Capturing Feral Mama Cat and Kittens?

NewKitty2019

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I am getting ready to capture this mama cat who is very feral, and her 2 kittens that she had, I think about 7-8 weeks ago. The Humane society in San Diego is on lock down due to Covid-19 and every other organization has a huge waiting list to do spaying. So, I am stuck on my own.

The kittens may grow out of the age to be adoptable, so I need to act now. But I am afraid trying to trap just kittens will lead to me trapping mama cat first. If I capture her and let her go I will never catch her again. Keeping her inside for a month till she gets spayed, I am not sure how it will go. She is pretty wild... hisses at me when I feed her and runs away. Kittens are even more scared. I am so stressed about this and trying plan it out really well.

Have anybody had any experience with this? I am assuming they all have fleas and maybe something else... I have a home kitty too and want to keep them separate till they get cured and have no fleas.

I already got free traps from a neighbor.

Any recommendations are welcome, like:
- What cage to use to keep them?
- Should I keep them separate kittens from mama cat? In 2 cages?
- Should I just capture all 3 of them or try to capture just kittens first somehow? And then when mama cat's spaying appointment gets closer try to get her?
- What if mama cat is too wild and goes nuts in a cage for a month waiting for spaying? ;)
- What is the best way to capture them? I feel like she finally trusts me a bit and even brought one kitten to eat closer to the house... And now I will ruin that trust.
- Do I need any protective gear to hold them all, so I don't get scratched?
- Is there any other way to capture kittens without the traps? They are so small and may not trigger it by weight...

Any advice or positive stories are welcome!

I will foster the kittens myself and find people to take them.

I am doing this because I saw she had another litter of kittens about 5 months ago and I have no idea what happened to them.... There is a bunch of cats in our area just running around. I am trying to help to stop this.

I also started GoFundMe, if anybody is able to help at this time. I did not realize how costly this all can be. Even if we spayed her for free, they do not do any testing or check up at those places...: Testing, Spaying, Fostering 3 Feral Cats organized by Katia Kohlwes

Thank you so much!
 

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Norachan

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Hi NewKitty2019 NewKitty2019 Thanks for trying to help this family.

I would start right away with feeding the cat and kittens near the traps you have to get them used to seeing them.

What kind of set-up do you have to house them all why you are socialising/waiting for spay appointments? A large crate with a carrier in as a safe sleeping place would make it easier to get the mother to the vets to be spayed.

If you trap the mother first you can use her as "bait" to catch the kittens and vice versa. Here are a few videos that might help. The first one shows a great way of keeping a very feral mother with her kittens until she can be fixed.



This one shows how to use kittens as bait, but it works just as well if you catch the mother first.


I was once lucky enough to get a litter of 4 week old kittens to foster. The rest of my rescues were at least 10 weeks old, usually closer to four month old, feral born kittens. You have every chance of making them friendly enough to be adopted, even if they are totally feral now. (Which they aren't as you've been feeding them.)

Mum won't freak out if she has her kittens with her. Keeping them in a small space will help her stay calm.

Don't worry about betraying her trust. I know we all feel like that when trying to do TNR or bring outdoor cats inside, but she's not going to make the link between trap+coming indoors+trip to the vet = bad human. Cats don't think that way, so please don't worry.

If the kittens are too small to trigger the trap you can prop the door open with a plastic bottle full of water tied to a long piece of rope. When the kittens go into the trap pull the rope, the trap will close without being triggered.

I know it's stressful, but you are absolutely doing the right thing by trapping them and bringing them indoors.

:goodluck:
 

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moxiewild

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First off, rest assured that your concerns are normal! Now strap in for a long post :p I have your questions a bit out of order, so sorry about that!

I honestly hate trapping kittens when Mom is still around, because I always fear exactly what you are.In fact, I lost an 8 week old kitten this fall over it. I trapped the 3 siblings, but the last kitten was never food motivated, and previously only entered (zip tied open) traps to follow siblings or mom in. (I didn't quite realize this because two of the kittens were all black, and the other two were black and white with identical patterns as far as I could tell, so I couldn't ever tell who is who to notice any patterns of behavior).

I just could not get that last kitten. So out of desperation, I trapped Mom, hoping to use her as bait. Unfortunately that didn't quite work out, and I released Mom because I didn't want the kitten to be completely on her own. The kitten went missing about a week later :(

The good news is, I was able to retrap Mom fairly easily on my first attempt after that.

Retrapping Momma Cat -

Never assume you won't be able to retrap her. In reality, most cats can be retrapped with a little ingenuity and so long as it isn't an urgent rush job. If you have at least a couple of weeks "cushion", then that is almost certainly enough time to retrap most cats.

So if you have to release Momma, you have to release Momma.

Being that she is a Momma cat also offers you a couple of extra tricks up your sleeve too. It allows you to use the kittens as "bait" (by placing a carrier at the end of the trap), or to simply use audio of kittens calling out to Mom. This has worked for me in nearly every case, including situations where I trapped Mom too early and had to release her so she could care for her kittens.

Plenty of members here have experience with retrapping and trapping trap-savvy cats, so if it comes to retrapping Mom, you can get a lot of advice on that here.

"I feel like she finally trusts me a bit and even brought one kitten to eat closer to the house... And now I will ruin that trust." -

You won't ruin her trust. Not permanently or significantly anyhow. She will get over it quickly, and you are far more concerned about losing her trust, than she will be about losing trust in you.

But I know it's hard, and it feels like a betrayal. To be honest, I've trapped so many cats, and it's still emotionally very difficult. Some caretakers handle it like champs and it's no big deal to them after a while, but some of us continue to struggle with each and every trap. I dread trapping, I'm incredibly anxious during the trap attempt, I absolutely hate the few seconds between the trap going off and running to cover the trap with a blanket because of how absolutely terrified the cat always looks, and I hate seeing how depressed and scared they are while trapped and recovering.

It does get a little easier the more familiar you are with the process, but I'm not going to lie, it can be emotionally difficult for some of us, and you seem like you might be one of those people (this is not a bad thing! It only means you're particularly empathetic :) ). But that doesn't mean it isn't worth it by any means. You will feel such a huge relief and sense of pride by the time you release her, and that will make it worth it to you. Just try to keep the frame of mind that you are like a "parent" to this cat, so even though it's hard for her and she doesn't understand, you are undoubtedly doing what is in her best interest, and her life will be much easier for it.

"What is the best way to capture them?" -

Now, as for your actual trap plan... if you're going to keep Mom and kittens in a crate, you might actually be able to use that as your trap, so long as there are no issues carrying and transporting it back to your home, getting it through the doorway, etc.

This is how I trap a lot of families. I use a medium - large wire dog crate so everyone can fit in. I put several bowls of food or bait in there to lure everyone in.

