Found kittens, not sure if I should try and catch them

ChunkyNaomBaby

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Hello everyone, so yesterday night I was going through the McDonald’s drive through and as I was sitting there, I saw a tiny kitten run into the drive through lane from some bushes and look through some trash, then run back into the bushes. Of course as the cat lover I am I wanted to investigate so I parked my car and went over there. When I looked into the bushes I found not only one kitten, but 4-5 of them (it was hard to count them). They were small, but looked like different ages? Two Siamese looking ones looked like they were only 4 weeks old. There were two or three grey and black and white ones that looked to be 5-6 weeks old. All of them were scared and hid further into the bushes.
So they are located in what I feel like is a dangerous spot, as it’s a corner between a McDonald’s drive through and a really busy 5 lane road. I watched the area to see if a mom cat ever showed up, but it’s been like 24 hours and I have been coming back there multiple times a day, no sign of mom. They seem really hungry, I gave them a can of wet food and they devoured it. I don’t know what to do, catch them or leave them? I want to keep feeding them because the smaller ones especially looked really skinny. If you guys thing I should catch them any ideas would be appreciated, they are skittish and the bushes are so thick I can’t get to them. Here’s a photo of the area they are at and you can see the black and white one peeking out.
D3E8E041-98D3-4478-8D76-B8BA9DD270AE.jpeg
 

Orpanmom

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I've been in a similar situation and it's possible given the heavy traffic mom has been hit or caught and not coming back or could just be trying to ween but either way sounds they are at an age you should be able to tame and could give them a chance of happy healthy lives.
I went in the restaurant and asked if I could set a trap to catch them with promise of checking multiple times a day. They were more than happy to allow me to do so. From there I was successful in finding homes, mine being home for 2.
 

Sarthur2

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Yes, I agree with above. Put canned food in a dish inside a trap or a cat carrier and catch who goes in. Bring several cans and an extra carrier to set it again right away. Then, go back if you have to until you get them all. They are likely to be too young to be trap or carrier savvy yet.

If you don’t, they will get picked off by predators and cars or starve.

Please update!
 
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ChunkyNaomBaby

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I went back to feed them this morning. Still no sign of mom. I sat and watched them eat, all of them came up and ate. They run away at every movement I make though. I might just keep coming back until they are less shy and then try and catch them. I couldn’t find the carrier I had at home anyways, so I need to find that or buy one first. I think I didn’t see them clearly in the dark last time, cause they do all look to be the same age. There are five of them, two Siamese colored, two black and white, and one fully black. One of the black and white ones seems to be the runt, it’s smaller and skinnier then the rest. It also came to eat last. Sadly I could only sit for 30 min before I had to leave. I will definitely come back at least 2 more times today to feed them, and also bring them some water.
 

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Furballsmom

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Do you know a rescue group or someone like that who'd let you borrow/rent a trap?
 

Sarthur2

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You really need to borrow or rent traps or carriers to catch them. Just feeding them helps, but will not catch them. Please ask friends to borrow pet carriers or traps. Time is of the essence here.

They will not get “less shy.” You need to capture them now. The longer you wait the harder it will get. Please take the steps you need to catch them now.
 

Norachan

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They will not get “less shy.” You need to capture them now. The longer you wait the harder it will get. Please take the steps you need to catch them now.
:yeah:

The longer you wait the harder it will be. If you are going to buy a carrier consider buying a humane trap instead. It will make it easier if you can't get close enough to the kittens to shut the carrier door after them.

You could use a pet bottle full of water to prop the trap door open and a length of rope to pull the bottle away and shut the door, rather than rigging the trap up as usual. That way you might be able to get more than one kitten at at time.

Rescues will rent or sometimes lend you traps for free so you could set up a couple at the same time to make sure you catch them all.

:goodluck:
 

Caspers Human

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I might just keep coming back until they are less shy and then try and catch them.
Feed them for a day or so in order to get them used to your presence but no more than that.

I wouldn't say that it's an emergency but you do need to get them out of there as soon as you can.

They have lived this long, hiding out, dodging cars, finding food and avoiding predators or mean people but their luck will eventually run out. One by one, they'll get picked off and the remaining ones, if there are any, will become hardcore ferals.

Getting them inside where they can be taken care of and socialize with humans until they find good homes is the best option. :)
 
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ChunkyNaomBaby

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I plan on catching them on Monday, I unfortunately have no time Sunday to do it. I will try and buy or get my hands on a trap on Sunday, so I’m all set on Monday morning to go out and catch them. Any advice on trapping them is appreciated.
 

Norachan

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As they are so young they won't be trap savvy yet, so you don't have to worry about them seeing their friends get trapped and avoiding the traps.

