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How old is this stray kitty in this picture? Domestication tips?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 


If the image does not appear above, here is a link: http://s292.photobucket.com/albums/m...35837814_3.jpg

I would like to know how old he is, as I'm not sure if he's too young to be taken from his mother (who lives with him in the basement right now). Or, if we do take him, how long to feed him the replacement milk powder stuff.

Also, any tips on domesticating him would be great! The house has 6 college guys living it in, so we're not sure how it would work out. Many are worried about taking the kitten from the mother cat. Others are worried it will make a mess. And others still are worried it would escape back outside with all the traffic coming in and out of the house. How can I alleviate these worries, and how would you recommend we socialize this cat with all these people that will be around.

If it's not possible in the end for us to take these cats in, should we take them into the shelter? One of them? Both? Would they be happier staying feral in the basement/in a college town that gets Minnesota cold in the winter?

I care so much about cats, it's really worrisome to me! Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!!
post #2 of 15
If you don't spay the mother cat, she'll keep having kittens in your basement. So either take her to the shelter (if you think she's friendly enough to get adopted) or have her spayed and let her live down there. She'll probably be perfectly happy remaining an outside cat. But I would recommend setting up a nice cozy cat house so she can stay warm.

The kitten is also female (males don't come in that color), so if you don't take her to the shelter be sure to have her spayed before she's 4 months old. She appears to be about 2 months old and should be old enough to leave her mother and won't need formula. I don't recommend allowing kittens to grow up wild if it can be helped, so if you can't keep her take her to the shelter so she can find a good home.

I don't know about "domesticating" the kitty. . .she looks quite friendly in the picture. Is she shy? As for her making a mess, is that really a problem in a house full of college boys? If she gets enough attention and exercise she shouldn't cause too much trouble (but kittens are naughty so be prepared for some mischief). About the possibility of her escaping, is it possible to post a sign on the door? Or train your housemates and guests not to leave the door open? Even if she does escape occasionally, she should come back safely, unless you live right by a highway or something.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
I really appreciate the quick response!! I'm very glad to hear she isn't as dependent on her mother as we thought she was. I will try to convince my friends to take her, because yes, she is shy and a little scared, but she appreciated pets - and the mother even watched and did not seem upset.

The problem with trapping the mother, is that we only see her in the rafters and piping of the basement - she must come in from a hole somewhere in the ceiling that we don't have access to. I'm not sure how to catch her so we can spay her. Also, if we spay her, will she be okay living by herself the couple days after the operation? In my experience, cats hang pretty low after the operation...

Is it a problem if we feed the mother - will she become dependent on the food?

Another weird question: How can I convince my friends that taking the kitten from it's mother would be beneficial for the kitten. They seem to really be worried that the mother would miss the cat, or something to that degree.....

Thank you so much! I'm glad I can talk to someone about this - I care so much for them that I annoy others for asking about them so often.

P.S. I see what you mean about the "mess" a cat can make compared to my boys
post #4 of 15
If the mother cat isn't tame enough to be caught, you'll need a Havaheart trap. You can usually rent/borrow one from a shelter/rescue group. There might even be a TNR group in your area who can help. For recovery, she can be kept in the trap (with newspaper under it) for a day or 2, or maybe the vet will agree to keep her for a bit. Most of the time, TNRed feral females are kept for a day before release, and they usually do fine.

Yeah, if you start feeding her, you need to keep feeding her, at least through the winter. Obviously, for her to survive this long she must have some kind of food source, but once she gets used to eating at your house it's just not fair to suddenly cut off the supply.

And, well, I don't know how to convince the guys that it's OK to take the kitten. People are harder to deal with than cats . I'm sure the mama cat and the kitten will miss each other for a few days, but it's nature. . .the mama cat would be chasing her daughter off pretty soon anyway.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by hall1428 View Post
How can I convince my friends that taking the kitten from it's mother would be beneficial for the kitten. They seem to really be worried that the mother would miss the cat, or something to that degree.....
Seconding Willowy I want to fill up a little.

