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My specific situation questions for trapping

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I’m going to attempt my first trapping experience. I want to trap a female (pregnant) feral, with two ?10-week old? kittens.

I live in a populated neighborhood of single homes.

My neighbor provided the “junk†pile for her to birth her kittens, and she continues to use that “nest†to “hide†her babies when she puts them to bed.

We have a block wall all around our house. I’ve provided a ramp-like set up so the kittens can get into my yard to eat and play – and, I think sleep ??

Mommy has a schedule. During the day, she will sleep somewhere on our covered patio – mostly in front of the patio door on a cushioned chair. At an appointed time, she wakes up, goes to the side of the house that is adjacent to the neighbor’s yard with the junk pile and nest. She walks up my ramp, jumps up on the wall, looks over the area, when she sees it’s safe she calls to her babies, and then goes down into the junk to bring the babies out for ?breakfast, lunch, or dinner?.

On my covered patio, I’ve provided 3 different places for food bowls. One dry food bowl sits in front of our large patio sliding door. I put out canned food at 7:00 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. right there also.

I’ve also put out our large dog carrier, (that we transport our three cats in) put a cardboard box inside with shredded paper for a “safe place†on our patio for them to sleep - it's at the other end of the patio. I’ve also set up beds on top of a picnic table that consist of old throw rugs in boxes. The table is also at the other end of the patio. I think they use the dog carrier, but I’m having trouble seeing them go in and actually stay there. Mostly, I think mommy takes them back to their nest when it’s bedtime, though.

The neighbor’s yard is full of dangers. Like two dogs, and the activity around the junk pile when the neighbor brings in, or takes out the trash barrels – I don’t know when he’ll decide to start throwing junk away – well, that’s another whole story.

The cats have settled in my yard, and seem to regard it as a safe place to eat, play, and nap.
When I open the patio door, they hear it, the kittens run for a safe place (I’ve set up many places for them to run and hid to) (one kitten is now looking at me through the window as I type – I’m not looking back so I won’t frighten him off – now, the other one is peering in – oh, they are SO cute – but I’m not looking!!) Where was I, oh …. When I open the patio door to put out the canned food sometimes mommy is right there – and I usually can tell if the kittens are close by because she gives me a warning as I’m putting out the food, otherwise she just sits under the patio chair and waits for me to go back inside.

As soon as the door closes, one of the braver kittens joins his mommy to eat the meat, then the other one comes.

Now, I’ve said all that to ask these questions.

Where do I put the trap?
How do I stop providing food when there are hungry kittens that need food?
If I am successful in trapping mommy, and for post op care, what do you think about putting her on the patio to recover so her babies will stay around her? (I've been told to keep her in the trap. My trap has two doors so I'll be able to put in a divider, then put food and water in, or ?litter?.)
( When I trap her, before taking her to the Vets, I’ll probably put her in the garage, the house will be too warm, besides, I do have 3 inside cats that have only received their first set of shots – another story – so, I don’t want to put them in danger by bringing her inside with them.)

If the kittens are in the nest at the neighbors, will they possibly come to eat on their own, or will they try to stay in that dangerous yard, or worse go looking for her in other dangerous places?

I realize their safety is totally out of my control, but – well, I am concerned. Their safety has been what has prolonged me from trapping her earlier before she came in season again, I waited too long – I figure she’s about 4 weeks pregnant now. (I think the kittens are males and about 10 weeks old?.)

The Animal Samaritans say her being pregnant is no problem – but will her recovery be longer? They provide a free feral TNR program. They will not keep her over night.

I’ve been told to keep her in the trap and I’ll be able to release her the next day after her surgery. I drop her off at 8 a.m., then pick her up at 4 p.m. – the post surgery care gives me great concern, too – wish I had a mentor here for “hands on†help. If I had, I don’t think mommy would have gotten pregnant the first time, I am just groping in the dark as to what to do, and I do not want her to have problems, or her babies to become harmed, this is why I’m dragging my heels on doing the right thing for her and the babies.

