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Feral Kitten in distress

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
For the last six months we've been caring for three feral kittens that were left at our home by their mother just before she disappeared. We've managed to tame them considerably although a couple of them are still somewhat shy. They respond enthusiastically to their feeding times both morning and evening by engaging in typical behavior of trying to trip me by walking through my legs and feet as I move to their feeding bowls. For the past two days I've notice one of the male kittens begin to wheeze severely after a few moments of excitement when I bring on the chow...eventually it passes but I'm concerned that this might be an indication of heartworm. Does anyone have an idea of what might be happening to him?
post #2 of 3
Being an outdoors feral kitten, it can be just about anything respiratory related: from a URI, to FIV, to FeLV, to fall allergies to ???? If mama disappeared shortly after they were weaned, it could be that she was ill, the stress of her pregnancy was too much for her, and whatever she had was passed to the kittens. You got a full range of possibilities here. The only way you will find out for sure is to bring him to a vet. Are you able to catch him to put in a carrier?

Perhaps at this age it is time to catch them, have them tested and neutered? If you don't neuter at this time, they will only become more and more wild and leave you with more babies to feed. This is how my colony started 10 years ago and I only wish I knew then what I know now.
post #3 of 3
It is safe to have cats neutered from as young as seven weeks old. Many vets won't do it until they're older, but it sounds to me like at the very least a trip to the vet is in order. If I were you, I'd give the vet a buzz and discuss the situation with them. Many vets are understanding of the "feral problem," and will work with you to figure out how best to manage their care needs. Your little guy could have an upper respiratory infection, and he most likely needs medication. It'd also be good to get them tested for diseases, as Amy mentioned, and they're probaby old enough now to have vaccinated, even if your vet doesn't want to spay/neuter them yet.

Are you planning on adopting them out? There are adoption agreement papers, a long brochure on working with ferals, etc. in the Rescue section of www.savesamoa.org (direct link in my signature line).

It sounds like if adopted to someone (or people) who understands that they're feral rescues and need working with - and that person understands the patience required! - combined with the work you've already put in - it seems as if they might be ready to adopt into homes. ?????
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