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Warning!! Please make sure cats have good shelter!!!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Horrible day today! Am caring for a colony of about 12+ cats, that were abandoned back in the summer. They are all young, and under a year old. We took out all of the kittens we could a couple months back. Now are the "older" (6-8 month) cats. There was one kitten that appeared about 6 weeks back. He was very very scared and was living in the basement under one of the two vacant/abandoned houses with the door left open. On Tues. some men were cleaning up around the house, we told them about the basement that there may be cats in there. Next day, the door was shut. I was most of the cats outside including this kitten, but still went and checked that no one was left trapped. So now, I have been trying all along to trap this kitten, but he would always run away or around the trap, but he was starting to associate me with food because I would place it down in a special area for him. So gradually he would come out more with me still in the yard. Now yesterday, I spotted him near the house. It was colder and he looked like he was cold, sitting in a ball close to the house. So I tried setting the trap, but not good with 12 other cats trying to jump in it instead, and then I tried just moving close to him. The odd thing was he didn't run away, only until I went to try to grab him. Did this a couple times, and he ran into somewhere and hid. Went back right when before it got dark, tried to get him again-did not have a flashlight and he was all black, so bad idea. I was able to almost get him and he went down into a window hole. I had the carry case right above so was not sure if he went down or in. Had the sheet right above him. He ended up getting out quicker than I could figure out where he was. And since it was dark, I retreated for the night. I did not know how cold it was or that it would be a problem for the kitten (he was probably about 4 months old). I never took into consideration that though he was out of the basement-he had lost his shelter, and did not really appear to stay with any of the other cats. So today, I go back. Found another cat that was missing for four days, and was surprised she was back (though she was acting really weird like she was spooked-so only God knows what happened to her). But then, I go back to area where the kitten was, and I find him in the window hole-not alive He wasn't even in a sitting position, it looked like he was trying to move somewhere in action. Now I feel HORRIBLE, knowing I almost had him last night, and having NO idea that he would not make it through the night!!!! All the effort the last few weeks to try to get him, and I didn't make it in time. I was so sure this morning I would go and be able to definetly get him! Never never never would I think things would end up so cruely and tragically. If I knew this I would have stayed out there and tried more than I did. I did not think he couldn't survive the night, it wasn't that cold, but for him it would have been knowing he was used to the basement on cold nights, and that this was the first since he was closed out of there. I assumed he would have a shelter like the others. However, I was wrong. Now tonight is even more brutal, and I realized today that these cats do not have sufficient shelter. I went back this evening after dark to try to get the other cat that was missing a few days. I didn't see her-but some others were just sitting around, in no shelter. I have never seen a cat not make it overnight from weather. Any that were too cold, I would grab. It made it harder that this kitten was soooo scared. He was as scared as he was cold. And now I am so angry at myself for not being a success sooner than later. I left last night so angry that I did not get him, knowing how close I was. Now tonight, I can't even explain how angry I am at myself, that this cat's life literally depended on me. It is just absolutely horrible!! Now as it stands, we have to come up with some shelter for the others-though we have no idea who actually owns this property and if anyone is even in the house (lights are on and off all the time). But the BEST thing would be to get all of these cats out of there and into homes, which is never easy. Sorry this is so long. I just don't know what to do-I feel like I really failed for this kitten. If anyone else has had a similar experience where you did everything to save a cat, and it didn't turn out well, let me know. I am good with trapping and/or catching, but I really f***** this one up!! And now I can't fix it and that poor baby is not here.
post #2 of 13
Please don't blame did your best, and that is what counts. Thank you for trying to save the kitty.
post #3 of 13
Don't blame yourself. You did your best. He may also have been too weak to begin with. Again, you did you best.

Are there shelters out there for the other kits? Making them out of plastic totes is not hard. Even spreading some straw around, if an actual shelter won't work, will give them places to burrow.
post #4 of 13
Even if you had have caught him last night it probably would have been too late. Unfortunately with kitties in the wild, you don't know what state they're in, and they will only let us help so much.

You did more than anybody else has which helped the little one live this long.

RIP kitten.
post #5 of 13
this sounded a lot like a kitten I've been trying to catch. my expertise (if you can call it that) is feral cat TNR, I'm not used to trying to catch a little kitten. I was trapping in the projects in brooklyn and caught most of a cat family, except for two kittens. one kitten (also all black) ended up getting run over; the other is still out there. I felt so bad about losing the first kitten, so we kept trying to catch the last one. we tried regular traps and drop traps, to just grabbing him, but he's way too wary for any of it (which is also probably why he's still alive at all). now after our 4th attempt we still don't have him. he too was cast out of an abandoned apartment he was staying in. we've put out a winter shelter and people bring him food every day, so he's doing okay. but the rest of his family is at a no-kill shelter living the (relative) sweet life, and waiting for him to show up.

all you can do is keep trying and understand that you don't always win at this game. but wihtout your help think how much worse their situation would have been.
post #6 of 13
You are doing an awesome thing for these cats. They are better because you care. You failed at nothing.

During the summer we tried to get some tiny kittens out of the woods where we feed a feral colony. We were doing TNR and having a difficult time with so many kittens being born. We tried every kind of trap and chased kittens all over the woods. They were so tiny and momma cat hid them so well. The next day we find a kitten that stumbled into the parking lot. Rushing to the vet did not help her. She died of flea anemia and a URI. Sometimes no matter what we do, life is going to happen that way. They would have no chance were it not for people like you caring. Hold on to that part.

