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Pics of Raku

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Pics are here: http://www.geocities.com/bmphan/Raku.htm

Well, the good news is that Raku continues to show up for feedings. The bad news is she's pregnant! I didn't notice her belly the first few feedings because she was always crouching low to the ground, but last night I saw her walking sideways and noticed the belly. It was especially noticeable when she crawled under a nearby gate; she barely fit. I called my vet to see how late an abortion can be done, and he said a month into the pregnancy is as late as he'll do it. He also said that other vets might do it later, but from my description of her belly, he said it's too late to do it and recommended I let her have the babies.

So, I guess the game plan now is to feed and water her so she can be healthy and let her take care of the babies. I was feeding her Innova lite (what my cat eats), but from what I've read it's a good idea to give her kitten food, since it's so rich and nutritious. I just bought a bag of Authority kitten food, so I'll see how she likes that (I'm going to feed her after I write this). Then, I'll trap the babies at the appropriate time; I thought I saw that it's best to take them at 12 weeks, but I'll go back and look it up to be sure. Also, I have to find out when it's best to spay momma, because I know she can go into heat soon after giving birth. There's some kind of window of opportunity there; too soon and the kits will be defenseless, too late and the whole thing starts over again. Man, I've seen info on this type of thing but I never paid attention at the time. Of course, any advice from you guys is much appreciated!

Oh, and I did contact the rescue groups mentioned before; they all seem to be way north or way south of me (I'm in Milpitas, which is just north of San Jose). I did call them, but they were all closed today. I believe they only take care of cats if the cats are in that city (I'll call all the places tomorrow to be sure of what the policy is). On most of the answering machines they say that they are filled to capacity and one place, the NIKE animal rescue, has shut down their medical facility. The most promising place is Fix Our Ferals, which actually does the whole neuter/vaccination/clean-up thing for free, but it's in the East Bay. Still, like I said, I'll call them and see if they can do anything for me.
post #2 of 41
Glen, Raku looks pregnant to me in that pic! She also looks like a pretty kitty. It is good to feed her kitten food. I really admire your interest in caring for her & the other cats.

There's two ways to go with a pregnant female. Any friends who would be willing to foster her? The kittens will be more easily adoptable if raised around humans - they'd (obviously) be better socialized.

But here are the choices (as I see them).

1) Either trap her now so she can have her kittens in "captivity," or

2) Help her where she is.

Feral females - especially if they're strays - are often "friendlier" when pregnant - especially when close to having the kittens. At least it seems that way from what I've read here, but it could be that these cats have been strays and not truly feral. Just FYI - I have little experience with pregnant feral females.

If trapped while pregnant, Raku would need a separate room, and who knows what she'd do to it. But then you know she and the kittens are out of danger. She can raise the kittens until they are adopted, then she can be spayed. Having kittens around is a LOT of work. But even if confined to a room, it's still better than being confined to a 3' by 3' cage. Something to think about.

If you are going to help her where she is, it is best if you can put food out consistently. Do not attempt to find her nest or the kittens once she's given birth - she'll most likely move them if you go looking for them. When they're old enough (in her eyes), she'll bring them to the food. This would be at 3 - 4 weeks.

What to do from here depends upon you, information you get from the organizations you contact, etc. There are several different "camps" of thinking on this subject.

When a feral gave birth to kittens that turned up in our yard, we left them outside with mom until they were 12 weeks. We adopted two, worked with the others outside to socialize them, then adopted them out after several months. We had mom spayed when the kittens were 12 weeks. She did disappear never to be seen again when we released her. She was truly a feral and not a stray.

But we had a LOT of contact with the kittens - numerous times a day because we work from home a lot. Yours is a different situation.

If the plan is to trap the kittens, have them spayed/neutered and vaccinated and then release them, it is definitely best to wait until they're 12 weeks before working on trapping the lot of them. Early spay/neuter (as young as 7 weeks) has been proven to be safe for the cats (here's a link: Early Spay/Neuter in the cat - A Winn Feline Foundation Report.)

