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Feral Mom

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I had to learn all the new Florida laws and rules, as well as my town's rules, as well as which neighbors were cranks,
to begin my TNVR mission.

then I had to train my wild cats to learn to meet me in this here nearby field, (below)
which even has a clear running steam where they actually DO drink the water from, they do! the cats run down there and take drinks on hot days.
The water "looks" clear and clean, and it IS gently moving water going by. It is shallow, so if they ever fall in, they can get out easy enough.

There is a small bridge over the creek.


Previously, I fed the cats in various parking lots, where the neighbors all complained. Til i found this neighborhood field. It did take a while for the cats to understand where to go, i had to move them in increments, day by day, over to the field.
but, the cats know my "whistle" and they come running to that sound. whew, lucky for me.

After TNVR surgery,
I always "keep" my ferals for at LEAST a few days,
before I release them after surgery. (or, depending on the time of year, up to a week or two, like it was 35 degrees last January,--------- so i kept them all bundled up:catlove: rather than set them out there in the cold, until the cold snap was over). They had fairly lousy fur, too.
Especially females who were found to be pregnant will need extra recovery time. Males recover faster, i guess.

I get a cut price rate for feral TNVR, but i always pay extra if they will deworm, de-flea meds, microchip, everything. Even if the cats Do get fleas again in a month or two? at least, they get a month or two off, to help gain weight.:happycat:
So these drugs may also have the cats feeling poorly, and need extra time to recover.:dizzycat:

I Keep the cats overnight in the small cage, so they don't move too much, :sickcat:
and then, next morning, i transfer them to their little 2-story recovery suites for the next week (or 2, depending on weather, how cat is doing, etc)

I have a few giant dog crates, which i keep on my patio, and the recovering cats live in there until they are 100% recovered. If the cats are not friends,
then, i keep the cages covered separately and apart from each other.

Afterwards, when the cats are free again,
next I take these cages to the car wash to clean them well,

and then these particular dog crates then fold up for storage until i catch another feral.

I find several ferals can be VERY hard to trap! some are quite trap-savvy. One cat took me three (3) months to trap! You name it, i tried it. It was just a reeally really smart cat.
I bought and borrowed various kinds of traps, used every treat, every trick, camoflauge, you name it,
and eventually had to buy a drop-box trap, (where you pull a string to drop the cage down over the cat) and even then, it took quite a while to get the cat under the cage...
*sigh* that was one hard cat to catch!!!!! :runningcat:

Attached are pics of my dog crates after I set them up.

It was easier than I thought to transfer the cat from the carrier cage into the big dog cage,---------- and then, after a week or so, -----------------back into the carrier cage to move cat back to their own areas.
I was worried about that, since I didn't get the kind of cage that has that nifty "slide up and attach" the cages together kind... but, it worked fine. I just blocked other exit points with blankets while transferring back to the smaller cage to get them outdoors again.


These have slide out floors for cleaning, were large enough to accommodate a small litter box in the back, and have a little "loft" area /2nd storie bed area,:sleepycat: up above over the litter box back there. I used paper plates for cat food and found some no-spill water bowls.
I taped cardboard over the bars of that upper loft thing, to prevent those little bars bothering the cats,
and next I tied and secured the blankets over that cardboard.

I punched holes in the blankets and tied some string onto the bars near the bed area, so the blankets would not fall off down to the lower level.
I got those lil cat caves on the cheap and stuffed them with old shirts and stuff for the cats to hide in there. This was a cold weather event when this pic was taken. During winter, my little feline patients get their cages covered up nice and snug and warm, :silver:with juuuuust a enough ventilation for fresh air. During summer, it is just a light cover to make cat relax.


I put more blankets over that floor area, prior to my first patients. Then I put them outside
on my patio on 3rd floor, so they ARE safe, we are wayyy up high,
I put the cages outside, so my indoor cat does not get any diseases Nor stress out the poor ferals.
So i just do 2 cats at a time. Sometimes I can not catch them, though.

Afterwards, I wash everything super well, or even throw some things away, to help prevent scents of previous patients:gingercat2:
from bothering the latest patients.

