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Hi. I‘m Michael and I need some advice regarding 2 families of feral kittens that have recently shown up all at once around my home.

Background: I live in a row house in Queens, NY with a small backyard. I have 2 indoor cats and for the past year I’ve been caring for 3 feral cats in my backyard. I feed them daily and I’ve set up an area for them to live under my back porch. It has a few insulated enclosures as well as a couple of heaters for the winter.

Situation 1:
So, I recently went away for 5 days and when I came home (on April 26th) I heard meows coming from under my porch and I found 3 new born kittens inside one of the insulated enclosures. The kittens fit in my hand, have their eyes shut and can’t walk. Since then I’ve seen a neighborhood feral cat go inside: which I assume is the mother.
I’ve checked on the kittens a couple of times. But based on a few articles I’ve read, I’ve basically just left them alone and let the mother care for them.
So I have a few question both for now and in the future:
  1. There haven't been any fights so far. But my cats generally consider my backyard as their territory. Should I be concerned that they will act aggressively towards the mother or the kittens when they become more mobile and start exploring?
  2. Long term I don’t want these kittens to make a permanent home on my property. I don’t see my cats really sharing the space with them and I don’t want that kind of cat fighting. Will the kittens eventually just move somewhere else? I can’t foster them at all: So should I take them to a shelter? But I know they’re all at capacity: so who would take them? I’m just not sure what to do long term. What do you suggest I do?

Situation 2:
A couple of days ago I also noticed a different feral cat in a shed in my next door neighbor's backyard. Then I saw 4 kittens come out. They're definitely not newborns as they were running around their mom and playing before they began nursing from her. I realize it's not on my property so technically it’s not my business. But I do have some concerns.
  1. I’m concerned that’s not a safe place for the kittens. My neighbor has a small dog and it’s come out and barked at the mother and the kittens. Also my neighbor is not exactly a cat person. I’m not sure what he’s going to do when he realizes they’re on his property.
  2. On the flip side. I’m also concerned those kittens will move into my property. There is a low wire fence separating our backyards. But my backyard is still the most accessible area to them as all the other yards have high solid wood or plastic fencing. If that were to happen it would further compound and complicate the issue I’m currently having with the newborn kittens already here! What do you think I should do?
 

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Hi and welcome, Michael!

What genders are your indoor cats? Are they fixed? Cats usually aren't territorial around kittens. You may have some problems with mama cat, though. I assume your cats have seen mama cat, yes? Any hissing? You should be prepared for some hissing, although they may become friends after a while. If your cats are territorial, they may run her off but then again they may not.

Mama cat may move her kittens to another location, which be even be outside of your backyard. If she doesn't, the kittens will stay in your yard and call it their home. If they do, you should have to worry about any cat fights between the kittens and your cats. There may be a hiss here and there if the kittens get too close.


You can just ask family and friends if they want a kitten or post them on social media that they need to be rehomed once they are weaned but they'll have to be socialized. Is mama cat friendly? She may not want you to touch her kittens. How'd she react when you picked them up? I suggest you wait until they are at least two weeks old to touch them.

Yes, that is not a safe place for kittens. Small dogs can very easily kill a kitten. Mama cat should keep them safe. She should move them somewhere else if she finds the dog a threat.

Yeah, she may move them into your property but I don't think she will seeing how there is already a mama cat and kittens. How old are her kittens, do you think? Are they friendly? You do think they could be socialized?
 

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If you don't want them to go to a shelter, the only thing they can do for you is get them fixed once they are two pounds (about 8 weeks old).
 
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