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Rescuing Feral Kitten In Bangkok

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by BangkokKittens, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. BangkokKittens

    BangkokKittens Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 25, 2017
    I live in a house in downtown Bangkok, Thailand. I have a mother cat (herself very young and small) with four kitten livings on and under a second floor porch at the back of my house.

    The kittens are, I am guessing, about five weeks old. I feed them twice a day and they appear to have a very happy and comfortable life on my porch.

    The mother comes to a glass sliding door to call for food and the kitten will come with her. However, when I give food, they have always run away, but Mom sticks around. This was my fourth day of feeding them and the kittens now will finally stay on the porch when I offer food, but as far away as possible. I don't think they have any other sources of food, although it is possible. They can roam on small roofs over a distance of 300 feet or so, but can't at this age go much further.

    The mother lets me touch and pet her, and the kittens have seen me do this. I could probably grab her, but prefer not to. I also have a borrowed Havaheart trap. I can't get near the kittens and the porch is a super safe place for them (easy to run and hide). One emerging problem is that they apparently relieve themselves below the porch and a bit of a stench is forming

    I also have a spare room with a window near the balcony and have created a bridge there. They are willing to go in that room and have eaten in there several times.

    I plan to catch, neuter and then semi-release the whole gang. By semi-release, I mean return them to their home on the porch and fed them regularly, but let them do what they want.

    My plan had been to trap the mother in the Havaheart trap. Then to lure all the kittens into the spare room and shut the window, which I think I can do. However, I am now thinking that if all five cats will go into the room, maybe it is best to just shut the window and leave them in there. I have placed a litter box in the room and am hoping they start to use that. There happens to be a bathroom door right by the window, which makes it pretty easy for me to pull the window closed before they can do much.

    So my questions concern the best strategy for trapping then and then for getting them all to a doctor and back. Thais are great with animals and the medical service will be easy to do. It seems the least cruel and perhaps best for socialization to trap them all in the room, and then at some point in the future capture the Mom, maybe after two weeks or so.

    But I am a bit concerned about what a feral mother cat will do to that room. Last night she got up on the bed and soiled a pillow. I now plan to cover there bed with a plastic tarp and nothing else in the room is as much of a concern - but I do worry about what will happen if she won’t use the litterbox. If I trap her in the cage and use her to lure them in, I would be able to take her to the vet right away, which would be easier on the house, but maybe not on the kittens.

    Then, after her surgery, do I put the Mom back in the room with them? Or leave her outside? Will she look in the window and pine for the kittens, or forget them and move on?

    That's a lot of questions. I will be grateful for any help you can provide. I have lots of photos (and one piece of historical information) that I will post separately.
     

  2. BangkokKittens

    BangkokKittens Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 25, 2017
    Here are a set of photos. I'll move a few more recent ones over from my phone and send those.

    First photo in Mom nursing.
    Second is the littlest one (who earlier got stuck under a house for three days and rubbed all the hair off its little forehead trying to escape (that is the historical information - it took a huge effort to rescue it, which I think it why the Mom is friendly)
    Third photo is when they made the pilgrimage across a think ledge to get to my back roof and porch.
    And finally, the whole gang
     

    Attached Files:


  3. dahli6

    dahli6 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Sawasdee ka.
    I like your plan to close the window to the room. It is the absolute best.
    The mother cat will be happy that the kittens are in a safe place and she trusts you enough to let you pet so it should be ok. She might also suspect what the litterbox is used for.
    If the kittens refuse to use it at first, place the box in a spot they choose to toilet in and they might figure it out.
    Make sure the kittens have a place in the room to hide anytime you enter the room. You can socialize them simply by hanging out in the room with them. Watch videos on your phone or read quietly and the kittens should become curious enough to sniff or touch you.
    I usually just talk while feeding and cleaning around them and they get used to me quickly. Definitely confine them if you can.
    If they are 5 or 6 weeks it shouldn't take very long once they are in an enclosed space.
     

  4. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi there @BangkokKittens Thank you so much for trying to help this family. I think trapping the whole family in the room is a good idea. They will all be much safer indoors and you can work on socialising them easily that way.