Did you see this post?

I have made camouflaged shelters from rubber-maid storage bins that are not easily seen. We have put many out on random properties for cats.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Today, I went back there, and we started by making a shelter out of a large heavy cardboard box, with a vinyl table cloth on top, and a blanket on the inside. For now, that is a start, and then we will try to see what we can do and afford that could be better. Still would be best to try to get them out of there, into a home, and adopted. However, since I can not change what happened, and that will always haunt me, I can only try to deal going forward. Putting up the shelter for them today was a big accomplishment-1 because we didn't know how crucial it is and 2-feeling so depressed from this makes me not want to do anything. Then when we went there, the missing cat that I mentioned was out again. And since I already said "If I see this cat and she reappears, I am grabbing her!." And that is what I did! All along she has had a cold/URI off and on. Well, with the weather now, she has it bad again with alot of congestion. So, now I am even more glad to have got her in. And she is so good! Right now she is in a carry case, until we can find the right area and to keep her away from the other cats, and she is recuperating from the misery of outside. She is purring and content and had a little bit of yummy food. Sometimes you don't realize how much a cat needs to be pulled in from out there, until you really see how it is on the inside! She was acting distant outside yesterday and today, so I was also worried that something wasn't right with her. All I know is when they are left out there-they are left with so many negative elements. When in my care, at least I know I can have a little more control over their well-being. She is now safe, content, and probably appreciative to be spared another night out there. And possibly, tomorrow we may try to pull a couple more out and get them to someone who can help a little more. We'll see. Everyone of them needs the special care this little one received this evening!
post #8 of 13
Bless you for the wonderful work that you are doing for the street kitties. I am so sorry about the little one that went over RB - you did your best, though, and I am sure he is over RB, thanking you for that I am so glad that you got the other kitty inside, poor dear! Sending prayers and vibes out to you and those in your crew- you are wonderful cat guardian angels
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
The one thing that makes this whole thing more horrible-today is 45 degrees! If the temperature didn't drop as bad as it did, the kitten would likely still be here...Or I would have had the extra days I needed to catch him.
post #10 of 13
*huge hugs*

You did all that you could for the little guy, and you CANNOT blame yourself for what happened. I know it's so hard not to dwell on what could have been done differently, but now you have this beautiful little girl to care for, and the rest of the family out there who needs you. Please don't give up! You've done an amazing job so far, and to see you hurting so badly breaks my heart! I've been in the situation before as well, and it's hard to forgive yourself, but the time will come when you will be able to.

Best of luck with these kitties, and thank you for doing a wonderful job caring for them. This world would be a horrible place if it weren't for people like you!
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
I can't believe almost a week will have gone by with this baby I still feel terrible about it. I am posting a shelter that I made for the other cats in the same area. I tried using 2 large home depot cardboard boxes and tablecloth-with a blanket until trying to do something better. Last night, we had horrible pouring rain all night, but they somehow did not do too bad. Will probably have to make another one-but so far they seem to like it. When I go to feed them, a bunch run out of the boxes-so they are using them. I can't believe all this time (since September I think) I assumed these cats had sufficient shelter between the two vacant houses and all the debris around, and they really didn't. They are all young, and I assumed they would know. But even in the cold and the dark, I would see them sitting out in property...I just wish it didn't take losing a kitten for me to realize that they needed shelter. I still think that the best solution is to get everyone out of there. They are all small and gentle cats, not very strong or big-so they really do need to get somewhere. Hopefully, somehow we can pull them out. The one I did take, she is still sick-not improving on her own-which we hoped. SO she will definetly need clavimox. But at least she isn't out there-and she is sooo good. They all are. And another one we took in a couple months back, he was so scared when we took him and gave him to a lady-and after a week of being lost in her house, he now has come around so well also. Even if we can help one at a time, the same way we are helping the little girl we got, it would be better for them!!

post #12 of 13
When I was 16yrs old, someone dumped off a large tom on my parents farm in the middle of Jan.

During a really snow storm.

It took me weeks to get him. he owuldn't go in the trap at all.

The day I caught him, he was very sick and hurting. He had just given up. I went out with a large blanket, cornered him and wrapped him up in it and put him in a carrier. He wanted to get away, but he didn't have the energy at that point.

I took him to the no-kill shelter I was volunteering at, and they took him in.

He didn't make it though. His injuries and illness were too great. He was FeLV positive and when they tried to treat that, his body just shut down. I went in to volunteer and they pulled me aside to let me know. I felt so horrible.

You didn't fail that kitten though. It's easy to place blame on yourself, but you tried to help him. The people that dumped him are to blame, not you.

good luck on the rest of them.
post #13 of 13
You can get cheap bubble wrap packing that comes in a roll. I put several layers of the bubble wrap in the bottom.

Next I put down one of those emergency foil-looking (Mylar) blankets. Found in camping section of Walmart. Fold it to fit. You can use duct tape to tape it along the sides and bottom.

Put straw in last. This will stay dry where as a blanket will become damp with the humidity and it will be cold. Straw can be found at garden centers or in the craft stores (small craft bail) like Michael's.

That's a great looking job.
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