So, if you could, please help me with ideas on the questions that I’m most concerned about, I’m going to prepare the trap and attempt to trap her next week. Thanks, ahead of time, for any suggestions, or knowledge that you can share. gh
post #2 of 8
1 of 2 places to place the trap. If the path from your patio to the "junk pile" is around the corner of your house, set the trap out there. If that is too far away from where you normally feed them, put the trap closer to the food.

Put the trap out a few days before you actually want to catch her. Open the trap door but use a plastic strap to hold it open. Drop some food in there for a few days for her to get used to going in and out of it. You also don't want to introduce something brand new the day you want to trap her. Make the trap be a familiar item to her.

Cut back on the food a day or 2 ahead of time, and on the day you trap, try baiting the trap with Kentucky Fried Chicken, original formula, white meat, with skin and bones removed. Put a few dribbles leading up to the trap with the majority in the trap. KFC drives cats wild. Once mom is in the trap, put out full portions of food for the kittens. If you think they would like wet food, put out wet food or the rest of the KFC to tempt them further to return while mom is away.

At 10 weeks old, if the kittens are used to coming to your place to eat, chances are that if there mom is gone, they are going to come over to eat. They know of no other answer to feeding and are old enough to know how to get from the junk pile to your house.

Post op care: if it's warm enough and the patio is covered to protect her from the elements, that could work. I would not leave her in the trap, but move her into a large carrier with a litter box. I've not spayed pregnant cats but suspect that recovery would be a little bit longer. Make sure the vet uses disolvable sutures.

And realize that when you do release her, she is going to run as far and fast as she possibly can. The kittens might follow. She'll make her way back if you are her food source.

Have you ever just sat outside at a distance after you put food out? I used to feed off the stoop on my patio and I would sit on the scoop. I caught most of the kittens when they came up to eat. Hold the arm straight out from your body perfectly still over the food. When kitten shows up, drop the arm and snatch them up. This doesn't work if you haven't spent time with them outside.

Does this help and did I miss anything?
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Momofmany,

It's 11 p.m. my time, and I'm just now picking up your post as I was headed for bed.

I'll read all your good information "better" tomorrow, meanwhile - I have scanned your information, and am beginning to feel a sense of relief because of your help.

I'll sleep on what you've written, and get back to you - big hugs to you!

Gloria
post #4 of 8
We fed our cats for a while before trapping them, and we didn't stop feeding them before setting out the trap. We just put the trap out at their regular feeding time, and one of them walked in. We managed to get 5 this way. During recovery, I transfered them to a dog kennel/crate thing and released from that.

I would imagine a pregnant cat will take longer to recover. I kept each of my non-pregnant girls for 2 nights after spaying. They were managable for about a day, but they became difficult to handle when they were feeling better. I mention this because you might need to reach in her cage/kennel/trap to feed her and scoop her box and kitty might get hissy and/or throw herself against the cage/kennel/trap in an attempt to escape.

BTW, you're super awesome for getting them to a vet!
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
1 of 2 places to place the trap. If the path from your patio to the "junk pile" is around the corner of your house, set the trap out there. If that is too far away from where you normally feed them, put the trap closer to the food.

Put the trap out a few days before you actually want to catch her. Open the trap door but use a plastic strap to hold it open. Drop some food in there for a few days for her to get used to going in and out of it. You also don't want to introduce something brand new the day you want to trap her. Make the trap be a familiar item to her.

Cut back on the food a day or 2 ahead of time, and on the day you trap, try baiting the trap with Kentucky Fried Chicken, original formula, white meat, with skin and bones removed. Put a few dribbles leading up to the trap with the majority in the trap. KFC drives cats wild. Once mom is in the trap, put out full portions of food for the kittens. If you think they would like wet food, put out wet food or the rest of the KFC to tempt them further to return while mom is away.

At 10 weeks old, if the kittens are used to coming to your place to eat, chances are that if there mom is gone, they are going to come over to eat. They know of no other answer to feeding and are old enough to know how to get from the junk pile to your house.

Post op care: if it's warm enough and the patio is covered to protect her from the elements, that could work. I would not leave her in the trap, but move her into a large carrier with a litter box. I've not spayed pregnant cats but suspect that recovery would be a little bit longer. Make sure the vet uses disolvable sutures.

