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New here & New mom to ferals .. need some advice?!?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi Yall, Im new here & joined mainly b/c of this particular forum on ferals. First a breif intro about myself. My name is Denise but all my friends call me ~Nise, so you can feel free to do the same. Been married to my DH Drew for 5 yrs. in March.(together for 7yrs) We're the proud parents of our 2 boys, AJ who is 4 1/2 yrs. old & our newest addition Wesley is 9 weeks old today...and Im fortunate enough to be a SAHM. We also have 4 furbabies ... our 2 dogs, Ashton ~ daddys princess & Bobo ... both of which we adopted from the Humaine Society. We also have 2 cats *strictly indoors* Dygit ~ we named him that b/c he has extra toes on his front paws, he was a stray we took in 7 yrs ago and he's mommys lil man And Oliver (or Mr. Carrots, AJ calls him that b/c he's a orange tabby ~ we adopted him from our local SPCA)

OK as for our 'feral furbabies' Let me back up a bit & set the scene so to say ......

About 3 months ago or so I came home from running errons & saw a momma cat & her 4 kittens on our neighbors front porch .. as I walked closer they all took off...and we would see them here & there...and then didnt see any of them for a while So I figured they 'moved' on. Then one nite Drew was Barb B Q'ing & said 'hey honey I know where those kittens went' so of course I came out back & sure enough they were under our other neighbors back porch. Saw them for a few nites & then didnt for a while.

Then about a month 1/2 ago I was on the computer & Drew walks in the room & says "I just put out some food for that momma cat & her 2 kittens" and my 1st reply was "2 kittens, she must of lost 2 b/c there were 4" and I said "WHY did you do that??? now we're gonna be feeding the whole neighborhood" now dont get me wrong I love animals but it hurts me to see stray cats out in the cold & here he is bringing them right to my backdoor. And he says "well the lil black kitten looked really skinny and I felt bad" We're both major animal lovers & our dream is to one day buy alot of land then build & run a non profit adoption center & those animals that arent adopted would live out their lives w/ us!

So since then we now have a total of 2 kittens *guessing approx. 6 months old* and atleast 4 adult cats. We've given them all simple names to keep them straight ... right now we have the kittens 'Moo & Coal' ... their mom 'Boots' which I think was killed yesterday .. will explain in a min. Then we also have 'Midnight, Tiger, Mr. Orange' and I believe I saw a new black cat this afternoon!

Sorry this is turning into a novel LOL those of you who are still w/ me THANKS!!

Well Drew works for PetsMart, he's a Store Director and has been talking w/ the ladies that come & clean out the cat cages at his work...she works w/ C.A.R.E. and she has agreed to let us borrow 2 med. sized cages so that we can trap and then take them to the SPCA & have them spayed/neutered and given a rabies vaccine. She's also told Drew that any of the cats that we can tame they will take & find them homes. So I spoke w/ the woman last nite & she also told me that she has a kitty condo I can borrow if I want to try & tame any of the cats. I told her that if I was gonna have any luck w/ taming them I figured my best luck would be with the 2 kittens.

So my first question is how realistic is it to think I can tame any or all of my ferals ??!!?? And should I even try ???

This is our 1st time attempting anything like this but Im just so tired of wanting to do something and never knowing what!!! I do know that IF nothing else if I can get them all fixed that will solve the problem of them making more kitties for us to feed!!!

As for Boots, I said above that I would explain. Well I believed starting about 2 weeks ago that she was pregnant b/c she was the only one of our ferals coming back several times a nite to eat!! and her tummy appeared awful round to me! Anyhoo, yesterday on my way to Target I saw a blk cat w/ white paws dead on the side of the road and thought to myself, that looked alot like Boots but figured there was no way it was her....So on my way home I pulled over & got out ... and *warning ~ this could be upsetting to some* I couldnt even tell if it was her b/c her face was so messed up...she was on her back & I could see all kinds of blood & "stuff" coming out of her from below ... I would almost swear I saw a umbilical cord ... and that I heard meowing (not from inside her of course)... so I got a plastic bag & felt her tummy ... and I would swear I could feel something moving .. so I grabbed my cell & called my vet .. they said that what I was feeling could of very well been kittens but by the time I got her there they would be gone. And sure enough after I got off the phone I couldnt feel anything. They said that if she was indeed preg. she could of spontanuoulsy giving birth & to look around for the kitten. Mind you this was right on a major road & everytime a car would go by I could barely hear myself think...I heard the meowing 1 more time & searched EVERYWHERE but couldnt find a kitten. Im hoping it was just a crow or something flying around that I heard ... Im in VA & it was only in the lower 30's yesterday & I had both my boys in the van so I couldnt stay long & search around. So as Im I pick her up w/ a blanket & put her in a bag and then in a box & brought her home, to bury her in our yard ... I know Ive only been feeding these cats for just over a month but I love them all and it was just heart breaking ... afterwards I went to the gym to work out & was walking on the treadmill while crying I know people must of thought I was nuts! LOL