If Mom and kittens won't let you touch them, but will eat somewhat close to you, then wait until everyone (or the kittens) are in, and quickly shut the door on them.

If they will not eat with you close by, then you'll need to tie a string to the door. Run the string through the crate and out the bars at the side or back of the crate, depending on your location. If you need to completely hide, it's a little more cumbersome, but if they're comfortable eating in front of you, but only at a certain distance away, then it's super easy.

Just hold the end of the string in your hand, and wait until all of your targets (or enough of them) are in the crate. Then quickly pull the string to close the door and run up to manually latch it. Practice this a few times first though!!!

Additional word of warning for this trick - kittens about 6-8 weeks old have been able to slip through crate bars, even when I thought it impossible. So you'll want to make a barrier around the crate by wrapping something like deer netting (probably the easiest), chicken wire, plexiglass, corrugated plastic, etc , and securing it with zip ties, to close these gaps.

If you need/want to use regular traps, I personally find trapping can be more difficult. Be weary of kittens following one another in the traps, as they could end up severely injured or worse if one kitten trips the plate while the other is entering if the trap is spring loaded. All traditional traps I'm aware of are spring loaded except for TruCatch. If you have TruCatch traps, then the risk of severe injury is minimal.

To help ensure you don't trap Mom first, you might have to gently shoo her away when she comes near. What I usually do is get a piece of cardboard and cut it to size so that it will fit vertically in the trap, as if it's blocking the entry. Then, I cut a little 3"x3" - 4"x4" square at the corner so that kittens can get past it, but Momma can't. I place this near the front of the trap (about 3" or so inside), and zip tie it to the crate.

I got the idea from Tomahawk's kitten screen -


And actually, as I was trying to remember where I had seen that, I came across something on Neighborhood Cats that is the exact same thing that I do, only they advise to place it in front of the trip plate (which I wouldn't do with spring loaded traps in case Mom were to poke her head in as the kitten trips it, but it would be fine for a TruCatch trap. Having the "screen" closer to the front discourages Mom from even trying to enter usually). So here's a picture to help further illustrate what I'm talking about -

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"Keeping her inside for a month till she gets spayed, I am not sure how it will go. She is pretty wild... hisses at me when I feed her and runs away." -

Question - how close will she actually get to you? From this brief description, there seems to be potential that she is actually not a true feral, but more information is needed. Will she come up to you? Within what distance? How long have you been feeding her? Under what exact circumstances does she usually run away from you?

As far as keeping her inside... a month is a really long time to keep a feral or semi-feral indoors if you do not have the intention to tame and socialize. This is extremely stressful, and I'd advise you avoid it if at all possible. Additionally, when you start approaching the 2-3 week mark, cats start losing memory of their former territory. If I am holding onto a cat (due to illness, raising kittens, etc) for 3 weeks or more, I slowly reintroduce them to the outdoors, by keeping their crate outside for a bit every day.

Fleas -

Flea meds are your best bet here. All cats I TNR or otherwise bring into the house get a dose of Capstar as soon as possible - this kills all fleas on kitty for a 24 hour period, then it wears off. If they are short term stays (1-5 days), I give it daily.

It can be combined with other preventatives too, like Revolution. I use Revolution whenever possible, but when money is tight, I use Capstar for several days and give then give Program. Program is a monthly treatment that doesn't kill fleas, but it does sterilize the fleas so that they don't reproduce. One study showed that using Capstar and Program together indoors was actually more effective than traditional preventatives. These are both prescription medications, so you will need to see if your vet is willing to prescribe them. Some won't without seeing the cat/kittens first (so if you intend on taking them to a regular practice vet for general check up, then do it sooner rather than later).

That said, I do have a source for the generic versions that do not require a prescription that are a fraction of the cost that you can PM me for. This is what I and other local caretakers have been using for years, as well as many other caretakers and rescuers I've met online.

We also ensure our other animals are treated for fleas during this time as well.

Additionally, I place at least one line of food grade diatomaceous earth in the doorway of whatever room the cat(s) is staying. This is non-toxic to cats, and will kill any fleas that dare to pass through it.

"What cage to use to keep them?" -

Doesn't have to be a cage! If you have an extra spare room, a bathroom, a laundry room, or a large enough closet, these options can work just as well!

However, wire dog crates can also work! We use XL dog crates from Tractor Supply. This is the brand - https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/retriever-2-door-dog-wire-crate?cm_vc=-10011 I can never find the exact crates that we get online, but they are always in stores.

They have two doors and come with a divider. We zip tie the divider horizontally to make a shelf for extra room, and then zip tie corrugated plastic (Home Depot) to the shelf for "flooring" (cardboard works too, but you'll need to replace it often because kittens are messy - we like the plastic because it can be wiped/cleaned/disinfected and lasts longer).

We use the 48" crates most often, but have also used the 42" and 36". For only two kittens 6-8 weeks old, you can definitely get away with the smaller sizes. They are on sale locally often, so definitely check with a store near you if you are in the states.

Here are some of the set ups we have used to give you an idea of what this might look like (including both simple set ups, and a little more involved set ups) -

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(I believe the one above is the 36" crate. Litterbox is placed on the shelf, but you could reverse the hiding place and the litter box easily).

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(The kittens above were 8 weeks old and in a 48" crate, to give you an idea of space).

The main things you want to have in there are the litter box, food and water bowl (as far away from the litterbox as you can manage, which is sometimes difficult. I would suggest that if you're able to make a shelf, to put the bowls up there and the litterbox on the first level - otherwise, be sure to check bowls frequently, as water will need to be changed much more often), and a hiding place. Clearly, we use a pet carrier for our hiding place, as it makes taking cats/kittens out of the crate for cleaning/vet visits easier, but you could also use a cardboard box or small storage tote if necessary.

Everything in addition to those things are only a bonus, so don't feel pressured to add anything else. Also,only keep safe toys in the crate if you do so - no fur, strings, fabric, mice with eyes, etc. Hard plastic, rubber (like Pet Stages chew toys), or really tough material, like chew toys meant for small breed puppies are the only things they can be left alone with unsupervised (I have one toy with feathers on it in one of the photos above because we took the picture before placing the kitten in - feathers were cut off in between).

And like I mentioned earlier, kittens of the age you're talking about can often slip through bars of these crates. So you will definitely need tough netting or chicken wire, plexiglass,etc to prevent escape (see photo above).

