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what can we do?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
first time posting, long time lurker. my husband and I have 2 adorable cats and one on the way (new kitten coming home sunday!) but we have a dilemma with a stray/feral kitten.
about a month ago we saw a mom cat and about 5 kittens running around our backyard. they looked to be about 3 months old at the time. then they seemed to disappear. three days ago, however, we noticed a kitten on our neighbors deck. it would also come over and talk to our cats through the screen door. we left food out for it but it ran away whenever we tried to approach. it's had a constant presence in our yard the past few days.
we got a hav-a-heart trap today and caught it almost immediately. all the animal shelters we have talked to said they will not take it because it is "too old" and we will have to give it up to animal control where it will almost undoubtably be euthanized.
animal control is closed for the night, so right now the kitten is laying in the trap in our garage looking scared out of it's mind.
is there anything we can do? we don't want it to have to live outside but of course the alternative is much worse. is it true kittens of 4 months+ age cannot be domesticated? thanks.
post #2 of 22
No it is not true, and the only reason that shelters tell you that is they don't want to bother with the amount of time it takes to socialize a cat versus a kitten. I get so angry when I hear that older feral kittens and cats can't be socialized, because it isn't true. Is there anyway you can keep it indoors and work with us to get it socialized? There are so many members here who have done this successfully and I am sure between all of us, we could make this work.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
thanks for the reply! i'm glad to hear someone say there is something we can do!
i'm guessing we should try to get it to the vet tomorrow morning and take it from there? thanks.
post #4 of 22
I have rescued 16 cats and kittens, the last a mommy that is around a year old and 5 female kittens, and I have to agree with Hissy that is not true, I have 2 that I kept from last year that live in the house, I have the mommy cat and 3 of her kittens in the house also,along with 2 of my own, I have found homes for 2 of them. I do think when they are older and left without contact the longer they make take longer to socialize, but I know it can be done. I had all of the ones I rescued to the vet, spayed or neutered, tested, shots, wormed and treated for fleas. Like Hissy said if there's anyway you have a small room that you could put it in, It may be a good idea to get it to a vet that does take care of ferals, they know how to take care of what they need, then try and bring it into a quite room, with some soft music feed it at the same time every day, talk to it, or just sit in the room with it, that just takes some time, I had never done anything like this untill I started last year, it took me a year to get mommy and of course there were 5 babies, there are alot of people on here that have been doing this for years, and Hissy is a wealth of information, Good Luck and I hope it all works out for the kitty
post #5 of 22
Yes the vet is the very first call for this kitty-

http://www.thecatsite.com/Cats/Cat_C...eral_Cats.html
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
thanks for all your advice! this site is such a great resource.
just wanted to let you know that we took the kitten to the vet this afternoon. it had a larvae thing up it's nose that they had to remove, and it has fleas, but besides that it is pretty healthy. the vet said it was a lot more tame and calm than some other feral cats/kittens she has encountered so that is a good sign. now we will begin the process of trying to gain it's trust! i feel a little overwhelmed by the situation, so I hope everything works out.
post #7 of 22
Yes it is a very good resource, I would not have gotten through what I did without it.
Pretty much always someone will have the right answer for you, Good Luck with the Kitty
post #8 of 22
i have hardly any experience with this, but i will tellyou this... i just trapped my first kitten (~4 months) who is also now in my garage. she was very unhappy the first day (monday) .. by tues she was purring, yesterday she came over when we were sitting in the garage quietly, and she started to rub up against us. she now lets us pet her, purring like a fiend the whole time. she is still a little skittish with quick movements, but i think she will socialize just fine.
give the kitten a chance...
and good luck!
post #9 of 22
Emma was an older feral kitten. You can read her story by clicking on her name below.
Good luck!
post #10 of 22
Good for you! Patience is the key here!
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
the kitten is now inside the house. we moved her to a spare bedroom this morning. she was alone all day while I was at work. i checked in on her and she was in the same spot she was this morning...laying in the litter box! she looks so scared.
now for the question. we have to give her an antibiotic twice a day. this morning my husband held her while I gave her the medicine. she was not happy at all and bit my husband in the process! my husband is out of town for the next two days so i am on my own as far as giving the medicine. any advice on how to make it a less painful process for the both of us?
also, from reading this site, i'm guessing i should give leave her alone in the room, correct? she will eventually feel more comfortable and move out of her litter box? i just hate seeing her so terrified!
oh, and here's a picture i took of her through the window the other day before we trapped her:
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/1...0/IMG_2920.jpg
post #12 of 22
Kristen...I can't answer your questions..but I wanted to thank you for what you are doing for this little kitten. Without you...she would have faced a life outdoors and without spaying...would have certainly become pregnant and produced even more kittens. I have the greatest respect for people who open their hearts, wallets and homes to these strays and feral kittens/cats.

