Stray kittens?(15 Posts)
As I was coming home I noticed two kittens in the alleyway next to our house. I walked over to them as they seemed quite young to be out on their own but they ran under a fence (it goes down an embankment to a train line). I leaned down and was greeted by an adult cat who hissed and growled. I assume she's their Mam so I backed away.
I'm worried about the cat and kittens as they seem so young to be out. DH reckons their Mam will look after them and maybe some people just let their kittens out young.
I'm not really sure what (if anything) I should do?
The mum will be stray and the kittens will now be feral. If the kittens survive (many feral kittens get eaten by foxes) then they will go on to have more kittens themselves and mum will be pregnant again in a couple of months.
So yes, mum and kittens need to be trapped and neutered. As a start you need to start putting food out regularly, at set times, so they get used to coming to you. This will help with trapping.
Assuming you're not in London then you need to find a charity to help you. Cats Protection would be the obvious start.
Thank you for the advice! I went out this morning to look for them but they weren't there. I'm reluctant to leave food out as our neighbourhood has a lot of cats. I saw three this morning in the small area the kittens were in yesterday and we have two ourselves so I think the food would be eaten immediately by other cats. I will however check the area regularly with food and put it down if I see them with a view to trapping them and getting them to the vet. Does that sound like a reasonable plan?
We're in the north east, so I'll also have a look for local cat charities.
DH is still convinced they belong to someone as they looked so healthy, so we're also going to try and get photos to put up.
If food isn't there regularly then it's going to be difficult but I see your problem. Feral kittens do generally look healthy. Cats are very good at looking after their young.
Your dh is wrong, no one lets a mother cat take kittens out. They dont do it anyway if they have a home.
Mum will mate as soon as she can though.
I saw one of the kittens fleetingly run under the fence when I checked on them earlier. I put some food down.
I heard someone shouting "did you let the cats out again?" But they could've been referring to a different cat.
I can't tell how old the kittens are as we've only had adult rescue cats. They're not tiny but obviously not fully grown. Maybe their owner thinks they're old enough to be out? I'm checking for them regularly and will ask neighbours when I see them.
I dont think mom would take them out, she'd leave them in the house and go on her own.
Keep putting food down though, aldi do good tinned food. Mom will need the energy when winter comes.
Like Fluffy says, mum-cats don't take their kittens out with them. They leave them safely indoors if they have a home.
And lets just say, for the sake of argument, that they do have a home. No responsible owner would a) leave their cat unneutered to get pregnant, and b) let her out to get pregnant again and c) let tiny kits roam about before jabs and micro-chipping.
Feeding and trapping is the right thing to do. Your local cat charity should help you there. I'm sure they'll at the very least lend you a trap. Once they're caught, mum can be scanned for a microchip. But I'd be willing to bet there won't be one.
Please, please leave plenty of fresh water out for them, especially in this weather. I remember reading a heartbreaking thread this time last year, about some stray kittens crowding around an empty bottle, looking for water.
Well done OP, for not turning a blind eye. And ignore DH's suggestion of leaving them to it.
Update, the kittens came out to eat the food I put down this evening. I still can't get anywhere near them though. Will be phoning cat charities tomorrow.
However today when I was feeding them another cat came out. It was a different one to the one who hissed at me (she won't come out when I'm there) but this one looked in a pretty bad state. Filthy fur and pink marks round his/her neck. I wasn't sure whether to fed this one as I'm really hesitant to feed someone else's cat but s/he looked so bedraggled that I handed out a bit of food. This one was also wary of me but did eat the food.
I seem to be collecting strays! Do I do the same thing for this one?
Yes, feed that one too. Owned cats might be a bit thin with age but they dont usually look bedraggled.
What kind of area are you in?
I live in a Victorian terraced street. I'm one house from the end of the road and there's trainline at the end. The strays are living on the embankment but hang out in the alleyway, they run behind the fence if I go near them.
There are loads of cats in the area, I've never lived anywhere with so many cats in a such small territory. One of mine has had issues with peeing in the house since we moved last year and I think it's at least partially territorial but that's a whole other thread!
Phoned our local animal shelter. They basically said I should just leave the cats and kittens to it and not feed them or try to trap them. They would apparently be impossible to rehome and when I asked about neutering they said they didn't do that.
Apparently it's common for strays to live on train lines and it's fine to leave them there
DH has found somewhere that does neuter, catch and release. However we need to do checks around the local area to make sure they don't belong to anyone before asking them to come out.
What shocking advice from the first place. Yes there are feral cats living all over the place. Most of the kittens don't make it to adulthood and die a variety of nasty deaths. And those that do have their numbers limited by starvation. Yet despite this high death rate you still end up with a very large colony in very little time, all very hungry. Trap/neuter/return is the only humane way to deal with this.
Did the second place tell you to check around? Of course they don't belong to anyone, for all the reasons gone into above on this thread. And even if they did they still need neutering and the 'owners' obviously aren't doing it. So just tell them you've already done that and get on with it.
And it's great that you're not just saying this isn't your problem. Without people like you who care cats would be in an even worse position than they already are.
We got 2 kittens from cats protection that had been born into a similar situation. Feral mother gave birth to 6 kittens at the bottom of someone's garden which bordered some kind of wasteland. Owner of garden phoned in to report. They were told to leave them for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks cats protection went out caught them all neutered the mother then re released her as she was too feral to become a pet. Kittens were found homes. 7 years old now the most loving cats. You would never know they spent their first few weeks being feral!
DH spoke to our old neighbour (next door is split into two flats) who after looking at our photos is pretty sure the Mother cat belongs to the people who live in the other flat. She said she often worried about the cat as she hadn't been neutered. DH is going to speak to the neighbours once they're home.
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