BUT today I have my doubts that is was even her ... on my way to the gym this am. I saw a blk cat w/ white paws!!! she/he (LOL) was walking away from me so I didnt get to see their face ... so needless to say I'll be watching closely tonite when I feed my ferals to see if she comes around! Im hoping & praying that it is her & shes ok! Will let yall know!

I would any thoughts or advice, tips ANYTHING!!! Im feeding them twice a day .. once in the morning & in the evening as well as putting fresh water out for them. Im also curious as to what type of shelter to build for them & where to set it up ...we feed them on our back porch. Our backyard is fenced in for our 2 dogs who use the backyard to do their business, so Im guessing putting the shelter in our side yard under our side porch would be a good place.. not in the fenced in yard. Also we live in a neighborhood w/ houses all around *we live in a cul de sac* so the only option for putting the shelter is somewhere on our land.!!! I have out there now (under our backyard deck) a box taped up w/ plastic around it to keep it dry w/a hole cut out for a "door" and a old towel in it but I dont think there using it.

THANK YOU for reading my novel .. I hope I didnt confuse anyone or leave anything out ... and again ANY tips, advice etc..is greatly appreciated!

~Nise
post #2 of 28
Nise..welcome to TCS!! So glad that you care about these feral cats. I would suggest that whether you work to tame them or let them live outdoors..they really need to be spayed/neutered. Especially with kitten season in only a few months...it really is important to start getting them all fixed. Fortunately Richmond has lots of low cost and even free clinics. The Richmond SPCA plans to spay/neuter 9,000 animals this year:

Richmond, Virginia - The Richmond SPCA has decided it needs to spay or neuter 9,000 pets a year to keep the Richmond-area pet population from increasing, so that has become the goal for 2005. A new program, which will provide spay/neuter services free of charge to income-eligible people, will help the SPCA meet its goal. Estimates are that fully half of the 9,000 proposed surgeries will be done at no cost to the animals' people. Just since October, the agency has performed more than 500 free surgeries.


http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031780288 309&path=!news&s=1045855934842

Katie
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
I totally agree with you ... my ultimate goal no matter whether I try & tame them or let them live outdoors is that I want them ALL fixed so they wont keep making more kitties! Ive left a message w/ the Richmond SPCA about their program that neuters ferals for free & waiting to hear back ... if Ive not heard something in a day or so Im going to call back.

Thanks for your reply
post #4 of 28
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Im on my way out of the door but wanted to say I got ahold of hte Richmond SPCA & I have appt for Feb. 7th & 14th to take atleast 2 of my ferals each day to be fixed, given a rabies vaccine & dewormed!!

more soon WoooHooo Im so happy!
post #6 of 28
Nise,
I just wanted to welcome you to our Cat Site family and tell you that I enjoyed reading your story....well, most of it anyway until we came to the part of the dead kitty....I give you credit for being able to do what you did for the poor thing.

What your doing is absolutely wonderful and I look forward to hearing more about this! Keep us posted!

Susie
post #7 of 28
Quote:
I would any thoughts or advice, tips ANYTHING!!! Im feeding them twice a day .. once in the morning & in the evening as well as putting fresh water out for them. Im also curious as to what type of shelter to build for them & where to set it up ...we feed them on our back porch. Our backyard is fenced in for our 2 dogs who use the backyard to do their business, so Im guessing putting the shelter in our side yard under our side porch would be a good place.. not in the fenced in yard. Also we live in a neighborhood w/ houses all around *we live in a cul de sac* so the only option for putting the shelter is somewhere on our land.!!! I have out there now (under our backyard deck) a box taped up w/ plastic around it to keep it dry w/a hole cut out for a "door" and a old towel in it but I dont think there using it.
Check out this older thread: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40040
It has some pictures of shelters that some of us have made for our ferals. That could give you some ideas, I'd be happy to share my experiences on building the Alleycat Allies design with you.