    I'm going to write a bit more later but for now just a few tips.

    Keep feeding them in the room so that they get confident about going in and out. I've trapped many feral families that way.

    Once they are all inside shut the window and don't let them out again. It can take a while before they stop looking for a way out, but they will eventually get used to the idea.

    Dig up some of the earth from outside where they have been going to the toilet and put that in the litter box. If they can smell themselves there they will use the litter properly.

    Can you get them all vaccinated as well as spayed/neutered? The kittens can get their first shots at around 8 weeks old or when they are over 600 grams.

    Ask your vet about vaccinating the mother as I'm not sure whether this will affect the kittens if they are still nursing.

    More later......
     
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  5. dahli6

    dahli6 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    There is a PAWS in Bangkok and they recently did a massive capture and neuter from one of the parks. Not all PAWS do free tnr with vaccine but hopefully that one does. I know it has incredible reviews.
     

  6. BangkokKittens

    BangkokKittens Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 25, 2017
    Hello everyone and thank you very much for your help. Here is a quick update on the Bangkok kitten family. Below, I will write a little bit about the history of the family and how they found me.

    Based on comments so far, I think it is clear that I will over the next week or so, lure them into the big room, which should be easy, and then shut the window, which also should be easy. A very lucky thing is that there is a bathroom the is shared by two rooms and opens right next to the window. I plan to tie a cord to the window, then hiding behind the door, pull it shut. I think I can do this with near 100% certainty and likely anonymity! Then I plan to feed them and let them live together in the room for a while. I will then gradually go in an d socialize.

    The room is pretty big (3x8 meters or close to 10 x 25 feet) and there are hiding places, like under the kingsize bed, so they won’t feel too threatened.

    So for the update. After mommy cat soiled my pillow yesterday, I went in and cleaned up a big - and put in a box of kitty litter. I first fed them lightly at the other porch and when all five emerged I went into the room. This was around 3pm.

    But mommy cat showed up at the window staring at me and growling the entire time I was there (5 minutes) the growl sounded disappointed as much as angry and not particularly aggressive. Then when I went back to my porch and gave them a bit more food she sort of rushed me and cry growled a bit more.

    Then it seemed this had gotten her into a bed mood and she disappeared with all of the kittens. Leaving the food, although they should have been hungry. A bit later the two biggest kittens came out and took a little tiny bit of food, but looks sombre and cautious. Then thought the evening every three hours or so, I left a tiny plate of food out, but they never returned. Finally at around 11pm then all came back and ate about half of a small can of food I left out, but then I later saw Mom lying out on a little platform I made for them and nursed all kittens for a long time (15-20 minutes?)

    So, just now (10:30am) I took a look at the big room through the bathroom door (see photos). They have made a bit of a mess, which I expected because I can hear them jumping around from downstairs. I leave a small bowl of dry food in there which they did eat, and now someone seems to be using the litter box (Hurray!).

    I plan to go back in later today to clean the letterbox a bit and leave some more dry food. I have been feed them wet food exclusively on the porch with just a little spare dry in the room. I may start too shift that tonight, probably by waiting until a few hours after I go in to clean and then just slipping it in the door, so as not to shock them.
     
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  7. BangkokKittens

    BangkokKittens Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Here are a bunch of photos:

    1) How they get into the room. I set up a long plant outside the window that goes down to the roof
    2) The room they will live in and the giant bed they can hide under
    3) The kitty litter
    4) Their porch home, with the Mom sleeping behind my aircon. When they first arrived they all just huddled there. Now it is home and they hang, sleep and play everywhere.
    5 & 6) More porch shots
    7) One of the kittens on a chair. This is one of the two bigger ones. I am guessing at age, so any feedback would be helpful
    8 & 9) Kittens crawling through my giant vine
     

    Attached Files:

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  8. BangkokKittens

    BangkokKittens Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 25, 2017
    Bangkok kitty family history:

    About two weeks ago, I heard a panicked meowing in front of my house. When I looked outside from the second floor, I saw the mother with two kittens rushing around frantically, at times carrying two kittens around by the scruff of their neck. So, I went downstairs and walked outside and unfortunately surprised a tiny kitten that apparently had fallen off of the roof (about 10 feet) and into my yard.

