What Do I Need To Foster Feral Kittens
To start out the taming down process, your most important tool would be your cage and an appropriate place to keep it. A smaller cage is key, so that reaching in is easy for you. You dont want the kittens to be able to run away from you.
Setting up the cage in a quiet room is ideal. A bathroom, laundry room or an extra bedroom are good choices. Additionally, being able to leave a television on or a radio with soft music can be quite helpful to kittens that are getting used to voices and activity.
Set up your cage with a blanket, puppy pad or towel on the wire floor. These will need to be changed regularly! Place bedding in one corner of the cage and litter box in the other corner. Food and water towards the front of the cage. A large sheet to cover the cage and you should be set. The sheet will help the kitten to feel like he is more in a CAVE than a cage . . . this will become his safe spot.
Caring For A Feral Mother Cat And Her Kittens
Some 25 years ago, when I first noticed feral cats and started helping them, a very experienced animal worker warned me: for feral cats there may not be a tomorrow!. I have experienced the sad truth of these words many times and could not possibly forget them.
If this warning applies to adult feral cats which have to cope with the hazardous life of a homeless cat, then how much more does it concern young, helpless feral kittens when born in such places as skips, bonfire heaps, under floorboards, in storage rooms or simply under bushes in the open? There is a slim chance of survival, and even those kittens which are seemingly safely tucked away with their mother in a shed are at everybodys mercy: dogs, foxes, tomcats and even cruel or ignorant humans may at any time discover and harm them. Their mother may for no obvious reason move them to a new hide-out, unknown to her concerned feeders. Raised in a damp corner kittens are especially prone to cat flu, which if untreated can lead to eye infections and blindness, or to pneumonia and death.
Should the kittens survive the first few weeks unharmed they will grow up fast soon they become unhandleable and within months will begin to breed. A female can come into season as early as four months, only to produce yet more unfortunate feral cats. Unless the kittens are picked up while still very young and found homes as domestic pets, and unless the rest of the colony is neutered, we are facing a no-win situation.
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Feral Cats When Trapped
One thing you may notice is that they actually do have their own set of actions that come about when they are trapped. Usually, there are barriers when you trap them, and with feral kittens, along with the mom, its the same thing. Some of the factors include the following:
- They wont be touched and are refused to be touched, even when youre giving care
- Unlike stray cats who come to the front of where the cage is, a feral cat will try to stay as far back as possible and will retreat to the back of the cage
- They tend to not actually touch the cage, except if theyre frightened and jolted, where they may start to climb, rattle, and shake the cage
- They will be unsocial and tend to not actually relax over time
- They will ignore people, and toys, possibly even food if theyre older
- They wont be interested in sounds within the household, except in the case of if youve been feeding the cat and they respond
- They will be aggressive
- Will tend to lash out when theyre cornered or threatened, usually having the ears back and the eyes dilated
When handling feral kittens you may see this too, especially if youre looking to trap them and socialize them.
Some of them may not be inclined to socializing. If thats the case, thats a sign that it may be a bit more feral than you expected, and in that case, it might be best to return them to the colony.
How Do We Solve Cat Overpopulation
Solving cat overpopulation is a complex matter that involves both humanely reducing the population of community cats and preventing the addition of more cats. There is no quick fix and no one solutiona combination of tools are needed:
- Spaying and neutering of community cats through strategic, high-intensity TNR and related programs. To effectively reduce the population, approximately 80% of the cats in the focus area need to be TNRd.
- Spaying and neutering of owned cats and cats adopted from shelters and rescues before they are 5 months old and old enough to have kittens.
- Helping people keep their own cats when faced with cat behavior challenges as well as their own financial struggles and housing issues.
- Providing people with options and assistance for rehoming cats they can no longer keep so that those cats are not abandoned outdoors.
- Keeping owned cats indoors with outdoor access provided by an enclosed cat patio, or catio, or by walking the cat on a leash.
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Do Feral Cats Abandon Their Kittens
Coming across kittens without their mother cat around can be disheartening, especially for a cat lover like you. It can be extremely stressful, too, since the situation can force you to decide between lending a hand and leaving them alone. And now you may be wondering: Do feral cats abandon their kittens?
