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Having another go...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi, I am in the process of trying to trap yet another feral cat in my area. I have done this before, in fact I have sucessfully trapped, socialized, spayed and placed the four feral kittens I found when I moved in last summer, thanks in part to the help I recieved from this forum. This time around it is the mamma kitty (I call her Shea) that I would like to get ahold of. She seems to be very pregnant, and I would like to bring her in before she gives birth so that there is no question of missing any of the young. Problem is that she is very skittish and will not enter any tight spaces, ruling out the regular traps I used last summer. I do however have an enclosed porch that she occasionaly enters when I put out food (only when the door is WIDE open and I am nowhere in sight). I am hoping you wonderful people can give me advice on which direction to go, from traping a skittish cat, to dealing with an adult, pregnant feral. I have only ever worked with kittens before, so this is a somewhat new situation for me.
Thanks in advance!

Chris - Mom of Dove, Wren and Koly (and hopefully Shea )
post #2 of 16
I don't have good advice for you but I wanted to send good luck to you in catching this little sweetie.
My Punkin was around 4 mts old when I caught her outside. She was extremely skittish and it took me about 1 month or so to get her. I would put food out on the steps to my porch and she would come eat but not when I was around. I finally was outside one day for 2 hours trying to coax her to come eat near me. After alot of patience and persistance and no sudden moves, she finally got close enough that I was able to sweep her up in my arms. I brought her in on my enclosed porch and after a couple minutes, she was laying in my lap biting my finger.
I actually went through the same process with who I think was her mom. I found her mom before I found punkin and her mom was pregnant again. I just did the same steps with her and she finally came up to me. Didn't take as long to catch the mom as it did Punkin.
I am sure you will catch her soon. Good luck!!!
post #3 of 16
Hey may want to send Hissy a PM. She is one of the feral experts and could probably give you some good advice.

post #4 of 16
Here's a thread I found on this specific issue. I hope this helps!!
post #5 of 16
You can try using a drop trap. We've caught many ferals this way. Here's what ours looks like:
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips and links. I can tell that I will be needing lots of help with this mama. I have got her so she comes to check my porch usually once a day, checking for food. I am attempting to rig a rope to the screen door of my porch so that I can pull it shut as fast as I can, with any luck getting it closed before she can get out. I tried doing this yesterday with string, and found that pulling the door shut fast enough to trap her also wound up breaking the string, and entirely defeating the purpose. So I am having another go with some light weight nylon rope that I can really pull. Hopefully this one works. I havnt dealt with a pregnant cat since I was in Jr high, and have no idea how close she is to having these babies. Wish me luck!
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Exciting news, Shea is now a resident of my enclosed porch, and looks as large as ever, so I guess I have kittens on the way! Yikes! Question is, now what? I really don't want her stressing out, and am worried that the stress of being caught may be bad for her babies, poor thing was literally climbing the walls. I have a spare bedroom I will be keeping her in, but can't move her in there till Saturday. Meanwhile I am planning to use my back door so there are no escape attempts, and spend as much time as possible on the porch with her without stressing her too much. How can I best take care of this very pregnant little lady? Any bright ideas?
Thanks again

post #8 of 16
Chris, I would go to the home depot and get one of those plastic trellisses and fit it to the inside of your screen door.She will try and get out, and they can eat through a screen if they want.

She seemed awfully easy to catch are you sure she is a stray? If you can, get a photo of her and take it around your neighborhood and ask if they know who she belongs to. Give her several options of safe places to have her babies, a covered litter pan with soft bedding is good, cardboard boxes on their side with straw beds, and covered with a towel, you want her to have the kittens in a really warm secluded place.

Start feeding her IAMS kitten chow, feed her at the same times every day, keep her supplied with fresh water and make sure that you stay on a schedule. Food and water bowls need to be always at the same place, always the same bowls (cleaned of course between meals) she should be eating between 4-6 times a day small amounts. Sit on the porch floor on a cushion and just read to her so she gets used to you-but my guess is she isn't a stray, she is either a neglected pet or a runaway
post #9 of 16
Congrats Chris!!

