Unknown location of feral mom and kittens

Brice53

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I do TNR in my neighborhood and I’ve been trying to trap this one particular cat for several months. It refuses to go in my trap no matter what I do. I noticed its stomach looked pretty large and was concerned it was pregnant. Just tonight it came up to eat and it looked way skinnier and it’s nipples were enlarged. I’m upset I didn’t have more urgency in getting the cat. My neighbor thinks the cat lives under his shed no one really knows for sure since the cat is so scared and runs when it spots any human. Is there a good practice to seek out and determine if she even still has the kittens and where they are? If I can locate her and if her kittens are with her how long should I wait to secure them?
 

Norachan

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Hi Brice53 Brice53

Do you have a trail camera? Or does your neighbor have any security cameras around the house? If you're doing TNR and don't have a trail camera I recommend getting one. They're extremely helpful.

If you could set up a camera near the shed you could check to see if that's where the cat lives.

Do you have a spare room where you can keep the mother and kittens? If you have somewhere suitable where the family could stay for a while I'd recommend trying to get them all indoors as soon as you can. If the kittens have only just been born you will be able to pick them up. Once they get to about a month old you'll probably have to trap them all, as they'll be too fast to catch.

Kittens can be used as "bait" to secure the feral mother.


The mother and kittens will need to stay together, but if you have the whole family indoors you have a much better chance of socialising and re-homing the kittens. The mother cat can be spayed and then released again once her kittens are weaned
 

fionasmom

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I agree with Norachan Norachan that you are better off moving on this now than when you are chasing 5 kittens individually. Even if there is some inconvenience to you, like getting the trail cam or housing them, it will save tremendous stress in the end. Do you have Nextdoor? Can you reach out to people who might be able to help along the way?

If nothing else, you might be able to hear kittens under the shed and determine their whereabouts. My two new indoor only ferals were born 2 years ago under my neighbor's house....and no, we did not hear them but that might have had to do with the square footage of a house vs a garage or shed. Two years later, one killed by coyote, one still outside and resistant to my advances, two crossed over about 2 months ago and decided that the house was better. Act now if you have a chance.
 
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Brice53

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I’m hopefully getting a trail cam tomorrow so I can determine where she is living. I’ve been able to narrow down a general area she is probably at by watching where she goes after she eats on my porch. I’ve contacted the local rescue that I do TNR with so once I find the actual location I will have them come out and help me secure all the cats.
 
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Brice53

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So I was able to follow the cat after it left the bowl two days in a row and I now know it goes behind an old couch that is in a neighbor’s yard. I got permission from neighbor to go into their yard so that is a relief. My next question is how can I determine she actually has kittens there without disturbing her? I thought maybe I could sneak into neighbors yard while the mom eats on my porch but is that a good idea?
 

StefanZ

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So I was able to follow the cat after it left the bowl two days in a row and I now know it goes behind an old couch that is in a neighbor’s yard. I got permission from neighbor to go into their yard so that is a relief. My next question is how can I determine she actually has kittens there without disturbing her? I thought maybe I could sneak into neighbors yard while the mom eats on my porch but is that a good idea?
There is some danger, if she notices you have discovered the nest, she will move them.
BUT as long you are fairly sure you know where they are, its a good occasion to try and trap her, move into her room (possibly let a vet check her out first), and at the same time, fetch the kittens... (keeping them safe while she is at the vet).
 

StefanZ

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So a question is, DO you have a good and safe means to catch her?

If not, your alternative may be, to fetch the kittens while she is eating at your place, and hope you can use the kittens as bait...
 
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Brice53

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I have a humane trap but I’ve been trying to get her to go inside for a few months and she refuses to go inside. I’ve even only put food inside the cage and she would rather leave hungry than go inside. I think using kittens as bait is going to be the only way I can secure her. I basically want to confirm she in fact does have kittens and that I don’t grab the kittens before they can survive without her in case I can’t grab the mom.
 

moxiewild

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Are you sure she’s given birth yet?

You just need to try and track her movements right now as closely as possible to try and find the nest. Have you set the camera up yet?
 

Norachan

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I think using kittens as bait is going to be the only way I can secure her. I basically want to confirm she in fact does have kittens and that I don’t grab the kittens before they can survive without her in case I can’t grab the mom.
Yes, that is what I would do. If you can get the kittens you can put them in a carrier with a hot water bottle and put that up against the back of a humane trap. Cover the carrier and the back of the trap with a blanket so the only way she can get close to the kittens is to go into the trap.

They:ll be OK with out her for a few hours as long as they are warm. If she won't go into the trap at first you can bottle feed the kittens and try again the next day.

She will move the kittens if she notices you any where near the nest. Wait until she leaves to eat before you check, but be prepared to grab the kittens right away.

Are the TNR group helping you with her?
 
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Brice53

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I have set up a trail camera so I know she goes to and from the couch area in my neighbor’s yard. She is definitely smaller than she looked a few weeks ago so I’m pretty sure she did give birth.

I am working with TNR group and they are giving me suggestions and even offered to come out if they have time in the next two weeks. I’d rather they do the trapping since they are experts but I’m worried about missing my chance right now since I know the location of the nest. Based off when me and my neighbors noticed her we estimate she gave birth around three-four weeks ago.
 

Norachan

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Based off when me and my neighbors noticed her we estimate she gave birth around three-four weeks ago.
The kittens are already going to be pretty fast. If you're hoping to pick them up and place them in a carrier you might need some help. A couple of people able to block off the kittens escape routes, maybe some nets to help secure them?

Make sure you wear gloves, even at four weeks they can bite and scratch.

:crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers:
 
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