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feral kittens

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I posted here a few days ago about trapping a cat with her kittens. I will be getting them all fixed this week (once I catch them). I have a question about the kittens, they seem to be about 7-8 weeks and I am worried they may be too old to become adoptable (they may be too wild). When I first found the kittens they were really young, and I posted on this board (under the kitten section) and was told they should be with their mom till about 8 weeks.
Today I spoke to a lady who does pet adoptions for a pet store. She told me if the kittens are with their feral mom too long, they become feral. The kittens eat out of a dish and I am sure they're old enough to leave their mom, but I am not sure how to make them friendly and adoptable. is it at all possible if they've been feral since they were born?
I will be paying for shots and also something to kill the flees on the kittens. I would like to take care of them for awhile so I can get them adopted, but I have a dog so that is close to impossible. If I were to get a cage, could they live in that? I don't know where I would put them, but I just can't leave them out on the street. I have never had a cat or kittens, so I don't know how to take care of them. I can maybe put them in a room or garage so the dog won't find them. Does anyone know what size of cage would work for three kittens? If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know. I could use all the help I can get. Thanks!
post #2 of 19
I have a question about the kittens, they seem to be about 7-8 weeks and I am worried they may be too old to become adoptable (they may be too wild).

At 7 to 8 weeks, they are definitley not too old for adoption. As far as being wild/feral...well, have they ever had contact with humans before? There are a lot of good adoption agencies out there but they will NOT take feral kittens...unfortunatley, the socialization of these little guys may fall on you.

is it at all possible if they've been feral since they were born?

A cat born outside/feral/stray...whatever you want to term it, will follow the lead of the mother cat. If the mother cat acts distrustful towards humans, the kittens will learn this behavior and follow her lead.

If I were to get a cage, could they live in that? I can maybe put them in a room or garage so the dog won't find them. Does anyone know what size of cage would work for three kittens?

The thought of caging little ones always bothered me. If they are really wild, you should contain them in a small room...yes, possibly a cage at first. This will have to change though if you want them socialized for adoption.

The following link has some great information regarding ferals, TNR and kittens:
http://www.alleycat.org/
post #3 of 19
I agree - two of mine were feral and are now incredibly loving cats. But the sooner you start the better.
post #4 of 19
I agree with the others, 7-8 weeks is not too late at all. If they are hissy you may need to spend some time working on them, but generally kittens that young shouldn't be too hard. (Alley cat allies has links about working with feral kittens, mostly it's getting them used to you).

A cage would work. Or do you have a large closet or small bathroom you could use? If not, I'd say go with a cage. Personally I feel it's better a few weeks in a cage now than a lifetime outside for them. But you do what you can do.
post #5 of 19
Good Luck trapping momma and babies. It's a very good thing as there will now be that many fewer cats/kittens that are having litters.

Katie
post #6 of 19
7-8 weeks is definitely not too old. Last year I had 3 that were close to 10-12 weeks. They were definitely feral, and very distrustful of me, but they all turned out beautifully, and are now in loving homes. I currently have 4 that are about 9 weeks...one has "turned", and is great...the remaining 3 are hooligans, but I have confidence that with patience and time they will turn around. There are different philosophies regarding cage or no cage. The kittens you describe would need a very, very large cage which would need to hold them, a litter pan, food, and room to move around. If the cage is too small, they will go nuts, and it's really not a great place for active kittens. If you have a small room to keep them in, that would be best. It will take time, but I have to say it can be very rewarding! There are many threads here regarding how to socialize kittens, and I'm sure someone more expert will be chiming in here.

It's a wonderful thing you are planning to do. Are you planning to trap/spay mom? Please do, even if you have to release her back out in the end, or else the cycle continues.

Good luck, and welcome! I came to this site last year when I was in your same dilemma, and have found wonderful advice and support here.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your help! I do want to get the mom spayed. I talked to a vet about 20 minutes away and they handle farel cats.
I tried last night to set the trap, but it didn't go off (although the food was eaten). I know I set it up right, but I will have to try again tonight, maybe a kitten wasn't heavy enough to set it off.

Is it a good idea to leave the trap outside over night to try and catch the cats? It's a pretty big trap, but I am SO worried about the mom setting off the trap while her kittens try and follow her in. I don't want any of them to get hurt. So, I wasn't sure if it was safe to just leave the trap outside over night or not.
post #8 of 19
Don't leave the trap out overnight. If you happen to catch anything and they sit out there all night it would be pretty terrifying for them, and something not-so-nice could come across them.

Here are some articles on trapping that may help:
http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/info/trapping.htm

http://www.feralcatcaretakers.org/Ca...apInstruc.html

Here is a PDF put out by Alley Cat Allies on trapping:
http://www.feralcatcaretakers.org/Ca...apInstruc.html

Also, I've seen once that you can attach some carboard to the trigger of the trap to make it longer and easier for a kitten to set off.