If the plan is to adopt out the kittens, then some would argue it's best if they're trapped at 7 - 8 weeks of age so they can be "more easily" socialized. But if I remember correctly, you're not in a position to do this. If they are going to be adopted out directly, their new "parents" would have to be equipped to deal with not only kittens, but kittens that will need some special care and attention because they won't already "know" how to live in a home. If they're not going to be fostered, then it is probably best to leave them with mom until they're 12 weeks old. This is about the time when they would normally begin to function on their own, and they've learned what they need to from mom about being cats and surviving on their own.

When we brought Lazlo in (the first one), we put him in a large crate with a very small box of dirt (we cut up a cereal box and lined it, etc). The little guy sat down on the box of dirt - that's what he was used to. We took him out for love and pets (which he accepted because he was so scared), but kept putting him back in there until he went to the bathroom. Well - that little guy held out for about 24 hours. When he finally had to go, he did use the dirt. We praised him to high heaven, then scooped out his "business" and then put THAT into an actual litter box. After feeding him lots of kitten milk and a few hours, we put him down next to the litter box. He jumped right in and used it, and we've never had a problem since. This worked for all "our" feral kittens. (Although feral cats tend to be far more fastidious about using the litter box, I believe it is because they're trained by mom to bury their business well, and apart from a litter box, there just isn't anywhere in most homes that works as well to bury something like that... (my theory, anyway, LOL!)).

Like I said before - if they're not going to be fostered, it's probably best to leave them with mom until they're 12 weeks. There are risks with this, of course. Here are some of the issues:

Male cats sometimes attempt to kill kittens in an effort to get the female to go into heat again.

After a certain age (5 - 6 weeks), mom will probably take the kittens on excursions. Our family left for several days at a time. It was on one of these excursions that Lazlo got left behind. After two days of crying, we brought him inside. Of course - the family showed back up like the next day or the day after - but by then it was too late. Laz was part of the family. (So we decided to bring in a brother so he'd have a pal.....)

But you may have some anxious days, wondering if they're alright...

They could be injured or run over by a car... I don't know where they are or what the conditions are... but just wanted you to be aware of the issues.

Like I said - there are different lines of thinking about what's best for the kittens. Of course, it is best with them to stay with mum until they're 12 weeks, but that's in an ideal world. If mum is inside to have the kittens, OR if the kittens are going to be release back outside, I'd say DEFINITELY they should stay with mum until they're 12 weeks.

It's if they're going to be adopted from the wild into homes where the thinking on when it's best to take them gets fuzzy and debated. For us, it worked to keep them with mom until 12 weeks. But we were in a very different situation. We knew exactly where they were, we saw them multiple times a day and interacted with them - their nest was a groundhog hole up back in the woods and mom didn't move them when we started feeding them right next to the entrance to their home (but there was a back door ).

BTW - if you are going to work on adopting out the kittens, speaking from experience I hope you'll interview the potential new parents and use an adoption agreement. I have one you can use, just e-mail me and I'll e-mail it to you. Sometimes the kittens are better off in the wild and on their own than subjected to certain people or things.
post #3 of 41
If you can pet her, and get close to her, you can trap her and bring her inside, BUT if she is totally still in terror of you and you trap her and she wigs out in captivity than you risk the health of her litter. For truly feral moms, I leave them be outside, and feed them well and often, and see to their needs. Once they give birth, I do not try and find the kittens, instead I work on building up the trust between her and I and she brings the kittens to me, that is when I trap the whole family and bring them inside.

Thanks for caring for her- she needs your concern and help.
post #4 of 41
Glen, just FYI: MA (hissy) has LOTS of experience with ferals and pregnant ferals.
post #5 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for the info. Laurie, you've laid out several options and gave me a lot of info, and I'm very grateful for that. I've asked the one friend I know who has the house space and time (he and his girlfriend are currently out of work) to foster if he can take the cat, and he's going to get back to me. I'm not depending on them, though, so it looks like I'm going to TNR the kits at 12 weeks. It's frustrating; I know that these kittens could be socialized and make great pets, but I have to sit back and watch them become feral. Hopefully they will (in the future) see Raku come to me for food and at least know that humans can be friendly.

