I've never had pet cats, so know nothing about them. We're new to a farming community, and there are apparently many strays from the barn cat population that have become feral families. A female is raising her five kittens in the woods behind our mobile home. I'm allergic to cats and was befriended by a one-year old stray last year - but she must have been around people at some point because we found out from the vet when we took her to get shots and spayed that she's a pure bred maine coon cat and had already been spayed! It took several months for her to trust us. Our home is too small to have her as a pet - but she appears to love being an outdoor cat. She generally comes by only when she wants pets and food - or a place out of a snowstorm or rain. We keep her clean and bug-free, and she has come to love being groomed. Do I try to do the same thing with the new family of ferals out back? The ferals living behind our home just turned up, and I don't know enough about cats to know what to do. We'd seen the mother around here - she is VERY skittish and wouldn't even come back to sniff food thrown to her. But we noticed what turned out to be her kittens playing around here. We've been taking up food and water (she always lets them eat first and stares us down as we walk up to their burrow). Should we/when should we/how should we catch her to take her to the vet to be spayed? Should we try to socialize the kittens to find them homes (probably hard to do around here there are so many strays)? Or should we just be benevolent friends, providing food and clean water? Or should we trap all of them to take them all to a vet? Or is best for them in the long run if we leave them alone, forced to defend for themselves? A little late for that - the kittens are becoming used to us - two of them will take food out of our hands. Do we stop? And if not, how do we teach them the love of being petted? Do we try to keep them bug free? I'd adopt them all if I had a home that could accomodate them, but that is not an option. Any suggestions? I want to do what's best for them (and boy are they cute!). Thanks for Help!
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6/28/02 at 3:33pm