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Need some advice about Semi-feral cats

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi - this is my first post although I have been a lurker reading up on advice and such regarding ferals. I have always had domesticated cats and this is my first time dealing with ferals. Last July my husband saw a mother cat with 3 kittens in our back yard. I estimated them to be about 8-10 weeks old at the time. Since first spotting them I started to feed Momma kitty and the kittens. It is now January and (I lost a kitten to a neighbor trapping it) I have been able to get them to come in the house and even upstairs to the kitchen when I am fixing their food (I have also given them worming medication), but they still run out the window to be fed. I can semi-pet one of the babies (gets very lovey and purrs but will only let me pet him during those feeding times) but not the other and have not been able to pet the momma kitty for some time now.

About 2 weeks ago, we noticed a big change in momma kitty.....she is now hissing and swatting at the babies to where they cringe whenever they are near her. The only time she doesn't hiss or get aggressive with them is when they eat. We have a heated shelter for them but we have seen that momma kitty will not let them in there. So, my question is this - why has momma kitty turned nasty to her babies? Also, is there anything that I can do?

I can't bring them in the house for good as my husband is allergic - he has an allergy attack every now and then when they do come in.

Any advice on this problem will certainly help with my dilema. Thanks!!!! KathyM
post #2 of 15
Not sure, but Momma may be weaning the kits or if not fixed, already preggers again???

Cats can become preggers weeks after giving birth to a litter - so you should check on that if you can, and get Momma FIXED (also the kittens) PRONTO.

Low cost spay neuter should be avialable to you via rescue groups - we can help you locate some I think with the resources on this board.

Meantime, I would suggest a second house for the kits
to be in, with perhaps if you can purchase something called a snuggle kitty, placed inside for them?

You can get them at ValleyVet online

This snuggle kitty has a heated snuggie disk in it, and there are
batteries to give it a purr/heartbeat. It looks like a cuddly stuffed
cat.

Some kittens love it, as do cats, it provides a lot of comfort.

Anyway if you placed one in a shelter next to the Momma kitties
structure, and put some stinky food near it, the kits might go in it?

Just a thought.

An inexpensive shelter can be made out of a rubber maid container and some straw n newspaper. The stack of newspapers goes on the bottom of the container, you put about 2 inches worth down. Then the straw (get it at a craft store, 1 mini bale will do you fine) OR shredded newspaper/paper such as a packing store like UPS uses to pack things...

Then cut a hole in one side the size of the lid of a large 3 lbs coffee can or similar square dimensions. Face away from the wind. Put the top of the container on, and put a piece of plywood propped up again the side of the container where the hole has been cut. You can bet the little ones will
explore this!!

A second very cheap shelter can be made (or 2) out of styrofoam coolers you get from meat shippers or restaurants. These shipping foam containers
just need to have a hole cut in the side with a keyhole saw. V. easy to do.
Then you get some glue and glue the top onto the container - to make sure that it doesn't come off. Turn it upside down so the lid is on the bottom side then You fill it with straw or shredded newspapers. Put a weight on top (a milk jug full of frozen water works well in my neck of the woods!), et voila a VERY warm shelter.

I use those hot pocket warmers and emergency body warmers that you get at sports stores and that contractors use to keep feet n hands warm - to give my smallershelters warmth - I also use 3
snuggle diskies (25 dollars for the disk n cover from Valley Vet Online store.)
in the bigger shelters (where they fit). Works well and I feel better for my
babies...

Okay, off I go now. I hope this has helped you some what.

Feel free to post with more questions.
post #3 of 15
Momma wants her kittens out of her life so she can move on to her next litter. She may have just gone into heat. I've seen this in feral colonies where I haven't caught the mom quickly enough before her next pregnancy. Your best bet is to trap her and get her spayed as quickly as you can.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Will she run them off or hurt them?

I am going to check to see if there is a vet close to me that can handle ferals. Thanks for your reply. KathyM
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathyM View Post
Will she run them off or hurt them?

I am going to check to see if there is a vet close to me that can handle ferals. Thanks for your reply. KathyM
My local humane society spays and neuters feral cats for cheap. Maybe try that?
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathyM View Post
Will she run them off or hurt them?
I doubt that she would hurt them, but she might try to run them off. If the kittens didn't know any other place to live, they will do their best to stay put. The bigger scare is that if the momma is not fixed and a new male arrives, he could very easily drive away any unneutered male kittens.
post #7 of 15
I definitely second the trap and fix! Please, if you dont do anything else,
get that kitty fixed!! the other posters are right, if a male top appears and see the kits he will drive them off, and they won't know what to do or how to survive on their own out there.

So, first things first - a second shelter for kits, and then FIX that momma cat.
The local humane society will end a trap and maybe even someone to help you trap the momma. This should be done when it is NOT windy outside.

It can be done when cold weather is here -

place newspapers 1 inch thick under the trap on level/flat ground.
line the bottom of the trap with folded paper. Cover the trap with a
warm thick blanket or a towel then large garbage bag then towel on top o
that. (So cold air and breezes do not get inside trap). Before covering trap, bait it with nice smelly food (tuna or sardine juice dripped into the cage with a morsel or two at the back of the cage).

Set the trap and WATCH and check trap about 1 per hr..

