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When to seperate feral kittens from mother to socalize

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I was just curious when is an ideal time to seperate feral/wild/barn kittens from their mother so begin to socalize them? I know with house cats it is 10-12 weeks, but in that time, feral kittens will already have learned to fear people and other unfriendly behavior from their mother. I left my uncle a cat carrier and I am going to tell him that when his barn kittens are _?_ weeks old, to put them into a carrier and call me. He will not let me spay and neuter his cats. I have tried and tried, I have even lied and told him I had a couple FREE spay and neuter appointments and he still wouldn't let me do it, they are wild barn cats and have been for years. I may possibly end up fixing them and then trying to give them back, but I don't know yet if he will accept them back. He usually drowns the kittens he doesn't want when they are born... sorry to disturb some of you guys there, I have tried to convince him but he won't budge (yet??) I am still trying...all I can do right now is help the kittens who are born.
post #2 of 14
I'm not really sure of the age to seperate them from their mother but I would guess it would be around when they start eating solid foods??? That is sooo sad that your uncle won't let you spay/neuter his cats,don't give up on trying to convince him! I have heard of alot of people drowning kittens when they are born and I find it sickening!!! It makes us upset when people kill mice like that let alone a kitten.It is cruel and please let your uncle know this...maybe eventually he will listen to you.
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen
I was just curious when is an ideal time to seperate feral/wild/barn kittens from their mother so begin to socalize them? I know with house cats it is 10-12 weeks, but in that time, feral kittens will already have learned to fear people and other unfriendly behavior from their mother. I left my uncle a cat carrier and I am going to tell him that when his barn kittens are _?_ weeks old, to put them into a carrier and call me. He will not let me spay and neuter his cats. I have tried and tried, I have even lied and told him I had a couple FREE spay and neuter appointments and he still wouldn't let me do it, they are wild barn cats and have been for years. I may possibly end up fixing them and then trying to give them back, but I don't know yet if he will accept them back. He usually drowns the kittens he doesn't want when they are born... sorry to disturb some of you guys there, I have tried to convince him but he won't budge (yet??) I am still trying...all I can do right now is help the kittens who are born.
Will your father let you take mom and kittens?? That way you can start socializing the kittens from birth...but they still have mom to get their nutrition from.

Katie
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
It is my uncle, not my father I would be a little more forceful if it was my father in telling him what he is doing is wrong, but it's my uncle. A little harder to talk to.

Right now I absolutely cannot take the mother and kittens. I have a 2 bedroom apartment with 6 cats who stress and pee already. Bringing an unfriendly unsocial cat will freak them out and plus I am already 5 cats over my limit
AS SOON as I move to a house with a barn (hopefully this summer) I can take in more and plus I will have the barn to keep the semi-wild ones.

The other problem is the mother cats are extremely feral, rip your arm up if you look at them feral. They are wild cats. I have not dealt with cats like that in a home environment before (I have at the shelter I worked at, but not here) I just don't have the space at this time. Last year I took a tiny little kitten about 3 weeks old who was really sick. I can deal with one who need bottle fed or a few who are eating solid foods. That is really it right now.

He had only one nice cat, who was called Grandma. She lived to 17 years old. She was a horrible mess. But she was pretty friendly compared to the others. My uncle cried when she died. I was there when it happened.
post #5 of 14
I've always been to help with the socialisation of feral kittens but you just never see stray cats in Wellington.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Lucky for you! that's really cool, maybe they are hiding?
post #7 of 14
Maybe? but we always have food out for the cats and the dog and we've never seen another cat on our property. Elmo's a bit of a tough guy though.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen
It is my uncle, not my father I would be a little more forceful if it was my father in telling him what he is doing is wrong, but it's my uncle. A little harder to talk to.

Right now I absolutely cannot take the mother and kittens. I have a 2 bedroom apartment with 6 cats who stress and pee already. Bringing an unfriendly unsocial cat will freak them out and plus I am already 5 cats over my limit
AS SOON as I move to a house with a barn (hopefully this summer) I can take in more and plus I will have the barn to keep the semi-wild ones.

The other problem is the mother cats are extremely feral, rip your arm up if you look at them feral. They are wild cats. I have not dealt with cats like that in a home environment before (I have at the shelter I worked at, but not here) I just don't have the space at this time. Last year I took a tiny little kitten about 3 weeks old who was really sick. I can deal with one who need bottle fed or a few who are eating solid foods. That is really it right now.