My family thinks I am nutz, but, I want the best for my lil ferals, their life is so hard out there....
so it is nice to find this online community who does understand.:happycat:
 

movinintime

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FeralMom, FANTASTIC effort & post! Luv your Tuxie in our pic too, as we have a 11-12 girl Tuxie since 2009. I too need to trap a savvy, smart Black tom feral & he is smart! Should be a challenge & wish me luck as by Halloween I may get him!LOL
 

Feral Mom

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Oh Movinintime, I get it! Some of these lil ferals are just brilliant! Just can NOT be caught! I am rooting for you.

You "might" want to ask around/borrow a "drop trap" the kind where you pull a string, and then this whole cage comes down over the cat. It is a 2 person job, imo.

cuz next step, is, you have to attach the transport cage onto the drop cage, which i do not believe i could do without help.
Cuz, while you are running over to grab that transport cage,
the trapped cat could possibly weasel his way out from under the dropped cage.
Nothing is impossible with some of these super-ferals!! haha!!

I have a few traps, I bought a drop-trap off of amazon, i think, it folds up to fit into my car. Some of those drop traps do NOT fold up, rendering them useless if you do not have a truck to carry it over to where the cat IS.
Sadly, i learned the hard way, those traps that "slam" shut? are dangerous for cats. Can slam onto the cat's leg. I was just sick, felt like an idiot. I threw it away. Poor cat limped for days.
I was so lucky the cat eventually did walk ok again, but wow, somebody oughta warn us newbies, about those slamming door kind of traps. Yikes.

So now, i only use the Brown kind that has a door which drops quietly down.


I think this brand is called "tru catch" (?) but i am not sure.
Might be better kinds but this kind seems safest for the cat, imo. I always place a strip of firm firm cardboard over the bottom, that helps the cat not get creeped out by feeling of bars under his feet,:whiskers:
also helps set off the trap a bit easier,
and leave tiny amts of food leading up to jackpot further back.
but, i am still learning!! Might be better brands of traps.
I Once spent 3 months chasing this one cat...:runningcat:
*sigh* Very humbling...

anyway, i guess i just am excited to finally find other feral cat fans!:happycat: hope i am not derailing.
WISHIN YA THE BEST!! GO, Movin,GO!! Best of luck!! haha
 

fionasmom

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I trapped my first feral litter about 30 years ago using a very antiquated version of a Havahart trap...very hard to set and it was a miracle that anyone actually was trapped at all. These kittens were the offspring of a feral mother, Mama Cat, who mated repeatedly with an abandoned 6 toed male cat,Daddy Cat, who was evidently a pet at one time. The mother cat was never trapped, despite my hiring a professional trapper with the intention that I would TNR her; however, the father eventually became one of the greatest cats I have ever owned and moved to three different houses with me. Long before AncestryDNA we knew that he was the dad because several of the kittens had six toes. All the kittens were adopted over the course of the three or four litters that were born and I watched some of them grow up and even age at homes nearby.

When I began teaching at a public school in the greater LA area a few years later it was apparent that there were a number of neglected animals, and homeless ones. Another teacher and I established a working colony in the back parking lot and TNRed and cared for about 20 cats. The school had no problem with this, fortunately, but the area was rough. Any adoptable cat we found a home for which included the two of us adopting 5 between us. Another great cat Zoe came from that parking lot. She came up to me one day heavily pregnant begging for food (this is what started the whole thing) and I did not have anything for her but the next day I did. Eventually I could not stand leaving her behind every night and opened the car door one afternoon and invited her in, no carrier in sight. She sat on the passenger seat and cleaned herself the entire way home so that she was "presentable" for her new place. It was from this colony that I also adopted a seriously abused spaniel mix,Mikki, who was starving and had no food source except what we put out for the cats. The colony dwindled due to attrition over the years, along with our attempt to find homes for the adoptable cats....most teachers are very animal friendly....and was finally "closed" when the school underwent complete reconstruction. At that time no cats were left who needed to live there.

