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Feral kittens at the gun store

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I went to the local gun store today to pick up a few things I had on order. While there, I noticed a brown american short-hair cat outside the door (maybe 10 feet away) and about 6 teeny kittens (2 weeks old or so). Their eyes are open but still blue (Ally's eyes were just starting to turn green at 4-5 weeks).

I know the store owner and employees fairly well (most of them are also local police officers) and asked about the cat and kittens. They told me that the cat has been more or less living outside of the store for a long time now and the kittens were just born recently. I talked some more and found out that the mother cat is very people-friendly (possibly a dumped domestic) and is comfortable with people petting the kittens (she just keeps a close eye on them).

The employees feed the cat daily and the kittens were feeding on her milk while I was there. They're pretty little white and brown kittens.

Anyways, after I was done with what I needed to do at the store, I hung outside for a little while and it turns out that they're right, the mother didn't mind me petting or even picking up her kittens.

I went back inside and asked what the plan was with the kittens. One employee was thinking of taking one home, but other than that - nothing. I asked them if it would be ok for me to eventually try to get them adopted through the humane society. They were fine with it.

I'm thinking, wait a few more weeks so they get their milk, then go take the kittens to the humane society. After they've gotten their shots and been spayed/neutered, I may even take one for myself to be friends with Ally as I have decided to get her a friend and will be moving to Minnesota in about 2 months (that would give them enough time to get used to each other and for the kitten to grow a bit in the safety of my bedroom - which if you've followed my other threads, you'll know why I now keep Ally in my bedroom exclusively).

To sum things up - I think I should wait maybe 3 more weeks before removing them from the mother (so they've got teeth and can either be on formula or eat solid food). I've got a big carrier that I used for Ally when she was injured (she's great now btw) and I'll load that up in my car, go down there and take the kittens with me to the humane society where I'm positive they'll be adopted due to being so young.
post #2 of 25
Thread Starter 
Actually, I'm thinking about this more and more.

I don't know what the employees are feeding the mother cat. It looked like tuna now that I think about it. I know tuna isn't good for cats due to high sodium content. If the mother isn't being fed well, I don't know what the quality of her milk is.

Would it be better to take them tomorrow to the humane society where they could be fed formula?

ETA: Also, could this thread please be moved to the pregnant cat/kitten sub-forum?
post #3 of 25
If nothing else, maybe you could bring the gun people a bag of cat food. The humane society would probably be safer then where they are though.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
I will call the humane society in the morning as soon as they open.

I may go take the kittens tomorrow. I don't want to take the mother cat though if she's being fed as I worry she wouldn't be adopted and I don't want her to be put down. If she's being fed and taken care of by the employees, maybe it's best for her to live there unless I can find somebody to adopt her.

I will talk to the humane society about her too.
post #5 of 25
Try a rescue group - they may take the mother and kittens in, get them all fixed and vaccinated and find homes for the mother and kittens. Given it's pretty early in the breeding season, they may have room.

Here's a couple I found in Ft. Lauderdale:

Allen Babcock Dog and Cat Rescue Inc
http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/babcockrescue.html
9715 W. Broward Blvd., #173
Plantation, FL 33324
954-474-8198
Email: babcock_rescue@yahoo.com

And Abandoned Pet Rescue:
http://www.abandoned-pet-rescue.com/APRHOMEPAGE.htm
954-728-9010

If neither of these places have room to take them, ask if they know any other groups that may be able to foster them.

Good luck, and thanks for helping them - they sound gorgeous!
post #6 of 25
You do plan on also taking the mom right? If she stays there she will just get pregnant once again and have a litter of homeless kittens....
post #7 of 25
From my experience, most shelters around here will not take bottle babies. They may take the mom and babies. So I was told, they do not have staff that can bottle feed kittens and there are health issues taking in such small kittens. It was in the shelter policy.

May have the same situation with a rescue group. Many would rather have the mom and kittens so they don't have to bottle feed around the clock.

That's how it is here. The idea of dropping off a bag of food is great. The momma needs to be on kitten food to get the extra fat and protein that she needs to nurse.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
You do plan on also taking the mom right? If she stays there she will just get pregnant once again and have a litter of homeless kittens....
I am not sure what to do about the mom. I am going to call the humane society in the morning.

