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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Birthing Place for Feral Kittens

Hi Everyone, I am a new member and just wanted to begin by introducing myself, and then by asking a question.

My name is Lynne, I live in Jersey City New Jersey USA. I currently have 4 feral cats who come into my back yard/patio to eat and sometimes relax. There are 3 males and one female. Last month the female went into heat and during that time I had at least 4 other males coming around and pestering her. Needless to say it was quite a circus back there for a while. Now that all has seemed to have passed and I am just back to the original 4 kitties. I am quite sure the female is pregnant. I had built a shelter this past winter which the female spent numerous days/nights sleeping in when it was very cold/windy/snowing.

My question is, does anyone have any recommendations as far as to what type of shelter/birthing place I could provide to the female so that she may decide to give birth in my yard? The reason for this is that I would be willing to keep watch of the kittens and take one or all if necessary to the vet if needed and to try to adopt out the kittens so they too do not become another feral in this community. Currently my area is overrun with ferrals and I would like to do what I can to keep their numbers down.

I am in contact with aTNR organization but at this time I am financially unable to work with TNR because I am unemployed and cannot afford even the small expense of the vet bills. I have two house cats of my own and my first priority is them.

I thought though if I could at least keep the new kittens closeby and monitor their progress and take them to a willing vet for adoption, at least I could keep them from adding to the problem here.

Any suggestions would really be appreiated. I'm glad I found this community for help!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 08:51 PM
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Re: Birthing Place for Feral Kittens

Welcome to CatForum and thank you for helping to love and care for the forgotten ferals. I tame, socialize and foster feral, semi-feral and poorly-socialized kittens and cats for adoption. I find it to be very rewarding work.

Ideally, the female should have been spayed before she came in season. In fact, most TNR groups spay every female cat when trapped, regardless of pregnancy or not. The reason isn't a heartless one, it is simply one of expediency ... the only way to not add to the feral numbers is to prevent more births and many times the TNR groups are unable to re-trap a wary cat so it becomes a little bit of an opportunistic spay 'em while you got 'em attitude. You also need to be aware that unless you are able to isolate this female into a cage of some type, it is almost certain that you will *never* have an opportunity to spay her while she is not pregnant. Cats can come into season, breed and catch pregnant within days of birthing and her pregnancy will develop even as she is nursing her current litter of kittens, beginning a non-stop cycle of pregnancy, birth and kitten-rearing.

If you would like to try to help her with her litter, you could provide a nice nesting area for her on you property.
Here is a link to a topic about pregnant cats and birthing preparations.
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=67472

Also, check out the stickies for "shelter ideas for feral cats", there are some great ideas.



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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 11:59 PM
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Re: Birthing Place for Feral Kittens

Thank you for caring for the outside kitties even while being unemployed. Why wouldnít the TNR group pay for the s/n and vaccinations? I know my group in Arizona would. Esp if the person is willing to help with the trapping and getting them to the vet. Ask the group if they would. Explain being unemployed. I canít help but think they will. It is the mission of TNR group. We are always elated when someone can do the watching the traps and transport and recovery!

Trap this female right away. You will never know when she isnít pregnant. Itís unfortunate but a reality. They cycle thru being in heat so quickly that you may not find a time where she isnít. Get those boys too. Theyíre part of the challenge. Even if she is done the boys will be driven to search out females in your area to mate. There is nothing more tragic then kittens who donít survive. 50 % of kittens in the wild donít make it.

That alone motivates me to get all the females I can. If they are near delivery then we provide a place for her to birth and raise them so we can get her fixed and the kittens so the cycle is stopped.

Keep us posted how you are doing. Also what the TNR group says. There are free s/n months at low cost spay/neuter clinics too. Call and ask around. Our Humane Society just got a $7000 grant during kitten season just for ferals. This is usually when the freebies are run.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Birthing Place for Feral Kittens

Thanks for your responses. I haven't actually tried trapping any of them at this point. The last time I spoke with the woman from our local TNR group I got the impression they would help with training for TNR and for providing the traps but that I would be financially responsible for the spay/neuter and also for keeping the cats until they healed.

Obviously being unemployed, I just don't have the funds right now for this and in addition, I don't really have a place I could put the cats while they heal. Having 2 cats of my own makes this a problem.

But after reading both responses I think I will give the woman another call and ask her what options I would have if I could trap them. I know I have to get the boys as well! Thanks again for your help and I will update this post with new news.

Lynne
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 04:49 PM
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Re: Birthing Place for Feral Kittens

Do you have a garage, screened in porch, or barn? Ideally we have recovering kitties in kennels in our garages. Weather permitting.

Depending on how flush with funds, will probably be your TNR groups ability to help. Most TNR groups are run on grants and donations. Im sure they understand when someone is unemployed and try to help them out. Bottom line is were in it for the best interest of the cats. You are the ideal person because you are willling to feed and watch out for the cats once they are s/n.

I know AZCats in Phoenix wont help you unless you are willing to take the cat back and feed them. They dont expect the person to pay for the s/n. Of coarse every TNR group would appreciate a donation but were in a wierd economy so its understandable.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-15-2010, 02:15 PM
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Re: Birthing Place for Feral Kittens

There are organizations that will give you a better price on spaying and neutering:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=40605



There are also organizations that will help with veterinary costs, not for everyone, but if you qualify:

http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/300198

I hope this helps!

When you need some sort of help with ferals, check the stickies at the top of the Feral Forum. There are some wonderful resources at Rules, Resources, and Remedies, which is a whole sticky forum with lots of great ideas! Check the top of Cat Chat for that.




Jeanie

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-15-2010, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Birthing Place for Feral Kittens

We actually do have a garage but it has 3 motorcycles and it smells really bad in there like gas. It's attached to the house so leaving the door cracked probably would not be a good idea since we live in a very urban environment. I suppose I could ask the vet about this but I don't think the fumes would be great for them.

I guess my downstairs entry way would work if it was only for a day or two. We can keep our house cats out of there no problem.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-15-2010, 03:26 PM
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Re: Birthing Place for Feral Kittens

When they are recovering be sure to cover the kennel. Makes them feel safe. have the vet transfer the cats from the trap to a kennel while they are out from surgery. Males should be kept for atleast a day or two. Females 3 or more days to recover. Put water in their soft food and feed them as much as they will eat. You want to release them with full tummies. Careful when you open the doors they are escape artist. Or will hiss and swipe at you. If you can get the food into the kennel without opening the door the better! Have cat box in there for them to use while recovering. Put a plastic sheet under the kennel for overspills.
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