And realize that when you do release her, she is going to run as far and fast as she possibly can. The kittens might follow. She'll make her way back if you are her food source.

Have you ever just sat outside at a distance after you put food out? I used to feed off the stoop on my patio and I would sit on the scoop. I caught most of the kittens when they came up to eat. Hold the arm straight out from your body perfectly still over the food. When kitten shows up, drop the arm and snatch them up. This doesn't work if you haven't spent time with them outside.

Does this help and did I miss anything?
Gloria: Where do I put the trap?
Momofmany: 1 of 2 places to place the trap. If the path from your patio to the "junk pile" is around the corner of your house, set the trap out there. If that is too far away from where you normally feed them, put the trap closer to the food.
Gloria: I think your suggestion will meet my “requirements†☺ That’s exactly a good place to put the trap – convenient for me, and in the path for food.
Also, your help about how to put the trap out ahead of time, AND putting her food in it is a great idea and help!

Gloria: How do I stop providing food when there are hungry kittens that need food?

Momofmany: . Once mom is in the trap, put out full portions of food for the kittens. If you think they would like wet food, put out wet food or the rest of the KFC to tempt them further to return while mom is away.
Gloria: Loved THIS! It makes so much sense!

Gloria: If I am successful in trapping mommy, and for post op care, what do you think about putting her on the patio to recover so her babies will stay around her?

Momofmany: Post op care: if it's warm enough and the patio is covered to protect her from the elements, that could work.
I would not leave her in the trap,

Gloria: The trap is about 36†long, and I feel like she won’t be able to escape from it, and, because of the 2nd door, I’d be able to care for her with out her escaping, and there would be room enough for a small litter pan. Not sure about the weather, even though we’re in the desert, the temps are getting down to around 40 degrees, a little less at night. If I leave her out, I’ll be sure she’s in a more sheltered part of the patio, and covered. I also have to be careful of the daytime temps, can get up to 80 degrees, with the sun, and I don’t want to cook her.

Momofmany: but move her into a large carrier with a litter box.

Gloria: the only large carrier I have is what I’ve been acclimating as a “safe place†for the kittens. If the vet says I should keep her caged for longer than 24 hours, then I’ll attempt to transfer her. I have an idea (from another website) as to how to prepare the carrier for a feral, so, I’ll think about how to do that, too.

Momofmany: I've not spayed pregnant cats but suspect that recovery would be a little bit longer. Make sure the vet uses disolvable sutures.

Gloria: They’ve assured me that they do it all the time – with the new procedures the healing and recovery time is less. – Guess I’ll find out, huh! ☺ Doubt they do the lap procedure, tho’.


Gloria: If the kittens are in the nest at the neighbors, will they possibly come to eat on their own, or will they try to stay in that dangerous yard, or worse go looking for her in other dangerous places?

Momofmany: At 10 weeks old, if the kittens are used to coming to your place to eat, chances are that if there mom is gone, they are going to come over to eat. They know of no other answer to feeding and are old enough to know how to get from the junk pile to your house.
Gloria: Deep breaths here ☺ Ideally, they’ll stay on the patio, in the carrier. Funny thing about their “daddy†– they like him, so if/when he shows up they might try to follow him off – ugh! Again, deep, deep breaths here!

(A note: their daddy, I call Gray, was the first here. I think someone dropped him off, and when I saw him he was on the neighbor’s roof (a two story, tiled roof) trying to catch some pigeons. The next time I saw him, he was limping, and looked really thin – that was in July, 2008. I couldn’t stand it, and began to put food out for him. I was able to get some pictures, and figure he was about 4 months old. He talked to me, and we struck up a “friendshipâ€, finally he let me brush on him, then, pick him up, and even come when I called. If I was familiar with trapping life would be a lot easier now – I could have gotten him neutered. Then, I saw “mommy†gulping down the food I left out for Gray – guess she was pregnant by then, and Gray was probably the daddy – she seemed to really like Gray, and still does. I’ve been feeding canned Trader Joes to them, and Natural Balance dry food – so hopefully the kittens have been able to get better nutrician than the usual feral kitten? … I don’t think Gray belongs to anyone around here, it’s not unusual to see unsprayed, unneutered cats in this community, even if he does, and I have $60, I’ll get him neutered.)

