Trapping kittens too soon? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Utah - USA
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Trapping kittens too soon?

Sorry if this question has been asked before. I tried to do a search for "trap nursing", and nothing really applied to my situation.

How soon can I trap kittens, without harmful effects of emotion/health? They're still nursing, but starting to get independent and out on their own a bit.


For people who like to read details, here ya go:

I finally got the OK (well, it was more like a sigh, shake of the head and exasperated "Whatever") from my dad to actually DO something with the ferals. At first he wanted me to just leave them alone... but I realized we now have 13 (maybe more) and that's plenty!
Anyhoo... I want to trap a littler of kittens and their mother. The mother will be spayed and released. The kittens will be taken by a local rescue group and adopted out IF they can be tamed and socialized to humans enough (the rescue group is very small and doesn't have the resources to do it themselves, so I'm going to attempt to do it and hope they get tame enough for approval for adoption).

The kittens are out and about, playing around the den. They don't go much further than a few yards, and skitter back at the first sign of danger (real or imagined). So I assume they're about 5 weeks... but they're still nursing. I don't want to take them from mommy too soon, but the longer I wait, the harder it'll be to tame them (according to articles I've been reading about it).
It will still be a little while before I can trap anyway, as I'm waiting for financial aid for the spaying from another organization. So maybe 2 weeks or so...? I'm hoping that will be long enough for them to be fully weaned, as I don't want to hinder development.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 08:01 PM
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Re: Trapping kittens too soon?

Well, my opinion may be unpopular, but it is accpeted in TNR circles as the best way ... trap 'em whenever you can get 'em. You may never get a second chance. I prefer to trap litters of kittens as a group. Get them accustomed to feeding on canned food at a certain time/place each day. When all kittens are showing up to eat, don't feed one day, and instead prepare a kitten-room in the house. I use my master bathroom because it is large enough for them to play and have a carrier in there as a 'den' and the floor-space is big enough to put out a plate of canned food and begin socializing them. Also, kittens socialize quicker, the younger they are.
If you use a bedroom, eliminate all areas where kittens could get under/behind large pieces of furniture. You don't want them able to become inaccessible to you during those first, critical weeks of socialization.

After the not-fed-day, prepare your trap for catching kittens. I ziptied a piece of cardboard with a kitten-sized hole at the entrance to allow kittens in and deny adult cats access to the yummy food. Rig the trap to NOT spring with the trip-plate ... you want to have a light line tied to the trigger-release to spring the trap *yourself* after you've determined all of the kittens are inside. Practice at the house a few times to see how hard you need to tug the string before going out to trap and use a big enough trap so all kittens will and *can* enter it.

The reason I trap them when I see them, is the first feral litter born on my property were enjoying the canned food I brought out ... but the mamma-cat was distrustful and she MOVED them. I didn't see *any* of them for a month. I was *lucky* she brought them back a month later on 'field trip visits' and even *luckier* that none had died during that month while she had them away. If you trap them at weaning age (when they tumble about and play outside near the nest), you can wean them to foods or offer supplemental bottle feedings. It will be sad that they don't have their mamma or an adult cat to help 'teach' them about being cats ... but in the feral-world ... life is short, difficult and filled with danger. Trapping them early ensures they *live*.
Best of luck!
heidi =^..^=



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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Trapping kittens too soon?

My only issue is about the indoor spare room. I ain't got one. I live in the basement which is basically just one large room. My bathroom is tiny (toilet and sink, barely have enough room for a weight scale!...I go upstairs into the main part of my dad's house for showers), plus there's this black speckle stuff on the wall near the toilet, which I think is black mold... I tried spraying it with bleach, but I don't think it helped much.

I do have a small cage (puppy training crate) I could use to keep them in for a while. Once they're calmed down, I could probably let them out during the day while I supervise, and just put them back in the cage at night, or while I'm out on errands. I hope this will work.

I could probably catch them by hand... I already did one! (let it go, though, since I'm not yet prepared for keeping). I started a plan tonight... I want all the cats to get used to me, so I'll set out canned food and sit quietly nearby. Well, after eating, two of the kittens came right up to me to investigate me. I was sitting and reading a book.. very carefully I reached out and touched the tabby, who didn't react. So then I picked him up, so I could confirm gender. Now I just gotta get the gray one sexed (since I'm pretty sure the calicos are girls).
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-28-2010, 02:04 AM
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Re: Trapping kittens too soon?

Wow! Sounds like they would be fairly easy to socialize, and that will be a good thing. I think you could make your dog-crate work, as long as it has enough room for food, water, litterbox and a sleeping/playing area.

Here is a pic of the set-up I used to keep and introduce Skippyjon Jones to our housecats. I had planned on using it for my group of 5 fosters, but they all had URIs and I didn't want my resident cats to be able to have uninterrupted contact (ability to sneeze on them) so I kept them in my bathroom as I treated w/ antibiotics. I'm still hearing the occasional sneeze so I'm continuing to not allow mingling or casual contact.

This is a large dog-crate, like for a Great Dane. 3' x 4.5' and 3.75' tall.




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