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Plagued By Failures

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Last night, at about 5:00pm after setting my trap over 6 times and catching 5 racoons and the trap going off, I was about to call it a night.

Manx, the manx kitten who wanders outside and I have made a slow relationship with was giving me some releaf.

Soft, after the rain. I had not fed them in two days so they would get trapped, but poor Manx would not go in. She and the other kitten I am trying to trap (and yes, they are kittens) won't go in trap except a little bit for the food I put around it. They have seen Racoons and another cat get trapped in it.

I had a can of tuna with me and opened it, about to put it in the trap. Sweet Manx ran to me crying out in her mewing, the same mewing she gives me when she spots me. Only instead of her giving a few yards, she wanted that food bad. I set it down and she slowly ate, and I stroked her head, the first time she let me touch her.

What was my response?

Grab her up and take her in.

With my two fingers, I should have used my full hand, I picked her up by the back of her neck. With my other ungloved hand I expected to grab her tummy and bring her in. But without thinking I executed this plan and looking at my hand and the hissing kitten I was holding.

She got out of my hand and ran off.

I almost cried. Manx finally trusted me, and I think I hurt her poor little neck.

Manx still awaited me tonight, hungrey, mewling, but keeping her distance.

Using Kippered Herring in the trap now, and Manx loves the taste, but won't enter trap.

Since I just moved the trap from the dumpster area to the woods, I have caught myself a male kitty. A big orange boy in my colony I named Sampson. I'll have a picture of him when I get my film developed. I had kept catching racoons since than.

I'll post some pictures of Manx to, and her cute little stub. She hops like a bunny and has a bunny tail, but is 100% kitty.

I am just real bummed out from hurting poor Manx.

Trapper Charlie
post #2 of 36
I have learned that you don't think, you just grab. The best way I have found to capture feral kittens is to lay on the ground on my belly near their bowl. No threat. When they come up, they start eating, I do a hissy grab, quick swoop to scruff their neck, scramble to me feet carefully and put the kitten in a nearby carrier. Works every time, kills my arm, but doesn't harm the kitten and it does work.

She will come to you again, her hunger will drive her in. Also try catnip, sprinkle it inside the trap. I have even been known to put kitty litter inside the trap (yes it falls through) but it makes them not feel the steel under their pads.
post #3 of 36
Trapper Charles..what a wonderful thing you are doing trying to trap these kittens to take care of them. I think every caretaker has spoken about the frustration of the one that "got away" for a bit. However, I'm sure you will be able to trap Manx at some point. Hissy gave you some great ideas.

Good Luck and God Bless you for what you do.

post #4 of 36
For our kittens, other than the "grab" method, I've used one of the 36-inch cat crates. They're quite large...I think this is the one:

Large Crate

Basically, I run a string through the back of the crate to the top corner of the front door. I put the food in the very back of the crate. When I'm positive the cat or kittens are all the way in the crate, I pull the string and hold tight until I can close the latch.

Seven of our kittens were trapped that way.

Now, none of the kittens were "thrilled" with going in the crate, but even the most skittish ones eventually did. I think the size of the crate is more conducive to overcoming trust issues, since it's not as confined a space as the traps. Just make sure you don't pull at the wrong moment and catch one in the door, and make sure you hold the string until you can latch the door.

Most of our crates are now used for recovery duty; once the kittens were in the crate, we never had to transfer to anything.

The disadvantage is that you obviously have to be there for the capture. The crates are big, so you need room in your vehicle or garage for them. Also, with the crates, MAKE SURE the crate you're using doesn't have a bottom that can slide out. The cheaper non-folding crates (the ones you have to put together) are much more likely to fall apart or have a bottom that slides out. We had a cat escape from an improperly assembled, cheap crate and it wasn't fun. Now I only use the folding crates and I use no-slip plastic wire ties to make sure the bottom stays in place.
post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Night Two-

Much of the advice I have got thus far is nice. Some of the methods tried.

The large cage was a fine idea. I did something similar with a cat carrier for the one kitten I caught before winter.