Momofmany: Have you ever just sat outside at a distance after you put food out?

Gloria: That’s how I was able to befriend Gray. But Mommy is another story. I think I’d be more successful with her if her kittens weren’t around. They all run and hid right now.

Momofmany: I used to feed off the stoop on my patio and I would sit on the scoop. I caught most of the kittens when they came up to eat. Hold the arm straight out from your body perfectly still over the food. When kitten shows up, drop the arm and snatch them up. This doesn't work if you haven't spent time with them outside.
Gloria: So, how many scratches did you get during the scooping? ☺
I’m gradually working my way out when they’re in my yard/patio. Especially when Gray is here, and I go out to talk to him and brush him. But, with Mommy and kittens, he doesn’t stay around like he once did. Mommy comes closer to me when I’m holding or petting Gray, and seems to be taking “it†all in – I really think she’d love the lovin’ – but just can’t allow herself – yet.

Momofmany: Does this help and did I miss anything?
Gloria: BIG, HUGE help! I’m so thankful that you took the time to answer my questions, and offer such great suggestions!
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Going Nova View Post
We fed our cats for a while before trapping them, and we didn't stop feeding them before setting out the trap. We just put the trap out at their regular feeding time, and one of them walked in. We managed to get 5 this way. During recovery, I transfered them to a dog kennel/crate thing and released from that.

I would imagine a pregnant cat will take longer to recover. I kept each of my non-pregnant girls for 2 nights after spaying. They were managable for about a day, but they became difficult to handle when they were feeling better. I mention this because you might need to reach in her cage/kennel/trap to feed her and scoop her box and kitty might get hissy and/or throw herself against the cage/kennel/trap in an attempt to escape.

BTW, you're super awesome for getting them to a vet!
I think I'll keep on feeding, but with less food - boy, you sure were fortunate to catch all 5 without all the grief of what I anticipate having.

Vet: I only wish I was experienced before this, then I wouldn't have had to try to get a trap from the SPCA, - getting help has been very difficult - there are too few people, and not enough $$ to go around, so Resources are limited, and those that are helping are probably terribly weary.

I'm learning a lot, and I hope that I can take the help I do get and "pass IT along" so others will have help, too.

Thank you for your helpful suggestions!
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by GloriaJH View Post
the only large carrier I have is what I’ve been acclimating as a “safe place” for the kittens. If the vet says I should keep her caged for longer than 24 hours, then I’ll attempt to transfer her. I have an idea (from another website) as to how to prepare the carrier for a feral, so, I’ll think about how to do that, too.
Ask Animal Sanctuary if you can borrow a recovery cage for a few days. I used to have a spare for these purposes. Give the vet a regular carrier for post surgery that is smaller than the recovery cage and simply put the carrier inside the larger cage with the carrier door open. It also gives her someplace to hide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GloriaJH View Post
Deep breaths here ☺ Ideally, they’ll stay on the patio, in the carrier. Funny thing about their “daddy” – they like him, so if/when he shows up they might try to follow him off – ugh! Again, deep, deep breaths here!
Yup, that's a very normal feeling!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GloriaJH View Post
So, how many scratches did you get during the scooping?
Not a single one. You have to learn how to pick up a kitten by the scruff exactly how their moms do it so you won't hurt them. They go limp if you do it right. I'd hold them up to my face to talk to them and they would spit at me but I just giggled at them and gave them a kiss on the head. I caught nearly every cat in my household this way (and many more).

If you are curious: I lived in a rural area where there were tons of feral cats, and many cats that were dumped "in the country" by the city idiots (not that people in cities are idiots, they only become idiotic when they think that they can dump their pets in the country). The city cats came around more quickly, but many turned feral pretty quick. I got any intact cat that came onto my property fixed, no questions asked. I didn't care if it was a neighbors cat. A lot of them lived in the woods around me and came up to my house to eat.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by GloriaJH View Post
I'm learning a lot, and I hope that I can take the help I do get and "pass IT along" so others will have help, too.
You've come to the right website. There are many people who have been doing TNR for years here. I so appreciate your attitude of "paying it forward".
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