    It was unfortunate, because on seeing me it ran out of my yard, where it would have ben safe and Mom probably could have gotten in, and under a house next door, which is where the drama starts. The house has a very tight crawlspace, which leads to a tiny courtyard in the back.

    The kitten was crying incessantly and the mother was obsessively watchful, but couldn't do anytime. Nothing we did could lure the little guy out. Even when Mom went down to the front he wouldn't come out (we now think it got stuck). At first it seems to be able to get out into the back courtyard, and once took food there (second day). But then never came out again. We trying everything (including building a bridge Mom could use to get down there and calling an animal rescue foundation who set a trap. The people who lived in the house were away and we could do nothing. On the fourth day (48 hours after the fall, the neighbor came home, we broke a hole in the floor, lured the bay out, caught her by hand, stuck her in a cat carrier and immediately returned it to Mom. There is no indication that it was ever injured.

    The kitten has a noticeable bald spot on its forehead from trying to escape and small scars on its ears, I think from mosquitos. We tried to push under the house but it is very tight and very dark. I know it go some, but not much. I assume it was 3-4 weeks old then and so is 5-6 weeks now.

    The spot where the mother was and the kitten fell is also up on an expanse of roofs and provides a lot of nice places to house, but probably also has other cats wandering around and not much food. After the rescue they took food there for a few days, then disappeared. One day I was sitting downstairs and saw her migrate them across a small ledge from that area to the area where my back porch is.

    It appears that among the four kittens there are two larger ones (maybe 20% larger) and two small ones. When they showed up on my balcony, I thought the one who had been stuck was clearly the smallest and the most frightened. However, after five days on the porch it is now indistinguishable from the other small one except for the bald patch, which is now filling it.

    They seemed a bit rough and very hungry when they arrived here and only the big two would play and then not that much. Now they all do. I hope they transition well to captivity.
     
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  9. BangkokKittens

    BangkokKittens Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Cat history photos

    1) The front of the house and small gap the kitten squeezed into
    2) Small courtyard in back, where it did appear one and ate some food on the second day, but would then never come back out
    3) Ramps I built to help Mom get down there are exact the kitten, which didn't work
    4 - 7) Mom watching constantly. She was super Mom. Never really left the scene. Would come and be with us when we tried to push food in through the front (Semi-hostile, semi-collaborative!)
    8 & 9) The reunion. These photos are seconds after the rescue when we rush upstairs and freed the kitten and Mom was briefly shocked and confused, then maternal!
     

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  10. dahli6

    dahli6 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Thank you for so much information and pictures.
    That room is a kitty heaven! If you the place clean drinking water, plenty of food, and add blanket directly on the floor in the room they may start spending even more time in there. Especially during rain.
    Using the litter box voluntarily is a good sign. They are turning your home into their home.
    When you pet the mom, try touching her belly. If she will let you touch her belly then use both hands clasped together under her belly to lift her an inch from the ground and then set her down right away.
    Lifting will startle her but if she knows that you will release her then she will let you do it more frequently. If the kittens will play around your feet, you may be able to pick them up too. Again only for a moment.
    Once you can pick up and carry the mother into a carrier she can go for spay. She will continue to provide milk and since she is a diligent mother she will continue to care for her kittens.
     

  11. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Wow, that's a great set-up you've got there. So mum and the kittens are all black? I love black kitties.

    It's hard to see exactly how big the kittens are, but it looks like they have green eyes already. Kitten's eyes change from blue to green when they are around six weeks old, but I don't think they can be much older than that. It's really hard to tell exactly how old they are, but my five week old orphan kittens still have blue eyes are weigh around 500 grams each now.

    If you are planning on keeping the whole family in the room I suggest blocking off the bed so they can't get underneath. They need a hiding place, but not one that you can't reach them in, in case you make an appointment to have them seen by a vet and then they all hide from you. A cardboard box with a towel draped over it is fine as a hiding place.

