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post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Everyone speaking about kittens and needing to rescue brings back memories of before my roommate decided to buy Isis. He was very intent on getting a Mau but was reminded of all the kittens that needed to be saved which set us on our search.

Being that it was March the humane socities and such were empty of kittens, and that was the one thing that he really wanted was a kitten. But we did find one place that had two cute very cute kittens. One was a siamese that was soooo cute that I just wanted to pick it up and whisk it away right then and there. When I asked the ladies at the desk they told me it was a feral cat and that it was not to be adopted.

So what to they do with the babies?
post #2 of 16
I hate to break this to you, but those shelters which believe that ferals cannot be socialized, euthanize them because they believe the kittens are unadoptable. This is so sad, especially when it is a kitten, because most kittens can be socialized pretty easily.
post #3 of 16
Right, they take them in and put them to sleep because in their eyes ferals are risks to adopt out! There is a shelter in another town from me that on the door they state quite clearly WE DO NOT ACCEPT FERAL CATS AND/OR KITTENS!! Makes me crazy, because ferals can be the most wonderful cats to own.
post #4 of 16
Oh my god, this makes me sick. Harry was found up a tree as a teeny tiny kitten, so I guess he would have been considered feral and put to death? To think, many of our babies would have been killed if born in the wrong geographical areas.

I recently rescued a litter of feral kittens and they were lovely -- healthy, happy, affectionate and cute as can be! When they are old enough to get fixed and adopted out, they are going to make wonderful companions.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
...but they were so cute...I mean...

if we could have feral or not we would have taken that little siamese kitten home. And to be honest that was an eye opener for me. All my life when I had thought of ferals I imagined these larger then the average house cat, tougher then nails cats who usually resembled nothing like the little siamese that I saw in the cage at that place.
post #6 of 16
Ferals come in all sizes, shapes and colors, because somewhere down the line they were domestic house cats who ran away or were dumped. They are tougher than most because they have learned to survive. BUT they are weary of people and are distrustful - that's how they survive.

This is Ophelia getting loves from her Daddy (she's a big time Daddy's girl). She was a feral kitten we found when she was probably around 6 weeks old. As you can see, she's not at all antisocial, at least not with him.

It is very sad that many shelters have this attitude toward ferals, especially feral kittens. It just takes time, patience (a lot of that!) and a lot of love, and especially the kittens can almost always make wonderful housecats. However, the other side of the coin is that shelters are generally overcrowded as is, and they just don't have the time or manpower it takes to socialize ferals. That's why there are many rescue organizations who do.
post #7 of 16

Russell would have been considered to have been a feral by that shelter. He lashed out at anyone that he felt was a threat and rarely retracted his claws and hid whenever someone unfamiliar approached.

And now that he's 18 months old, he likes people, though he will sit back and watch them before approaching. But if they have tuna, you can bet your life savings that he will be sitting by their feet meowing away for a share. He doesn't ever scratch anyone. If he feels the need to scratch he uses his scratching post, and no longer favours the leather couch.

And on cold nights, he will sleep on the bed so that everyone can stay warm together.

Some people, including vets do not believe his history when I tell them. Sometimes I wonder why they ask at all.
post #8 of 16
Bottlefed from one week old all one litter
post #9 of 16
Could I adopt the brown one?
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Wow! Sooo pretty!

I wish I could have taken the babies from there. They told me when I went and saw them that I couldn't touch them or get close to them because they would have taken my hand off. It was kinda hard to believe with a face like that kitten had.

M.A., you bottle fed all those cats??? When did you sleep? (Or did you? heh)
post #11 of 16
Mike and I took turns. He did days (while i slept) and I did nights while he slept. It wasn't the feedings that was time consuming, it was watching out for them while they were growing, keeping them warm, stimulating them so they didn't block up and keeping them healthy without the added bonus of mom's antibodies. The feedings, and those little paws wrapped around the bottle were the easiest part! They grew up to be beautiful and sleek and friendly cats. Sadly, some have passed on, but we still have two of the litter left.
post #12 of 16
Oh that just makes me sick! That means they would have put my Max down. He was found in the rafters of a garage. He is the most adorable and loveable cat I could ever wish for. My eyes tear up when I think of all those potential companions being put down. I don't know what I would do without my Max.
post #13 of 16
Just the thought of someone putting a healthy animal down because it isn't "socialized" makes me sick.
I have two feral cats that I brought inside around a year ago. Isis is exteremly untrusting of anyone but myself or my s/o. She will run if the doorbell rings or if there is someone she doesn't know in the house. Luna is getting better. She doesn't run if my MIL comes in(most of the time anyway) and she will sit at the top of the stairs of the basement to watch new people but she will run if they try and pet her. She is very loving and sweet to us though. I never thought they'd become the way they are. I thought they'd be civil but never really social, you know? but they've turned out to be the sweetest cats I could have ever wanted! Heck they sleep in bed with us most nights, our Tabby Twig and our Abby Rocket won't even do that!
post #14 of 16
How sick!! Fluffy was born outside and i'm pretty sure his mama is a feral. Fluffy is the most loving,sweetest and well behaved cat i know. Why would they put them down...why?
post #15 of 16
I catch me a 6 weeks old female over 2 years ago . She is the sweetest thing I know . Feral Kittens are so easy , all you need is TLC and they will warm up to you . The shelter need to be ashamed doing that . At least our Kill Shelter here try to get them adaptet out .
post #16 of 16
I think you should all try to find out if the shelters in your area put down ferals automatically and if they do, spend a little time educating them about ferals.