If I can bring the mom in, they can feed her properly and she can nurse her kittens with better nutrition.

I DON'T however, want her to get stuck in the humane society, not adopted, and put down after time has passed.

If they don't think she'll get adopted, I will look into either finding a friend that can take her, or doing TNR with her. I know she'll get fed at the gun store, so perhaps TNR (releasing her back there) would be best.

I'll defer to the humane society for advice on what to do with her.

What would be really great is some advice on how to best do this rescue tomorrow. I don't want mom to attack me if she gets nervous. I'm thinking about bringing two crates. One to first lure the mom into. The second to put all the kittens in. The second is very large, so after I have the kittens in it, I may be able to get the mom in there too for the ride over to the humane society.

I've decided that I'm going to do this tomorrow instead of wait. I will talk to the employees and make sure they're ok with it and will give them any information pertinent to adopting the kittens from the humane society after they've gotten their shots and have been neutered/spayed (they're too young right now to do it).

Sarahp - I'll call those entities tomorrow too before I take action.
post #9 of 25
You are doing the right thing by talking to the Humane Society before trying to get the mom and kittens. I have been present at the shelter here when orphaned kittens were brought in and they turned them away. Always great to have a plan.

Hopefully catching them all will go without a hitch. Having some smelly food on hand to lure momma might help. It is true that if you can get a kitten first, you may be able to coax the mom with the kitten. Be aware that if mom senses something is a danger, she will move the kittens. I had a mom cat move the kittens in two different groups to two different places. Then she went in yet another direction to get us away from her kittens. They are some kind of smart. We spent two nights getting a mom and 4 kittens. She hid two inside of a neon bank sign and moved the other two under the floor of a rotting shed. Amazing what they will do for their babies.

Good luck to you. You are doing a wonderful thing for them.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawGuy View Post

What would be really great is some advice on how to best do this rescue tomorrow. I don't want mom to attack me if she gets nervous. I'm thinking about bringing two crates. One to first lure the mom into. The second to put all the kittens in. The second is very large, so after I have the kittens in it, I may be able to get the mom in there too for the ride over to the humane society.
Getting the mom first is a good idea. She might get scared or try and protect the kittens if you put them in a crate first.
post #11 of 25
I don't know what steps you've already taken, but I agree with Sarah - contact other rescues in the area first to see if you can find a foster home that will take the mom AND the babies.

When we had a female feral so pregnant she couldn't be spayed this fall, we went on an e-mail campaign through Petfinder. We sent out 23 e-mails to any rescue in within a 3 hour drive. We received several replies, and found a great foster network that was close by that took the mom and her kittens. They got the kittens adopted out in pairs (there were 4), and mom friendlied up so quickly, they adopted her out too.

http://www.petfinder.com Just scroll through ALL the cat adoption pages that turn up in your zip code - the organization with them up for adoption is on the right. They all have links to contact info of some kind. E-mail them, call them - but try to find a place that will take the family, and at the very least spay mom and release her back to the store (as it is now "home"), though it sounds like she'd be pretty adoptable.

The mom and kittens are safe for now - so while trying to find the right foster home for them - a rescue that will take the family, maybe just bring a big bag of kitten food to the store. That's what mom and kittens should be eating while she's raising them.

Laurie
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
I can't believe it. The humane society says that they don't take strays.

They say that the only way they take strays is if I bring them in while animal control is closed, from 8-10 AM or on Sunday.

Unfortunately, this store has a gated area around it, and the mother and kittens are living within the gated area. The gate and store is closed until 10 AM weekdays and is closed entirely on Sunday.

I'd either have to go get them and wait until the morning to bring them in (not sure how that would work since I don't have a room I could confine them to for the night and don't think just leaving them all in the crate for 16 hours+ would be good for them).

I have to find an alternate plan. I'm calling the other rescue groups.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Abandoned Pet Rescue says they can't take them unless I donate $2,000 along with bringing them.

Allen Babcock Pet Rescue isn't picking up.
post #14 of 25
I am not surprised. The Humane Society has a lot of great information available on its site, but in practice, most Humane Society shelters are overcrowded and "forced" to euthanize a lot of cats. I know around here they immediately euthanize ferals ("unadoptable" cats).

you can find a rescue group to help! Sadly, it is kitten season, so you've got your work cut out for you.