    If the mosquitoes are bothering them maybe @mani can suggest something to keep them away. I think one of her cats is allergic to mosquito bites, she's probably tried and tested all the mosquito repellents out there.

    Do you have names for any of them yet?

    Please keep us updated.
     
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  12. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    I would definitely get them all spayed/neutered, so you don't have ten more to care for. Kittens have to be around two lbs. Mom may already be pregnant, or soon will be, so time is of the essence. The only thing I can think of that might be necessary is to have a heavy blanket to somehow drape over the window for a while until they settle down. Maybe have it stapled/nailed to the top of the window, rolled up and release it when the window shuts. The reason for this is I have trapped cats the exact same way, (pulled a door shut with a rope when they went in) and they really panicked, even though they had been going in there for weeks. They pinged off the walls and tried to crash through the window, so this is a precaution to keep them safe.
    Bless you for giving this little family your love and care, they don't know how lucky they are! They are absolutely adorable!
     
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  13. dahli6

    dahli6 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I started following PAWS Bangkok on facebook, twitter, and IG because of this post. It looks like they have a pretty good program so alteration and medical shouldn't be too much hardship.
     

  14. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's good to hear. Bangkok is a really big, developed city. It's like another world compared to some other places in Thailand. That's good news for this mother cat and her kittens.

    :clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:
     
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  15. dahli6

    dahli6 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I only know this because I am a drama fangirl and subscribe to Thai news so I can keep informed of news in Thailand.
    Is that sad?
     

  16. BangkokKittens

    BangkokKittens Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Thanks everyone for all the posts. Here is a quick kitty update and answers to questions. I will post in more detail with photos later.

    They are all black kittens as is the mother. A medium sized black tomcat showed up the other day and kind of hung around. He may be the father. If so, both parents are relatively small (although in Mom’s case, it may be because she is young)

    Following Norachan’s comments about the eyes, I am starting to suspect that they are older than I had thought. When the one got stuck under the house, they already had yellow/green eyes, and that was too weeks ago. However, at that time it really could have fit in the palm of my had and otherwise by appearance was younger than six week.

    However, now after 7-8 days of eating well on my porch, they have grown rapidly. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have almost doubled their weight. So it may be possible that a lack of calories kept them very small. However, the mother showed no signs of abandoning any of them, even when the tiniest was stuck, so it doesn’t seem like they were starving.

    I am not super concerned about socialization as they will always be outdoor cats and I really should be thinking about what is best for them not for me. So, if they never get cuddly, I can live with that. Regardless, I am thinking of trapping them very soon and have been thinking about doing it at breakfast tomorrow. The reason for breakfast is they are used to having no food at night, then a big breakfast. I also want to be awake for the first 12 hours of capture so that if they reject the food that I used to trap them, I can replace it and otherwise make sure they are OK.

    I did a semi-trial run on trapping them this morning - with mixed results and some good lessons. I could never get (or see) all five cats in the room at any one time. I think this is partially because they are so used to feeding on my porch in the morning that they were trying to work both angles. One of the larger two kittens sat on my porch for at least two hours after I gave them food in the room. If I as much as wiggle the lock mechanism on the door, Mom charges out of the other room and its plaintive on the porch.

    I also just checked into the room now, 90 minutes after feeding and noticed that they did eat part of a chicken circus that I chopped up, which is about a 1/3 of typical feed size. But they did not touch any of the canned food that I left out. I just went back in and removed the untouched canned food and replaced it with more chopped up chicken and several tubes of “Creamy Treats”. I’ll see how that goes.

    I did close the porch door and pull the curtains shut, but one time opened it to clear up their plates from last night. Mom came darting over, but seems interested in petting as much as anything. Yesterday, I started touching her stomach and then today she just flopped over on her back. The kittens still won’t come near me, but are less skittish. They have also seen me petting Mom several times, although one of them (maybe more than one, I can’t always tell them apart) hisses at me gently from a meter away when Mom is getting her petting.