Two other threads about shelters were http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28375 and
http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39606

As for your current shelter, some straw would be better than an old towel, as the towel will hold moisture. Mostly you want to make sure it is out of the prevailing wind and setup to avoid as much rain/water as possible. Elevate it if you can so that it doesn't sit directly on the ground.

Don't be too sure they are not using it. Mine at times have seemingly snubbed their shelters but then I've seen them going in/coming out of them. Who knows what the cats think?!

Welcome to TCS and let us know if you have anymore questions.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
I have GREAT NEWS!!! My "Boots" is ALIVE & WELL ... I looked out my door this afternoon & there she was eating w/ her kitten "Moo" under my back porch .... I feel awful for the kitty that got hit but Im so happy it wasnt "my" kitty! I guess that was her yesterday I saw! I tell ya I was just devasted when I thought that run over cat was her .. but like I said above I couldnt make out her face and the dead kitty was blk w/ white paws like our "Boots". about the dead kitty but woohooo about "Boots" being OK!!!!

Marion thanks for the links to the shelter threads ... Ill take a look at those & let you know if I have any questions! And I'd love to hear about your experiences in building one if its not too much trouble!!!

And Im so happy I have appt w/ the SPCA to get them fixed!! YAY atleast I wont have to worry about them making more & more kittens!

A very happy ~Nise
post #9 of 28
Ohh I'm so glad to hear that Boots is ok!!!!
post #10 of 28
My daughter tells me I am nuts to care so much about "my God's Little Creatures" but it is sooooo good to see I am not the only nut. I am in good company.
I care for 6-8 and I also feed twice a day from my back deck. I made winter houses out of sterafoam coolers. ( duck taped the lids on and cut a hole im the end just big enough for them to crawl in and filled the bottom with straw. I have seen four go into one cooler and I fixed two of them. The coolers are just inside my garage out of the wind and weather. (I leave the garage doors up just enough for them to get under)

I have tamed two that I have found good homes for and one that is ready IF I find another kittenless couple that wants to adopt. I tried trapping and after getting two inside the cage ( I went out and bought for this purpose ....to the tune of $75.00) I couldn't find anybody that would come and take them. I am handicap and don't drive.
The MSPCA said if they were brought in they would put them down as they were considered wild.
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
No your not the only NUT ... and your in great company w/ me & my hubby LOL Thats so awesome you were able to find 2 of them homes! Did you have to tame them?? If so how did that go?!? Any tips or advice? And if I may ask I noticed you said your handicaped, I was wondering what that was a result of? Our oldest son has Spina Bifida, though "technically" a disability he's doing very well, he walks independently he does needs braces though to help his foot stay in a more correct position. He walks on the insides of his ankles. And also as a result of the SB he does not have bowel or bladder control so at 4 1/2 yrs. old he's still in diapers But he's walking & Im grateful for that. If Im being too nosey, I apologize!!!

I so want to atleast TRY and tame them & get them good homes but Im not real sure how realistic that is. And if no one wanted them we couldnt keep them indoors, we've already got 2 cats, 2 dogs & 2 sons ... FULL HOUSE ... if we had the room we'd gladly take them all !!!

Well today I took a old dog crate, cleaned it out & used duck tape to tape all the holes up to prevent air from getting in .. I left the wire door off & my dh is bringing home some cedar shaving so I can put that inside of it. Its a pretty good size crate ~ so the opening is fairly large but until I can get some supplies & build a shelter ... or I can find a stirofoam *sp* box, I figure its better than nothing! And atleast they have something to get out of the cold. I have it set up right against our house on our back porch in hopes that the house will block some of the wind ... so we'll see if they use it! I was thinking of putting some cat nip in it to draw them in ... anyone think that would work ???

More good NEWS!!! For those of you who are peeking in for a update, you'll remember a few posts up that I said one of our kittens, Moo is the baby of Boots. Well you'll also remember I said that out of her 4 kittens only 2 survived ... WELL ~ last nite I opened my front door & turned the porch light on b/c I thought my dh was home, he wasnt but I got a pleasant SURPRISE ... there was Moo curled up on my front porch with her/his brother or sister ... it was Moo and the other kitten that looks the same .. white w/ big blk spots! I was so happy to see that he/she was still around. Also a couple of days ago a new blk cat started coming around ... calling her/him Onyx .... he/she is all blk w/ beautiful green eyes.

