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Urgent Question Trapped Mom - Baby Ran! What to do?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello, this morning we trapped a feral mom who has a 5 week old kitten. We have her spay appointment tomorrow morning and she is resting comfortably in a cage. We thought it would be easy to pick up the kitten but it bolted, probably into the woods behind our house. We trapped mom around 7 am tghis morning. How long can the kitten survive without the mom nursing? I haven't seen it eat any regular food yet. I have the mom out on our patio with a blanket over most of the cage hoping that the kitten will come back. Do you think it will come back? Should we release the mom at a certain time if it doesn't return? Not sure we can ever trap her again! HELP -- so stressed out!
post #2 of 11
If you can get the mom into another carrier, set the trap up again and trap the kitten.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
the mom is already in another cage and the trap is set. We're concerned that the kitten won't know to come back. It's already been 5 hours. How long can it be separated from mom? We're trying to trap it too to surrender to the APL for fostering tomorrow. Thanks for any and all advice.
post #4 of 11
I can understand your anxiety about the kitten, but I don't think you should release the mom cat. You're right to worry about trying to trap her again - it would likely be very difficult.

You didn't mention how long the mom and kitten have been coming to you to be fed. Chances are the kitten is familiar with the location and will return looking for both food and mom. Now that mom cat is in a carrier, try to lure the kitten back by putting the mom out near the trap. Mom will most likely meow, and the kitten, who is probably close by, will hear her. This may bring the kitten out from her hiding place.

I recommend using a kitten trap, since a 5 week-old kitten may be too light to trip the adult cat trap. Use some KMR if the kitten isn't eating any solid food yet; you can also mix the KMR into regular cat food to make it smoother and easier to eat.

Remember to always monitor the trap when it's set. During those times when you won't be around to check it, leave food by the trap for the kitten but don't set the trap. Secure the trap door (with rope or a bungee cord) so it stays open and place the food just inside the trap. You want the kitten to associate food with the trap.

The kitten can survive for awhile without mom, as long as she has a safe place to hide out (which mom cat has no doubt shown her). Of course, eating is very important and I believe the kitten will come back to the food source (you). Eventually, hunger wins out over fear.

BTW, thank you for caring about this mom and her kitten.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your helpful response! The kitten still hasn't come back - traps are set and mom is in her cage in view. Still wondering how long the kitten will be OK on its own. If we take mom in tomorrow for her spaying appointment, we won't release her till late Tuesday. Will the kitten be OK on its own until then??? We're really worried that we caused more of a problem! Thanks!
post #6 of 11
I'm new at the "catching cats" thing, usually I just adopt the ones who wander up to the house and want to come in, but there are so many coming to the back door now (we live out in the country) we're putting in motion a plan to catch, fix and adopt out who we can and TNR any others who are too feral to do anything else with. I recently did the opposite of your situation - I caught five kittens who seemed to be about 4 to 5 weeks old and it took me another 2 days to catch Mom - they were not too happy to be separated but they were okay - they had just started eating the food I was putting out, so as long as you keep food out for the kitten I would think it would be alright for at least a couple of days. Remember that Mom has been teaching the kitten survival techniques, so it's probably just focused on hiding and waiting for Mom to come back at this point. It will eat when it gets hungry enough. It's nerve racking I know! I was so worried I would leave a kitten behind or Mom would disappear. Sending good vibes for both your Momma and her kitten!
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone and thanks for all the good advice! The baby kitten finally came back around 12 hours after it ran away. I never trapped a mom & kitten before and thought it would just stay close and wouldn't be such a problem. Very stressful day. Then after we finally got it and put it in the cage with mom, it ran right through the cage so we were out chasing it in the back yard! Anyway, I just wanted to post an update with a happy ending! Right now mom is at the APL for spaying and the baby is being put in the fostering program.
post #8 of 11
Way to go debster!!!

Wonderful update! So glad the little one came back and will be safe and well-cared for, and mom will be spayed. Truly a great outcome!
Hope to hear soon that the baby got her forever home and that mom is doing fine.

Congratulations on a job well done!
post #9 of 11
You did a great job with mama and baby!

Bless you for caring enough to take action and help them.
post #10 of 11
So glad to hear that it turned out this way, it could have been dreadful otherwise. The best way to deal with queens and kittens still nursing is NOT to trap until the kittens are weaned.Instead, you set up a regular feeding station in a secure location and start feeding mom several times a day at the same time(s) providing her with everything she needs; cat chow, kitten chow, KMR and canned food, fresh water. Once she has weaned her kittens off her milk, she will come to the station and that is when you can either get the kittens to bond to you (you can PM me for a tried and true process) or then you trap.

Good luck with the new family- are you keeping both?
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
for all the encouraging words and good wishes. I just love this site! The baby kitten will be fostered and socialized by the APL's network of caregivers here in Cleveland. This was such a learning experience. I didn't even realize that they did all this. We couldn't socialize ourselves because we are leaving for vacation next week. We are keeping the mom as an outdoor feral along with her 5 brothers/sisters who we feed every day.
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