    My plan now is to feed them only in the room (not on the porch at all) for the rest of the day. Then I will probably ease off on dinner a bit (maybe 75% of normal) so that they will be hungry and they will all be used to eating in the room. I probably also have to buy a nanny cam as it is hard to keep track of them visually.

    In what also me be a sign that they are older, they do have a degree on independence. It is certainly not the case that when food is put out Mom goes first, then all four follow. I can have two eat, then leave and other eats, or three eat and one is nowhere to be found. But in general they don’t seem to need to all be in the same place at the same time).

    The litter box now is no issue, except for volume. I hadn’t fully considered what impact five cats have on a litter box (although I can’t imagine they are going anywhere else), but I do have to clean it almost daily! I’ll send a photo today. I haven’t seen any other cats around except the tom yesterday, but can’t help but think the kitty litter is attracting cats from all over. They partially fill it in 24 hours.

    I think it is a good idea to block the window with cardboard or something. There is the gas window on the outside, then a sill and a mosquito mesh window on the inside. Once I remove the ramp, only Mom could reach it and she would have to get her claws into the net and tear that open to get to the glass. I will also follow Norachan’s suggestion of blocking off the space under the bed somehow. They could still hide behind it and under a pretty large dresser. So, they don’t really need a whole king size bed and it would not be ideal to have to get them out from under there!

    There are also some security bars in the middle and I think I can still a big flat piece of plastic or cardboard there. Thanks for that important tip. The glass in the windows isn’t very thick. Although I don’t think she could break it given it’s position, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    I will definitely get them spayed/neutered. That is a core part of my plan. I will check out PAWS in Bangkok. But I also have several recommendations for vets and am not worried about the cost of it. I am actually happy to pay for them and leave any charitable resources to other kittens. As I mentioned earlier, Thais are Buddhists and animal lovers. I also have several long-term cat owning friends. So, the medical part of the equation doesn’t concern me at all.
     
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  17. BangkokKittens

    BangkokKittens Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Bangkok is a big city and I am right downtown. Happy to pst on any info that I can!
     
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  18. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    Be prepared for extreme feelings of almost panic and feeling sorry for them when you trap them. I always get sick to my stomach with worry, no matter how many times I have done it. They will also hate you for a while, but that blows over, and some never do. Some act like nothing happened after neutering, even some of the girls. The little female I have now, wasn't slowed down one bit. Don't give up! They will be so much happier with no more fighting, abscesses, and endless kittens, it gives them a whole new life. Those toms will ignore them instead of running them off. That tom showing up might mean she is ready to get pregnant again, so try to do her first! All the luck and keep us posted!
     
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  19. BangkokKittens

    BangkokKittens Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Here is a bit more of an update and more photos.

    I was a bit worried this morning about the trapping prospects because I could track the kitten with enough confidence to know if they were all in the room, and because they seemed to have really slowed their eating. However today, I bought a wireless video camera and have excellent visibility. They also just had a big feast in the room, so I am happy.

    I think I will pull the trigger tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

    1-4: KittyCam screen shots:
    5: The entrance window
    6. The room now. I nearly killed myself standing the giant bed on its end, pulling open a massive tarp and taking it up
    7. The lounge

    I spend an hour in the room, mostly dealing with the bed, but also doing other set up. Mom came in and watched the whole time. She seemed bit angry - growling and whining - but let me pet her in the end. And they all just ate a massive meal in there.

    The kittens seem super happy and healthy. I am watching them on my kitty cam chase each other around the room. The are right on the other side of my office wall, so I can hear them too.

    I also have another batch of photos for later.
     

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  20. BangkokKittens

    BangkokKittens Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 25, 2017

    Thank you for this. Perfect message at the perfect time. I am starting to feel the nerves. When I was petting her and she looked up at my eyes, I couldn't believe I was going to spring a trap on her and her family.

    But I do know it is the right thing to do - and for the exact reasons that you listed. I do know in my heart that this is good for them and they will be happier for it. But very helpful to have you reenforce that!
     
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