"Should I keep them separate kittens from mama cat? In 2 cages?" -

The kittens are old enough to be on their own under human supervision indoors. It's not ideal, but nothing about working with community cats is. Usually, we strive to keep kittens with Mom until they're 12-16 weeks, but when Mom is feral or semi-feral, it can complicate things. The 6 feral kittens (4-6 weeks old when trapped) that I tamed/socialized and kept with Mom until a full 12-16 weeks old, ended up being much more difficult to socialize and/or the end result for socialization was worse, compared to the dozens where I released Mom once they were at least 6 weeks old.

Kittens easily pick up on Mom's behavior. Unlike you, I was actually trying to socialize the Momma's at the same time. I eventually did socialize all three Momma's, but it just didn't happen quickly enough - the kittens had already learned her scardey cat behaviors to varying extents.

Meanwhile, the kittens I've separated from Mom have had their socialization go so well that they are like ragdolls. I can carry them everywhere, play with their feet, legs, tails, etc, and they just don't care. They're confident little stinkers who are as sweet as can be.

So when planning your trapping, I strongly advise you try to plan a way to trap the kittens now, but save Mom for 2-4 days before the appointment. To ensure you can trap her when the time comes, start feeding her in the trap, with it zip tied open. By the time the appointment comes around, she will be so used to going in and eating, that when you actually set it, she will just walk right on in. Guaranteed trap!

That way, you can focus on socializing the kittens. Luckily, they have a sibling, so this will help compensate for being separated from Mom.

If you can't do that, then a Mom and two kittens of 6-8 weeks old will be fine in a 48" crate together (and certainly in a bathroom, spare room, etc)... for a while at least. Your two primary issues are going to be space and socialization.

In regards to space -

If using a crate without a divider shelf, I would honestly only do this for maybe a few days or a week at most, because it will be crowded.

If you can do the divider shelf thing, then two weeks will probably be fine. By 10 weeks, the kittens will be bigger and the crate will seem more crowded for all three of them.

If using a bathroom, bedroom, etc, then keeping the family together for a month wont be an issue space-wise.

In regards to socialization -

This is even more of an issue. You could crate them together initially, but like I said earlier, socialization will be much better if you can separate kittens from Mom at.. well, around the age they are now, 6-8 weeks.

If you keep them together the whole time, you're going to need to be far more diligent when socializing, and allow the kittens time away from Mom every day one way or another while you work with them.

If Mom isn't an actual true feral, then you will have leeway here. Cats who aren't true ferals can start taming up once confined in a matter of days to a week sometimes, in which case, it may ultimately be okay to keep everyone together for even a full 12 weeks. It all depends on Mom's temperament, which can sometimes look different after a few days of confinement. When in doubt though, assume she's feral and try to keep kittens separate.

"What if mama cat is too wild and goes nuts in a cage for a month waiting for spaying? ;)"

Cats don't have cage rage because they're too wild. A feral's predominant instinct is to hide and hunker down. That's why we always keep traps covered and in a dark and quiet place. If they can't see you, they feel like you can't see them, so they feel more safe.

Every once in a while though, a cat will have cage rage - this is less to do with being feral/wild, and I believe is more of a claustrophobia effect or their flee instinct being greater than their freeze instinct, unlike typical ferals. I had a very tame, well socialized foster who went crazy with any confinement, and I have an ex feral who is the same .Both beat themselves bloody with almost any confinement smaller than a bedroom.

Again, this is another reason to wait until 1-4 days before her appointment to trap her. I've seen cats practically scalp themselves trying to ram out of the trap, beat and bruise their face up trying to squeeze through crate bars, getting limbs caught in a crate (this one has never happened to me personally, but I have met several cats who needed amputation of toes or legs because of it. I zip tie the corners and edges of our crates for extra security/rigidity because of it). I even had a full grown 13 lb adult somehow, inexplicably to this day, escape one of our crates.

In all likelihood though, she will just hunker down like most cats do, so hopefully you won't actually need to worry about this. Hopefully you'll trap her pretty close to surgery day, and that way, if she has cage rage, it won't be for too long. You might just need to release her early after recovery (once anesthesia wears off vs holding her for 1-4 days for spay recovery).

"Do I need any protective gear to hold them all, so I don't get scratched?" -

Some disagree, but I say yes.

However, don't try to hold Momma unless you're trying to socialize her. And even then, it's a long process to doing so, and you shouldn't need gloves by the time you get to that point. However, with kittens, we tend to rush the process out of necessity, so gloves can be useful to have on hand at the very least.

Ideally, you don't try to hold them until they're ready to be held, in which case, gloves usually aren't necessary. But sometimes you need to remove them from the crate or they escape, and they are still too wild. They likely won't bite, but they can, and if it helps you feel more comfortable grabbing them, then that's what matters most. I always keep gloves nearby just in case.

But again - ideally, you will socialize until they are at the point that you feel fairly confident that they won't bite or intentionally scratch you.

"Is there any other way to capture kittens without the traps? They are so small and may not trigger it by weight..." -

Yes!

I outlined the crate trick above. You can also use a regular plastic carrier similarly.

Again, if they will eat with you nearby, then you can just wait until they go by, and then close the door.

If they need some space to feel comfortable, then again, tie a string to the door, run it into the carrier and then out the vent hole. Wait until they're inside, then pull the string. Be sure to weigh the carrier down and practice beforehand.

Do you know what brand of trap you are using? If not, can you take a photo and post it?

Most traps will still trigger for kittens. There are also other ways to make them more sensitive, so to speak.

Now, a question for you -

May I ask what "testing" you are referring to, and why you are doing that testing?



Thank you for stepping up to help these guys! Unfortunately, I cannot donate to your endeavor, as I am fostering a bunch of seniors amd special needs adults and three litters + have a big handful of ferals I'm TNR'ing,+ trying to find rescue or foster placement for three other litters, so I'm beyond tapped out.

I strongly suggest you contact rescues about what you're doing, though. Many rescues will offer sponsorship if you're willing to "foster your own rescue" - this means they will basically have you sign up as a foster for them and help cover expenses. Often times, they will cover all expenses, and can lend you things like crates and other supplies. They will also help with the kittens' adoption.

The only thing that rescues are in need of more than money, is fosters. Being willing to foster your own rescue significantly increases your chances of a rescue helping you out so that you don't need to shoulder the financial burden completely on your own.

Contact as many rescues in your area and surrounding area as you can, and be persistent. If you offer to foster (and covering the expenses of spay/neuter also helps), you can very likely secure rescue backing for all the rest of it.

An example of how to approach it would be "I found these kittens. I'm going to be TNR'ing their Mom and the other cats in the area, but I want to get these kittens somewhere safe and help them find their forever home. I don't have much money, but I would be willing to foster them and work on socializing them (and can afford to at least get them neutered and vaccinated) and can bring them to adoption events and things like that. I understand it's kitten season right now and everyone is overwhelmed, but if there's any way you might be able to help, I would really appreciate it."

