There are two more adults outside. One started coming around after we'd trapped the kittens. The new one is grey and white also. Not too long ago, we saw a different grey and white cat in another part of the complex. It makes me wonder just how many cats are homeless because a couple of bozos didn't get their cat(s) spayed/neutered.
post #29 of 52
You are doing a great job! Just go slowly....I know at times it's overwhelming but think of what their lives would be like otherwise.
post #30 of 52
Sorry for not posting sooner, although I have read through this thread and wanted to say how much I respect what you're doing for these cats. I know it can seem overwhelming, especially when new cats keep showing up. I've experienced the same thing at my TNR site and in my own neighborhood. Just keep plugging away, though, and know that what you're doing is truly making a difference in these cats' lives. You're doing a wonderful thing!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Caring for Strays and Ferals
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › Our Outdoor Family