The next group was at my house on my front lawn. I feed a family of crows, but a starving feral mom, Cat Zeta, began to sneak food at night. When I realized what was going on I fed her with the intention of trapping her but was too late. Five kittens, Bill, Eve, Margo, Karen, and Addison (I was watching the Bette Davis movie All About Eve when I heard their faint meowing) were born in the lavender bushes on my front lawn. When they were old enough I trapped them, along with the mother, and brought all the kittens inside. The mother was too feral but she lived on my property for 10 years with food and shelter from the elements. Along the way she was joined by a TNRed male, Nastase, who was lost or abandoned and an apparently abandoned pet male ginger cat,Harry. Everyone lived happily despite my efforts to make the ginger man an indoor only cat...to which he never agreed. All passed from old age and I was able to be with them at the time. The original 5 kittens all got homes, two with me, one that I still own. Sad to say, she was apparently genetically just like the mom, as she is an indoor feral, still unable to trust me but bonded to a cat who looks exactly like her mother.

Last summer when I turned to TCS for help I had a rash of ferals in my back yard. Not a problem for me, but being older and wiser I began trapping immediately and doing TNR, using multiple traps and not even taking advantage of any low cost van pools because I was too worried that I might not get the cats on the given day. Well, I missed..that is the good news and the bad news I guess. I trapped three adult females, Demelza, Carys, and Graycie, and two males,Zorro and Spock, only to find that one of the females had 4 kittens before I trapped her. The lived under my neighbor's house, fortunately a kind person who only wanted them to eventually move out from under the house. One was taken by a coyote, but the rest were TNRed and now live on my property. One of them,Alice, is certainly pet material and I try to bring her in and acclimate her to the possibility of having an indoor life; the others, Elise and Meghan, are probably not pet potential.

Three summers ago, one night, I heard a very faint sound from my neighbor's yard and found a tiny sick male ginger boy who fought his hardest to avoid me. He was weak enough though that as he made a run for a vine I was able to just grab him and bring him home. He survived and thrived and is our baby Jamie who is almost human. I never figured out what his story was but suspect another feral litter from the first female I spotted had been born and either did not survive or he was abandoned by the mother.

I certainly appreciate all the help that have received from this site and try to give back when I can to others who need moral support or advice.
 

Antonio65

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Sadly, i learned the hard way, those traps that "slam" shut? are dangerous for cats. Can slam onto the cat's leg. I was just sick, felt like an idiot. I threw it away. Poor cat limped for days.
In my opinion, it depends on how long the cage is.
If the cage is too short, the pan that triggers the door is too close to the entrance, so that when the door comes down, the cat isn't totally in.
So the rule could be that the distance between the trigger pan and the entrance must be longer than a cat.

Lately I have modified my Havahart cage trap in a way that I can trigger it from a distance with a remote control. This way I have two results, the trap shuts only when the cat is in a safe position inside the cage, and I can trap the right cat when more than a cat is around.
 

Dario the GreyCat

Owned by Dario since 10/09/2019
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Not sure if it is enough but I'll post in here and let others decide.
My family has been around public horse barns for years, and with those, comes cats. I can remember pestering my mom (who wasn't much of a cat person at the time) to get cat food from the feed store. And we'd feed the strays and more than a few ferals who were born and raised by stray parents who were already fearful of humans. And almost all of our cats came from these situations except for Merlin who we adopted who was from a TNRed feral mom.

My first two cats were rescues from barns; Jackie was half frozen when my mom found her, we took her home and she became my first cat. We left the public barn not long after that. And it was a few years before we moved and went to the second one. It was a nightmare. This was a place where my mom didn't even argue about feeding the cats because there were so many. That's where I met Baby Fred. He was a sickly kitten, probably one of the worst there. To the point my mom was afraid to let me take him home because she was worried he'd pass on me after I'd recently lost Jackie. But, I was persistent. So we took him to the vet, and then home. His tail was missing a chunk, I can remember putting ointment on it daily. Giving him stuff for allergies, and several others things I can't recall. He made a great recovery, though he had health issues for his entire life. But he was very good about taking everything like a champ.

There was a feral that came with a barn that my mom bought a few years ago. Sophie was gruff old cat, she was spayed we found out from the old owner of the place so mom and I took to feeding her. She tolerated me but she became very bonded to my mom before she passed. She had food, water, beds and comfort in the time we knew her.