Keep us updated, and good luck!
 
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NewKitty2019

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Hi NewKitty2019 NewKitty2019 Thanks for trying to help this family.

I would start right away with feeding the cat and kittens near the traps you have to get them used to seeing them.

What kind of set-up do you have to house them all why you are socialising/waiting for spay appointments? A large crate with a carrier in as a safe sleeping place would make it easier to get the mother to the vets to be spayed.

If you trap the mother first you can use her as "bait" to catch the kittens and vice versa. Here are a few videos that might help. The first one shows a great way of keeping a very feral mother with her kittens until she can be fixed.



This one shows how to use kittens as bait, but it works just as well if you catch the mother first.


I was once lucky enough to get a litter of 4 week old kittens to foster. The rest of my rescues were at least 10 weeks old, usually closer to four month old, feral born kittens. You have every chance of making them friendly enough to be adopted, even if they are totally feral now. (Which they aren't as you've been feeding them.)

Mum won't freak out if she has her kittens with her. Keeping them in a small space will help her stay calm.

Don't worry about betraying her trust. I know we all feel like that when trying to do TNR or bring outdoor cats inside, but she's not going to make the link between trap+coming indoors+trip to the vet = bad human. Cats don't think that way, so please don't worry.

If the kittens are too small to trigger the trap you can prop the door open with a plastic bottle full of water tied to a long piece of rope. When the kittens go into the trap pull the rope, the trap will close without being triggered.

I know it's stressful, but you are absolutely doing the right thing by trapping them and bringing them indoors.

:goodluck:
Thank you so much! This is so informative! I have a large crate with a carrier now, just like in the 1st video. I am just not sure how old the kittens are. I think I saw her nursing one today. But I know the kittens also eat hard food. Do we still keep them together?
Anyway, I think we will do the trapping on Monday morning, at the feeding time... Wish me all good luck! :lovecat4:
 
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NewKitty2019

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First off, rest assured that your concerns are normal! Now strap in for a long post :p I have your questions a bit out of order, so sorry about that!

I honestly hate trapping kittens when Mom is still around, because I always fear exactly what you are.In fact, I lost an 8 week old kitten this fall over it. I trapped the 3 siblings, but the last kitten was never food motivated, and previously only entered (zip tied open) traps to follow siblings or mom in. (I didn't quite realize this because two of the kittens were all black, and the other two were black and white with identical patterns as far as I could tell, so I couldn't ever tell who is who to notice any patterns of behavior).

I just could not get that last kitten. So out of desperation, I trapped Mom, hoping to use her as bait. Unfortunately that didn't quite work out, and I released Mom because I didn't want the kitten to be completely on her own. The kitten went missing about a week later :(

The good news is, I was able to retrap Mom fairly easily on my first attempt after that.

Retrapping Momma Cat -

Never assume you won't be able to retrap her. In reality, most cats can be retrapped with a little ingenuity and so long as it isn't an urgent rush job. If you have at least a couple of weeks "cushion", then that is almost certainly enough time to retrap most cats.

So if you have to release Momma, you have to release Momma.

Being that she is a Momma cat also offers you a couple of extra tricks up your sleeve too. It allows you to use the kittens as "bait" (by placing a carrier at the end of the trap), or to simply use audio of kittens calling out to Mom. This has worked for me in nearly every case, including situations where I trapped Mom too early and had to release her so she could care for her kittens.

Plenty of members here have experience with retrapping and trapping trap-savvy cats, so if it comes to retrapping Mom, you can get a lot of advice on that here.

"I feel like she finally trusts me a bit and even brought one kitten to eat closer to the house... And now I will ruin that trust." -

You won't ruin her trust. Not permanently or significantly anyhow. She will get over it quickly, and you are far more concerned about losing her trust, than she will be about losing trust in you.

But I know it's hard, and it feels like a betrayal. To be honest, I've trapped so many cats, and it's still emotionally very difficult. Some caretakers handle it like champs and it's no big deal to them after a while, but some of us continue to struggle with each and every trap. I dread trapping, I'm incredibly anxious during the trap attempt, I absolutely hate the few seconds between the trap going off and running to cover the trap with a blanket because of how absolutely terrified the cat always looks, and I hate seeing how depressed and scared they are while trapped and recovering.

It does get a little easier the more familiar you are with the process, but I'm not going to lie, it can be emotionally difficult for some of us, and you seem like you might be one of those people (this is not a bad thing! It only means you're particularly empathetic :) ). But that doesn't mean it isn't worth it by any means. You will feel such a huge relief and sense of pride by the time you release her, and that will make it worth it to you. Just try to keep the frame of mind that you are like a "parent" to this cat, so even though it's hard for her and she doesn't understand, you are undoubtedly doing what is in her best interest, and her life will be much easier for it.

"What is the best way to capture them?" -

Now, as for your actual trap plan... if you're going to keep Mom and kittens in a crate, you might actually be able to use that as your trap, so long as there are no issues carrying and transporting it back to your home, getting it through the doorway, etc.

This is how I trap a lot of families. I use a medium - large wire dog crate so everyone can fit in. I put several bowls of food or bait in there to lure everyone in.

If Mom and kittens won't let you touch them, but will eat somewhat close to you, then wait until everyone (or the kittens) are in, and quickly shut the door on them.

If they will not eat with you close by, then you'll need to tie a string to the door. Run the string through the crate and out the bars at the side or back of the crate, depending on your location. If you need to completely hide, it's a little more cumbersome, but if they're comfortable eating in front of you, but only at a certain distance away, then it's super easy.

Just hold the end of the string in your hand, and wait until all of your targets (or enough of them) are in the crate. Then quickly pull the string to close the door and run up to manually latch it. Practice this a few times first though!!!

Additional word of warning for this trick - kittens about 6-8 weeks old have been able to slip through crate bars, even when I thought it impossible. So you'll want to make a barrier around the crate by wrapping something like deer netting (probably the easiest), chicken wire, plexiglass, corrugated plastic, etc , and securing it with zip ties, to close these gaps.

If you need/want to use regular traps, I personally find trapping can be more difficult. Be weary of kittens following one another in the traps, as they could end up severely injured or worse if one kitten trips the plate while the other is entering if the trap is spring loaded. All traditional traps I'm aware of are spring loaded except for TruCatch. If you have TruCatch traps, then the risk of severe injury is minimal.

To help ensure you don't trap Mom first, you might have to gently shoo her away when she comes near. What I usually do is get a piece of cardboard and cut it to size so that it will fit vertically in the trap, as if it's blocking the entry. Then, I cut a little 3"x3" - 4"x4" square at the corner so that kittens can get past it, but Momma can't. I place this near the front of the trap (about 3" or so inside), and zip tie it to the crate.