So now we now have 5 adult cats & 3 kittens ... Boots, Midnight, Onyx, Tiger, Mr. Orange ... Moo, Coal and I need a name for the kitten that has reappeared ... he/she is just like Moo ... white w/ big blk spots .. any name ideas ??

Ok thats my update for today!!!
post #12 of 28
I think it's great that you are willing to take care of feral kitties. It sounds like you had several pleasant suprizes between finding out Boots and her baby was still alive. It is definately possible to tame feral cats. It does take a lot of time and patients to tame them. The younger the cat the easier it is (atleast it was for me). I've tamed several ferals. It took years to be able to pet Sweetie (She's about 10-14 years old) but it took only about 6 months for Blackie (She's only about a year now).

I'm not an expert or anything but if I can answer any questions on taming your ferals I will be more than happy to. My email address is crazy4cats28@yahoo.com.

Stacey, Princess, Patsy, George (a stray), Sweetie and Blackie (both ferals)
post #13 of 28
Hi there, Welcome to TCS!
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much 'crazy4cats28' Ive sent you a email
post #15 of 28
Denise,
You ask about my handicap. I inherited a disease called "polyscystic kidney disease or in the old days it was called "Bright's Disease". I am in end stage kidney failure with about 12% function left. I will be going on dialysis soon. This coupled with dibetes and arthritis and a anerysum on the right side of the brain makes me legally disabled.

The little kitties do bring a lot of enjoyment to me tho. I sit at the deck sliders and watch them playing at the side of the woods or sunbathing on the hill. I just wish we had a better feral support here in south Massachusetts.

The little ones I found homes for were tiny and came to me on their own. My granddaughter took the little one I called "Little Bits" and she is spoiled rotten. My daughter's friend took "Andrew" and my son's grilfriend took the little one that was adbandoned and sick, "Annie". That little one stayed in my bathroom by the heater for a week recoperating before Patty took it and it is doing great. Most of the ones outdoors come out when they hear me open the door to the deck but don't come close til I return inside. Those are the ones that I need help at trapping and getting spayed.
BTW, Remember to put something heavy on your outdoor box so the wind don't blow it away. It is also good to put it a little off the ground ( on a pallet) to keep water from getting inside.

Brenda
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by animalprint4me
Well today I took a old dog crate, cleaned it out & used duck tape to tape all the holes up to prevent air from getting in .. I left the wire door off & my dh is bringing home some cedar shaving so I can put that inside of it. Its a pretty good size crate ~ so the opening is fairly large but until I can get some supplies & build a shelter ... or I can find a stirofoam *sp* box, I figure its better than nothing! And atleast they have something to get out of the cold. I have it set up right against our house on our back porch in hopes that the house will block some of the wind ... so we'll see if they use it! I was thinking of putting some cat nip in it to draw them in ... anyone think that would work ???
I can tell you that this worked for me. I bought a "small dog" doghouse from the local Petco and put some non-aromatic wood shavings in it and some straw that my ferals have slept on; it also has heavy plastic flaps over the door. They have been using it to get out of the wind. Since it has been getting bitter cold, I thought it needed more insulation. A friend had just gotten a new computer monitor and gave me the box to use - I taped one end open and then covered it in plastic sheeting. We then slid the dog house inside. I turned it so the opening faces south, as the wind usual comes from the north. They are using it (although at night when it is truly bitter cold they go sleep the wooden, insulated shelter in my side garden).
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Brenda thanks for your response! I wish you all the best with your health & will keep you in my thoughts & prayers. I too enjoy sitting & watching my ferals thru my sliding glass door ... some dont mind if Im there and others still take off as soon as they see me! But Im sure w/ time they will realize Im not there to hurt them. I have a feeling Ill be fighting a loosing battle w/ "my" kittens as they are far from tiny ... there all 3 a good size ... not tiny but not full grown yet .. but Im willing to give it a shot ... atleast w/ them! I wish yall had better feral support groups too ... and at the very least someone to help you to TNR them. And thanks for the tips on the traps I wouldnt of thought to weigh them down w/ something!

Marion ~ thanks for your response too! I didnt even think about getting a dog house, thats a great idea! I did today use more duck tape & tape the entire opening *where the wire door should go* up and left one decent size hole so they can go in & out.

