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Found stray cats--need advice!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I'm very upset about this! My friend found 3 stray kittens and a momma in her backyard. They have been hanging around the neighborhood for a couple of weeks and the neighbors have been feeding it intermitently (milk and kitten chow). I wanted to make sure they were taken care of so I called some local no kill shelters, but none were accepting kittens this late in the season. So then I called the Massachusetts SPCA (we're located just outside Boston) and the first woman I spoke with said that we should try to capture them and bring them in ASAP because the longer they are in the wild, the less adoptable they'll be. She said that although the MSPCA is not no kill, they will give free health treatment to any strays and if they are "adoptable" they will keep them in the shelter.

So, my friend has been getting the cats used to her all week and today we put food in the back of the crate and were able to lure two kittens inside. I wasn't sure if we should separate them from the mom, but thought maybe we could bring the two kittens in today and the mom and third kitten tomorrow (all the cats were bold enough to walk into the house and accept food). But to make sure we were doing the right thing, I called the MSPCA again and this time a woman said we should leave them in the wild until the cats stop suckling from the mom (they do that and eat the cat chow) and that we could bring them in but they'd probably be euthanized because of a feline disease going around Massachusetts right now. She said shelters are closing due to this disease so she couldn't recommend any better solution. We let the kittens go back with their mom, but now we don't know what to do!! It is not likely these kittens will last through the harsh new england winter. The only thing we can think of is trying to find people to adopt them ourselves, but is it ok to separate them from the mother?? i would guess they are 1-2 months old. How can we be sure that a potential adopter would know how to care for a kitten that up until now has been living in the wild with little human contact?? Plus, we need to get the mom adopted and spayed so that she doesn't have another litter. PLEASE ADVISE!!
post #2 of 5
You did say A, cant you say B too? Ie take in, in any case the small ones, selv? At least for the socialisation and domestisation period?

They are easiest to domesticise as young, 4-7 weeks.

I dont know how shelters in US work. In Sweden it could be arranged you are their "emergency"-home and you do the domestication, and they help you with veterinary, medicines, seeking permanent home. - as the most difficult for all shelters is usually where to keep all the cats...
post #3 of 5
You can build them a shelter to winter in- there are several ways you can do this fairly inexpensively. (I used to live in Alaska) and I rescued there, so you can PM me about this if you want.

The disease she is talking about is distemper, and it is nasty. It could be likely if there is an epidemic in your area, that the momcat might already have distemper- that is hard to say, but it is likely. Distemper is shutting down a lot of shelters right now. A friend of mine in California that also rescues has lost over 12 cats in the last two months- all because she brought a kitten into her home she didn't know had distemper, and all of her cats, even her older resident cats are now dead. So the shelter worker is correct, if it is distemper, there will be many deaths and euthanization is at least easier on them then dying from disease.

But if you want to make a weather proof place for the cats to spend the winter and hopefully survive, you can. You have to be sure that they have fresh food and water daily, so you need to gain their trust slowly-
post #4 of 5
Plus, we need to get the mom adopted and spayed so that she doesn't have another litter. PLEASE ADVISE!!
In addition to providing this mom shelter...you can at least trap her and get her spayed. Here is a list of low cost clinics in Mass:


post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hooray!! My friend's roomate found a kind soul to take care of the kittens and mom until they are done nursing and ready to adopt!! The best part is that when all three babies and momma were captured they were really responsive to people--so it sounds like these guys have hope afterall!

This experience really makes me appreciate the San Francisco SPCA where I got my cat-- it is no kill and they don't turn any strays away!
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