Trapped a Feral Mamma Cat and her kittens, so many questions!

tinav43

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Hello fellow cat lovers! My partner and I found a nest with newborn kittens in the privacy trees that line our property. We were in contact with a local volunteer at a rescue and he said if we could trap mamma, we could put her with the kittens so they’d be safe and warm. Success! We have mamma and babies together in a large plastic walled dog crate and they are safe and warm in our son’s clubhouse. We’ve had them for 5 days now. Mamma has food, water and litter. She is definitely feral. She growls at me when I clean her litter and especially if I pick up one of the babies to check on them.
The kittens are about three weeks old and still nursing. What do I do in the weeks to come? I’m worried about knowing when it’s time to introduce solid food to the babies and going potty in a litter box. Will they use clay litter or should I get that Yeaterday’s News stuff? I imagine I’ll have to find some sort of shallow pan so they can get in and out when they time comes. But should mamma show them how to use to the bathroom or would I help? This is all very new to me and I appreciate any advice !! The end goal is to spay mamma and release her and find forever homes for the littles. Since they are babies to a feral momma, I’m not sure how much or how little I should be interacting with them. I’ve been cleaning their cage and I have picked a few of them up to make sure their bellies are full, but beyond that, I’ll leave them be. Should I be socializing with them now while they are so young to get them used to humans? Should I keep my distance until they are starting to ween? If they can’t be homed, we’ll release them with mamma after they’re all spayed/neutered but I would really love to home them. Thanks again!!
 

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I don't really have any useful suggestions but wanted to say This is wonderful! Good for you, helping this wild momma cat and her babies. How many babies? Any pictures? (We love pictures, here at TheCatSite.) Members with helpful information will be along soon, I'm sure.
 

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Bravo for all you are doing!
If you want the babies to be so that , no matter what, you can handle them for adoption or handle them if there is ever a need after release, start socializing now. Mom cat may even socialize and the best way to do that is to let her see you interact with her babies. That said, be careful that mom cat does not escape during this process since she can already get pregnant again.
Right now mom cat should be licking them to stimulate bathroom activities. They can learn potty habits from her. She may prefer a litter that is similar to whatever she used outside but you can use whatever mom cat likes.
If you start giving mom some wet kitten food ( canned food) and add a bit of water to make it very soft, the kittens will also begin to show interest in that soon by watching mom eat. All kitties learn a lot from mom but definitely start working with them now. They will definitely tame if you do. You can expect some little hissing bombs and maybe a swipe or tiny growls but this will pass. Every cat is different but I have gotten every feral mom to accept me and socialize too. It takes time so be patient and watch your hands. She is a very good mom and even tame cats can growl to protect their babies. Oh, we love pictures here too! Welcome to the wonderful world of feral kitties! Welcome to TCS too!:welcomesign::clap2::goldstar:I expect you will get lots of replies and help here.
 
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tinav43

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I don't really have any useful suggestions but wanted to say This is wonderful! Good for you, helping this wild momma cat and her babies. How many babies? Any pictures? (We love pictures, here at TheCatSite.) Members with helpful information will be along soon, I'm sure.
I will have to get some photos to share! They are the cutest little bunch. Mamma is a tan and gray tiger. Four of the babies are also tigers and one is black with white feet. Thanks for the reply !
 
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tinav43

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Bravo for all you are doing!
If you want the babies to be so that , no matter what, you can handle them for adoption or handle them if there is ever a need after release, start socializing now. Mom cat may even socialize and the best way to do that is to let her see you interact with her babies. That said, be careful that mom cat does not escape during this process since she can already get pregnant again.
Right now mom cat should be licking them to stimulate bathroom activities. They can learn potty habits from her. She may prefer a litter that is similar to whatever she used outside but you can use whatever mom cat likes.
If you start giving mom some wet kitten food ( canned food) and add a bit of water to make it very soft, the kittens will also begin to show interest in that soon by watching mom eat. All kitties learn a lot from mom but definitely start working with them now. They will definitely tame if you do. You can expect some little hissing bombs and maybe a swipe or tiny growls but this will pass. Every cat is different but I have gotten every feral mom to accept me and socialize too. It takes time so be patient and watch your hands. She is a very good mom and even tame cats can growl to protect their babies. Oh, we love pictures here too! Welcome to the wonderful world of feral kitties! Welcome to TCS too!:welcomesign::clap2::goldstar:I expect you will get lots of replies and help here.
Thank you so much for the response. We want to do what is best for our little rescues but I am way out of my element. We have two indoor cats that I adopted when they were 6 mos old. They are 6 years old now. This is my first run with a feral cat and tiny kittens. Mamma cat has not tried to leave the cage (yet). Even if she does escape the cage, she will still be in the clubhouse, which is good. It's basically a large garden shed, but it's insulated. Thanks for the tip on the food!! I will be sure to do that. The cat-rescue-man who was helping us supplied us with dry food, but I will certainly get some wet kitten food since they will start weening in the next week or so. I will start interacting with them more, and *try* to interact with Mamma. I always wear garden gloves when I handle them... but I am thinking about how to protect my arms if Mamma gets aggressive with me!

