I am at a loss here and could use some advise/guidance.
Hubby and I have been feeding a stray cat, on our back deck, for about 3 years now. She is very skittish and won't come near either of us. She is a survivor and has made it through some tough winters.
I noticed she was pregnant a while back and tried to keep an eye on her. Apparently, she delivered 3 beautiful little kitties. She is no dumbie as she took them right to our house..the food source! All 4 of them are now living under our deck. The new babies are also skittish and run at the sight of either of us. My guess is that they are probably 8, or so, weeks old at this point. It seems as if they are weened.
Winter is coming soon and the nights are cold here now. I am concerned for them. I worry about disease and I worry about their food source.
I would like to catch the babies and take them a local "no-kill" shelter near my home.
My question/questions are: Is it right to do this? Should I take them from their mommy or leave things alone? If I should take them, does anyone know a good trick to catch them? They are fast little buggers and I am a loss. I don't want to scare them.
Any advise would be helpful. When I am in my warm house and look out and see them eating, it breaks my heart.
We were in the same situation years back with a feral female kitty in our back yard having litter upon litter. We finally bought a humane "Have a heart" trap, one where they step on the trip pad to get to the food at the other end, and the door closes.
So, obviously, I feel it is humane to catch the kittens and take them to a no kill shelter. Check out first what their policy is for wild kittens and if they have a set up to tame them first and then adopt them out. I have found that it doesnt take long to tame a young kitten, 6 - 10 weeks usually takes a few days. The easiest for us was to keep them in the bathroom because it was a small, confined space where we could go in and feed, sit and be close and eventually pet them. Usually the pull toy on a string gets to kittens everytime so when they are playing, they relax and then you get to the petting stage. Usually by day 3 they would be purring and enjoying being petted and played with. It helps to only have one kitten at a time using this method because if they are together they rely on each other for comfort and it takes longer.
You can check with local pet stores for the Hav a Heart traps or a good all around family owned, not the mega wearhouse type, hardwear stoore for them. Or, you can get them online, tyoe in have a heart humane animal trap.
I would think it would be better if you could catch all of the kittens and the mother and take them to a shelter, how horrible it would be for him kittens to be taking away. At the same time its not safe for them, the cold, or chance of getting hit by a car. Local humane societies usually have traps you can use(they are normally for raccoons, or you can buy them) all you do is place some soft food and when they go in to get it the trap door shuts. Of course youd have to do this 4 different times but still...i hope you can catch them. I too feed a stray cat on my back deck, well a few. I also have 4 indoor cats so i cant take that one in. We did make up a bed for the cat though. hAVE you thought about that for the colder months?
getting her kittens away from her would be actually doing he a favor with winter coming. I doubt the kittens will develop the tools to be able to survive, and shortly they'll get old enough to become competition for any food sources. I'm of mixed feelings on catching the mother. Unless you have access to a "Cat Reserve" for ferals, a truly feral cat gets put down eventually as unadoptable at any shelter.
The above info for catching kittens is good, but if they wise up, or are to skittish, the best way to go is with a door drop plate activated trap cage.
Those suckers will nail 'em every time. :) Check with the shelter to see if they rent them loan them. I'd send you one of ours, but it would cost more to ship it than buy one new!!!
Oh, be wary of trapping in cold weather. There are laws about trapping cats if the temperature drops below a certain amount (with the cages, I mean. you have to stay with the cage, don't leave it out).
OMG..you guys are so wonderful!!! I have so many ideas now.
I am going to call the shelter. I can't stand seeing them out there anymore. I think mom cat is a no-no..but the babies are so tiny and hungry. I have 3 kitties inside so...(I would take all 3 in, but ssshhhh hubby is listening..LOL). We will see once I can catch them.
Oh my goodness..thank you all so very much. Now, at least, I have an idea and will get a plan!!!!
I have no idea how cold it is where you are. I am in the warmest place in the country so winter is our bit of heaven.
I forgot to say, if you do trap them, first, rig the trap so they can eat in it for days - our kitten litters all ate at the same time around the same dish, and then rig the trap so you can "spring it yourself when all are in and eating.
Make sure you watch and as soon as the trap closes, cover it up with a towell or blanket because when they can know they are trapped and can see out they tend to go crazy and can hurt themselves trying to get out if they can see ouy. You can't leave them in for very long, so do it during business hours for the shelter you are going to take them to and take them to it as soon as you trap them. Less stress on the kittens that way.
P, S. If it were my husband, he'd be trapping and then KEEPING them....... my limit was 3, we now have 5 only because one of them recently died ) : or we would still have 6, I do miss him tho and so do his house mates.
Aww yes ive seen those igloos...we just had a box made of wood(my bf does carpentry work) and stuffed it with sheets and blankets. The cat loved it..and i faced it towards the house so the wind couldnt get in...true...i didnt think about how a feral cat would more than likely be put down if taken to a shelter..it just kills me to see animals out in the cold...
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