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how to separate from babies and get the Cat Mom to a vet?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
hello! I'm new and I need help.
I was able to catch 5 feral cats: 4 kittens and the Mom. the babies are doing fine and somewhat warmed up to me. but Mom... that's a different story... I keep them all together and unfortunately they have to be caged.... I feel bad for that, but they got away once (i did not secure the walls in the cage) and did not come out when I was there. I was able to get them back in the cage, but it took me 2 days to catch Mom using the trap... she's very nervous and upset. when I'm feeding them, I am able to open the cage and babies come closer and let me even pet them a little. She stays back and growls quietly. when I clean the cage, take out litter box and collect bowls, she hisses and she tried to attack me few times. I'm suppose to bring her in on Monday (Jan. 17) to the vet's for check up and spaying. and I have no idea how I'm going to get her out of the cage and into the carrier... frankly speaking, i'm affraid of her. she's rather a big cat and those claws... i don't want to hurt her and don't want to be hurt by her. I know i have to get the babies out first (using food); it's just one of them, the smallest - probably female always stays very close to Mom; she's the most shy and I don't know if she comes out when needed... how should I approach her and the Mom on Monday? any advice? do you guys think if there's a chance Mom calms down after being spayed? maybe when babies are not around anymore, she becomes more mellow? what do I do if not? I can't keep her because I have already 2 cats (one of them with special needs). any suggestions?
post #2 of 6
Hi izs- I had a similar problem once. I was temporarily keeping a feral cat in a large cat "condo" cage. When it came time to transfer her from the cage to a carrier, I didn't know what to do. Like your cat, she would give a low growl and seemed totally unapproachable. My husband saved the day by putting on a thick pair of "humane handler" gloves. He spoke softly to the cat, gently picked her up and put her in the carrier. She didn't struggle or make a peep. I was amazed.

Still, he was lucky it turned out that way. She could just as easily have scratched or bitten him.

If your cage is large enough, and can be opened from the top, is it possible to put a carrier inside it? If mom cat has nowhere else to hide, she'll go into the carrrier on her own. When she does, you just need to close (wearing a glove!) the carrier door. If you can't get the kitten out who stays close to mom, let her go into the carrier with her. You can get her when you drop momcat at the vet and they remove mom and kitten from the carrier.

Though mom cat may calm down some after her spay, I wouldn't expect any big personality changes. Remember that ideally, she'll need a week to recuperate. Make sure the vet administers pain meds and gives you some to administer at home (in her food). Since you can't keep her, could you release her back to the location you trapped her at and provide her with shelter and food? Also, what is going to happen to the kittens?

Other members may have more experience with your "transferring to carrier" problem, so hopefully they'll soon offer some advice.

In the meantime, lots of good luck to you. THANK YOU for taking care of mom cat and her kittens!
post #3 of 6
Would it work to just take the kittens out, and then bring the mom to the vet in the cage shes in?

If you do have to handle her I'd suggest a pair of thick leather gloves, and to expect a few scratches. I'd move the kittens elsewhere so they don't get in the way. Just get a firm grip of the mom and then lower her into her carrier rear feet first.

If you're not comfortable with that you could ask your vet about a sedative.