Since than I have tried this method with no luck. I even tried to use an upside down shopping cart. Both string method. They go in a bit, but not enough.

I have taken a lot of Hissy's advice. I need to get a digital camera with a flash to show what I am doing.

I took the trap and set it at the edge of the woods. I have caught WAY to many Racoons. I filled the bottom of the trap with a small layer of newspaper than a quarter of an inch of kitty litter, careful to not let it get under the trigger for the trap.

I also put a could of branches over the trap.

Since the beginning I have put it on concrete in my parking lot. I moved it just lastnight with little sucess, but more than I have had in a while. Got one handsome boy named Sampson who returned from the vet today.

Manx came close lastnight, but was wary of my hands.

I baited it with herring tonight. It worked lastnight better than smelly cat food and tuna. Only makes sense cats would love the most digusting food on earth.

Till than snapping pictures with my camera to develope and scan. I want pictures of my pretties to billboard up.

Also spotted a cat that has been shy of coming out. He wears a collar and licence. Obviously a boy who has been mounting my unspayed ferals! He catter walls, so I assume me may not be spayed. Poor boy though depends on one of his back legs more than another and is pretty thin, even for a long cat like he is. Trying to trap him to so I can return him to his owner (provided they promise to neuter him if he is not!).

I hope this kitty did not escape from somebodies window who misses him, or worse, somebody in the local apartments, because Fairview has a million of them, abandoned him outside.

I hope tonight goes well. Wish my luck and keep my in your prayers.
post #6 of 36
I do wish you luck, I know how frustrating it is. If you have to stay close and man the traps, wear some vanilla extract on you to mask your human scent, or spray feliway on your clothes. I know, expensive spray, but it masks your human scent.

Good luck!
post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
I CAUGHT MANX! Will forward pictures in a bit.

She was mostly worried about the caged bottom. Cover it with kitty litter and they love it. The herring may have helped!

post #8 of 36

I'll be looking for the photos

post #9 of 36
WOW , my congrats to you
post #10 of 36

post #11 of 36
Yep that kitty litter works wonders, if they aren't hungry, they go in to pee. Just don't use clumping litter, that doesn't fall through the trap as easily-

Congrats on getting Manx!
post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 
Tonight Manx was caught. Although harsh at first, she in the small bathroom warming up slwoly. She likes being touched, combed, and has eaten a bit.

She likes touch, not quite purring, but snuggling into the touch. The trick is in the ears.

No ear mites, gave her some advantage on the back of the next after a good fur combing.

She sheds alot.

But now, for the scary news.

Feeling her belly is was quite big. Really tight to.

I felt along the bottom of her tummy. Not smooth, but bumps.

I could be wrong, because I have only delt with mostly farm animals with this, but she may very well be pregnant. There are male cats all around the Metroparks. It is safe to assume she is. I will see what the Vet says.

Till than, I need to worry about keeping her safe and locked away in the room. Get her a nice box and some old fabric for a nest.

Got a kitty litter box in there.

I assume because she is eating she is carrying a full load. I have cared for her for a while, feeding her for some weeks now. Her coat is not bad, but rough.

I can only fear what many of these things will mean for Manx. I have not delt with kittens in a long, long time.

Also her being a Manx with a stub tail I believe they are a bit genetically flawed.

I hope she is not pregnant, but if she is, I guess that is a gift in some respects to.

Because the tips of her ears being a bit raw, she is in fine shape.

Food did well for her and the summer flus, diseases, fleas, ticks, and other kitty horrors have not got her yet.

But maybe, frightfully, she may have been sir'ed upon long ago.

Will keep you posted.
post #13 of 36
I am glad "Manx" is doing ok so far and no big health issue with her . Gosh I hope she is not pregnant , poor thing . Are going to let her have the kittens or will you spayed her anyway ? Yes please ,keep us up dated
post #14 of 36
Charles, if, when you take Manx to the vet, she is pregnant, there are several things you can do. Start feeding her kitten food. This will help her get some condition and get the right nutrients a pregnant and (later) nursing cat needs. Also, you can offer her kitten glop. It's tasty, easy to lap and is high in nutrients and vitamins.