Hissy, so far I haven't been able to pet her, but then again it's only been 4 days. I've been looking all over the internet for the best time to trap and spay Raku, but all I found is that a cat can get pregnant while still nursing. I'm just wondering if it's best to leave her with the babies for a week, a month, or however long before I can TNR her (she should be gone two days at the most). The sooner the better, certainly.
post #6 of 41
I'm not sure what MA will say, and I'd take her advice over mine. But I'm pretty sure it's best to leave her with the kittens until you know they're close to 12 weeks old. If she's like our feral mama, she might take off after having been spayed and leave the kittens to fend for themselves.

I believe a female will only become pregnant while nursing if the kittens have been killed, but I do not know. Good question for the breeder's forum or the health forum though!
post #7 of 41
Thread Starter 
That's good to hear that she won't get pregnant if the kittens are okay. From doing a little research, I've found that once the kittens are eating solid food (5-6 weeks) it's okay to trap and spay momma and of course return her as soon as possible; but from what you've said Laurie it's possible that she will abandon them? I'll look into that as well.
post #8 of 41
You have received advice from the experts, so I will comment only on Raku's coloring. I love her odd dark and light points. Are her back legs and tail black and the rest of her cream? She is quite the looker!
post #9 of 41
Thread Starter 
Yup, she's mostly cream (or white, it's hard to tell at night) with the random black markings. I'll tell her you said she's pretty!

I finally talked to the Fix Our Ferals group (talked to Debbie, if anyone happens to work with them), and they were very helpful and gave me a wealth of info on local vets who know how to work with ferals and what options I had. Mostly they told me what y'all have already told me. So, from that conversation, I learned that it's probably okay to take the mom from the kittens at about 3-4 weeks, and return her after she's spayed. One thing they said that I didn't consider is the kittens can be fostered for about 3 weeks (I was thinking it would be much longer and didn't know anyone who was up for that kind of commitment); when they reach 2 pounds they can be brought to the Humane Society for adoption. Okay, I know I've had some bad luck with them, but here's a potential plan: trap the mom and kittens early on, and ask my friends (who have their own mobile home and are both home all day) to let the cats stay in a small room. It would only be for 3 weeks, not a huge commitment, and they would get plenty of human interaction. This would really increase their chances of adoption because they would be social. Because of their extremely young age, they should be easy to adopt out. However, I'm going to be cautious and ask plenty of questions before I give them the kittens; I'm not going to get trapped into losing control over what happens to them again. If it doesn't work out then, like I said, I'll have to just release them (after getting them neutered).
post #10 of 41
Have you had any luck with rescue groups in your area?
post #11 of 41
Thread Starter 
The strange thing is, there really are no rescue groups in my area. When I talked to the Fix Our Ferals person, she looked up all the groups she knew and they were all pretty far from me.

However, there's still some good news. I was riding my bike past another business area right by my house, and saw a little black kitten. When I got kind of close it ran off, and then another older calico cat ran off too (she was hidden behind something). This was a couple of days ago. Yesterday I went back after work and walked around that area a bit, not expecting to see anything, but there was this man and his wife standing there. For some reason I knew that they were feeding a group of cats, even though from where I was at I couldn't see anything. When I got closer, sure enough, there were three cats eating from a bowl. They scattered when they saw me, and the man asked if he could help me. It turns out he's the owner of the building, and the cats were all feral. I asked him if he knew about TNR, and he didn't, but after I explained it to him he was all for it. He even said he'd pay for the trap rentals and neutering. This is the perfect situation; I can help out, spread some knowledge about the benefits of TNR, and not have to take money out of the guitar fund (one day, it WILL be mine). The only problem is how to trap multiple cats that basically hang out together and eat at the same time; if they see one cat get trapped, it will be hard to trap the rest. I'll post that question as a new topic to get some advice.