He had only one nice cat, who was called Grandma. She lived to 17 years old. She was a horrible mess. But she was pretty friendly compared to the others. My uncle cried when she died. I was there when it happened.
The problem with waiting is that the later you start socializing them the more feral they will be...but then again, taken away from mom too soon can also lead to issues. If you can't take both mom and kittens...best to wait until they are eating solid food. It's not ideal...and these kittens will be more wild...but we've all read about what happens when kittens are taken away from mom too soon.

I cannot understand why your uncle would not want these cats fixed. It is much better for him, the cats and the community...how does he know that the toms aren't going out there and sowing their seeds elsewhere. Truthfully, if it were me...I'd set traps just off his property and see if anyone went in..then I would take them or it to be fixed and eartipped.

Katie
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have thought of that possibility. It is hard to sneak around there though. Their home is on a hill, pretty treeless land until about a mile behind their house where there are woods. If I can find a way to get to the other side of those woods and come up to the place from behind...

I just may have found a new house in the paper today that we are going to go see. It doesn't have a barn but it is huge with a basement in a very rural area. I will definately look into taking adult cats then. He doesn't easily give away his adults, just the kittens. rrgg frusterates me...
post #10 of 14
I would have to agree with the others - not sooner than they are eating solid food. But kittens are much easier to socialize than adults, even older kittens (i.e. 10-12 weeks, as opposed to 6-8 weeks).

One thing you may mention to your uncle is that his brand of population control (drowning kittens) could land him in jail. From the summary of Ohio cruelty law on Stray Pet Advocacy:

Cruelty to companion animals is defined as: “knowingly torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against a companion animal.” The first offense is a 1st degree Misdemeanor with a fine up to $1000 and/or imprisonment up to 90 days. A second or subsequent offense is a 5th degree Felony with a fine up to $2500 and/or imprisonment up to 12 months. Any fines collected from this offense shall be paid to the society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals, if there be such in the county, township, or municipal corporation where such violation occurred.
post #11 of 14
The problem with waiting is that the later you start socializing them the more feral they will be...but then again, taken away from mom too soon can also lead to issues. If you can't take both mom and kittens...best to wait until they are eating solid food. It's not ideal...and these kittens will be more wild...but we've all read about what happens when kittens are taken away from mom too soon.

Couldn't have said it better myself!!

I am an active member with Humane Society and I can't telll you how many little ones come in that were snatched from mother cats and/or nesting areas because these people THOUGHT they were doing the right thing. Wrong!!

In my opinion, leave the babies with the mother for at least 4-5 weeks...usually at 5-weeks they can eat some sort of kitten food (premium of course). Yes, 5-weeks is young to be away from mamma cat but as long as you are willing to give your time with supplemental bottle feeding around-the-clock, babies will be fine. In the last 2-weeks I have had 12 foster babies here...all 5-weeks...and all are eating kitten food with an occasional KMR bottle.
post #12 of 14
This is a good thread... I am waiting till my kits are 4/5 wks and eating solids before getting Mama feral cat (and god knows how I'm going to accomplish it, cause right now she's running round the basement room loose) off to the vet for a spay. She will rest a few days with the kits then be put back into the wild/colony. At that time the babies will be about 5 wks.

Meantime, my plan is to get the kits at 5 wks eating, bottle feed some, and then rotate the kits from the basment creche to my upstairs - one or two at a time, for one or two hours or so each each day... to give them attention, socialize with my other cats and teach them about typical house noises etc...

Also recruiting neighbors to come and visit with them... LOL! They should be very well socialized by the 8 wk mark when they will head to the vets office to join a second litter of kittens for adoption...Then I'll head back out for more trapping... to see if I can interrupt the breeding cycle one more time.

By winters end this year I hope to have 8 cats done. (Pat me on the back please, it is VERY tiring and draining, but it needs doing...I keep thinking of
those poor Mama cats breeding and breeding with no one to care for them or the babies..)
post #13 of 14
By winters end this year I hope to have 8 cats done. (Pat me on the back please, it is VERY tiring and draining, but it needs doing...I keep thinking of
those poor Mama cats breeding and breeding with no one to care for them or the babies..)


A HUGE pat on the back to you!! Wishing others did & thought like you did!! You are right about the whole thing being a lot of work...a lot of time & effort...but soooo well worth it!!

Big THANK-YOU going your way too!!
post #14 of 14
For feral kittens, 4 weeks - when they are just beginning to eat solid food. However, the mother cat *must* be spayed when this happens because she will get mastitis otherwise. So it may be a catch-22.
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