Kitten Glop

8 ounces water
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
8 ounces whole evaporated milk (not skim)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (not low fat)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (not low fat)
1 large or 2 small eggs yolks (raw)
1 teaspoon clear Karo syrup
*1-3 drops liquid pet vitamins
*1 capsule acidophilus
*1 drop Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)

*Optional, though very beneficial.

Boil the water, add the gelatin and mix well. Add the following ingredients in order, mixing well after each addition:

1/2 of the canned milk
Mayonnaise and Yogurt
Rest of the milk
All other ingredients

You can substitute canned goat's milk for the canned evaporated milk, if you prefer it. This mixture will keep in the fridge for up to four days. It is jello-like in consistency in the fridge so you can just scoop out as much as you need and warm. You can find pet vitamins at a pet store or your vet, and acidophilus and GSE in the liquid form at a good health food store.

Good luck with her, she sounds sweet.
post #15 of 36
Thread Starter 
Sorry to not update for a day. Caught the second kitten I was after. Bless Hissy's advice in kitty litter in the trap. Although after the trap needs cleaned for obvious reasons relating tot he purpose of kitty litter.

The second kitten is an orange boy my wife named Bosco. Small, about three months old. He and Manx used to hang out a lot and I took a lot of pictures of them together with my 35mm camera. Dropped it off for developing today.

I always thought Bosco was a girl because other tom cats mounted him. Poor thing is really a guy!

Seperated the two in two bathrooms. Bosco did the traditional try to destroy a way out and climb. Got my shower curtain to, even though I tucked it away real nice around the hanger.

Got him down and wrapped in a towel I combed him. He'll lay on my lap if I put him there and will stay so long as I comb and speak softly. No purrs yet, just silence and wide scared eyes. If I can get response out of him within a week after his vet appointment I may try to feral train him.

Manx on the other hand is doing well.

She is going to be a Mommy.

Took your Advice on the kitten food. This glop will be a fun mix to, buying supplies today.

Made her a nice box which she is already laying in.

Wife was a bit angry this morning to walk in and step on a present Manx left on the bathroom rug. Cleaned it up real nice and set Manx in the litter box to let her know it was there. Put just a couple of her droppings in it to to give her the hint.

A moment ago I went in and she used the litter box, so I am a happy man right now.

Usually I would spay the feral even if it was pregnant, but Manx is being sweeter everyday. She cries when I am near the bathroom door in the kitchen and wants pets and to be combed. She'll rub up against me and lay on my lap when I put her there. Still does not understand when I tap something I want her to come close. But she is learning slowly to overcome her fear.

She spends some time on the window sill looking at. Going to try a dangly toy today. Kittens have a week and a half to two weeks left. Plenty of time to get ready.

I discover my food is pretty hard and she struggles with it. May need to put out for some soft food like Iams. Canned food and left over chicken and beef from Wendy's was what I fed her as a feral. Her coat shows though that although it made her more healthy, she still needs good eating. Rouch coat.

Cut the barbs out of her thick but still short coat. She loves being combed and now rolls on her back to expose her tummy purring.

Since she is being so nice, I think she would not abandon kittens she would have here like some ferals sometimes do in captivity. I only fear since she is a Manx (and the vets says looks like a true Manx, and since it relates well was dropped off in the Metroparks as a kitten probably) she may breed cross breed kittens that are not quite healthy. I think in some ways unless Manx breed with one another they become flawed and may have health problems.

I really want to see kittens and than I don't. But I am sure they will find good homes, even if they end up with little stub tails like her. She is like a bunny.

