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No answer to this dilemma!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I don't think anyone can help me on this one but I welcome comments. I have just returned from my new farmhouse in France, which is being renovated. I will not go back till September. I discovered at least two feral kittens in the old barn, I saw a black and a tabby maybe 3-4 weeks old. No mom, but there were two mice laid out and signs of previous carnage - bird feathers etc. So I think there is a mom and she seems to be doing her job - the kittens seemed fat and active, though ran away as soon as they saw me (probably I was the first human they have ever seen!)

I got some kitten food and put it out in the barn each evening when I was there, but that was only for ten days. I never saw the kittens again, but the food got eaten every night. I did not want to overdo the food in case the mom stopped feeding them or they became too reliant on a food source that then stopped. My idea was just to give them a boost while growing. Now I am back I keep thinking of them and wondering if I did right or if there was anything else I could have done? There is no one near I could have asked to continue the feeding and I could not have caught them - anyway I think they were better left where they were - no roads or predators nearby. What else can one do if in a place temporarily and faced with this?
post #2 of 4
My cousin encountered this very situation when he visited a house and farm my family owns in County Mayo, Ireland, He is a kind hearted soul and could not leave them there. He arranged a few of his friends to help him transport them (there were 3) back to Canada and now they reside in good homes (2 with him) in Canada.

It was a lot of work - vet check and all the paperwork but he does not regret it.
post #3 of 4
While it's not as nice or safe as living in a home and having dinner brought to them, in all honesty they're probably fine. In a barn, near a field, mom should find plenty of food. If they ran away they were definately older than 4 weeks (a 4 week old kitten has a limited physical ability for running.) If you're going back in a month they'll be older and a bit more feral, but many (but not all) barn cats can be socialized with enough patience, at least to a point. (Barn cats are often not fully feral.)

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
I do think their mom was doing her job - dinner lined up on the floor in the form of mice, and plenty of straw to sleep/hide in. It is at least a mile from a road - only a one-lane track to the hamlet and farm, and the barn is the highest building on the property so not near anything else. When I said 'run away' they were hidden under/behind a fallen plank of wood and rushed into the straw when I came in so I only got a glimpse, but they were pretty small. The previous owners told me that another cat we had seen there back in February, an orange tabby, had disappeared, and never mentioned any other cat, so I think these are pretty feral - there has been no one living there for two months now. Well, it is good to have barn cats and I will try to make their acquaintance when it is possible. My girls will probably do it first!
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