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am fairly certain that she is feral, I have been feeding her and a few other cats for most of the winter, and she really wasn't that easy to catch, I think I simply got lucky and knew what time she would be coming. She is absolutly terrified of people and has never come near my porch if I paid too much attention. I am planning to ask the neighbors though to see if any of them have been feeding her, and to let them know what is going on. I managed to catch one of her kittens last year, and it took me six months to make any progress at all with her. I am hoping mom will progress a little faster, but truely doubt it. Thanks for the info on the pregnancy stuff, I need all the help I can get! Do you think there will be any ill effects from her acrobatics today? I just hope I can take care of her and her kittens. Thanks again!

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, by the size of Shea, I decided the sooner I got her into a warm, secure room, the better. She looks like a balloon about to pop, and was trying to bolt and climbing walls every time she saw me, so she has now been relocated to my spare bedroom where there are no potential escape routs and no screens she can chew her way out of. However over the last 24 hours she has shown that she has no clue about litter boxes (and why would she?) and I have no desire to rip out my carpet at the end of this. Any tips on how to litter train an adult feral without causing her any more stress than she is already under? She refuses to enter the old dog kennel I keep in the room so that she has a "den"(no worries, it doesnt smell like dogs!). I had thought that if she would go in there I could put in a litter box that she would practically have to use, but no such luck. Any ideas?

Thanks- Chris
post #12 of 16
I would add dry earth or leaves to the litter to make it more familiar for her. Start half and half and then gradually decrease it. Good luck - I am sure that when she feels the need to 'nest' she is more likely to use one of hte containers you are providing to have her kittens.
post #13 of 16
Yes, you can try using clean top soil instead of regular litter. It takes a lot of patience even under optimal circumstances to housebreak a cat who was never used litter boxes or re-train a cat who has not been living in a house for a long time.

As far as giving her hiding places, outdoor cats like hiding so "think like a cat" and try to see what sort of household items might work.

This sounds crazy, but initially Nano enjoyed hiding in the bottom drawer of an empty filing cabinet. She would walk into the slightly opened drawer, then once inside crawl over the back and squeeze down so she would be on the carpet but essentially in darkness and surrounded by metal on all sides with a reliable "roof" (the next drawer in the filing cabinet) over her head for protection.

And I remember thinking: Damn, what's with this crazy cat? I give her a brand new soft $30 cat bed placed a comfortable distance from a heater...but oh no, she wants to hide in a cold, dusty old filing cabinet. But then I adjusted my thinking and began working with her, helped her get comfortable with me, and after a few weeks she was ready to sleep in the cat bed and stretch out defenselessly in plain view without fear of being attacked.

Anyway, please ask your followup questions here so we can track your progress and support you. You have taken on a very big project trying to help this girl...thanks for helping her and the kittens. Good luck to you!
post #14 of 16
Originally Posted by Nano
And I remember thinking: Damn, what's with this crazy cat? I give her a brand new soft $30 cat bed placed a comfortable distance from a heater...but oh no, she wants to hide in a cold, dusty old filing cabinet. But then I adjusted my thinking and began working with her, helped her get comfortable with me, and after a few weeks she was ready to sleep in the cat bed and stretch out defenselessly in plain view without fear of being attacked.
OT but I can't tell you how many expensive toys I have bought my two and guess what their favorite is...the milk ring off the milk bottle.

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
WOW! Talk about timing!! I came home from work today, and found kittens!!! I knew she was close, but I thought I might have a few more days! There are at least four, if not more (I didnt want to get too close and freak her out) But she did finally go into the dog crate and that is where they are holed up. Wow, I am SO excited! They are beautiful kittens, as are all kittens of course, but I am just so gratefull that I was able to catch her in time... otherwise I would have had five feral cats to catch, socialze, fix, and place... now it is just one feral, and I don't have to catch them! This really makes me so happy. Thank heavens I got her inside as well... it is really chilly outside. That, and my other three kids are very happy to be able to go out to the porch again... Isn't it great the things they love to play with. Yeah, they play with the toys I buy them, but just a bit, and go crazy over milk rings and and my hair bands. Crazy kids. Well, I am gonna go sit and read to Shea for a while!
Thanks - Chris
post #16 of 16
Good one!
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