Trapping feral kittens, keep or return

2 dozen

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I  perform TNR in my community, have done over 170 cats since I started this program in 2011. I shall be trapping some kittens and the mama.

I already have 13 cats and have run out of people to take any kittens but I hate the thought of returning the kittens outside after they get sterilized. I live in NE Pa, it's getting cold and we have many coyotes and other predators. What do those of you who trap ferals do with the adorable kittens?

The local shelter is not no kill but they wouldn't be able to adopt them out anyway, not being socialized. I don't want to end up becoming a cat hoarder, though I am not far from that at this point. The cats I trapped that weren't feral but strays I couldn't release so I kept them, the kittens that became socialized while waiting to weigh enough to have the surgery I kept the ones I couldn't find home for.

These kittens I am seeing are all just so cute and I feel bad about the harsh life they will have. Sometimes I wonder if having them euthanized is more humane. Your thoughts appreciated.

Karen
 

StefanZ

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I  perform TNR in my community, have done over 170 cats since I started this program in 2011. I shall be trapping some kittens and the mama.

I already have 13 cats and have run out of people to take any kittens but I hate the thought of returning the kittens outside after they get sterilized. I live in NE Pa, it's getting cold and we have many coyotes and other predators. What do those of you who trap ferals do with the adorable kittens?

The local shelter is not no kill but they wouldn't be able to adopt them out anyway, not being socialized. I don't want to end up becoming a cat hoarder, though I am not far from that at this point. The cats I trapped that weren't feral but strays I couldn't release so I kept them, the kittens that became socialized while waiting to weigh enough to have the surgery I kept the ones I couldn't find home for.

These kittens I am seeing are all just so cute and I feel bad about the harsh life they will have. Sometimes I wonder if having them euthanized is more humane. Your thoughts appreciated.

Karen
If you dont have facilities for fostering and socializing, not you nor associates,  its almost necessary to take them pretty young, (4)-5-6 weeks.  At that age they are much easier to foster, and later on, adopt out...

This is one of the few exceptions of the classical rule of minimum 8 weeks, but preferably 12 weeks.

Otherwise, its to release them back, together with momma, and hope for the best...
 
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Norachan

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Hi Karen,

I know how you feel, I'm worried about getting into hoarder territory too. I have 22 cats at the moment, 3 strays and the rest ex-feral. I released nearly all of the adults I trapped back where I found them as they were too wild to ever become pets. 2 of the adult cats I have now were special cases, sociable enough to stay with me in spite of being spayed/neutered at an advanced age. The rest were all under 6 months when I took them in.

I have re-homed a lot of kittens but I've never been able to catch feral kittens as young as 8 weeks. I think the youngest I ever caught were 12 weeks old, the rest closer to 16~18 weeks. Yes, they can be socialised and re-homed at that age, but every cat is different. Some warm up to you much faster than others do.

Do the cats you are going to release have a shelter and regular food? The part of Japan I live in is really cold in the winter, but the cats I had to release all went into a farming community where there are barns to sleep in and people who feed them daily.

As long as they are healthy I think they're better of outside rather than being euthanised. Getting them spayed/neutered protects them from a lot of the dangers cats face and they're tough enough to survive the winter, provided they have some kind of shelter and a regular food source.
 
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2 dozen

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Thank you so much for your prompt and thoughtful responses. I live in a Pocono mountain community where there are many homes to find shelter and some people who feed them.  

This particular family has been around our lake where the homes are some distance and the wind off the lake already is so very cold. I go out every day to feed a colony and care for another colony part time while their caretakers go away but their house is on the market so I shall be caring for them every day once they sell.

I can add the lake kitties to my daily rounds and feed them so hopefully they can find proper shelter. The kittens look to be about 3 months old but I don't know how to guess the age, any ideas on how to do that? I shall trap them and see how they respond to me, I hope they don't ever get used to me so I can comfortably return them.

I have been feeding them for almost 3 weeks but sometimes sit in car waiting 2 hours to see how many show up. I have seen 3 kittens but not all on same day and have reports of a white multicolored one that I never saw. I want to make sure I get all kittens before I get mama.

Thanks again.

Karen
 
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