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~Help! Two 10 Week Kittens + Feral Mama~

sashacat421

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Hello from the Pacific Northwest!
I've just spent a good deal of time reading most of the threads here that would pertain to my situation, so I appreciate all the wonderful advice and feedback this Board has to offer.
I've been on TCS awhile and never posted in here!

My neighbor has dumped on my porch two 10-week old kittens and a feral mama that lived outside at her client's house. She does home hospice. The grandmother was 91 and her family is "mean" she says and would not help. The grandson wanted to shoot them with the rifle, as he just killed two raccoons. (I will refrain from a dissertation in a civilized society on this item). They all look to be in good shape cosmetically, but I cannot tell what gender the kittens are, and the mother is typical outdoor petite, no more than 5-6 lbs at most. They are adorable kittens.... just rolling with it, not too afraid of all the commotion but the mother is, of course, terrified and hissing.

I moved them to my garage where they have our dog's large crate. I put in litter, food and water. I plan to network them to a foster home or a furever home, but I live in a rural area and getting the word out is hard and the only shelter will euthanize within 24 hrs and I cannot physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually be responsible for that. I cannot. So questions:

1. Should I feed dry or wet food?

2. Soil in the box or litter? One of the kittens is asleep in a ball in the litter.

3. Music or just natural, ambient sounds?

4. Separate the mom from the kids if I find a home?

5. Try to find a family with a barn???

I know I sound like an idiot. I have worked in rescue and re-home for years up here with dogs, and rescue with cats, but I have not taken in semi-feral before. Strays have just found me, and stayed and loved me, big difference and we can't take these at all.

I'd appreciate any advice!
 

bookworm

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Originally Posted by sashacat421

1. Should I feed dry or wet food?
If the kittens are very young wet would be easier for them, the feral mama at the gas station weans hers directly onto the dry I put out.
2. Soil in the box or litter? One of the kittens is asleep in a ball in the litter.
I would definately start with soil, the as they start to catch on start adding litter. You probably want to use something edible at the first with young kittens.
3. Music or just natural, ambient sounds?
????
4. Separate the mom from the kids if I find a home?
She'd be kicking them out of the den soon enough when she was ready to go into heat again, they'll be OK without her once they're old enough. It would be best to place the kittens together if possible.
5. Try to find a family with a barn???
For the mama tha might be best, the kittens will tame down quickly. I have three who were true ferals that climb all over me like they were always in human company
I know I sound like an idiot. I have worked in rescue and re-home for years up here with dogs, and rescue with cats, but I have not taken in semi-feral before. Strays have just found me, and stayed and loved me, big difference and we can't take these at all.

I'd appreciate any advice!
You totaly do not sound like an idiot, taming feral and semi feral cats is a whole new ball game from adopting strays who while they might be scared have been socialized to humans at some point in time.
 
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sashacat421

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The little boy is weaker and tiny - he's in the back. Very shy. He has overly watery eyes and is somewhat sickly so I am spending the money to take them both in tomorrow. I need to determine if they are FeLV positive right off the bat. I have not named them because it will tear me apart if I name them and have to put them down.
But I probablytwill name them for dignity and honor if they have to leave us. The girl is very strong, very curious, note how she looked directly into the camera, whereas the little boy did not. She is developing at a rapid pace and is already crawling around the guest room and wanting to be held. The little boy is cautious. The mother has stopped hissing at me now. They have gobbled their food, I fed them Iams Kitten wet and hopefully the mother has been eating, although she hasn't really moved. They are nursing!


I sent an email to about 50 people I know and will also spend some time tomorrow contacting various shelters and rescue networks, thank you so much for your links on this Board! Thank you, Bookworm!
 

bookworm

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Oh how sweet! You can see the little boy isn't feeling well, the third eyelid is visible even in the picture. Nice shiny coats, must have been good hunting for mama until the kittens tied her down.

If she's already quit hissing at you it sounds like at some point she has known humans and you may well be able to place her in an indoor home too.

That all are given a clean bill of healt at the vets tomorrow, and thanks for taking them in.
 

samhainborn

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oooh I just love black cats and these are adorable. Make sure you let us know how the vet visit goes!! that the little boy starts feeling better and that the tests all come back clear!
 

momofmany

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I absolutely hate placing a cat into a "barn cat" situation unless it is absolutely last resort. It is one thing if a cat was born there and is a true feral cat, it is another to take a cat that can clearly be socialized and relocate them.

If the kittens are fully weaned, separate them from their mom now. If she retains some wild tendencies, her kittens will pick them up from her.

I have to vote to do your best at socialization then finding them a permanent home. I understand in a rural area it is harder to do, but it can be done.

Have you looked for rescue groups outside of the kill shelter in your area? There are a lot of small groups that don't advertise that you can find by searching on your zip code in www.petfinder.com.
 