On top of that, a new black kitten turned up on my property. When it rains it pours, huh? Just a week ago I was happy to take care of my one cat and two neighborhood ferals. Now I'm feeling like I'm taking on too much, but that's good. I'm learning early on not to stretch myself too thin, or I can't help anyone. Anyway, the kitten is a mystery to me; all of a sudden he was on my lawn yesterday morning. I initially mistook him for one of the ferals, who never show up in the morning, and I just assumed they finally started to come for breakfast. When I got home from work, he was asleep on the lawn, more or less in the same spot I'd left him in. However, as I got close, I noticed that he was TINY. I'm guessing two months, maybe less? He's at that stage where he has a big head, huge ears, but a small body. When my cat jumped the fence to greet me, the kitten started yelling it's head off (still had that kittenish squeal) and actually approached my cat. At first I thought he was going to fight her, but it almost seemed like he thought she was his mom and was calling out to her. He did this a couple of times, screaming at her and walking towards her. I didn't want them to interact so I took my cat back to the yard. Anyway, I have the kitten food I'm feeding Raku so I gave some to him, and he ate it up. He was still hanging out this morning, and I left some food for him.
post #12 of 41
The same more or less happened to me. Female cat shows up prego, I take care of her, keep two kittens then found homes for two, got her fixed. A male cat shows up, got him fix. But what I did, I trapped them sep and kept them in the cage for over a day (feed and watered) and the other cat would come to the cage to see the cat. Then the next week traped the other cat. The cat seeing the other cat trapped did not keep the other one the next week from going into the trap.
When these cats first showed up in my yard, they would not let me touch them and would only eat after I walked away, this was in Jan, then being patient come April I was able to pet them. I used traps to catch them.
SO I also did the TNR and they have stayed in yard
post #13 of 41
Glen - it is just so typical. You start helping a cat - then another one appears. And then there are more.... it's like you're walking around with a giant neon sign that only cats can see that says "I'M CRAZY FOR CATS" or something!

My hubby HATED cats. I loved them - I love animals, period. But I was allergic to cats, so getting one as a pet was just never a consideration. We live in an RV, and of course, RV Parks and feral cats go hand in hand....

Well - the cats in the garbage were a real problem here. Hubby (and everyone around here) was sick of it, but the RV Park wouldn't let anyone use garbage cans with lids!!! One night, this straggly looking thing walked towards us - not close - meowing. Gary leaned down to pick up a rock, and I asked him what the heck he thought he was doing? I said - let's feed it! It'll keep mice away! (Not that we'd had a problem with mice, but it was a good argument).

So I ran in to get some cheese. We tossed cheese for about a month. She finally got comfortable with us. I started buying cat food, and he didn't say anything. He decided if she was going to hang around she needed to be cleaned up.... by the time we decided to take her to the vet to get her spayed, she was clean and pest free. And Gary was proud. It was already late fall/winter by now, and we were letting her in the house when it rained. Then when it snowed. Then almost every night.... and I'd seen the doc to get allergy medication.

By Spring/Summer, she was pretty much a pet that lived most of the time outdoors. (It actually turned out she'd been spayed, and was a pure bred Maine Coon cat!). Then in June the litter of kittens turned up... (different mom of course). We started feeding them - and mom. THEN I got online to find out what to do. And found TCS. And of course, it's a long story - but four of the five original kittens now live inside with us full-time. Another litter of kittens turned up late summer/early fall - and we got them all adopted out too (including the fifth from the first litter). But feeding the kittens outside meant cat-food outside. And Trasher appeared. And Shadow. And Moocher. And Attila. And Mommycat. Etc. etc. etc.

But by then Gary was smitten. We had two inside, had built homes outside for the others. We were putting out food for who-know-how-many cats. Gary had back surgery, and was home and recovering. He spent the summer and fall trapping cats. We trapped over 20, and if you include all the kittens, we actually had 28 cats spayed or neutered. There was one male we stalked for months... and finally caught him. Attila. There was one grey female we never caught. We saw her - pregnant (from whom, we don't know) in late Winter. But we never saw her or her kittens again after that. We're afraid she didn't survive - and apparently her kittens didn't either.

