We have a small feral colony of cats in my neighborhood with a regular batch of kittens and no place to take them. We have saved a few, but nature takes it’s course and we can’t save them all. This time we had a litter of three born in the side yard of our house and we found them when they were just a week or so old. One was already so wild it would attack, but there was one little girl who was actually quite inquisitive and very calm when we handled her. We weren’t able to hand feed them so we put them back in a nest and let their feral mother have them back. Fast forward a few weeks to today. I open my garage door and the three kittens came running through my legs. I grabbed the little girl so she wouldn’t get lost in the depths of my garage and discovered she was so very thin. Clearly their mother has dried up and they’re too young find enough solid food themselves. (Mom is still trying to tend to them though.)
So the little girl hissed and screamed at me and made a lot of threats, but she did not strike. I think below all the fear and feralness is a very chill kitten that can be tamed. What kills me is she is a rack of bones. I would let her take her chances as part of the colony, but I don’t think she would make it. We’d love a cat but unfortunately it’s risky with three hunting sighthounds in the house.
I don’t know what the hell to do with her so for now Betty is in a big dog crate in the living room. She figured out what cat food was and is no longer cowering in the back of the crate. She still hisses at me when I go to pick her up, but she will sit on my lap to be petted. She still has occasional fits of hissing, but she seems to enjoy the contact. Now she’s back in the crate vacillating between meowing and then screaming to get out lol. It breaks my heart as I think she’s having a hard time away from her littermates/mom and it’s all a lot for a kitten to take in. It’s going to be a long, loud, sleepless night I think…
Fingers crossed she will eventually mellow out in the crate so I can get her a little healthier. Then I have to keep her safe from the hounds until she’s tame enough to re-home. In a perfect world the dogs won’t see her as something to chase and she can stay, but I’m not holding my breath. If someone in the N. CA area wants a beautiful little kitten, let me know!
What a birthday present!.
I know a number of folk who have taken upon themselves the management of a feral colony, providing both food and breeding limitations by capturing “fixing” and releasing back into the colony as providing food will just expand the numbers to the current near starvation balance. That you kitten cries is a good thing as those who know have told me that the main difference is that even cat raised from feral kittens go silent when transported where non ferals will complain constantly.
If you want to manage the cat pride it is good to enlist such neighbors as you can and especially a vet willing to do the work as a donation to the cause as particularly at first there is a lot for them to do. But the pride will police their own territory and no matter how fast you remove them more would fill in the void, but with breeding limited the pride can be much happier and healthier.
And the tragedy of so many starving kittens would stop.
Here’s a suggestion - feed the mom. When Artemis had her five in our yard, she was skinny as a stick. Ribs showing. But she was still trying to feed and care for her kits. We gave her dry kitten chow (higher protein) and cat milk (different from cow’s milk - less diarrhea), she slowly got healthier, her milk got better for the kittens, they got healthier - and the advantage was we could just leave it near her and she would find it just fine. You can also scatter kitten chow for the little ones.
Good luck with your new baby - she looks like she’s got a little Siamese in her. Going to be a beautiful cat if she makes it.
Our area has a large feral cat population and also a large TNR program (trap, neuter, release). It seems to work very well. Is there anything like that in your area? There are a few clinics that spay/neuter for $20 a feral cat and they clip the cat’s ear at the same time so from a distance you can tell which cats have already been TNR’d.
The kitten is beautiful. Hopefully, you will be able to find a good home home for her, your own
Awww… cutie! The volunteers I work with say that once you win over a feral kitten, they can be the sweetest loves of all.
Do you have an SPCA in your area? Or similar? I’m in MA and our state has a very active TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) program. Combined with education, strong spay/neuter programs for low-income population, etc., our kitten population is at record lows. We already ship our puppies in from the south because we have a shortage. Anyway, seems like you would be just the right sort of person to help out with TNR.
So many kittens are born just to die or be abused. It’s really heartbreaking.