The key here is they are homeless semiferales.
So, the usual recommendation is letting kittens be with mother and siblings 12 weeks, at least 10.
So I understand these guys´ conern.
But there is a big exception: homeless cats. IF there is a foster home, or a adopting home waiting, it is better to take the kittens earlier, when they are easy to socialize.
When they get older it is still entirely possible to socialize them, but harder and needs working on it. Now it should be easy as she and the mom are apparently friendly although shy.
And I think the mom understands this abouth her being taken away, in some way, this is for her childrens best. When the takers are people who are kind to her.
As is here.

Second about the spaying. Spayed home cats are supposed to be reconvalscents about a week. Here we are talking about 1-2, at most three days. Ferales, and succesfull homeless are survivors. They are made of tough wood. This is not automatical, all the weak and the unlucky dies of in the few first months after a dumping..
These living over a year are the fittest of the fit. Whose healing process goes nice and quickly. Otherwise they woulndt be there...

Tx a lot for caring to you and these guys!

Good luck!
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post
The kitten is also female (males don't come in that color)
The picture at the link shows a grey/white kitten. I've had 3 grey/white male cats over the years (and only 1 grey/white female) so I'm guessing that you are thinking of tri-color (calico, torbies) cats when you say they are females.

The kitten looks to be between 2 and 3 months old, and as long as he is 2 pounds, he can be neutered. As others suggested, if you can get a humane live trap, you can catch the mom and get her spayed also.

I hear you about a college town. The real question is whether or not someone can take care of him for his entire life - not just the school year. Winters in Minnesota can be harsh, and I would think that living indoors, even in a basement has to be warmer than living outside.
post #7 of 15
Bicolours, as Momofmany says, come in both flavours. Tricolors DO come in both male and flavours too, but only about 1 in 3000 is male and they usually have Klinefelter's syndrome.

I'd guess the kitten in the image is actually 6-8 weeks old.
post #8 of 15
To me the kitten looked gray with buff on her nose. With is technically calico/tortie. If it is white instead of buff, it could be a boy. . .but it looks buff to me.
post #9 of 15
I am really happy that you and your college roommates want to help these cats. BUT you all will not be living there forever, right??? This kitten does look old enough and sweet enough to find a forever home right away. Now is the time. Take this kitten to a rescue immediately. Do not keep the kitten in the house with all of these guys. Not that I don't think you could all keep a kitten, but you are there temporarily and unless ONE of you commit to keeping this kitten FOREVER and taking it with you when you all leave and move out, then let this kitten find a more stable home, take it to a shelter. and any other kittens that might be down there.

I would trap the mom cat right away and I would get some advice and assistance from the shelter/rescue. They usually will have a trap for you to borrow. Let us know what you plan to do, and we can help you along in this process as best as we can. Thank you SOOOOOOO much for caring
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
I hear you about a college town. The real question is whether or not someone can take care of him for his entire life - not just the school year. Winters in Minnesota can be harsh, and I would think that living indoors, even in a basement has to be warmer than living outside.
Right, if there is any risk shehe will be leave behind / dumped, it is better to let her be there in this basement, with mom, spayed and with hopefully folks in the house giving them food and some protection.

Best is, if any of the guys cant quarantee "in writing" a furever home, is either you try to find a home, or if you have there a decent shelter, (it sounds there is) take her there.
Grown ups are often difficult to get homes, esp if they are semiferal. But cute kittens are a lot easier.

Give her the chance please. Dumped as grown up, after living as inside kitty, she has almost none. Like I wrote earlier: most dumped kitties do dies in the first half year. Some manage, true, but most dies, usually a horrible death.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for everyone's very heartfelt responses!
In regards to making sure someone will keep the cat forever, I do not think it is a problem. I was planning on getting a cat friendly apartment Fall 2012, and then adopting a cat from the shelter, but it seems I've got a stroke of luck here with this darling little kitten. The problem lies with the lease agreement for the current house... They are not allowed. However, the landlord rarely shows up (in fact he likes to avoid it) and if he does, will give a warning in advance. If this kitten were to be discovered, I would probably have my family back home foster it until I can find him a permanent residence. If this happens, he will still be under a year old, so can I assume he will still be easy to get someone to adopt? If after this current lease is up and there have been no lease issues, I will have no problem in ringing him to my apartment next year!

