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Discussion Starter #1
Lily is one of the cats I take care of at my University. I live about an hour from it, so it's very hard between the intense amount of classes I'm taking and life in general to get down there unless I'm there for my actual classes. However, as I'm sure I've mentioned in previous threads/posts, myself and an older woman named Joanna take care of them. She's been caring for them for about 2 years now. Lily was about a 5 month old kitten when I first met her a year ago.

At that time, I really didn't know too much about trapping and spaying/neutering and releasing. Now with the on-going Pumpkin Problem (as I call it), I've learned a bit. In the last several months we've been planning on (although the plans have admittedly been vague) to trap, spay, and release the females. Lily is the only female in our main group. There are two tortis that wander around from time to time, and in time I would like to get them spayed too. Pumpkin (who I made a thread about, and his capture will hopefully be soon done with, as I have a woman making me a drop-trap as we speak) has been my main priority, but about a month ago I realized Lily was pregnant again. She had already had one litter, and I had known it was only a matter of time before she got pregnant, but simply put I did not have the resources to go about trapping her.

Two days ago I went out and bought another trap and I am making very concrete plans now to trap Lily, with Joanna. It got urgent with realizing she was pregnant again. I was debating what to do -- let her have the kittens, or bring her in to get spayed and have the pregnancy terminated -- when she had her kittens tonight. I was not there, but Joanna was (she feeds them every night, as she lives only about 10 minutes from my University), and she updated me throughout her birthing process.

She had 3 kittens, from what she could see, and all of them were mewling and squirming and seemed healthy. But this is not a happy time. I am happy they're okay, but I have no idea what to do. I know this is not an ideal situation; in a perfect world, I could have trapped her sooner before she got pregnant again, and believe me, I feel pretty guilty. But Pumpkin had shown up and classes started up again, and I've been so, so busy.

Sighs. I just want to do right by her and her kittens. How long should I wait before trying to trap her? I'm afraid, while she does let Joanna pet her, she hid her previous litter despite our attempts to trap her kitten when he was old enough. He didn't appear again (we actually thought he might have been killed) until he was about 9-10 weeks, and by that time, he was very scared of people. This is just such a hard situation, but I can't leave them there to continue procreating. The cats there (there's really only about 5-6 main ones, although god knows there's probably more) could actually live peacefully where they are. It's a safe area, and the school doesn't mind them. Obviously problems will arise, however, if tons of kittens keep popping up.

Here's a pic I was sent of Ms. Lily giving birth to the third one:
lily.png

And here's a picture of her with her one surviving kitten from her first litter, who we call Peanut (he's male, thankfully).
lily2.png

I feel like I have a never-ending supply of cats I have to trap, and I'm really no good at it. ): I honestly have no idea what to do. I know so many people on here have so much experience, and I think I'm just looking for some advice. Wait until they're weaned? Try to find them ASAP and take them? Trap Lily with as many kittens as I can get?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Okay, I'm going to meet up with her Saturday at 4pm and we're going to discuss logistics. Going to try to see how many people and what day that works for everyone we can set up to try to catch her, once we figure out how long we should wait...
 

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Maybe Sturkers it would be a good idea to go with a group who do TNR and learn how to trap properly. I think that might be a big help for both this situation and also for Pumpkin as I think your problem is actually your own nerves and worry about how the cats are going to react, which i totally understand but in their best interest you just have to be quick and firm or set a trap up overnight. Working with experienced people will help you hugely I am sure. Good Luck with this.
 

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If she will let you touch her then I'd vote for grabbing her ASAP! Bring her and kittens inside to a spare room or bathroom where they'll be safe and you can tame up the kits easily.

It may take a bit for you to cautiously follow her around and find out where the kittens are - once you do that have a kennel with wet food in it and try to catch her first. Then you can grab the little ones and kennel them separately. When you get to the place where you can keep her and the babies for now just set the room up, put the kennels in, and let her do the rest. I'd also leave her alone for a day or two other than food and water to let her settle in.

If you can't catch her she can actually get pregnant right away. Cats can go into a heat RIGHT after giving birth, so her poor body would be nursing kittens AND growing more kittens at the same time. :(

I hope you can catch her!
 

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Aww, poor baby giving birth right out in the open like that. How sad is that? I agree that it would be a good idea to meet up with a TNR group and go on an assist/learn outing or 3. That is the best way to learn proper trapping and handling techniques. You can also see about what there is to learn on Youtube. I'm sure there are plenty of vidoes on there about trapping ferals.

Best wishes to Lily and her new family.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
At least this time I would have lots of different people with me. While the woman who feeds them (Joanna) isn't super experienced, she knows her cats! She can get them to come running up to her with just a whistle! This Saturday, I would really like to figure out where the kittens are stationed and get Lily and her kittens away from the other males that might impregnate Lily again. I don't know how probable that is, but, if the little mews I've been hearing are anything to judge by, she's keeping them under the Science building. Which I can easily get under (with some crawling...) The kittens will be immobile (they're barely 2 days old...), and I can easily get them in a cage once I have Ms. Lily.