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sashacat421

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Originally Posted by Momofmany

I have to vote to do your best at socialization then finding them a permanent home. I understand in a rural area it is harder to do, but it can be done.

Have you looked for rescue groups outside of the kill shelter in your area? There are a lot of small groups that don't advertise that you can find by searching on your zip code in www.petfinder.com.
Thanks so much, yes I did look at Petfinder last night in a 100 miles radius to get names of the networks that link to it and that helped a LOT. I have a list of about 5 and plan to work at this tomorrow, as I am taking the afternoon off from work while still in business hours to maximize efficiency.

These kittens were born outside and the mama must have had human contact because she is trusting me to pick up her little girl, which I am now doing. She doesn't mind me reaching for the little boy -- he just minds. It will take some time. I agree, that if I can socialize them to trust me and be around humans then the kittens can go to an indoor home and I will take the mama somehow here, I'll make it work or I will find a no-kill shelter even if I have to drive 200 miles out here, I will not send her down.

Will the mama miss her kittens? Will she cry inside??????
I don't know this-?
 

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Eddie,

Hi! I disagree on a couple of points. If you use soil instead of litter you invite bugs (especially flies) into your home. Use plain clay litter non-clumping. If the kittens are 10 weeks old, they should be off mom's nipples and she needs to be spayed. Is there a low-cost spay in your area? Once she is spayed and IF you do find a home for the kittens, the separation anxiety is lessened considerably.

Use harp music playing continuously in the background. It has the capacity to calm even the most stressed cat. I loaned my CD out otherwise I would cut you a copy and send it to you.

If you can't find a home for them, let me know. I recently met a wonderful man with 35 acres and a huge barn he has given over to TNR cats! The man is amazing. He told me if I have any sociable strays, he would be happy to take them and put him in with his clowder. He probably would take Mom if I asked him as the kittens might be easier to place than an older, unhandled cat would. If I didn't have so many right now, I would take them in a heartbeat.
You know how to reach me should the need arise
 
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sashacat421

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Originally Posted by hissy

...........If I didn't have so many right now, I would take them in a heartbeat.
You know how to reach me should the need arise
MA thank you so much. I didn't want to bother you!
The mama has stopped hissing but she won't let me near. It's only been 2 days so the progress has been quite good, actually. She is a young mama, maybe a year?

They are in the guest room adjacent to the garage, so they are completely separate from the house and Sammy and Saba - I can't see or find any evidence of fleas or flea debris on the girl who has let me comb her tonight.

They are using soil mixed with litter so I can wean them onto litter. We use Petco generic clay clumping and it's really good. We buy in bulk and my S2 love it. The kittens are in a sleep heap in the litter! Then they migrate to mom and sleep with her through the night. I have yet to hear a sound from any of them. I'd estimate they are only 6-8 weeks. I will know more tomorrow after the vet. I want to take the kittens separately to the vet without mama to get them looked at, first. Just a gut feeling.

They have open windows all around so they can hear the coyotes and screech owl, as well as the frogs and crickets. They sure seem happy and ok for now. The little boy's eyes have not teared or over-watered today at all (good!), we'll get it all under control tomorrow.

I joked to Eric tonight that I felt like the Hissy of the Lake out here.
 

hissy

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LOL! I Love that E "Hissy of the Lake"


I am sure you will be fine. I remember our first visit and how we sat outside quietly on the stairs talking, and in just a matter of minutes, my barn cats came out and head bumped you! I told you then, you have a way with animals and I meant it. You will find your way with mom, you know all the important points and it will take time, but it will happen.

Throw a blessing in the air tomorrow morning at 6 if you are awake. That is when Mike will be having his surgery. He will be home in the evening and in a cast for anywhere from 3-6 months depending on how the nerves mend.
 
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sashacat421

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Alrighty! They tested negative for everything. Two healthy kittens and they ARE 10-12 weeks. They're just so tiny because of lack of food. Mama is probably healthy, too. They each got an ear wash, a flea bath, a dewormer, distemper, and a Revolution. They behaved beautifully and not a peep out of either. Confirmed: they are SISTERS


The tiny one is grooming herself, but the Alpha grooms her and corrects her for everything. You can see she's sitting in front. They are an entire 1.12 lb apart in weight, too, which reflects the more dominant one fighting and winning for food.

It is time to name them. I have named their mother Mia.
She is a very good mother.


They were so happy to see each other when they returned home. They are all sacked out
in a sleep heap.
 
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sashacat421

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The kittens - and mama! - were adopted by a mother and daughter this evening.


I have a good feeling -- and they both work at the market in town. They got out of the car all smiles and open faces. It seemed ok!


I cried all night. Hopefully, as very good ending for these strays that deserved not to be picked off with a rifle but to live!
 
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