I got the idea from Tomahawk's kitten screen -

[/URL]

And actually, as I was trying to remember where I had seen that, I came across something on Neighborhood Cats that is the exact same thing that I do, only they advise to place it in front of the trip plate (which I wouldn't do with spring loaded traps in case Mom were to poke her head in as the kitten trips it, but it would be fine for a TruCatch trap. Having the "screen" closer to the front discourages Mom from even trying to enter usually). So here's a picture to help further illustrate what I'm talking about -

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"Keeping her inside for a month till she gets spayed, I am not sure how it will go. She is pretty wild... hisses at me when I feed her and runs away." -

Question - how close will she actually get to you? From this brief description, there seems to be potential that she is actually not a true feral, but more information is needed. Will she come up to you? Within what distance? How long have you been feeding her? Under what exact circumstances does she usually run away from you?

As far as keeping her inside... a month is a really long time to keep a feral or semi-feral indoors if you do not have the intention to tame and socialize. This is extremely stressful, and I'd advise you avoid it if at all possible. Additionally, when you start approaching the 2-3 week mark, cats start losing memory of their former territory. If I am holding onto a cat (due to illness, raising kittens, etc) for 3 weeks or more, I slowly reintroduce them to the outdoors, by keeping their crate outside for a bit every day.

Fleas -

Flea meds are your best bet here. All cats I TNR or otherwise bring into the house get a dose of Capstar as soon as possible - this kills all fleas on kitty for a 24 hour period, then it wears off. If they are short term stays (1-5 days), I give it daily.

It can be combined with other preventatives too, like Revolution. I use Revolution whenever possible, but when money is tight, I use Capstar for several days and give then give Program. Program is a monthly treatment that doesn't kill fleas, but it does sterilize the fleas so that they don't reproduce. One study showed that using Capstar and Program together indoors was actually more effective than traditional preventatives. These are both prescription medications, so you will need to see if your vet is willing to prescribe them. Some won't without seeing the cat/kittens first (so if you intend on taking them to a regular practice vet for general check up, then do it sooner rather than later).

That said, I do have a source for the generic versions that do not require a prescription that are a fraction of the cost that you can PM me for. This is what I and other local caretakers have been using for years, as well as many other caretakers and rescuers I've met online.

We also ensure our other animals are treated for fleas during this time as well.

Additionally, I place at least one line of food grade diatomaceous earth in the doorway of whatever room the cat(s) is staying. This is non-toxic to cats, and will kill any fleas that dare to pass through it.

"What cage to use to keep them?" -

Doesn't have to be a cage! If you have an extra spare room, a bathroom, a laundry room, or a large enough closet, these options can work just as well!

However, wire dog crates can also work! We use XL dog crates from Tractor Supply. This is the brand - https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/retriever-2-door-dog-wire-crate?cm_vc=-10011 I can never find the exact crates that we get online, but they are always in stores.

They have two doors and come with a divider. We zip tie the divider horizontally to make a shelf for extra room, and then zip tie corrugated plastic (Home Depot) to the shelf for "flooring" (cardboard works too, but you'll need to replace it often because kittens are messy - we like the plastic because it can be wiped/cleaned/disinfected and lasts longer).

We use the 48" crates most often, but have also used the 42" and 36". For only two kittens 6-8 weeks old, you can definitely get away with the smaller sizes. They are on sale locally often, so definitely check with a store near you if you are in the states.

Here are some of the set ups we have used to give you an idea of what this might look like (including both simple set ups, and a little more involved set ups) -

View attachment 340698
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(I believe the one above is the 36" crate. Litterbox is placed on the shelf, but you could reverse the hiding place and the litter box easily).

View attachment 340697

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(The kittens above were 8 weeks old and in a 48" crate, to give you an idea of space).

The main things you want to have in there are the litter box, food and water bowl (as far away from the litterbox as you can manage, which is sometimes difficult. I would suggest that if you're able to make a shelf, to put the bowls up there and the litterbox on the first level - otherwise, be sure to check bowls frequently, as water will need to be changed much more often), and a hiding place. Clearly, we use a pet carrier for our hiding place, as it makes taking cats/kittens out of the crate for cleaning/vet visits easier, but you could also use a cardboard box or small storage tote if necessary.

Everything in addition to those things are only a bonus, so don't feel pressured to add anything else. Also,only keep safe toys in the crate if you do so - no fur, strings, fabric, mice with eyes, etc. Hard plastic, rubber (like Pet Stages chew toys), or really tough material, like chew toys meant for small breed puppies are the only things they can be left alone with unsupervised (I have one toy with feathers on it in one of the photos above because we took the picture before placing the kitten in - feathers were cut off in between).

And like I mentioned earlier, kittens of the age you're talking about can often slip through bars of these crates. So you will definitely need tough netting or chicken wire, plexiglass,etc to prevent escape (see photo above).

"Should I keep them separate kittens from mama cat? In 2 cages?" -

The kittens are old enough to be on their own under human supervision indoors. It's not ideal, but nothing about working with community cats is. Usually, we strive to keep kittens with Mom until they're 12-16 weeks, but when Mom is feral or semi-feral, it can complicate things. The 6 feral kittens (4-6 weeks old when trapped) that I tamed/socialized and kept with Mom until a full 12-16 weeks old, ended up being much more difficult to socialize and/or the end result for socialization was worse, compared to the dozens where I released Mom once they were at least 6 weeks old.

Kittens easily pick up on Mom's behavior. Unlike you, I was actually trying to socialize the Momma's at the same time. I eventually did socialize all three Momma's, but it just didn't happen quickly enough - the kittens had already learned her scardey cat behaviors to varying extents.

Meanwhile, the kittens I've separated from Mom have had their socialization go so well that they are like ragdolls. I can carry them everywhere, play with their feet, legs, tails, etc, and they just don't care. They're confident little stinkers who are as sweet as can be.

So when planning your trapping, I strongly advise you try to plan a way to trap the kittens now, but save Mom for 2-4 days before the appointment. To ensure you can trap her when the time comes, start feeding her in the trap, with it zip tied open. By the time the appointment comes around, she will be so used to going in and eating, that when you actually set it, she will just walk right on in. Guaranteed trap!

That way, you can focus on socializing the kittens. Luckily, they have a sibling, so this will help compensate for being separated from Mom.

If you can't do that, then a Mom and two kittens of 6-8 weeks old will be fine in a 48" crate together (and certainly in a bathroom, spare room, etc)... for a while at least. Your two primary issues are going to be space and socialization.

In regards to space -

If using a crate without a divider shelf, I would honestly only do this for maybe a few days or a week at most, because it will be crowded.