Best of luck with them all.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi KTLynn,
fortunately, I did succeed on Monday morning... (although I don't know who was more scared: the cats or I...). Sunday night I transferred kittens to the separate cage. First 3 were easy. They are the most friendly; while they ate, I just scooped them up one by one. The last one that was always close to Mom, gave me some nasty scratches before I took him out (covered with the towel). then I placed the carrier in the cage, but because she wasn't willing to go in there, I cornered her and kind of pushed her from behind the cage with the "pooper-scooper". she went in and I closed the door behind her. The spaying went okay; she tested negative for leukemia and HIV. Everybody at the vet's was very surprised how beautiful she was. she was calico cat (i just learned that at the vet's). One of the girls took her in after the surgery; if she continues to be wild and aggressive, she will be released after the cold weahter ends. On Tue. I had the kittens for first check-up and vaccinations. And that was the biggest surpirse for me to find out that the 3 friendly kittens were... females. I always thought that girls are more shy and reserved when interacting with people (my Jodi was anyway). And the smalles and most wild and viscious black kitten is a male who right now is totally unapprochable... kittens are about 5 mos old, smaller for their age, but healthy. no bugs, no sores. they are yet to be tested for leukemia and hiv when I bring them in for spaying/neutering. I have the appointments set already and the first one goes on Monday. in the meantime, I try to spend as much time with them as I can. I plan on getting them out of the cage one by one to get them used to me, people in general. I named them (jeez, I think I got attached to them already...). the biggest girl, who's red and wht is Rita; now there are 2 tortoise (I am not sure how to spell that); the one that eats a lot and has a wht chin is Sydney; her sister, who's really mellow is Sarah. The boy's name is Charlie (although it should be Daredevil, Bandit or smtg like that...). Tonight someone comes to take a look at them and pick one. that's good news, right? but why do I feel sad...?
post #5 of 6
Good job for a rookie! Thank you for saving this family, and yes you will feel sad, but also justified that you did the right thing. In the future when there is another situation like this (and I have a feeling you will be doing this again) Keep your fears down of the cats.They sense this fear and it adds to their anxiety and can make for some awful moments. Deep breathe slowly, avoid making eye contact and keep a pair of welder's gloves or heavy leatherman gloves handy.

Treat every scratch and bite seriously and aggressively! Betadine solution, antibacterial ointment, as hot of water as you can stand. Cat scratches from ferals can turn nasty quickly- and bites are are also just as dangerous.
post #6 of 6
Nice work izs!!! I was wondering about you this past Monday, hoping you had luck getting mom cat to the vet. Very glad it worked out!

It sounds like a vet tech took momcat home - I hope she can socialize her - will she keep the cat herself if she does? Also, I don't know about releasing her if she doesn't "come around"- after too much time indoors, I don't know if she'd be ok being put outside again. Hissy could probably shed some light on this. I'm sure you realize momcat can't simply be turned loose just anywhere outdoors. If she is going to be released, she needs to go back to her original location (if it's safe), and someone will have to provide food and shelter for her on an ongoing basis.

The other concern I have is about who is coming to look at the kittens. Did you put an ad in the paper? All potential adopters must be screened VERY CAREFULLY. There are far too many animal dealers and others with ill intent who misrepresent themselves as just regular folks looking for a kitten (or two, or more). If you're unsure of the screening process, and most people are, contact a reputable animal rescue organization or no-kill shelter and ask them for information. They should be able to give you a list of questions (and the answers you should get) as well as give you other advice. Make sure to get a driver's license number and verify that the address on the license is the same as what they put on the adoption form (yes, you should have an adoption form).

Another tip to safeguard the kittens is to charge an adoption fee, at least $25. Animal dealers won't want to pay anything since it cuts into their profit. You can truthfully say that this goes to offset the kitten's spay and check-up costs.

I STRONGLY suggest delivering any adopted kittens to the new home yourself, rather than letting the adopter take them from your house. Doing this verifies their address, and lets you get a first hand look at the house. If there is no evidence that the adopter has gotten ready for the kitten- there are no food bowls, litter box, toys, bed, etc., this is a bad sign. If your gut tells you something is not right, listen to your instincts, make an excuse, take the kitten and leave. I don't mean to scare you but you are the kittens' last line of defense from people who mean them harm. Even those of us who think we're good judges of character can be fooled. There was a "sophisticated" animal dealer operation in my part of NJ about 3 years ago. They even used women with KIDS to pretend they wanted to adopt an animal. Who wouldn't trust a "mom" and her cute 7 year old?

If I'm telling you things you already know, forgive me. You're making a lot of effort on behalf of this little family, and I think it's terrific you're doing that for them. Thanks for keeping us posted, and please continue to let us know how things are going.
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