I have read a few articles on how to find the gender of your kitty, and I will try to find out soon, once my midterm is over today! the kitten is kind of hard to get a hold of, as his home is in a tiny hole. We have to get him to go outside to the alleyway in order to pick him up.
post #12 of 15
Even if you bring this kitten inside..... All of the people living there will be overwhelming to say the least for this little kitten. And now you say, cats are not allowed stated in the rules of the house by the landlord. This kitten will need vet care, to be neutered, wormed, shots, special kitten food, etc. Do you have the money to give this kitten proper medical attention, which can be quite expensive. When the kitten is brought inside, he/she will need to be confined to ONE room until such time she is totally trusting and accepting of humans. This can take quite some time. All this little one has known, is a life outdoor's, this is a feral kitty and will need special and patience care for her socialization. I still think it is wonderful you want to take in this kitten , but being a little kitten, her chances of finding a furrever home in a rescue/shelter are high. Also, the mother cat needs to be trapped and spayed too or she will still be having kittens in the basement, feral kittens ....... Good luck with your decision, I just don't think this feral kitten will do well in a house full of college guys, all of the noise, voices, music, parties, etc. etc. and you have to "hide" the kitten from the Landlord ... Please do help get this kitten to a shelter quickly, I think that is best...
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post
If you don't spay the mother cat, she'll keep having kittens in your basement. So either take her to the shelter (if you think she's friendly enough to get adopted) or have her spayed and let her live down there. She'll probably be perfectly happy remaining an outside cat. But I would recommend setting up a nice cozy cat house so she can stay warm.

The kitten is also female (males don't come in that color), so if you don't take her to the shelter be sure to have her spayed before she's 4 months old. She appears to be about 2 months old and should be old enough to leave her mother and won't need formula. I don't recommend allowing kittens to grow up wild if it can be helped, so if you can't keep her take her to the shelter so she can find a good home.

I don't know about "domesticating" the kitty. . .she looks quite friendly in the picture. Is she shy? As for her making a mess, is that really a problem in a house full of college boys? If she gets enough attention and exercise she shouldn't cause too much trouble (but kittens are naughty so be prepared for some mischief). About the possibility of her escaping, is it possible to post a sign on the door? Or train your housemates and guests not to leave the door open? Even if she does escape occasionally, she should come back safely, unless you live right by a highway or something.
this cat could be MALE as mine looks the exact same way and he for sure a boy!!!
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Just an update, but my friend has just notified me that they found another kitten in the basement. I think it probably is for the best to bring these cats to the shelter, but now we have a new set of problems:
I don't want to take the mother away if it means there are other kittens that will be left behind. Some of the guys are starting to become attached too...
post #15 of 15
Oh dear, yes, this could be tricky. You guys are really melting my heart, hearing how you all care so much. There probably are more kittens that are hiding when they hear someone coming . I would start making some calls and see if you can borrow a couple of traps. ONe large for mom and one small for kittens. Have a plan if you do trap mom and get her to the vet for her spay immediately, that day. Then she will need a rest for twenty four hours then you can release her back to be with those kittens, if there are more. Then I would start trying to trap those kittens. If you start feeding, at the same time each day, only once. They will all start to know that schedule and you might be able (after a few days of feeding) to see how many kittens there really are. The kittens will start coming out quickly for the food after you set it down. This is a very typical situation you are dealing with. Worrying about taking the mother away for a day for her spay and returning her to her kittens. It will not be an issue especially since the kittens are not nursing anymore. Get the kittens used to you guys leaving some food down there, again, same time each day. Canned cat food.
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