You can also search http://www.pets911.com and see what else turns up.

You can also e-mail animalhelp@bestfriends.org and explain the situation, let them know where you are, and see if they've got any fosters available in their network anywhere within driving distance, however you define that.

vibes you find someone to take them in!

Laurie
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawGuy View Post
Abandoned Pet Rescue says they can't take them unless I donate $2,000 along with bringing them.

Allen Babcock Pet Rescue isn't picking up.
Yeah, most rescue groups are overworked and understaffed. Of the 23 emails we sent out, we actually got 5 responses.

Gary and I ended up getting involved in rescue work and practicing TNR and managing a feral colony and generally doing a lot of trapping in our area because when the very first cat (then kittens) turned up here, we couldn't get a hold of a single shelter. So we drove to them. None of them had room or could help. We had to do it ourselves. That's the story of so many people here on TCS!!!!!!!!!!!!! But it just goes to show what a sad situation it is out there for so many cats.

Hope you have some better luck!

Laurie
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
This is terrible. I called a few more numbers I could find and nobody is picking up.

I called animal control just to see if they knew of any other options. They said they have a list of foster homes, but I'd have to trap the mother cat and kittens and then have animal control pick them up.

I don't want to do that. How do I know they won't just put them all down? They said that they give the mother 3-4 days to see if she can be handled by people, and if she doesn't pass the test, they have to put her down.

3-4 days? That's it? Then what happens to the kittens?

I feel like I'm up against a brick wall here.
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Good news when I didn't expect it.

I called the gun store to see if in the meantime until I could find a foster home - if it would be ok for me to drop off some proper food for the mother.

Turns out, the gunsmith is a cat person and took all of the kittens and the mother home with him today.

How great is that?
post #18 of 25
Get food to the store. Mom is OK there for now, and the kittens are young. Keep calling rescues, and try the e-mail campaign from all the listings that seem appropriate at Petfinder. We live in a VERY rural area and I found 23 - in Ft. Lauderdale there must be more than that!

E-mail Best Friends at that address. They're pretty good about getting back quickly.

One suggestion - do write down the name of the org you e-mailed along with the e-mail of the contact person. Most of the e-mails are personal, not through the org, so when you do get a response, having kept that written list makes it a LOT easier to know which organization actually responded to you.

You can also try contacting Alley Cat Allies to find the "Feral Friends" in your area. Here is that request page: http://www.alleycat.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=355

Laurie
post #19 of 25
That is WONDERFUL news!!!!!!!!!!!

Well - now you're better prepared for the "next" one!

Laurie
post #20 of 25
Oh, LG! That'a great news!!!!

Keep in touch with the guy and get a kitten when it's old enough.
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'll ask if he's planning to adopt them out, but I got the impression he was planning to just flat out keep all of them.

Not a problem. I am getting Ally tested tomorrow for FIV and Feline Leukemia. If she's negative, this weekend she will get a friend from the humane society. Since I'm about to put a deposit down on an apt. in Minneapolis, it won't be long until the three of us (Ally, kitty #2, and me) move.
post #22 of 25
Wow, that's great news!!! What a nice guy for taking them in, and good on you for going out of your way to try and help these kitties
post #23 of 25
What a nice man! You should refer him to this site so we can see the kitties!
post #24 of 25
Do you any friends or relatives that would be willing to foster the kittens and mother?
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Do you any friends or relatives that would be willing to foster the kittens and mother?
I don't really know. I tried that originally when I took in Ally. I was planning on getting her adopted but I just couldn't part with her. She was too sweet and I hated the idea of her feeling abandoned twice. Only one person was thinking of taking her.

Fortunately, it wasn't necessary as the gunsmith took them all to take care of.

Quote:
What a nice man! You should refer him to this site so we can see the kitties!
I could do that, or just ask him for a digital copy of some photos whenever he takes them. He's one of the few people there I really don't know all that well b/c I never use his services (I do all my own gunsmithing as a hobby). I've only met him a few times, but he seems like a nice down to earth kind of guy.
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