Good luck and please keep us updated!
post #9 of 19
Yes you can leave the trap overnight. It is best to monitor it, but safe to leave it. If mom goes into the trap, the kittens will just huddle outside- after they flee in panic from the sound. Some may follow her in- which would mean that if you were watching the trap you could rescue the kittens before mom accidentally smushed them in her panic. Most trapped cats will throw themselves against the sides of the wire. Another option would be to use a drop trap. This is a larger area trap, and more cats and kittens could get inside (depending on the size of the trap). There is no such thing as a feral kitten or cat to old to be socialized. They all can, it just takes time and patience, and patience, and patience and time-
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
I just want to thank you all for the great replies! You all were a BIG help.

I rented a new trap today which was made for cats. Within 10 minutes of putting it out with a can of tuna and some cat food, I caught the mom. WooHoo!!! I am getting her spayed first thing in the morning. I will also take a few pictures of her just incase she belongs to someone.

I was so worried when she was first caught because she did move around in the cage a bit. But, I read here that this is totally normal. She did settle down for awhile. I moved her and now she is on a table on my back porch. I did cover her up with a cloth and made sure there was enough room to breath. I have checked on her a few times, and each time I do I talk really nice to her and lift up the cloth. She just stares at me and doesn't hiss or anything. I hope she will be OK at the vets tomorrow.

Now that I have caught the mom, I need to see if I can get the kittens. I put food outside for them tonight, but couldn't use the trap because mom is in it. Since I will be releasing the mom a couple days after her surgery, I think I need to catch the kittens soon, so I don't end up with the mom caught again.

I have a question about food. I have never owned a cat, but I would like to continue to feed the mom cat when I release her. I live at the end of a culd-a-sac, so she should be pretty safe.. I have been feeding her Frisky's, but is there dry food I could get her? The canned food costs a lot. How often do cats usually eat?

One more question, I know that a lot of you have adopted kittens out. What kind of things do you ask and look for when finding a good home for them? I have heard it's not a good idea to give away 'free kittens'. Maybe I could ask for a donation to a shelter or foundation. If I can catch the kittens and socialize them, I'd like to find great homes for them.

Thanks!
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyinla
I just want to thank you all for the great replies! You all were a BIG help.

I rented a new trap today which was made for cats. Within 10 minutes of putting it out with a can of tuna and some cat food, I caught the mom. WooHoo!!! I am getting her spayed first thing in the morning. I will also take a few pictures of her just incase she belongs to someone. You might ask the vet to scan her for a microchip on the off chance she would have one,

I was so worried when she was first caught because she did move around in the cage a bit. But, I read here that this is totally normal. She did settle down for awhile. I moved her and now she is on a table on my back porch. I did cover her up with a cloth and made sure there was enough room to breath. I have checked on her a few times, and each time I do I talk really nice to her and lift up the cloth. She just stares at me and doesn't hiss or anything. I hope she will be OK at the vets tomorrow. If you make eye contact with her, be sure and blink several times slow if she gets into a stare-down with you.

Now that I have caught the mom, I need to see if I can get the kittens. I put food outside for them tonight, but couldn't use the trap because mom is in it. Since I will be releasing the mom a couple days after her surgery, I think I need to catch the kittens soon, so I don't end up with the mom caught again. Depending on if the kittens let you near them, sometimes you don't need a trap, just quick hands and a cat carrier

I have a question about food. I have never owned a cat, but I would like to continue to feed the mom cat when I release her. I live at the end of a culd-a-sac, so she should be pretty safe.. I have been feeding her Frisky's, but is there dry food I could get her? The canned food costs a lot. How often do cats usually eat? Understand that if you feed one cat, others will come. If you are financially able to trap, neuter and release every stray that comes to eat- then by all means continue to feed outside. Otherwise, you will just be asking for problems.

One more question, I know that a lot of you have adopted kittens out. What kind of things do you ask and look for when finding a good home for them? I have heard it's not a good idea to give away 'free kittens'. Maybe I could ask for a donation to a shelter or foundation. If I can catch the kittens and socialize them, I'd like to find great homes for them.

Thanks!
I ask about what they plan to do with the kitten- is she going to be inside or outside, or both? I ask about small children and other pets, their stance of declawing, if they are financially responsible to take on emergency vet visits, if they have a vet, I ask for the vet's name, how long its been since they have had cats in their lives, and also tell them that if anything happens and they find they have to get rid of the kitten, I want the kitten/cat back. I also charge $10.00 for each kitten i adopt and give out a local spay and neuter certificate I get.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
good idea about the microchip. I never thought of that. I will ask them to check for it.

I have tried to do anything I can to help these cats. Last weekend I went to a petsmart that had cat adoptions. I asked the people there for some advice and I was handed a card for the woman in charge of the adoptions. I was told she'd be glad to help me, especially since I offered to get the cat and kittens fixed.