NEVER leave a trapped cat unattended. When you
catch your cat - take it IN the trap - to the vet for fixing. Some vets allow you to overnight the cat at the clinic - with a feral that might be
your best bet esp if hubby's allergic.

He/she/the kittens what ever you get/trap can stay in the trap till fixed, and then recover in the trap from fixing. Just clean the trap and line with fresh paper when the cat is getting fixed (ask the clinic to do and they usually will do it for you..)

When they are recovering - just cover it up and put it someplace warm and quiet - a garage or bathroom will do fine. In this cold I recommend 24 hrs for the males and 48 to 72 for the females recovery time....

Good luck with it. Seems daunting but you can do it. (I have 14-16 cats at my feral colony, LOL. 12 to 14 trapped just 3 or 4 left to do!! Took me most of a year to do it too..)





A second shelter is also a good idea so that the kits can be somewhere
warm in this very very bitter cold we are having.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great advice! I have found a vet in my area that does low cost s/n for ferals. I am going over there today to get all the information. My kittens I figure to be about 8 mos old and I think Momma kitty is about 1 1/2 yrs old. Although she has not been nice to my babies she has been nice to me. She wanted to come in the house 3 different times yesterday. She just comes in and goes and sits in the front bay window. What was funny was the last time she came in I was unloading my dishwasher and turned to see if she was still in the window....she wasn't.....she was stretched out on the couch!! My hubby was laughing when I told him to come look!!

Needless to say, the weather here is very cold and even though we built a shelter and bought a warming blanket they have not gone in there yet....

I will post back later with more info. Thanks again for all your help and advice!! KathyM
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
I took a drive over to the spay/neuter clinic this morning and found out alot of information. I was quite surprised that they charge $35.00 for a pkg., the pkg inlcludes a rabies shot, ear tip and the s/n and they also give the cat a advantage soemthing or other for ear mites, fleas and worms. I was taken aback at such a low cost! I am borrowing cat carriers from a friend this evening and going to start getting them used to it on the deck. Momma kitty has not been around all day today and I am worried about her in this cold weather.

I will post how things are going. Everyone have a great weekend! KathyM
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Can anyone tell me if it is normal for a feral to be gone for days? My momma kitty has been gone now for 4 days. the 8 mos old kittens are still here and this week I am hoping to get them captured and taken to the clinic. I am very worried about her and can't figure out why she would leave a warm shelter as well as good food.....any suggestions? Thanks in advance....KathyM
post #11 of 15
She may have gone into labor and is in her den. She may also have found somewhere else to stay warm. Take care of the kittens first - they're already there. Mommy will be back sooner or later. Hopefully she isn't pregnant but I have a feeling ...

Also, you are very, very lucky to have such a low cost clinic. We'd all love to have one that cheap with that many services!

Thank you for helping these kitties!
post #12 of 15
Is there any chance the kittens can be socialized and put into homes? That wuold be an ideal situation and then momma kitty could come back and live in your yard, especially with a heated shelter and the kindess that you show her to let her come inside. Good luck!!
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRZ View Post
Is there any chance the kittens can be socialized and put into homes? That wuold be an ideal situation and then momma kitty could come back and live in your yard, especially with a heated shelter and the kindess that you show her to let her come inside. Good luck!!
Morning - I think they both could be socialized but would take a lot of patience..my 1 kitten (Moley) this morning let me pet him quite a bit - although he gave me love nibbles. He wasn't quite sure about the petting and it was like he tolerated it for a bit. He never truly went to bite me at all. My other kitten (Scarey) has never let me pet her, although she is the more playful one and loves to come in the house and play in the living room with Moley. The determining factor of them becoming somewhat domesticated will be when they come home from being fixed.

I think Momma kitty is in heat and is roming, either that or she got trapped or (god forbid) killed. I do not believe she went to have babies as her body didn't show her pregnant at all.

My babies are the ones that I worry about the most as this is the only home they have ever known. I certainly hope that they won't hold it against me when I trap them and take them to the vet. I read where they remember the bad things more than the good things....I hope that isn't true in my case....

I will keep everyone posted.......KathyM
post #14 of 15
They won't hold against you for long. They may for bit be wary of you, but they DO get over it, esp if you bribe em good with the food! Momma may have been taken in by someone else, OR she may be in hiding somewhere with a tom, or sadly trapped/injured. I hope that it is the former, not the later. Work hard on the kits, you may find you've got some kittens that can be homed. If not they can live outside at your home, given you've got a nice warm den for them and good food and you pet and love them outside.

Think of them as your personal barn cats, LOL!
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by opilot View Post
They won't hold against you for long. They may for bit be wary of you, but they DO get over it, esp if you bribe em good with the food! Momma may have been taken in by someone else, OR she may be in hiding somewhere with a tom, or sadly trapped/injured. I hope that it is the former, not the later. Work hard on the kits, you may find you've got some kittens that can be homed. If not they can live outside at your home, given you've got a nice warm den for them and good food and you pet and love them outside.

Think of them as your personal barn cats, LOL!
I so hope you are right!! I love them and just want them to be safe. I am still hopeful that Momma kitty will come home.....

I truly think they both can be domesticated with a lot of love and patience. I will keep you posted and thank you so much for your post!! kathy
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