I will be sure to get some photos to share! Mamma is a tan and gray tiger. Four of the babies are also tigers and one is black with white feet. Thanks for the reply !
 

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There are animal handling gloves that you can get, welders gloves, or rose pruning gloves. It might depend on what you expect from the mother if she were to become aggressive.

I have had feral litters born on my property and nearby and in all cases the mothers were very competent with the kittens. Even the most wild and untamable moms were excellent with their babies. Since you do have them in one place, I agree that socializing the kittens is a good idea and will really pay off in the end. Even if mom does not come around to being friendly, think ahead to spaying her when the time comes.

I have used shallow baking tins for very small kittens I have rescued and they all understood what to do. Regular litter was all that I used in the pans. It is a little bit messy as they kick, but an alternative would be to make some sort of altered receptacle which is very low in the front to allow them to enter but which has higher sides.
 
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tinav43

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There are animal handling gloves that you can get, welders gloves, or rose pruning gloves. It might depend on what you expect from the mother if she were to become aggressive.

I have had feral litters born on my property and nearby and in all cases the mothers were very competent with the kittens. Even the most wild and untamable moms were excellent with their babies. Since you do have them in one place, I agree that socializing the kittens is a good idea and will really pay off in the end. Even if mom does not come around to being friendly, think ahead to spaying her when the time comes.

I have used shallow baking tins for very small kittens I have rescued and they all understood what to do. Regular litter was all that I used in the pans. It is a little bit messy as they kick, but an alternative would be to make some sort of altered receptacle which is very low in the front to allow them to enter but which has higher sides.
Ah shallow baking pans is a great idea !! I have loads of those. I’d say they’re between 3 & 4 weeks old so it’ll be time here shortly for them to try the litter. Mamma has a small shallow tote, but the sides are taller than the babes so that is a great idea, thank you!! Mamma isn’t super aggressive but she is definitely frightened. I don’t want to cause her distress but I need to keep their area clean. Welding gloves... I’m sure my partner has a pair of those. Another great idea !
 

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I use welding gloves. Awkward but helpful.
The kitties are beautiful! That kitten you are holding looks very calm. Mom cat is scared but not aggressive? That’s a very good sign. Try putting a shirt or something that carries your scent in the crate with her. I have often found that using a soft brush to stroke ferals is calming and they learn to enjoy the feeling. You may need to fasten a long handle on it but even e toothbrush can work. It’s similar to having another cat groom them or the feeling that got from their own mother. Grooming each other is part of cat communication. You’re doing great!
 
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tinav43

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I use welding gloves. Awkward but helpful.
The kitties are beautiful! That kitten you are holding looks very calm. Mom cat is scared but not aggressive? That’s a very good sign. Try putting a shirt or something that carries your scent in the crate with her. I have often found that using a soft brush to stroke ferals is calming and they learn to enjoy the feeling. You may need to fasten a long handle on it but even e toothbrush can work. It’s similar to having another cat groom them or the feeling that got from their own mother. Grooming each other is part of cat communication. You’re doing great!
Aw thanks :) They are the cutest little furs. The kitten I am holding is the largest of the bunch. I am starting to interact with them more after doing talking with you fine folks! Correct, mama is scared and protective of her babies but she is not aggressive. She growls more than she hisses (when I remove kittens, when I clean her litter too loudly, when I get close to her).. She has yet to scratch or bite or jump at me. Last night for the first time I got to actually see her nursing. Usually she is in the loaf position when I check in, so I am taking that as a good sign too. She let herself be vulnerable in front of me!

T-shirt with my scent and brushing... I would have never thought of any of this! Thank you all for your help and advice!
 

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I am wondering if the mom cat may even by a dumped cat or stray rather than feral. It’s so sad but very common that when people tire of caring for a cat or find it is pregnant, they cast them off. Stray begin to develop survival instincts if they make it long enough. They can revert back to being companions too if they regain trust in humans. I think she has a chance with you.
There are lots of ways to work with these kitties. Many here have special tricks they have used over years of working with lost kitties. The process varies some with each person and each cat but the basics are pretty much the same. TCS is a great resource for help. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask. We all love hearing about each life that is saved. As a kitty guardian, you are a kitty hero! Please do keep us updated.
 
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tinav43

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I am wondering if the mom cat may even by a dumped cat or stray rather than feral. It’s so sad but very common that when people tire of caring for a cat or find it is pregnant, they cast them off. Stray begin to develop survival instincts if they make it long enough. They can revert back to being companions too if they regain trust in humans. I think she has a chance with you.
There are lots of ways to work with these kitties. Many here have special tricks they have used over years of working with lost kitties. The process varies some with each person and each cat but the basics are pretty much the same. TCS is a great resource for help. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask. We all love hearing about each life that is saved. As a kitty guardian, you are a kitty hero! Please do keep us updated.
I guess it is possible she is not totally feral, but I am not sure. She has been an roaming, outside cat since we moved in a few years ago. We see her often and actually nicknamed her "Outside Pau" because she looks similar to our cat Pau. I will definitely keep working with her though!

Thanks again for the kind words and advice!!
 
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