Thank you again.

Katie
post #13 of 22
I had a wicked time trying to give liquid antibiotics to my semi-feral kitty..I tried putting it in baby food and she stuck her nose up at it...Then my vet recommended i use the pill form and put it in 'pill pockets' --available at the vet's office or Petsmart, etc....and it works like a charm--she chomps it right down..i did cut the pill in half and put it in 2 pockets, though...
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
No it is not true, and the only reason that shelters tell you that is they don't want to bother with the amount of time it takes to socialize a cat versus a kitten. I get so angry when I hear that older feral kittens and cats can't be socialized, because it isn't true. Is there anyway you can keep it indoors and work with us to get it socialized? There are so many members here who have done this successfully and I am sure between all of us, we could make this work.
Don't have time to address other things or items in other threads, but I had to remark about this. In our shelter we have 82 cat cages and 6 larger playpens (plus 108 dog runs). For a short period over the winter the cat numbers are down, but the rest of the year (a very extended "kitten season") we are inundated with cats and kittens. Every day more come in.

We have two full time cat techs to clean cages, feed, etc. (Apx $22,000 each including benefits.) We have two full time vet techs, a kennel manager, and a part time vet (all paid staff and these cover all animals in the shelter.) We have a number of volunteers that help fill in to cover weekends, vacations, sick days, provide playtime for the animals, and other areas of need. We have two industrial washing machines going constantly every day to keep us provided with clean towels and blankets in the large numbers we use (with someone having to load and unload the machines, load and unload the dryers, and fold and put away the clean items.) We have more paid staff, and more volunteers, to handle adoptions, volunteer coordination, administrative duties, accounting and payroll, fund raising, care of other animals, and a general manager. We also take in assorted other animals requiring care: including goats, sheep, emus, guinea pigs, hamsters, assorted reptiles, and others.

Each day very difficult decisions have to be made about animals to make room for the new ones that will arrive that day. A cage could be assigned to an individual animal and then personnel assigned to spend time socializing that animal, or the same resources could be used to provide care for a mom and her kittens (with a statistically higher chance of adoption.) If that same cage is used to hold a single kitten, which gets adopted in a few days thus opening a space without having to euthanize an animal, which choice is a better use of the resources? If it were possible to save every one I certainly would do it. Many of the harsh decisions that are necessary in running a shelter are never easy, but they are a realistic necessity when having to determine the maximal use of limited resources. Attacking the shelters and the difficult decisions they are required to make is neither appropriate nor productive and I personally find it a bit insulting.

I've personally socialized quite a few stray cats and found them homes (my wife and I have kept a few of them ourselves.) It does take time and patience, but can be very rewarding. But, as I indicated above, it is generally out of the relm of practical for many shelters.