If you only have one trap you could try wedging the door open and pulling the wedge out when you've got a few kittens inside, as I suggested above. Actually, even if you have a few traps it's probably safer to wedge the doors open. Little kittens might not be heavy enough to trigger a trap by stepping on the plate. What's more, if one goes in and does trigger it the door could shut on another kitten that's only half way in the trap. Wedging the door open and waiting until one or more are safely inside would be safer.

Practice wedging the door open and pulling the wedge away a couple of times at home before you go out to trap. I don't know if it's just me but I get really nervous whenever I have to trap, so have a few practice runs so you know exactly what you need to do.

Make sure there are no rocks or weeds in the way that could block the door from shutting properly.

Take some blankets so that you can cover the trap as soon as you've caught a kitten. They'll freak out if they are in an enclosed space and can see outside, but if you cover the trap (or carrier) they'll calm down.

Put some very smelly wet food right at the back of the trap so they have to go all the way in to eat.

Do you have safe room or a crate you can keep them in at home? Even a tiny bathroom is fine. If you don't have a crate make sure you kitten proof the room before you let them in.

Kitten Proofing Your Home: 13 Practical Tips – TheCatSite Articles

Is there a vet you can take them to as soon as they are trapped? They'll probably need treating for worms and other parasites and most feral kittens have some kind of eye infection too, so getting them seen by a vet as soon as you can would be a great idea.

Fingers crossed for you!

:crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers:
 

Caspers Human

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I use a regular Havahart trap.
(The cage kind with drop-down doors.)

But, instead of relying on the treadle, I'd prop the door open with a stick. Tie a string to the stick and sit under cover to wait and watch. When a kitten goes in, you can pull the string and close the trap.

First, it makes sure that kittens don't get hurt when the door drops. That's the most important thing but, also, you can time it so that the kitten is all the way inside and you're more likely to get a good catch with no chance of escape.

If you play your strategy right, you could also get a double catch! :D

Y'know... Monday might just be a good day to pull off this operation.
Since it's a holiday, if you time things right, traffic might be lighter, making it easier to work, because most people will be home, enjoying the holiday, instead of going to Mickey D's.
 

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I used things that took time for kittens to eat so you have a better chance of catching more at one time. I often smeared something they liked to lick along the plate with the smelly food. Sometimes I got the whole litter at once. If you catch one and the others dash , sit tight and be patient. Hunger will bring them back. Keep an eye out for the mom still. It is possible she came back into heat and is lingering near but keeping distance from the babies. She’ll be wary of you but you may spot her if you spend time there. It would be nice if you could figure that out, get her spayed and prevent more babies. Maybe the people working around there can tell you if they have seen her. If you can use more than one trap you might get them all quicker too. Stay as hidden as you can but be careful of the traffic yourself too!
 
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ChunkyNaomBaby

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I actually think I saw mom today. She looked so small I though she was a kitten herself. Since the kittens can eat wet food is it okay to take them away from the mom? I will also try to catch mom to get her spayed but I want to catch the kittens first.
 

Caspers Human

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Would catching the mother first help catch the kittens?
If she calls, wouldn't the kittens come to her?

Or, would that work the other way around?
If she makes a distress call, would it send the kittens into hiding?

Regardless... Whether you catch the mother first or last... Yes, catch her too.
She's the best one to take care of the kittens until they are old enough to find homes.
 

Norachan

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Would catching the mother first help catch the kittens?
If she calls, wouldn't the kittens come to her?
It works better the other way around. Catch the kittens first, put them (Or just one of them) in a covered cat carrier with just one end uncovered. Place the uncovered end of the carrier up against the back of the trap. When the mother goes into the trap to retrieve her kitten she'll spring the trap and can be taken to a safe place and reunited with her babies.

Sometimes the mothers are too feral to adjust to life indoors, but at least you can let them finish raising their kittens and get them spayed and vaccinated before you release them. Sometimes you get lucky and the mother decides she's happy to stay in.

Either way it's a good idea to trap the mothers too, as they'll go into heat soon after giving birth and then there will be more kittens in the same predicament.
 
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ChunkyNaomBaby

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I don’t know if it is just my anxiety kicking in but I’m having second thoughts about trapping them tomorrow. I have never trapped cats before so I’m not sure how it will go. I also don’t know if I will be able to trap mom because I’ve only seen her once and she fled before I even got within 50 feet of the bush. Will the kittens be alright without mom if they are around 5-6 weeks old? I also don’t know if I have the time to socialize them, and giving them to the local shelter may be the best option.
 

Norachan

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That's normal. I get such terrible last minute jitters before I trap that I almost throw-up with anxiety.

Look at it this way: You're saving their lives. They won't survive where they are.

Trap them and take them to a shelter if you feel that's best, whatever you do will be better than leaving them where they are. 5 to 6 weeks old is the best time to take them in, as they are the most open to being socialized at that age
 
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