When I talked to this lady, she was very rude and did not understand why I could not take care of the cats (I have a dog). I told her I could try and find homes for the kittens. When I spoke to her, the cats were living outside and she told me they'd be 'better off at the shelter', I told her 'they'd be put to sleep' and she replied 'well, yeah'. I told her in the litter of kittens, there was one with Cerebellar Hypoplasia that I wanted to find a home for. This lady first told me that she would call around, but once I said the kitten was being cared for by the vet (since I couldn't keep him around the dog), the lady basically attacked me asking why I was callilng her if I didn't even own the cat at the vet. True, I signed over my rights, but I know this vet well and she told me if anyone was interested in the cat to let her know. But this woman who did adoptions would not understand that. She was like 'why should I call around and ask if anyone wants that kitten when the vet may say no to them?'

After the phone call with this lady, I was concerned, but everyone on this board seems a lot nicer. I did ask her about feeding the mom and if I should continue to do so, her reply was "well someone has got to" (feed her). I do not want to have any more strays around, but I will feel bad if I just stop feeding her altogether. I guess that is what I will have to do.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyinla
good idea about the microchip. I never thought of that. I will ask them to check for it.

I have tried to do anything I can to help these cats. Last weekend I went to a petsmart that had cat adoptions. I asked the people there for some advice and I was handed a card for the woman in charge of the adoptions. I was told she'd be glad to help me, especially since I offered to get the cat and kittens fixed.

When I talked to this lady, she was very rude and did not understand why I could not take care of the cats (I have a dog). I told her I could try and find homes for the kittens. When I spoke to her, the cats were living outside and she told me they'd be 'better off at the shelter', I told her 'they'd be put to sleep' and she replied 'well, yeah'. I told her in the litter of kittens, there was one with Cerebellar Hypoplasia that I wanted to find a home for. This lady first told me that she would call around, but once I said the kitten was being cared for by the vet (since I couldn't keep him around the dog), the lady basically attacked me asking why I was callilng her if I didn't even own the cat at the vet. True, I signed over my rights, but I know this vet well and she told me if anyone was interested in the cat to let her know. But this woman who did adoptions would not understand that. She was like 'why should I call around and ask if anyone wants that kitten when the vet may say no to them?'

After the phone call with this lady, I was concerned, but everyone on this board seems a lot nicer. I did ask her about feeding the mom and if I should continue to do so, her reply was "well someone has got to" (feed her). I do not want to have any more strays around, but I will feel bad if I just stop feeding her altogether. I guess that is what I will have to do.
I'm really sorry you had such a bad encounter with this woman...she is probably used to getting many calls looking to give up cats. I disagree highly with her position on feral cats...but some people just see there are lots of cats needing homes and so they make blanket statements like the one she gave you.

Katie
post #14 of 19
If the kittens are only that old, they should do well if you can get them and start working with them, I have 5 and mom that were about 10 or 11 weeks when I got them and I have to brag they are wonderful babies, they Love to be brushed and they like to climb all over me, and Mom well for a feral she beats all, I had her spayed tested, shots and wormed and she is now SPOILED rotten, acts like she's been in the house forever,snuck out the sliding gass door today and when I noticed I ran out and she came right back in, still doesn't like the Basset hound but she Loves my other cats and 1 of them Miniman is her full brother, they all are just amazing, I Love these babies to death, they will be going to the vet starting next week, Good Luck and don't give up because I have to admit that LOVE and careing will get you everywhere lol, I have some more pictures also I will get them on here soon...
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
I had the mom cat spayed this week. I also paid for a rabies and booster shot for her. The vet also gave her something for flees.

When I caught the mom cat, I couldn't find the kittens. I left food out for them, but they never ate it. I also released the mom cat last night in the same area she usually stays in and left her some food. I checked this morning and it was still there.. Is this normal? I am sure the mom doesn't trust me right now, but I still want to make sure her and the kittens are eating so I can catch them.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyinla
I had the mom cat spayed this week. I also paid for a rabies and booster shot for her. The vet also gave her something for flees.

When I caught the mom cat, I couldn't find the kittens. I left food out for them, but they never ate it. I also released the mom cat last night in the same area she usually stays in and left her some food. I checked this morning and it was still there.. Is this normal? I am sure the mom doesn't trust me right now, but I still want to make sure her and the kittens are eating so I can catch them.
She may be looking for her kittens. Thank you sooo much for spaying mom cat.

Katie

Sending "kittens come back" vibes.
post #17 of 19
Yeah, leave food out for them still. I hope they come back too!

Good luck and thanks!
post #18 of 19
I'm so happy to hear you had the Mum cat desexed.
post #19 of 19
I'm sorry the lady at the adoption center was rude to you. You are doing exactly the right thing for these cats. Thanks for caring enough to make a difference.

What kind of dog do you have? It may be just fine with the cats and kittens. If you keep the kits in a cage at first, you could let the dog near them on a leash. Most dogs can learn that "their" house cats are not to be chased.
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