Trapper Charlie
post #16 of 36
Both Manx and the boy sound really nice to me . I think it is great that you can pet and comb them both . It sounds to me that both must have bin dumped at some point maybe ??? I understand you will not spay at this point and would be really hard to do . I sure would not be able to do that myself , specialy since she is so far into pregnantsy as you said . I hope the kittens are going to be very healthy kittens for you and mom .
Great job Trapper Charles
post #17 of 36
Charlie, thank you for the update. It sounds like everything is going along well for Manx. It's great that she's bonding with you already, because it means she may trust you to touch an examine her kittens. Great job in catching Bosco too. Maybe a visit with Manx will calm him a little?
post #18 of 36
I always thought Bosco was a girl because other tom cats mounted him. Poor thing is really a guy!
OMG...I cracked up soo much after reading that...but isn't it true....during kitten season intact males will go after anything.

I just want to say what a pleasure it is to have you on this site. Your advice and your story updates have been wonderful. I just know that Manx and Bosco are in good hands.

post #19 of 36
I'm a little late in welcoming you to TCS Trapper Charles, but you know... work and all...

I just wanted to add my congrats! There's no better advice that Hissy's on anything cat, and Kumbulu is our complete expert at pregnant mom & kitten care.

Just an alternative idea even though you're having great success with the kitty litter on the bottom of the trap... hubby and I use those large "wee-wee" pads they sell at pet stores for dogs. Less mess.
post #20 of 36
Are there any manx boys in the colony? That's where the problems can occur with breeding manx's. Breeders don't breed two tail-less cats together because of the increased risks of spinal birth defects. If she was bred with a full tailed cat, more than likely those particular birth defects won't be an issue.
post #21 of 36
You have been so helpful to me in the past, and now I'm so happy I have the opportunity to congratulate you on a job well done! You've earned the title of Sir Trapper Charles in my book. Well anyway, best of luck to you with your pregnant cat as well as Sampson. Just don't call the female Deliah, because we know how that story ends.

Susan aka Jesse's Mom
post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by valanhb
Are there any manx boys in the colony? That's where the problems can occur with breeding manx's. Breeders don't breed two tail-less cats together because of the increased risks of spinal birth defects. If she was bred with a full tailed cat, more than likely those particular birth defects won't be an issue.
Manx is the only manx in the colony. I may know who the daddy is. One that looks a lot like Bosco, but walks about the colony friendly wise.

I apologize for no pictures yet. I dropped off some film and neeed to scan. My digital camera is a cheap toy with no flash. ;(

And I appreciate the welcomes.

Now... On to how the kitties are today.

Manx is reallyed and laid back. Tried moving her into the bedroom with me since her check up, a bigger room. She paniced and went under bed. Should have wrapped her a bit in a towel like a baby and petted her ont he bed for a while.

Went out for about twenty minutrs to let her relax and returned to a large urine spot on bed. Poor Manxy.

She was put back into the restroom, but when picking her up her back legs scratched me semi bad. Rubbing alcohol and peroxide went right on with a bandaid. Up till now with experience from my three pretties last winter I have been more careful with my kitties. They hiss and growel, use a glove or a towel If you pick them up, use a towel so the kitty won't accidently hurt you trying to escape.

Manx cries when I come in and bathe, use the restroom, and visit her. When I stroke her or comb her (and combing is the best way to start domestication I have found) and she'll purr, roll and expose her pretty belly. Ferals all have the same smell, so I opened the window but was sure to put a grill in front of it. Even though I am three floors up, I know a desperate kitty with claws would hack a screen and escape.

Bosco is another story. Him and Manx spent some time together today. He cuddled with her a bit, sat with her, and growled as I petted her sitting beside the both. She loved it and purred.

Odd relationship. The same age, but I doubt siblings. But why so close?

Bosco when cornered will claw and hiss. I pick him up with a towel and let his pretty orange head stick out which I stroke and speak softly. I don't keep eye contact, that is threatening to him. I do look at him, back and forth once and a while. I stroke, than pull towel open. He is a good boy, won't run from you when given the oppertunity(sp?) to hop off you lap and run. He'll accept pets and combing. He'll look up, than look down. Out and close his eyes. Than up at me.

I move slow, and try to give him the pleasure of being touched.

Although he has taken some bats at me when cornered, he has not got me, and has been a good boy when calmed down.