We built a feeder for the ferals up in the woods behind our home... and it's just about time that we start trapping again to get all of their vaccinations.


Personally, I don't like the idea of removing the kittens from mom and 3 weeks. They're generally not done weaning yet even though they can start to eat other food - though that's a bit young yet for that.

Gary and I just helped rescue a kitten from Queens (NY). She was about 2 weeks old when found. We had a friend foster her for three weeks - and she'd been eating wet food - but had to be cleaned off each time she ate or went to the bathroom, and it's about every three hours for both. When there's no mom cat to do these things, it is a LOT of work. When she came here (because they were NOT washing her as often as they should have been, and she was caked with food on her muzzle and front feet, so we said - we never thought we could have more than two in here, we've got four - why not foster her ourselves? Obviously no one is going to care for her properly, so we've got to do it!!!!!), she was 4 or 5 weeks old. There was still two weeks of a lot of work. Feeding her every three hours. Introducing her to dry food. And it did take those two weeks for her to be able to eat and go to the bathroom without getting dirty enough to need some kind of cleaning... and it took another week more (so when she was about 6 weeks) for her to be able to be co-ordinated enough and accomplished enough to clean herself up.

So unless the humane society has a lot of staff and are prepared to deal with kittens' needs every three hours... I'd have grave reservations. Believe me - when they're encrusted with food, they don't look so adoptable.

MaeMae lived in our bathroom at first. (Our RV is 37' long and 8' wide with no slideouts). We figured living in our bathroom was almost palatial compared to a 3' x 3' cage.
post #14 of 41
The cat sort of looks Siamese from the night pictures. Is she? If that's the case, I'll be she could be a stray. I know little to NOTHING about Ferals, but I wouldn't think you would find too many Siamese cats that are Ferals, would you?
post #15 of 41
Thread Starter 
I believe her mother is Siamese. There was another cat (Siamese looking) that was hanging out with her, and she also looked pregnant. Also, I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but Raku is really small, and I think she's only 6 months old. The Siamese cat was much larger. Also, they both have the same distinctive markings; cream coloring with a black spot on their back (exact same location). The biggest difference is the Siamese cat has an all black face (seal point?). Raku looks a bit diluted. By the way, I did see a purebreed Siamese cat in my neighborhood at one point, and so did this guy I'm helping out (TNRing his cats). But in general, you're right, I haven't seen a lot of purebreed ferals running around. If I had to break it down, I'd say 75% of the ferals I see are black cats, 15% are grey tabbies, and then there's the rest. I don't see many tuxedo cats, calicos, orange cats, or white cats (though I've seen at least one of each).

Just as an update, I finally got my neutering vouchers in the mail, so I'm in business. I guess money's tighter than ever in Milpitas, because the price for a neuter went from $5 to $30! I think most places will neuter males for $30 without a voucher, but it will really help with the females (usually $80). It shouldn't be too much of an issue now that I know about Fix Our Ferals, which does it all free. I just have to wait for their next clinic (September). During the course of this week I have plenty of trapping to do!
post #16 of 41
Good luck Glen! Let us know how it goes!
post #17 of 41
Glen - I imagine you're busy. But I've been wondering how things are going....

post #18 of 41
Thread Starter 
Great news! My friend and his girlfriend are willing to take Raku in. Just when it seemed like all my resources (low cost neuter, no-kill shelters, humane society, even purebreed rescue groups) dried up my friend came through. I just didn't want to impose initially, but as it turns out they're excited to do it. I even found out that her parents took in a pregnant cat last year, and that she worked for a vet a while back.

Well, I'm going to trap her tomorrow night and bring her to their house. They have a big closet that she can stay in. I'm still thinking about how this is going to work out; I want to make sure Raku can't escape. I was thinking of building a big cage for her to stay in, with most of it covered, so she won't feel so scared, but I also don't want her to feel too confined. In any event, I have to bring her to the vet first to see how far along she is. Since my bro has a digital camera, I'll get some pics of her and of course the kittens when they come.