As a general rule, feral cats abandon their kittens if they are sick or defective. Its natures way of controlling the spread of feline diseases and genetic defects that parent cats pass to their offspring. Abandoned feral kittens, if taken and trained at the right time, can be turned into pets.
Below, you will come across some of the most important matters you need to know about seemingly abandoned kittens how to tell if theyre abandoned alright and what you can do in case they are indeed abandoned.
Common Traits With Feral Kittens
The first thing that you will notice, is just like a feral cat, these little guys are not socialized to humans themselves. Youll notice that they wont maintain eye contact with you. However, if youre thinking about trapping them, fixing them, and then releasing them for adoption, they can be great pets and if you neuter them they prevent colony expansion.
Common traits youll see when you have a feral kitten are as follows:
- They are very timid
- They are avoidant, even to the point of not looking at you
- They can be timid and aggressive in response to you, out of fear
Feral cats are typically homeless and born in the wild, and kittens are no exception. They may have been abandoned, or even become lost if youre not careful. One thing you may also notice is that they may have been left behind by their mother, which is a bit of a sad instance. Many times you can trap these kittens and then release them.
Usually, they are temperamental, but not nearly as bad as their adult counterparts. You want to tame these little guys quickly, and with the right actions.
Some other characteristics that you may notice with feral kittens are the following:
These are common characteristics of feral cats period, but you see these in kittens as well, although they may not totally come around until theyre older, due to the fact that they usually are wild and helpless unless their mom comes to assist.
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Taking Your Stray Cat To The Vet
While food and shelter are important, Phillips says that the number one priority, especially if you have other cats, is confirming that the stray cat is healthy. You have to ensure that their basic veterinary needs are being taken care of, so if you can, try to catch the cat and bring her to the vet.
It is important to have a cat carrier when transporting your new cat to the veterinarian. The vast majority of veterinarians will require you to use a cat carrier when bringing any cat to the vet. This helps ensure safety and security for all involved.
Phillips recommends putting food in the crate or cat carrier. First, just let the cat eat in the carrier for a few days. Then, start closing the door a bit while hes eating. Then, close it all the way. Then, try latching it. The key is to do everything gradually, she says. Then, after you visit the vet, keep the carrier out. Keep putting food in it. You want the cat to stay used to the carrier.
For feral or stray cats that may not be familiar with cat carriers, your veterinarian may ask you bring them in a trap.
At the vet, the cat should receive basic vaccinations and be spayed or neutered if she or he isnt already, Phillips says.
Fernandez says that by working with rescue organizations, you can usually find a veterinarian who will do vaccinations and spay/neuter procedures at a reduced cost, or even for free. They may also test for feline leukemia, FIV and parasites, and offer low-cost microchips.
I Found Kittens Outside What Do I Do
Did you know kittens are one of the most vulnerable populations in animal shelters and that many end up there because of well-meaning animal lovers?
The ASPCA wants to assist you in identifying the best approach for helping kittens in your community. Removing kittens from their current environment may not always be the right answer as the mom cat could be nearby getting food and no one can care for a kitten like their mom can! To help choose the right path for kittens you found, please answer the following questions.
Do the kittens appear ill or injured?
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How To Help Feral Cats
Kitten season is in full swing, and feral cats are frequently having litters in our community. Do you know what you should do if you find a stray kitten while out and about?
First, remember that many times, a baby kitten hasnt been abandoned. Its mama is likely in the middle of moving the other kittens to a safer location, or is off hunting and will return shortly. Here are the Dallas Pets Alive! Trap, Neuter, Return Teams top 5 tips for helping stray kittens.
What Is A Community Cat
Community cat is the term we use for domestic cats who live outdoors and have no indication of having an owner. Their behavior can range from fearful and wary of people to friendly and open to human interaction. Older terms for these cats include feral cats and alley cats, but as those cats may not be feral or live in alleys, the animal welfare field has shifted to using the broader term “community cats.”