Also when I was doing this I notice a god awful smell ... Im assuming the males or females sprayed in it ... man did it smell awful!
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by animalprint4me
Also when I was doing this I notice a god awful smell ... Im assuming the males or females sprayed in it ... man did it smell awful!
lol - yeah, unneutered males can really stink up a joint

One of my sisters-in-law has a stray that has claimed them and she got one of those little igloo doghouses for Sam, as the kids have named him. He does use it. She also got a outdoor insulated heating pad that fits in the igloo to keep him toasty in the winter (she brings him inside during really bad weather). So little doghouses are a possibility if you're not inclined to try and build one.
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gargoyle
lol - yeah, unneutered males can really stink up a joint

One of my sisters-in-law has a stray that has claimed them and she got one of those little igloo doghouses for Sam, as the kids have named him. He does use it. She also got a outdoor insulated heating pad that fits in the igloo to keep him toasty in the winter (she brings him inside during really bad weather). So little doghouses are a possibility if you're not inclined to try and build one.
"She also got a outdoor insulated heating pad that fits in the igloo to keep him toasty in the winter "

Where did she find that??? PetsMart? Id thought about putting my heating pad from the house but dont want anything to catch on fire you know!

and fun-fun ... male cat spray ... cant wait to get them fixed!

And GUESS WHAT !!! I forgot to updated this this am. I was up feeding my 9 wk old at 330am & took a look out back & to my surprise there was a 'new' cat out there eating !!! So that now puts us at 9 feral cats we're feeding ... I certainly hope thats the end of our 'new' tenants LOL
post #20 of 28
Lots of nuts here, I trapped 10 ferals and have had them all spayed, nutered, tested, shots wormed and built an enclouser for them, I am working on finding homes taming and what not, its a job, but there so beautiful how could you not want to help them,
They are spoiled and I don't care lol, they make a bad day good as far as I'm concerned
post #21 of 28
Oh, I think you are great, for doing all you are doing!! (and that goes for ALL the other posters who are working at bettering the lives of other kitties and animals in their little corner of the world!!!)
I feed a colony of kitties at the edge of our town. I believe there are about 30 or more cats there now. We are constantly working at catching kitties to spay/neuter etc... We find good homes for them, when they are ready, and if they are too feral, they go back to the grainmill, where they lived, to begin with! I have a bunch of boxes and Rubbermaid containers (and just got some styrofoam coolers to put up there too! --YAY! ) The Rubbermaid containers are great too, as I just cut a hole in the right lower side of the lid and turned the box on it's side after using those industrial-weight ties, to keep the lid attached to the container. I lined all the boxes with Mylar and newspaper and put straw in it and also wool cloth (was donated by GoodWill when I went up there and told them what I needed it for!) The kitties were a bit nervous at first, to go inside them, but pretty soon, ALL of the boxes are WELL occupied!!!!
Thanks for being such a GOOD kitty friend to your kitties!
post #22 of 28
If you start with the kittens you have a good chance of taming them. My Dushka and Persil were both feral street kittens and are now utter lap cats. It is wonderful to gain the trust of a cat. Good luck with all of them.
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your responses ... I am heading out the door but will reply whne I get home!!!
post #24 of 28
If you haven't read it this article should help you find your way with your ferals once they are inside. Feeding them is fine, but the more food you put out, the more ferals will come. Unless you can find a group to help spay and neuter, you will have territorial fights going on, inbreeding and other problems.

Best of luck-

http://www.thecatsite.com/content/view/48/28/
post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 
halfpint ~ on catching & having your 10 ferals fixed & vaccinated!!! Thats awesome & a to you for taking of them !!!

Missy&Spikesmom ~ ty for the Rubbermaid container idea .. will def. check those out at Walmart next time Im there! And wow 30 cats!!! You have your hands full ... to you too for taking care of them!! Its so nice to know Im not alone!

Jennyranson ~ I know you said you got Dushka & Persil when they were kittens ... about how old were they? Did you find "taming" them to be difficult?

Hissy ~ Thank you for that link Im going now to check it out!!!



**Just to let everyone know .. not sure if I have posted this yet or not but I got in touch w/ the Richmond SPCA and I have appointments on Feb. 7th & 14th to have however many of my ferals I trap, neutered, given a rabies vaccine & dewormed!!! **
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by animalprint4me
**Just to let everyone know .. not sure if I have posted this yet or not but I got in touch w/ the Richmond SPCA and I have appointments on Feb. 7th & 14th to have however many of my ferals I trap, neutered, given a rabies vaccine & dewormed!!! **
Excellent! Great job on arranging this so quickly and before spring!
post #27 of 28
I second the THANK YOU for getting appointments for these ferals before the Spring..you are saving so many.

Katie
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ladies I feel really good about it!!!!
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