By the way, my friend is the youth pastor of our church, and he invites the kids over to his place often. A couple of the kids are already excited about playing with the kittens, so when they are old enough it will be a great chance to expose them to many people and get them nice and socialized. Of course, we'll only let the responsible kids play with them. I'm SO relieved that they are willing to help out Raku; I was starting to feel overwhelmed (yeah, I know those people who are taking care of 30+ feral cats are snickering at me)
post #19 of 41
Hey glen, I was just reading this thread. I think its great everything youre doing for Raku and the other cats. Glad to hear your friends are willing to take her.

I have a lot of strays around my neighborhood. It's pretty hard because you want to help them but you dont want to get too involved sometimes and stressed out.. take on too much.

Have you been able to pet Raku? Sorry if you said that and I didnt catch it.
post #20 of 41
Hi Glen,

I finally got back to this thread and I am also wondering, did you catch Pregnant Raku yet? I hope so, because removing her from her kittens when they are only 3-4 weeks old to get her spayed, is not the best idea. So I hope you have trapped her before she was able to give birth.
post #21 of 41
Thread Starter 
Sicy, I haven't been able to pet her, but she will eat the food even if I'm just a foot away. My other ferals that I take care of won't let me get within 10 feet. My best guess is that someone owned her mom, let the mom have kittens, and then for whatever reason dumped them all in this business area. It would make sense that the mom (who looks like a purebred) must have been owned, because you're just not going to see too many purebred ferals. Also, there are at least two others that look exactly like Raku, so that's why I'm guessing that the whole family was dumped. Most likely Raku recieved some early socialization, but spent most of her life on the streets. This is my best guess from what I've seen.

Hissy, I'm trapping her tonight, and bringing her to my friend's house. I REALLY hope she doesn't give birth between now and tonight! By the way, now that I know my friends are excited about this rescue, it shouldn't be a big deal to leave Raku with the kittens for the full 12 weeks.
post #22 of 41
Good luck Glentheman20 catching Raku , hope and pray she will go into the trap .
post #23 of 41
Positive Feral Catching vibes coming to ya from Colorado!
post #24 of 41
Thread Starter 
Woohoo! The cat's in the bag! Well, she's in the friend's bathroom, anyway. Thanks for the positive vibes and prayers, I'm now a believer in board magic.

I got to the feeding site at about 8:30, armed with a live trap and stinky sardines-in-oil. As soon as I pulled up she came running out, as usual, but when I set the trap up she seemed a little cautious. Last week I had her eating out of the trap (with it wired open) and she was totally comfortable with it. But, being a cat, she somehow knew that something was different. After I had the trap ready I walked away, but instead of going in she followed me. It was like she was saying, "Okay, nice trap, now where's my REAL food?" So, I went back and put in some kibble, hoping that the sound of the kibble hitting the plate would make her more comfortable since she was used to that. Strangely enough, the last two cats I've trapped I got by just putting kibble in. The underlying guideline of trapping cats is consistency, consistency, consistency. She went around to the back of the trap, sniffed, looked at me, and then finally went in. She was eating the food, but the trap didn't go off at first. I couldn't believe it. I was thinking of rushing the trap to try to get her to quickly try to escape and set off the trap, but I didn't want to scare her. However, just a couple of seconds later she shifted around and it closed shut. I got my old car shade so I could cover the trap. She was doing the normal thing, bouncing off the walls. She calmed down pretty quickly, though. On the way to the house, I put on some classical music. Don't know if it calmed her down any, but I heard it can help so what the heck.

