Getting several generations to co-habitate - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Getting several generations to co-habitate

I hope I"m posting this in the right section, these are barn cats, not true ferals, but the behaviour is similar, hence my choice of where to post.
Some of you will recall my previous post where it was kindly pointed out to me that mother barn cat is pregnant again. Well, they arrived last night. Sox turned up for breakfast a little, Uhm, shall we say lighter than yesterday.
The problem I'm having is related to her previous litter. I understand through some research that she didn't want to keep them in the main barn because of their older siblings who still live there. They are now over a year old and obviously completely independent. The let's call them middle generation, four months old, is still living in my washroom. Now cute as that may be, it unfortunately cannot continue for much longer. The washroom doubles as our extra kitchen where we process cows and such that were slaughtered. Having three cats living in there isn't exactly Hygienic. The washroom is also the place where my dogs are kept during thunderstorms when I'm not home. They will kill the kittens if they get the opportunity.
So I have to work on getting these kittens to move out, and soon. I have my plans for how, but what I need to know is; at four months, and having met their older siblings several times without incident, can they now also move into the big barn?
Or into the feed store, across the way from the big barn, but with no permanent resients except a few birds. Good prey source.
I am hoping that when the latest generation are old enough to move them into the other barn, with no resident cats.
It's only a few metres from where mom has them stashed now. Yes I know where they are, although I will not interfere before they start coming out on their own.
Also how soon can I have mom spayed? I'm guessing Two months at least when the kittens are old enough to eat on their own?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 03:31 PM
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Please try to wean the kittens and then get the mother done instantly.

Have to admit that I'm surprised at the dogs - most farm dogs here are better with cats than average dogs.

Probably shouldn't admit this but as a kid, we cleaned slaughtered animals in a room with cats - just washed the meat down.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 05:40 PM
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Are the year old and 4 month litters s/n? If they are then is adopting them out a possibility? If not then you need to do that before you move them outside.

If everyone has been s/n already and the 4m ones have met the older ones before you can most likely put them together. TBH they littler ones may be easily accepted or not, but they'll have room to run if they need to and they'll need the older ones to mentor them so they don't get eaten by larger predators.

As a warning, outdoor farm cats don't typically have a long lifespan 3-5 years, with most dying in the first year of life), so you need to be aware that the survival rate drops steeply as soon as they go outside. Sorry to be grim, but you should be aware of the risks.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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Arienwen, I think the male (they are all BC's) learned from the jrt we had when he was a pup and the rest learned from him. If it was only our own meat, it might not be such a big issue, after all we have four house cats. But during the winter my aunt comes to buy a cow from us, and we help her process the meat, or at least some of it. She's a neat freak, husband's a gp. Cat's aren't real popular with them in any way, cats in between her meat? Heaven forbid!
@Librarychick. None of the cats have been s/n I am working on my local vet and shelter to help me with discount on their s/n. The four month olds can only be neutered at six months, our vet refuses to do any animal before six months age. I'm Working on a plan with the older ones, they are feral, can't be caught, except maybe in a live trap which I don't have.
The little ones have full access to outside prefers to be outside 99% of the time now. One of the older sibs have come and even shared a food bowl with them, another has approached, but didn't like the idea of the washroom and promptly left. The third one is a timid little kitty who runs a mile if you so much as say "Boo".
This is the first time Sox got pregnant again so soon, not sure if the current "barn team" was her first litter, or if not what happened to previous litters.
I'm All too aware of the dangers the kittens face, one has already fallen by the wayside, killed by my dogs. Not torn apart, I think he probably had a heart attack or internal injuries. No external damage. Just a dead kitten wet with dog saliva lying in my yard last week one night. I am working with them to lrevent further tragedy, but unfortunately you never can guarantee the kittens' safety. Snakes, workers dogs, etc also pose a very real risk.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 11:44 AM
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If the younger kittens haven't been s/n then do NOT let them out...to be safe I'd split up the males and females as well. Males can become sexually active at 4-5 months, and though it's rarer with females they can hit their first heat at 5 months.

If your vet won't do them younger then you'll have to work with that, but unless you want to be completely overrun with kittens very soon you need to split the males and females up until they can be s/n.

If the younger kittens are sociable I'd keep them confined until s/n, then see if you can get them adopted out to indoor or indoor/outdoor homes.

As far as the older ones, go...it's kind of a miracle you don't have numerous breeding females at this point. Are you sure you've got girls in the older group of kittens? The only way to be 'sure' is to either have checked them in the past or if one is calico/orange. Otherwise my bet is you've got males only and thank your lucky stars!

I'm glad to hear you're working with a local group, and I'd see if they'll help you trap the older kittens and get them s/n. There are quite a few areas where there's a TNR (trap, neuter, release) group working and they might be a good bet for help with your cats. I hope you can get them all done pretty quick. I don't know where you live, but here (where it gets VERY cold in the winter) the cats still breed in the winter but the kittens don't make it, we're coming up to spring soon and you could easily end up with a number of litters all at once as it warms up.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 12:33 PM
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what state are you from? There is a list of TNR(trap neuter return) that are done by the Humane Society and some participating vets. If you don't mind letting me know which state you are from, I can search for participating TNR programs in your area that will do for free or just for $10-$25. When I trapped my feral kittens they were about 2 months, over the 2 lbs limit since the Humane Society wont' take them in but can only neuter/spay them. So they can be done at a younger age as long as they weigh 3 pounds. I agree with the others, the cats/kittens need to be fixed right away or there will be fighting and more pregnant kitties even at 5mos/6mos when they get their first heat. There are some volunteers who will help you trap the feral cats too. You can google it up and find one in your area.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 02:17 PM
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The TNR folks I work with here in Florida say they can do Mama OVERNIGHT, and release her the next day, and her babies are fine! They say they do it a lot and it's OK.

Last edited by marie73; 02-09-2015 at 05:15 PM.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 05:14 PM
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For female I usually keep her in a crate used for big dog for 3 days after the surgery since it's a more invasive surgery than neutering a male cat.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by librarychick View Post

As a warning, outdoor farm cats don't typically have a long lifespan 3-5 years, with most dying in the first year of life), so you need to be aware that the survival rate drops steeply as soon as they go outside. Sorry to be grim, but you should be aware of the risks.
Wow, that's scary - I am so glad that isn't true here! The youngest of the farm cats (who live with my horse) is over 9 years old. Jerry died last year and was about 14 or 15 and he had to be PTS because of a tumour - nothing to o with being a farm cat.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 05:41 PM
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Arianwen, it has to do with higher risk. If they are left unaltered the risk is exactly what I suggested. To be fair, they're more 'safe' once they get over 3-5 years, but the first year of life has a steep learning curve with really serious consequences for the ones who don't learn as quick.

Keeping them inside somewhere at night (or barn access) can increase their odds, but it's just a simple fact that higher access for predators, more access to vehicles and roads, and being around a bunch of other cats with minimal vet care all results in higher mortality rates...which sucks, IMO.

In the UK it is a bit of a different story because there are fewer predators, but in the US/Canada...it's a big bad world out there.
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