If you can do the divider shelf thing, then two weeks will probably be fine. By 10 weeks, the kittens will be bigger and the crate will seem more crowded for all three of them.

If using a bathroom, bedroom, etc, then keeping the family together for a month wont be an issue space-wise.

In regards to socialization -

This is even more of an issue. You could crate them together initially, but like I said earlier, socialization will be much better if you can separate kittens from Mom at.. well, around the age they are now, 6-8 weeks.

If you keep them together the whole time, you're going to need to be far more diligent when socializing, and allow the kittens time away from Mom every day one way or another while you work with them.

If Mom isn't an actual true feral, then you will have leeway here. Cats who aren't true ferals can start taming up once confined in a matter of days to a week sometimes, in which case, it may ultimately be okay to keep everyone together for even a full 12 weeks. It all depends on Mom's temperament, which can sometimes look different after a few days of confinement. When in doubt though, assume she's feral and try to keep kittens separate.

"What if mama cat is too wild and goes nuts in a cage for a month waiting for spaying? ;)"

Cats don't have cage rage because they're too wild. A feral's predominant instinct is to hide and hunker down. That's why we always keep traps covered and in a dark and quiet place. If they can't see you, they feel like you can't see them, so they feel more safe.

Every once in a while though, a cat will have cage rage - this is less to do with being feral/wild, and I believe is more of a claustrophobia effect or their flee instinct being greater than their freeze instinct, unlike typical ferals. I had a very tame, well socialized foster who went crazy with any confinement, and I have an ex feral who is the same .Both beat themselves bloody with almost any confinement smaller than a bedroom.

Again, this is another reason to wait until 1-4 days before her appointment to trap her. I've seen cats practically scalp themselves trying to ram out of the trap, beat and bruise their face up trying to squeeze through crate bars, getting limbs caught in a crate (this one has never happened to me personally, but I have met several cats who needed amputation of toes or legs because of it. I zip tie the corners and edges of our crates for extra security/rigidity because of it). I even had a full grown 13 lb adult somehow, inexplicably to this day, escape one of our crates.

In all likelihood though, she will just hunker down like most cats do, so hopefully you won't actually need to worry about this. Hopefully you'll trap her pretty close to surgery day, and that way, if she has cage rage, it won't be for too long. You might just need to release her early after recovery (once anesthesia wears off vs holding her for 1-4 days for spay recovery).

"Do I need any protective gear to hold them all, so I don't get scratched?" -

Some disagree, but I say yes.

However, don't try to hold Momma unless you're trying to socialize her. And even then, it's a long process to doing so, and you shouldn't need gloves by the time you get to that point. However, with kittens, we tend to rush the process out of necessity, so gloves can be useful to have on hand at the very least.

Ideally, you don't try to hold them until they're ready to be held, in which case, gloves usually aren't necessary. But sometimes you need to remove them from the crate or they escape, and they are still too wild. They likely won't bite, but they can, and if it helps you feel more comfortable grabbing them, then that's what matters most. I always keep gloves nearby just in case.

But again - ideally, you will socialize until they are at the point that you feel fairly confident that they won't bite or intentionally scratch you.

"Is there any other way to capture kittens without the traps? They are so small and may not trigger it by weight..." -

Yes!

I outlined the crate trick above. You can also use a regular plastic carrier similarly.

Again, if they will eat with you nearby, then you can just wait until they go by, and then close the door.

If they need some space to feel comfortable, then again, tie a string to the door, run it into the carrier and then out the vent hole. Wait until they're inside, then pull the string. Be sure to weigh the carrier down and practice beforehand.

Do you know what brand of trap you are using? If not, can you take a photo and post it?

Most traps will still trigger for kittens. There are also other ways to make them more sensitive, so to speak.

Now, a question for you -

May I ask what "testing" you are referring to, and why you are doing that testing?



Thank you for stepping up to help these guys! Unfortunately, I cannot donate to your endeavor, as I am fostering a bunch of seniors amd special needs adults and three litters + have a big handful of ferals I'm TNR'ing,+ trying to find rescue or foster placement for three other litters, so I'm beyond tapped out.

I strongly suggest you contact rescues about what you're doing, though. Many rescues will offer sponsorship if you're willing to "foster your own rescue" - this means they will basically have you sign up as a foster for them and help cover expenses. Often times, they will cover all expenses, and can lend you things like crates and other supplies. They will also help with the kittens' adoption.

The only thing that rescues are in need of more than money, is fosters. Being willing to foster your own rescue significantly increases your chances of a rescue helping you out so that you don't need to shoulder the financial burden completely on your own.

Contact as many rescues in your area and surrounding area as you can, and be persistent. If you offer to foster (and covering the expenses of spay/neuter also helps), you can very likely secure rescue backing for all the rest of it.

An example of how to approach it would be "I found these kittens. I'm going to be TNR'ing their Mom and the other cats in the area, but I want to get these kittens somewhere safe and help them find their forever home. I don't have much money, but I would be willing to foster them and work on socializing them (and can afford to at least get them neutered and vaccinated) and can bring them to adoption events and things like that. I understand it's kitten season right now and everyone is overwhelmed, but if there's any way you might be able to help, I would really appreciate it."

Keep us updated, and good luck!
Than you so much for this long explanation and advice! This is exactly what I needed! I may use your trapping technique with the larger cage instead...
About the Testing, I am thinking we would need to know if they have FIV or whatever other things we need to know before vaccinating them. Does this sound reasonable? My friend had a kitten who was vaccinated and he had something that killed him because of vaccine. I'll ask her again what it was. I think FeLV .

Also, about the mama cat, she eats and let's me get about 4-5 feet next to her. But she watches every move I make and if it's something different she runs to the bushes. One of the kittens started climbing over a wall to our yard to eat as well. We put some planks of wood for kittens to get down. It's a tall wall. But another kitten is still in neighbor's back yard. So, I may need to ask the neighbor to trap him there...
Thank you so much for the photos and the flea prevention info. I think I will just start adding Capstar into their food now. Do I need a prescription for that? I see it's on Amazon. Hopefully we are capturing them on Monday.
About mama cat, I am still not sure what to do, do I need to get them together. The kittens are more scared of me than her at this point. I feel like if they are together she would be more calm. I don't mind socializing her, if it's possible. She is a beauty. I became attached to her. And my rescue kitty I got last year is in love with her. Ha-ha. He always runs to the window to see her outside and watches her eat and every move she makes. If she doesn't show up he gets lonely and checks the windows every minute. I think he is already feeling something is going to happen soon. :dancingblackcat: Thank you again! 💕
 
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NewKitty2019

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Do you know, is diatomaceous earth safe for my kitty? If he smells it? It has some crazy warnings on it...
 