When I got him in a towel today he urinated in fear. This used to happen with the old ferals. Poor thing was that scared. Mind you they won't stop spraying, weither on floor or you! Even themselves.

Going to bathe them tommarrow, or talk my wife into it who bathed the last ones, even the ferocious tabby we had than who I feared. ;(
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 

It was a bad mornign with bad news.

I got up this morning to use the restroom and entered the bathroom. Besides the litter box being used which made me happy, I didn't see Manx or Bosco. As I peered into the tub I witnessed a horror...

The grill I put over the window was laying there in the tub.

I opened the window the full way and there was a hole in my screen. My ferals took a dive from 3 stories down to the grass. I hope they are alright...

I cried a bit this morning and got a lot of cuddles from my wife and kitties. My babies ran away... It hurts a lot.

I doubt Manx will be trusty enough to come to me if I spot her tonight, even though she became cuddley.

I don't think Bosco will trust me ever again.

I'll try trapping again tomarrow this evening. I can't help to cry a bit writting this.
post #24 of 36
OMG..I am soooo sorry for you Charles!! I do hope you can trap them again....sending "come back Boscoe and Manx" vibes.

post #25 of 36
OMG! You poor thing! I feel so awful for you and your wife, all you've put into these creatures. And those poor, poor kitties! They should be OK, but that's a long way down. Of course you can't help but cry - it's devastating. They're smart and wiley creatures, and when a feral wants out, it's amazing what they can do to get out. Many screen types are not strong enough to resist a feral, though how they got that grate down....

My deepest sympathies, and of course I'll include Bosco and Manx in my prayers. And I'm sending out HUGE "Come Back to Charles - You Need Him Whether You Know It or Not!" vibes!!!!!

Perhaps put out food for a few days without a trap? Other than be completely beside myself, I'm not sure what I'd do.
post #26 of 36
Ohhhh noooooo , I am so sorry to read this . I had a cat befor escape like that , so I don't let any windows open any more . But I only have a one floor house . Oh gosh I hope they are both ok and my heart is going out to you to you and your wife .

I will also say a prayer for both cats
post #27 of 36
Thread Starter 
Tonight I will try to strap Manx again. She appears at 7:30pm sharp for her and Bosco's feeding.

Thought a lot today, and I need to help them. It is a set back, a large one, but I adore them both.

The lastnight before I went to bed I stroked them, stroked Bosco... And for the first time he purred.

That hurts the most.
post #28 of 36
Charles, I am so sorry to hear the news. Hopefully, you will be able to trap Manx and Bosco again. If you're really lucky, she may come up to you for a pat and you can quickly scoop her up and put her in a carrier.

If you trap Manx, you'll need to take her to a vet, even if she doesn't seem injured herself. The three story jump may mean that one or more of her kittens may have been injured or died. You'll need to watch her closely for any brewing infection in her uterus. Good luck with the trapping.
post #29 of 36
Trapper Charles-

One of the reasons they may have taken off is because you pushed contact right away. If they were true ferals you would have been bitten, scratched and clawed in the process, towel or not. Chances are they are strays who have reverted to their wild ways in order to survive.

Here is an article I wrote- it is a process I developed over time when working with these noble cats. I hope it helps you now to find your way

post #30 of 36
Thread Starter 
The last kitties I delt with were big adults. I still am terrified of one of them, a big female tabby named San we had. She torn through a towel once.

My methods were pressing. With Bosco more so than Manx.

I have good news to. I went outside at feeding time and there was Bosco and Manx laying on the hot parking lot soaking up the last sun before dusk! I let out my mew I make to call them to come eat the food I leave and she war charged for me, sitting right on my feet as I stood. She ducked as I tried to touch her, but she confidently purred. I slid off my shirt, my dress shirt I use for work and picked her up. She kicked a bit but did not hiss, and I wrapped her like a baby and brought her back to her room. I gave her some toys from my other kitties I washed in the washer today for germs.

On inspection she looks fine, but the Vet will have to see her.

Bosco kept his usual distance and mewed back like he does.

Left trap out again.
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