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Isn’t Living Outside Dangerous For Cats
The idea that community cats are at great risk for suffering and untimely death if not admitted to a shelter is a long-standing one. Free-roaming cats do risk higher exposure to dangers such as predators, poisons, infectious and parasitic agents, weather extremes and cruel human acts. While the physical dangers to free-roaming cats are not to be ignored, a growing body of evidence suggests that they are generally fit and healthy, with only a fraction of a percent of cats coming into TNR clinics requiring euthanasia to end suffering.
The overall health of community cats improves after being sterilized, vaccinated and returned: they have greater immunity against a host of other diseases and parasites, they fight less and stay closer to home, decreasing risk of injury or of being hit by a car. Sterilized cats are also less likely to transmit feline diseases that are largely spread through mating behavior and mating-related fighting. While some believe cats living outdoors are more susceptible to common feline diseases, such as feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia virus , these viruses occur at the same rate as in the pet cat population.
Why Feral Cat Adoption Is Not An Option
Many experts agree that feral adult cats simply canât be tamed. They are wild animals, like raccoons. They tend to stay away from humans, hide during the day, and when adopted, are very difficult to socialize. Just like you would never try to handle a raccoon, you should never try to pick up a feral cat. Call for assistance from the humane society or other animal welfare center.
The ASPCA advocates adopting the many available domestic cats and kittens rather than trying to tame feral cats.
However, feral kittens — especially those less than 8 weeks old — often can be socialized. Abandoned and lost cats can also be reintroduced to domestic living.
How can you tell a stray from a feral cat? Lost or abandoned felines are usually comfortable around people and will frequently attempt to live near humans — under porches, or in garages, sheds, or backyards.
Still, Slater maintains that TNR is the most humane and effective long-term solution. âWhat weâve done historically hasnât gotten us anywhere,â she says. âWe need to try something different. Weâre not talking about neutering cats and then dumping them. What weâre really talking about is managed colonies, with a human feeding the cats, caring for them, getting them health care, providing them shelter.â
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There Is No Mom Cat Now What
Option 1: Foster the kittens in your home until they are 8 weeks of age.If there isnt a mother cat and the kittens are not yet eating solid food, they will need to be bottle-fed every 2-3 hours. Its important not to offer them cows milk . Buy Kitten Milk Replacement , a product available from pet stores in liquid or dry form that you prepare for the kittens. Pet Food Express offers kitten kits to members of the public as well.
You can sign up to be a temporary kitten foster through the East Bay SPCA or another rescue group could possibly accept the kittens into an adoption program. You can sign up to foster through the East Bay SPCA by filling out our foster application here. You will keep the kittens in your care at your home and we will provide the supplies and medical care and place the kittens for adoption once they are of adoptable age. For additional questions, please contact our Foster team at .
Option 3: If all of the above is not feasible, bring the kittens to the East Bay SPCA.During the Shelter in Place restrictions, please contact us to make an appointment by emailing
Wait For The Mother Cat To Return
You want to help, and your first impulse may be to swoop up the tiny kittens and bring them straight to a shelter. However, a mother cat will periodically leave her nest to hunt for food.Please dont take her babies!
If you see young kittens without their mother, it is likely she will return. The mother should return to the nest within a few hours- if you watch quietly from a distance .
- Sprinkle flour or baby powder around the nest to see the paw prints of a mother cat who may be coming and going from her kittens. Check it throughout the day.
- Dont put food by the kittens: Do NOT place food near the kittens to lure mom. Mom almost always purposely hides her litter away from food sources as she knows that food will attract other cats and even bigger predators!
- Continuing to wait for mom if the kittens are warm, clean, plump, and quiet. These are indicators that they were recently groomed, fed, and warmed, and are therefore comfortable and not hungry.
Assess the kittens apparent health
While you are observing from a safe distance, pay attention to the kittens appearance and their surroundings. If the kittens appear healthy, and in a relatively safe location, they can survive without mom longer than if they are sickly, and in the middle of a muddy yard.
- Does their fur look healthy, full and fluffy? OR Are they dirty? Sickly? Eyes crusty?
- Are they sleeping quietly? In a heap? OR Are they crying? Squalling?
- Are they dry? OR Are they wet/soaked?
Assess the environment
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