My most recent kitten came from a cat near where I work. No one really knows anything about her but she dropped a kitten at the front door of an office which was adopted by someone else and Dario who she left in the parking lot. I'm planning to find out more about TNRing in the area this summer.

And recently, I'm trying to catch a local feral that my mom and I have called Butter. I'm hoping to trap him to get him neutered, I rented a cage from a local TNR group and have to wait for when he's around and when they have a clinic. If he shows up soon when there isn't a clinic I'll probably take him elsewhere just to get it done; he's a smart old thing with an eye I really want looked at, it looks like an old but healed injury. Either way, he has a food bowl, water in and around the barn, warm hay to sleep in and plenty of towels in the office with a kitty door if he so chooses.
 

James&Taki

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When we moved into our current house about 6 years ago, there was a stray kitty around who was pregnant, so my mom fed and watered her to help her through the summer. Then she gave birth and left us with Khoshekh, Sam, Rosebud... there are more but they don't hang around much. We've fed and watered theme ever since, and TNR'd all we could - I think Khoshekh is the only one who hasn't been fixed yet, but he's hard to get cuz he's not around much. More have come around over the years, like Nora, Floof, Okra, Cashew, Oreo, Creampuff, Fred, Tofu, and Claude, and Sam's first litter had 1 kitten, Star, who has stayed with us ever since (we didn't yet have any connections to anyone who could take or rehome Star). There's also a couple housecats, Sunny (or, as we recently found out his owner calls him, Frances) and Bearface, who come by occasionally.

Sam's second and third litters were caught and given to neighbors to be rehomed - except for Taki, who I kept from Sam's third litter. After all that, she finally got caught (we had been trying for years, as you can imagine) and fixed. :yess:

These are the first two kittens we caught from her second litter, before being taken to their foster home:

1582747146191.png


The regulars in our backyard are Sam, Star, Floof, Okra, and Nora, though more tend to come at feeding times. My mom puts out food and water every morning, and I do it every evening. Okra has a big box with a towel in it, to stay warm, right by the back door, cuz she likes to be near people (we think Okra & Floof are former housecats that got dumped), and my sister regularly brushes & pets her. There's another big box with a towel in it on our back porch, about a foot away from Okra's, but it doesn't tend to get used unless it's very cold/rainy (whereas Okra pretty much lives in her box, rain or shine).

Floof (Taki's dad) is visible in the background of this photo, though he's blurry:

1582747623327.png
 

Siamic

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I am a cat behavior consultant and wrote a 17,000 word post on how to tame a feral kitten for a large cat website which won a writing contest and has helped numerous individuals tame their feral kittens as it has evolved over the years. I have tamed a plethora of feral kittens myself and field phone calls to the rescue I am the director of on how to proceed with taming a feral kitten.
 

mani

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I am a cat behavior consultant and wrote a 17,000 word post on how to tame a feral kitten for a large cat website which won a writing contest and has helped numerous individuals tame their feral kittens as it has evolved over the years. I have tamed a plethora of feral kittens myself and field phone calls to the rescue I am the director of on how to proceed with taming a feral kitten.
It sounds like you're definitely a Friend of Ferals, Siamic Siamic !
Badge awareded. :)
 

CaramelKitty

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It's awesome that this site supports the helping of strays and other feral cats. We recused a stray/feral (living at my Grandmother's. My Grandmother must be magic because she tamed her.) as well as 3 kittens. We recused them all at different times. 1 kitten about 5-6 years ago. He is no longer with us.. :sniffle:
We took another in about 4 years ago and he is a happy outdoor cat who roams all over our 20+ acres as a friendly barn kitty, and another who is a permanent indoor cat due to the fact that she is extra small and somewhat fragile. Still just as playful though. :redheartpump:
:catlove::purr::climbcat::runningcat:
I'm so glad there are so many other helping all those lost kitties! :redheartpump:
 

BellaGooch

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I don't know if I would qualify, but I'll give it a go :D
My family and I have rescued and/or tamed 5 strays/ferals- one lived under our house, two we adopted from a woman's apartment parking garage, a kitten who was living in somebody's garage, and one who started hanging around to get fed. We have also found homes for a litter of kittens who were living with their mom (whom we adopted) under the house.
 
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