Stuck between a rock and a hard place-Need Advice

Artcurus

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Hello All,

About 5 months ago, we had a momma cat and three kittens show up. I began feeding them (dry cat food) to see what would happen. The momma cat became more friendly, and eventually wanted into the house. As I found out yesterday, she was also litter trained. She also heads straight to the cat scratcher is and good about not scratching furniture. Which leads to my suspicion that was actually someone's pet.

The momma cat I started feeding indoors with higher quality food, while the kittens (though I use the term kitten loosely) are still outdoors and seemed to have grown tired of the cat food. I'll set it out and it will stay in the bowl for several hours, in the meantime, attracting a very large black and white tomcat.

The kittens, I assume by now, aren't capable of being human friendly. I"m working on the momma cat for possible pet material, even though she's not much of a lap cat.

These cats also have a very odd habit. They raid trash cans and bring home bits of paper, gloves both medical and paint splattered regular, mask, small cloth children's dolls, plastic toys, and at one point, a pair of woman's underwear. The bad news is that they can completely trash the backyard in the space of three days.

This situation is untenable, and I am at the end of my rope. The contents of the trash quite honestly frightens me, considering the situation with Covid19. We are also worried about more kittens as we have three females and one male. We can't afford to have them neuteured.

As much I hate to admit it, we would prefer that kittens moved on.

Please help.
 

Willowy

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Where do you live? (Just the basic area if you don't want to get too specific.) Someone may be able to find a low-cost spay/neuter place. You really want to have that done or there will be 50 cats instead of 3!

Once that's done, start calling around to cat rescues and vets to see if anyone in the area wants farm cats.
 
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Artcurus

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Im in a small West Texas oilfield town. Our options are really limited. We have a mobile vet that comes in once or twice a week. That's about it.
 

Willowy

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Are you willing to drive to the nearest larger town?

Really, other than killing them, there aren't any other options.
 
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Artcurus

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I would really prefer to have a more humane way of dealing with this. My idea right now is stop feeding them. Would this work? Why this may sound cruel, they were for awhile before I started feeding them. I would continue to provide fresh water because of the heat and just continue to keep feeding the momma cat inside the house.

Barring that, there might be another option, but getting them there would be a nightmare. My cousins live in the country about 30 miles south of Midland, 90 miles from my location and occasionally take in strays, but how would we trap the kittens? We do have a dog catcher, which also might be an option, but I'm pretty sure he'll just take them out and shoot them.
 

Willowy

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Feral caretakers usually use a live trap. They'll also have to be confined for at least a month or they'll try to get back to the old house.

They were young when they showed up, and if they're dependent on you they may starve. That would be pretty inhumane. Even if you stopped feeding them, they may hang around if there's food anywhere in the neighborhood. Cats tend to get imprinted on their location.
 

Willowy

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To be very very clear---I'm in no way condoning killing them, either yourself or through the dogcatcher. I'm just using that to illustrate that there are very few options for homeless cats, and it's up to those of us who like cats to care for them; we can't count on anyone else to do it. Also, encourage everyone you know to spay/neuter their cats, to prevent stuff like this from happening.
 
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Artcurus

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I completely agree with you, I just know what the dogcatcher out here will do if he traps them. I want to avoid that. However, I really do believe that someone else is feeding them or they are digging through trash cans as a supplement. What I might try to and is talk to the dogcatcher, explain that we want to relocate and go from there.
 

fionasmom

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If you talk to the dogcatcher will it tip his hand....meaning he knows you have the cats so he decides the best course of action "for you" or will he still allow you to try to work with them. I do agree that on some level they are dependent on you for food and I think that digging in the trash has to be related to some hunger issue.

You would have to trap them in a humane trap like a Havahart and make arrangements to bring them to your cousins if they could do anything to help you. If you have not trapped before there is a lot of advice that you can get here about doing that.
 
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