In the old days, when I first started bringing home young cats off the street and accustoming them to eating at my house, there were a lot of dramatic incidents -- still are sometimes -- where trapping the cats was the only way to get them to the vet for shots and neutering. But I quickly learned four things --

that older cats who have always been ferel generally cannot be touched, but will gradually use your house as a stopover in bad weather or when they are hungry (this means you can keep them current with their vaccinations and also trap them and take them to the vet when they are sick or wounded.

that older cats who, after a few weeks, come to eat when called and gradually work their way into the house have probably been house cats at some time or other but because of abandonment or mishap they lost their human families.

that kittens that do not know a human touch before 6 to 8 weeks are in what I call a "soft-feral" state -- which means that, if they hang around long enough getting good food an conversation (progressing to light touches on the head while they eat, and slowly to petting them , and progressing slowly), they will eventually move in with the household...and it is well-worth the effort, since some of my sweetest and most home-loving cats came from soft-ferals.

And finally, that kittens rescued when they are younger than 6-8 weeks old accept humans and any cats or dogs within the household very quickly -- some within minutes, but most within a few days.

I do not look for very young cats, but children (and some adults) bring them to me. Generally they are born in the wild and something has happened to their mothers. The children know I will take the babies in and bottle feed them, and every year there are one to 10 or 11 such kittens delivered to my gate. Last spring there were one litter of home-nurtured kittens that the owner was desperate to get off his hands (they were leaving Israel for a job abroad) -- 6 weeks old -- and 3 feral kittens that he had been throwing food out for near his place of business -- around 8 to 9 weeks old). The home-grown kititens took about 2 or 3 days to stop hissing at me, and the ferals stopped at about 2 weeks (but I could touch them and pick them up anyway almost from the first day -- a few minor scratches, but we are all used to that...).

These kittens are all happily part of the family of 21 cats and 6 permanent house dogs. Last week (it is the second of 3 kitten seasons in Israel per year), I was brought 2 little ones who were near death -- six or seven weeks old, but with the physical maturity of 2 week-olds (we could tell by the well-developed teeth and very strong claws). In two days they were happily being adopted by several of the dogs who rather love little kittens, and were smart enough to identify me as the food-giver to come when I call them.

The vet hospital where I take them were initially astonished at the progress made by cats, whose initial visits had to be examination through the mesh of a crush-cage or under anesthesia, and whose second or third visits we made with no gloves and no scratches. Now they take it for granted, and some of the vets and staff have begun to take in ferals with good success.

Education and demonstration are the key to changing people to recognize that a savage cat is usually -- like a savage dog -- a demonstration of terror. They have to learn to trust.

If you want to do a good deed, you will try to form groups of cat owners who have or are willing to adopt ferals. You might then be able to persuade shelters to take a more modern view of things. I changed my vets from hating to deal with ferals to learning how to handle them successfully in ways other than violence or anesthesia. After two visits when I first started, they began to ask me politely if the cat could be touched and then taking my word for it. But mark -- I NEVER let them handle my cats unless it is one that is totally socialized to visitors in my home. I ALWAYS hold my cats myself for whatever procedure is called for. If anyone is going to be scratched it is me. And that doesn't happen to often (I'm getting more clever at HOW to hold them so they can't leap up or twist or get their hind claws in contact with soft human anatomy).

Anyway, spend a little time re-educating the shelter people, and next time demand to be allowed to adopt ferals. Once spayed or neutered, they can, if they like, roam freely but come to you for food and comfort -- not bothering anyone and being healthy enough to be loose.

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