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About the Testing, I am thinking we would need to know if they have FIV or whatever other things we need to know before vaccinating them. Does this sound reasonable? My friend had a kitten who was vaccinated and he had something that killed him because of vaccine. I'll ask her again what it was. I think FeLV .
You need to make sure any vaccines are done using the killed form of the vaccine for cats with compromised immune systems. I have FIV+ cats. They can live perfectly long, normal lives.

About mama cat, I am still not sure what to do, do I need to get them together. The kittens are more scared of me than her at this point. I feel like if they are together she would be more calm.
Personally I prefer to keep them together. I think there is a better chance of socializing them all that way.
 
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Happy to report mama cat and 2 kittens were captured today. They are safe inside a large cage with similar set up: I’ll post pictures when they are a bit less scared. Thank you to a couple of people who donated for this on GoFundMe! And to people posting all the information on how to do it here! ❤ You are our angels. 😻😻😻 Every bit helps. I’ll be posting receipts on GoFundMe later on. This problem effects all of us. Dead kittens on streets is just a too common theme. 😰 If we all start helping each other to TNR we can reduce the problem to a minimum. Hopefully Feral Cat Coalition and others will resume their normal activities soon. Thank you! 🙏🏻❤
 
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One more question. Maybe this was answered some place... How much time do you think I should take to start taking kittens out from the feral mama cat to try and socialize them? I was thinking to take them out daily for some time? One is always seating a bit separate from mama cat, and smaller in size. Another one is always behind his mama and larger in size. I think the larger one started eating food earlier that's why he is stronger and larger. But he is more scared... Anyway, any recommendations (or videos) on socializing these 2 will help! Thank you!
And any advice on what to do with mama cat? We have an appointment to spay her on July 9th. Should I try to socialize her or just let her go outside right after. I have no idea what to do. She is not eating today, in protest of being captured. 😰
 

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Happy to report mama cat and 2 kittens were captured today.
Wonderful news! Good for you.

:goldstar:
And any advice on what to do with mama cat? We have an appointment to spay her on July 9th. Should I try to socialize her or just let her go outside right after. I have no idea what to do. She is not eating today, in protest of being captured.
There are several ways you can get the mother and kittens used to people. If you have a radio tune it in to a talk show and leave it playing at really low volume. Classical harp music for some reason is really soothing to cats. Again played at really low volume. Just being in the same room as them, doing your own thing and not paying them any attention, will get them used to your presence. Stay close to the floor, get a cushion and a blanket and sit or lie down with a book or your phone or whatever. The idea is that they get used to your smell and you being close to them and they realise nothing bad will happen when you're close by.

A petting stick can be useful. Get a long handled wooden spoon, wrap a t-shirt you have worn around the end, secured with string, and use this to pet the kittens. This will get the used to having your smell on them.

Play is another great socialiser. A wand toy is useful for this, but make sure you keep it low to the ground so as not to scare them. If you can sit on the ground and cover your legs with a blanket you'll only appear half the size you actually are to them. You can use the wand toy to coax them onto the blanket. Kittens usually get so engrossed in play they start using your legs to ambush the wand toy from behind.

Remember not to make too much eye contact. Slow blink and look away if they catch you looking at them.

As for Mom, not eating for the first day is to be expected. Every cat is different, I have known very feral mothers warm up enough to be petted after seeing their kittens enjoying being around people. It's early days yet though, I think she should just focus on making her feel comfortable enough to eat and see how she does over the next few days.

It's a good idea to keep spayed cats indoors for 24 - 48 hours after surgery, so don't release her straight away.

Oh, and the diatomaceous earth? Only food grade DE is safe for pets as a supplement or to get rid of fleas. Other types of DE are not safe for humans or animals.

So glad to hear the whole family are safely indoors now.

:rock:
 
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NewKitty2019

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Hi everybody! Thank you so much for reading!
Let me just say, I am so stressed and I am not cut out for fostering cats at all... But life just gets me into these situations. Last year we adopted an almost feral cat, hoping for a companionship because of my personal loss. But it took us forever to gain this cat's trust. Just to touch him it took 4 months for us. Now he is the most loving and cuddly kitty you would dream off.

Anyway, last December this stranger lady nocked to our door, just to let us know that there was a mama cat with a bunch of kittens going to our back yard. I immediately looked and put a bowl of food out, just in case. To make story short, I did not see the kittens after that first day, as I was feeding them in front of our house and have no idea what happened to them. So, 5 months later I started feeding the same mama cat on the back yard, just because it was easier... And a few weeks ago she brought 2 kittens. So...., yesterday we trapped mama cat and 2 feral kittens and they are seating in our Kitchen in a big cage.

I went through a lot of scenarios and called probably every help center in San Diego and nobody could help, with covid and long lines on spaying...
One side of me is terrified that I trapped wild animals and have no idea of what I am doing. On another hand I could not let her bread any more in our neighborhood. We have so many dead kittens found every day. And I had to save those kitties, as our neighbors were not interested in doing so. They actually lived under a shed of our neighbors who had no idea they were there.

So, I really need some support right now, moral and with answers. I have no idea what I am doing or how to handle wild cats. At least when I got our Kitty from rescue place he was clean and neutered. Some questions to you ladies who have done this a lot of times.

- Mama cat is not eating. It's only 2nd day, but I am concerned. What if she doesn't start eating soon?
- I think she is pregnant too, I see a belly but I am not an expert. What do I do if she is? Still spay her? I don't think I can do that if it's close to birth? But I don't know if I can foster a bunch of kittens. I can see now how expensive it is and emotional...
- We have a spaying appointment on July 9th. But I have no idea how I will bring her! She is in the cage and do I just grab her? I've never done that before and terrified.
- Keep her inside after spaying or not? I am leaning towards letting her go... Any advise on this one? I wanted to get a second cat but maybe it's too early to tell. Any advice on what to look for in her behavior if she is happy or not inside? I guess my cat had to accept her too.
- Is the cage too small? Look at the photos. They just seat there on top shelf, not moving much. I feel like it's not healthy for kittens to just seat there and not play. But the only space we have is in the Kitchen with busy traffic. Should I separate one corner somehow and open the cage? Or will she just jump out and run? People say Bathroom is a good room, but how do you take a shower or get ready?
- One of the kittens got diarrhea. I have no idea what to do with that? Add more dry food?
- When and how do I start taking kittens out? They are just hiding behind mama most of the time I approach. They are about 8 weeks old I think and have eye color already. One kitten is more independent but she cries sometimes if something is not right.
Any other advice on how to not freak out over this situation? Our house is a war zone right now! Trying to keep our kitty away from the kitchen and having all the tables covered with stuff for these cats... How do you ladies deal with this? I work from hope and thought I could help, but now it's getting in a way of my work... Please Help! :bawling:
 

