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Getting Kittens Away From Mom

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
We recently trapped a feral cat and she had four beautiful healthy babies Thursday night. I have been told by many people to take the kittens away from mom cat when they are about three weeks old and bottle feed them and take care of them until they are weaned. I have been doing research on this and I think I'm ready but I have no idea how I am going to get inside the cage to get the babies from mom cat. She is very aggressive and I can barely reach my hand in the cage to get her new food and water without loosing it! She is not freindly one tiny bit! The only way I can think of is to open the cage door and see if we can shoo her out without the babies and then retrap her later? There is no way she can get out of the room she is in so I'm sure that would work. I'm afraid of sliding the trap inside her crate she is in now for fear of one of the kittens getting hurt by it. I don't know if kittens can move around by three weeks old? But I would hate for one to be under the door when mom cat triggers the trap and it drops down. Any ideas? Maybe I'm just making this more difficult than it should be? Thanks!
post #2 of 7
Hey Becki...I wouldn't let the mom out just to try to trap her again. She could get pregnant again and there is no guarentee that she would stick around. I have never read about taking the kittens away from mom that early.

post #3 of 7
Let the mom wean the kittens and if you take them early, wait until about 6 weeks. Mom's nutrician is much better for them than formula anyday! At 6 weeks, she will want a break from them anyway and won't be so protective of them, therefore easier to pull them out. She should also be more comfortable around you, so may not swipe at you.
post #4 of 7
Becki, please read (or re-read) the second last post in the thread you started here. MA (hissy) is an absolute expert when it comes to ferals and she knows what she's talking about.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info! I was wondering if that was a good idea or not. I'm just worried that if babies are with mom to long that they will become wild like her. She is not the friendliest cat!
post #6 of 7
Becki, here's the thing: Momma Cat probably has some pretty good reasons not to trust humans, besides just being protective of her babies. More than likely as a feral the experiences she's had have been negative - people throwing rocks at her, maybe even kicking her, chasing her away from food sources...

Right now you've got a great chance to show her and her babies that humans may not be so bad. Spend time with her, not trying to touch her or anything. Just being there. Sit down on the floor so you aren't so big, and just read out loud. Don't look at her, don't touch her or the babies. Just be there. Bring her food and water and spend time there so she starts associating you with good things and so that she can start to see that you don't mean any harm to her. This will also show the kittens that you won't hurt them either, even if Mom doesn't really socialize well.

It is a super long thread, but it is well worth the read: Socializing a Feral: The Story of Lucky That thread contains more tips and tricks and encouragement than any book I've read on the subject.
post #7 of 7
Becki, you're doing a wonderful thing! When we first became aware of the ferals around here, it was because there were kittens in the yard. We left them outside with mom until they were 12 weeks old (which is when mom is done teaching them everything they need to know if they're going to live outside as ferals). We then trapped her and had her spayed - she disappeared and never came back. I am so thankful we let her raise the kittens. There were five kittens - four of them are now our inside pets, and one went to live on a farm and is a big huge fluffy lap cat that comes running to greet his "mom" every time she comes home.

The kittens will get the nutrition they need from mom, and they'll learn from her - but not to hate humans. With your presence and your providing food for mom and them once they start eating solid food, they'll come to think of you as their caretaker as well.

Of course once you adopt them out, they'll be scared in a new home. Any cat of any age and any experience with people most likely goes through this. There's an article up in the rescue resources section of www.SaveSamoa.org called "Bringing Outdoor Cats In." It's in PDF, and you may want to consider printing it out and providing it to anyone adopting the kitties you've rescued, so everyone knows what to expect.

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