When I got to my friend's house, they were all ready for her. The youth pastor guy came out, and the first thing he noticed was how cute Raku is. Oh yeah, since I got a good look at her, I realized she is one good looking kitty! His girlfriend came out and also cooed over how pretty she is, and Raku actually reminds her of an old cat she had (she loves Siamese). They cleared out the cubbard in their bathroom, which is actually pretty spacious. I put the litter box by the toilet, as far as possible from the food and water. They put a towel in the cubbard for bedding. The whole time she was looking around, not hissing at all (probably too scared). We all noticed that she seemed unusally calm. After everything was ready, I closed the door and opened the cage. She came out right away, walked by the litter box, went behind the toilet, and ended up hiding behind the hamper. It was not ideal, because that was right next to the door, which I would have to hold open wide to get the trap out of there. But, she was content to stay where she was, and I got out and closed the door. My friends are excited about it, and looking forward to the kittens. I'm so relieved that so far everything has worked out. When I get a chance I'll get some pics. Thanks so much for everyone's support and advice.
post #25 of 41

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!

I'm so glad it went so well!!!! And I am a total believer that cats sense when things are up.... but you're right, consistency is the key.

She was probably just scared - but so many cats so often seem to know you're trying to help them. This seems to be especially true of pregnant females.

We'd love updates, as you know, and again, congrats! I can't believe her new or temporary "mum" was a vet assistant. You really can't ask for a better situation.


BTW - have you been working on trapping the other cats yet? Or were you waiting to take care of Raku before embarking on that project?
post #26 of 41
yea yea yea
post #27 of 41
Way to go Glen!
post #28 of 41
Thread Starter 
Laurie, unfortunately the other project fell through. Because the cost of a neuter in Milpitas has gone up from $5 to $30, the owner of that building is no longer willing to do it. I pointed out some other resources for them, like Fix our Ferals, but at this point I'm not sure what they want to do. Basically, all the low cost programs in the California Bay Area have dried up (at least for this month, I'm not entirely sure how the funding works). I called all of the vets listed as low cost and they all said that they aren't doing it for now. However, the co-owner (the wife) said if they were only going to neuter the one female in the colony, then they might go for it. I'm kind of washing my hands of that situation for now. It sucks because they are still feeding all of the cats, but I've done my part in explaining the TNR process and giving him some options. They gave me their number, so I can keep up with what's going on.

For now, though, I'm going to shift my focus to Raku and the two black ferals I haven't been able to get yet.
post #29 of 41
Hey Glen , maybe you should go with spaying the female . At least she would not have any babies any more . Then you can see how you can manage the others . Just an idea to think about .
post #30 of 41
Just caught this thread - also have worked with ferals for the last 10 years.

Please have your friend be very careful with Raku during and after her delivery. I have seen a non-feral mom attack and bite a stranger that tried to approach her kittens the day of her delivery. Raku will be stressed in her new environment, and her behavior could be unpredictable. Labor can be very painful for a cat and you don't know if Raku has ever experienced this before. A first time mom doesn't fully understand what they are going thru with labor and birth and are often stressed out.

I have seen feral moms abandon their young as early as 10 weeks. They can go into heat when the kittens are as young as 8 weeks. As long as they are inside your friend's house, pregnancy and early separation shouldn't be an issue, but if for some reason you need to put her back outdoors early, suggest you get her neutered ASAP. Kittens can be fully weaned at about 6 weeks, and they only nurse longer for comfort and nutrician. The earlier you start feeding them kitten food, the earlier you can start to get them away from their mom.

I personally don't wait 12 weeks to take them away from mom. I do it as soon as they are weaned for a few reasons: 1) I give them good kitten food at regular intervals (ferals don't always catch enough food to properly feed their weaning kittens), 2) they don't pick up as many feral habits from their moms, 3) I can work on human socialization in earnest, which gives me a higher chance of adopting them to good homes, 4) the queen that delivers at my house always abandons her kittens shortly after weaning (which is why I haven't been able to TNR her), not waiting the proper 12 weeks.

You have done great thus far - I have not been able to bring in feral moms at my house. I have gotten them into my back porch quarantine area and watched them go ballistic. For their health, I let them back outside, then work on the socialization as soon as mom brings them to us (usually in 4-5 weeks).

Good luck - this is really great of you to do all of this!
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