As for medicating, I wish I could show you some tricks. I teach Pet First Aid for the Red Cross and show some of the tricks in class, but I would really need to demonstrate and have you practice on a mannequin. A "pill popper" will help if you need to give pills, but I would suggest mixing with a small amount of strong smelling food instead (the fishy flavors Fancy Feast have given me the best luck, but every cat has different tastes.) If you have pills crush them first (a inexpensive pill crusher is a big help, found in the baby section of the drug or grocery store.) Only give a small amount of food (a teaspoonful) mixed with the meds. Then quickly follow with more food after the kitten eats the medicated portion.

As for the kitten being scared, giving her some dark and cozy places to hide will help her feel more secure. A cat carrier with the door removed and a soft towel inside, set in a quiet corner, and covered with more towels will usually work. If she's hiding in the bathroom keeping the light out in that room will help too. (If it's totally black without the light put in a very low wattage bulb until she seems more secure.)
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by kristinlowman
thanks for all your advice! this site is such a great resource.
just wanted to let you know that we took the kitten to the vet this afternoon. it had a larvae thing up it's nose that they had to remove, and it has fleas, but besides that it is pretty healthy. the vet said it was a lot more tame and calm than some other feral cats/kittens she has encountered so that is a good sign. now we will begin the process of trying to gain it's trust! i feel a little overwhelmed by the situation, so I hope everything works out.
I have never heard of a cat with a larvae thing up its nose, but would guess that just having that out will help the new kitty tremendously! You are a gem to try to help this little baby out! Have you considered trying to trap the rest of the litter?
post #16 of 22
Here is a link to an agency in Naperville.

http://www.adoptpetshelter.org/pages/default.asp

You may be able to get some help from them with this kitten, or the rest of the litter. You may even be able to foster the kitten through them, where you would keep kitty and tame her, then they will pay for the spay when she gets older and help you adopt her out. (Not a good idea if you already decided to keep her!)

Here is a longer list of agencies from a "Dogpile" search for Naperville cat rescue.

http://www.care-evanston.org/shelterlist.htm

Best of luck!
post #17 of 22
This looks promising to help you.
http://www.animalheartline.org/index.htm
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
thanks again for all of the advice! i called the vet's office and they advice me to mix the medication with some wet food and that seems to do the trick. the kitten seems to be doing okay. i know we just have to be patient!

when we first trapped her, we called several animal shelters, including Adopt (which is where we adopted Itchy and Scratchy) as well as the shelter where I volunteer. They all said they were out of room and/or that the kitten was too old to be domesticated. I know the shelter I volunteer at has a waiting list to get a place in the shelter. Adopt did encourage us to try and keep the kitten though and gave us some good advice on how to socialize it.

as for the rest of the litter, we have not seen them in over a month! i hope they somehow found homes.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1
I have the greatest respect for people who open their hearts, wallets and homes to these strays and feral kittens/cats
couldnt of said it better myself - thankyou and bless you

I also cant offer much advise, but I can offer support and encouragement. As you have noticed there is a wealth of knowledge on this board and you will also gets lots of encouragement from everyone. Your doing an amazing job and I hope it works out for you. Yes it will take patience but as long as you have patience then amazing things can happen... I have seen it happen so many times with members on this board.

have you given the kitty a name yet?

thankyou again I will most certainly be keeping an eye on this thread for any updates.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
just wanted to give you a little update on Maggie. she is making a lot of progress! we have her in a spare bedroom and she is eating well and using the litter box. when we go in to visit her, she runs to hide under the bed. but when we reach our hand under the bed she will come over to be pet and she purrs and even gives kisses! i'm very happy about the progress she is making and it's only been a week!
post #21 of 22
Thank you for the update! That's great news about Maggie (what a cute name! ). Your love and patience is certainly paying off. Bless you for not giving up on this kitty - see what miracles True Love can accomplish!!
post #22 of 22
yes Maggie is a gorgeous name.

How wonderful that she comes over to your hand, is eating well and using the litter box ... thats great progress and quick progress. It just shows that this cat most certainly has a great chance to be domesticated

good work
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