I'd just resigned myself to leaving the youngster be (mentioned in my other thread in this forum) after she proved to be much too feral for indoor living. Attempting to begin socialization outside went absolutely nowhere fast. She's even more skittish than the fully matured adults in her small colony. All friendliness and confidence evaporates when they aren't around. A disappointing blow, but I hope I can do right by her with TNR. Also, a quick note for anyone who might have been wondering about her health, she isn't ill as far as I can tell, she apparently has a congenital deformity that caused all features on one side of her head- ear, eye, muzzle- to become underdeveloped. Poor little sweetie is deformed, but she's still lovely, happy and, to all appearances, healthy. I'm glad the colony accepted her as one of their own.
But the reason for this post is that one of the feral ladies surprised me with a small litter of kittens yesterday! I don't know where she was hiding them, but now she's set up home base on and beneath my back porch, and her tiny troop (of four) is rowdy, ridiculously adorable, and eating the kibble I put out for the adults. They seem so small, but if they're on solid food they must be at the proper age for adoption, yes? The alpha male of the colony is now spending more time hanging out here. (Babysitting?) I know those kittens are his, the fluffy rascal.
I am so freaked out about this, so worried that they're going to wander out of the yard, I've barely slept a wink. I need to get them inside ASAP before I have a nervous break-down. Mama cat brings me kittens, well, they're my brood, too, now.
I'm getting traps from someone who works with a local rescue org. tomorrow. I thought maybe I could get a large drop trap and snatch the entire group, or virtually all of them, at one time, but this person believes the best method is to set traps for 1-2 kittens, bring the trapped ones in and reset, continuing the process until they're all inside. Is this what's typically recommended? I want to go about this the best, least stressful (for kittens *and* me) way possible. If one or two are caught at a time, the others aren't going to leave the yard in terror, are they? Mama cat isn't going to take the leftover kittens and run? They'll seriously come back out before long and enter the newly reset traps for food?
Any tried-and-true kitten trapping advice would be greatly appreciated. I've read so many different things online. Feed them in "dead traps" for a couple of days before setting the traps, take food away the night before, use a water bottle and rope to capture only the cats you want (bottle props up door, string is attached to bottle and yanked loose when cat enters the trap). I suppose I couldn't do the bottle trick if I'm setting multiple traps (unless I suddenly sprout extra arms).
Really and truly, what is the best (for the kittens) way to do this? I don't care how labor-intensive it is for me, I just don't want to traumatize them any more than necessary.