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First of all, you are so courageous to be doing this, I know how scary it can be. Really, the best thing to do is to get mama spayed, she is doomed to have litter after litter if you don't, adding to the cat population tremendously. You will be blessed for your kindness.....
When transferring mama, I would move the whole thing into a small room like a bathroom, the night before, just in case she escapes, which is highly likely since she is so scared. If you can, 'herd' her into the carrier with gloved hands, preferably kitchen hot pad gloves or something padded. It really all depends on how tame she is. If she is truly feral it won't be easy. Make sure the carrier has a note taped to the outside saying "FERAL CAT, WILL BITE" in big letters so assistants won't get bit. Once she is spayed, keep her inside for a day or two, then either release her or continue taming her. It can be done and we would help you!
She may be eating at night, most scared cats do, and two days is not long at all for her to be so scared and refusing to eat. But try to tempt her with some wet food, she needs the water too. The diarrhea is most likely attributed to diet change and stress, it should be cleared up in a few days. Lots of water, even a human infant unflavored Pedialyte to help. Boiled hamburger mixed with a little rice is bland and would help as would an unseasoned canned pumpkin, (for fiber) about a tablespoon mixed into their food.
I will pray for everything to go all right, I know it seems very hard right now, but it will get better, getting mama spayed is the most important and humane thing to do right now. PLEASE keep us informed and come back here anytime you need help!
 
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Thank you so much! One of my neighbors stopped by. She fosters kittens for humane society. She brought a larger cage for us and said that mama cat is too feral and we need to separate the kittens. So we did. She also said we can leave mama cat outside in a big cage with blankets on top. It took us some effort to get her into a carrier and into a new cage... :bawling:
So, now she is seating outside in the cage, on top shelf, and sleeping most of the day. I am a bit concerned about the food seating there on the bottom and other animals will get attracted to it...
The kittens are inside now and hissing lot, more than before. I cried again... 😰 Just too stressful, feeling so guilty separating a family.
The most horrible thing is we have to wait for mama cat to be spayed now on 8th, that is the whole full week in this cage!!! If she doesn't eat till Friday I am throwing the towel and letting her go. :eek: I can't watch this any more...

Good news is one of the kittens will be adopted this Friday by a friend of mine who can do a good job taking care of him. She already has one cat and knows what to do. We will try to get 2nd kitten socialized ourselves.

Thank you everyone for reading! Here are the kittens after we removed mom. All scared...
 

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Norachan

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I am a bit concerned about the food seating there on the bottom and other animals will get attracted to it
Don't leave food out all the time. It will attract bugs and other wildlife and it will just spoil, so she won't be able to eat it anyway. Make sure she has access to clean water 24/7. Feed her twice a day. Cats are more active at sunrise and sunset, so this is usually the best time to feed her. Try cooking some chicken and feeding it to her still warm, or heat up some canned food. The smell of warm food is more enticing than cold, so it should encourage her to eat. You could also try something very smelly like human grade tuna from a can. Offer her the stuff that comes in water, rather than oil.

You can also get a Hills prescription food, which often tempts cats who won't eat.

Hill's® Prescription Diet® a/d® Canine/Feline

You don't have to watch her eat. Give her the food, cover her crate over and check back an hour later. Remove any food she hasn't eaten.

The most horrible thing is we have to wait for mama cat to be spayed now on 8th, that is the whole full week in this cage!!! If she doesn't eat till Friday I am throwing the towel and letting her go.
No, please don't do that! I know it's stressing you out, but if you let her go she will get pregnant again straight away. She's just finished nursing these two kittens, so she'll probably come into heat very soon. She will eat eventually. You just have to be patient.
Good news is one of the kittens will be adopted this Friday by a friend of mine who can do a good job taking care of him. She already has one cat and knows what to do. We will try to get 2nd kitten socialized ourselves.
That's great news. Good luck with the kitten. Take a look at some of Kitten Lady or Flatbush Cats videos for tips on socialising kittens.
 
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NewKitty2019

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Don't leave food out all the time. It will attract bugs and other wildlife and it will just spoil, so she won't be able to eat it anyway. Make sure she has access to clean water 24/7. Feed her twice a day. Cats are more active at sunrise and sunset, so this is usually the best time to feed her. Try cooking some chicken and feeding it to her still warm, or heat up some canned food. The smell of warm food is more enticing than cold, so it should encourage her to eat. You could also try something very smelly like human grade tuna from a can. Offer her the stuff that comes in water, rather than oil.

You can also get a Hills prescription food, which often tempts cats who won't eat.

Hill's® Prescription Diet® a/d® Canine/Feline

You don't have to watch her eat. Give her the food, cover her crate over and check back an hour later. Remove any food she hasn't eaten.


No, please don't do that! I know it's stressing you out, but if you let her go she will get pregnant again straight away. She's just finished nursing these two kittens, so she'll probably come into heat very soon. She will eat eventually. You just have to be patient.


That's great news. Good luck with the kitten. Take a look at some of Kitten Lady or Flatbush Cats videos for tips on socialising kittens.
Well, it's turning into a nightmare... Mama cat is not drinking or eating 3rd day. I am very concerned. How will we do a surgery next Wednesday, if she is not eating?
After we put mama cat outside in a cage last night, her friend cat came and started walking around making sounds. She started howling so loud!!! Kittens started crying inside listening to her.
So, we took her cage back into the Kitchen and now all night the kittens were trying to dig a hole in the cage and cry for mama, because she is so close I guess.
I feel like I am holding a prison now. I am thinking to release mama cat and recapture her when we have a proper appointment. I may not be able to, but this is getting out of control. It's 5am and I barely slept... :frown: And I have to work tomorrow. I am lost...
 
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NewKitty2019

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I feel like I got a bad advice capturing all 3 of them. I should have captured her right before the appointment. The kittens seem to be ok on their own at this age. But her being close making them all scared... Please help! Am I making the right decision to let her go for now? There is no way I can socialize the kittens with her next to them, and them crying... and with her not eating it's just not possible to keep her for a week in a cage. :confused2:
 

Norachan

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You know, if it was me I'd let mother and kittens stay in the same cage together. It's much less stressful on them and you. Are the kittens eating and drinking? She might be tempted to eat if the kittens are eating with her.
 
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NewKitty2019

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You know, if it was me I'd let mother and kittens stay in the same cage together. It's much less stressful on them and you. Are the kittens eating and drinking? She might be tempted to eat if the kittens are eating with her.
We tried that and the cage was just too small. They were going nuts in it, digging and turning stuff inside out all night. The kittens were not getting socialized but getting more scared. She was not eating or drinking either... A this point I think she just gave up.
 
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