Truthfully, I am not emotionally attached to these cats like I am to Pumpkin. I would have no problem snatching Lily up even if she did freak out. She doesn't really like me anyway! Lets me put out food, but I've never pet her. She is the only female in our group as of right now (I'm not including the tortis, although they are on my list, just because they only show up once every few weeks), so once she's spayed and her kittens are safe, then I can worry about the others.

(Also, just for the record, since I haven't updated Pumpkin in a while: I'm just waiting for the word from the woman I work with! One of the other volunteer's father is making a drop-trap specifically for me, apparently, which is super cool! Then I can finally get him, since he seems to out-smart the regular traps.)

A few questions, though: will handling the kittens and putting them in a cage with Lily do any harm as far as her caring for them goes? I know a mother cat isn't going to abandon a kitten if I touch it, I'm just worried she'll be so stressed in the cage that she will accidentally hurt her babies. Should I put them in separate cages, even if they will still definitely be nursing?
 

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Struckers,
Librarychick's advice was to Kennel the babies separately from Lily for transport...till you get to the place where you can keep her and the babies for now...put both kennels in the room, open, and let Mama do the rest!
Good Luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OOPS, sorry. It's been a long day, lol.

That sounds like the best idea, yeah. Ideally it'd be nice to transport them together, but it's a small cage. Luckily, the newest trap I bought came with a smaller kitten trap, ideal for the tiny babies. Hopefully this will aid in the rescue on Saturday.

To make things more complicated: one of the males has a hurt paw now. He wasn't limping badly at all and one or two of them will limp from time to time, but it seems to be getting worse each day... And now I have to decide if it's more imperative to catch him or Lily and company first. This is so stressful.
 

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Struckers,
Catch Lily and babies first! Lily's in danger of getting "preggers" again, otherwise! And the earlier the kits get used to humans and socialized, the better!
Then worry about the boy, or maybe one of the other people can help out with him!
 

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I agree - Lily and her kittens first.

Good luck struckers - obviously, keep us posted! Keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well, and that you manage to get Pumpkin eventually too! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I promise I will! No idea what Sunday's going to bring, honestly (we chose Sunday since the next available appointment for a spay/neuter was Monday). Joanna seems very determined in helping Grumpy with his hurt leg, which I do think is important, but I truly do believe getting the kittens is a must first. But I don't even know if I will find them. ): I plan on letting Joanna call the cats to her, letting them eat, and then trying to follow Lily back to where she keeps them. Thing is, I have no one that would be willing to foster them, especially with Mama Lily who is likely going to be terrified. Is there a possibility if we DID catch her she would be too terrified and distressed to let the kittens nurse? I wish I knew someone who would be willing to foster them... I'm going to be calling every cat rescue I know of, but I know no one could when I was calling for Pumpkin. Maybe it'd be different with kittens?

I just think all the females should be spayed first. Joanna said that when she went to feed them yesterday one of the tortis did show up (which is rare) and was apparently looking a bit plump.... Like others have said, I really think I need to get in touch with an actual TNR group. There are just too many cats for a few inexperienced cat lovers to try to capture. I do want to see if I can find the kittens Sunday, though. If nothing else, if we could trap the cat with the hurt paw, it would be better than nothing.

And thanks, spirite! Pumpkin is just another one to worry about. I keep having all these people saying they're going to help, and I obviously don't want to push them, but I would really like to catch this crazy cat! It's been months. In other news, he now sometimes jumps in my car, which sounds good, but he freaks out if I try to close the door, and obviously I do not want to be driving with a feral cat in my car, lol. But it's an interesting development, considering where we started with each other.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So, we got rained out Sunday, so nothing was able to happen. They are 9 days old today and I found them while going to my classes. Cue a whole crowd of cat-lovers realizing there are kittens on campus and banning together, it was pretty epic!

I got a bunch of offers from a bunch of people to help foster, but one student works for an SPCA a town over and they do fosters all the time. She told me she was able to talk to her supervisor and the woman is VERY interested in fostering them (Mama Lily too!) We're going to trap them this Saturday and she will be able to drive them to the foster house. Lily will be very scared, though. I'm worried about her. The foster agreed to spay and release her after the kittens are weaned back at the university, where she lives right now with the rest of her family.

This is all so stressful but I am very happy with what I figured out today! Mama Lily seemed very content to bring them out to get some air where she rested by them for a few hours before bringing them back under the building when the sun got too hot. Here's a pic of them early this morning when she first brought them out! There are 4 in total, all white, I'm imagining they will develop Siamese markings (like their mama) when they get older.

babies.png
 

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Struckers,
What adorable babies! So glad you were able to find them!
And so happy, you're going to get some help!!
Before you know it, you'll be the one helping other newbies learn about TNR and cat fostering!!:p
You're doing Great!!:thumbup::thumbup:
Sharon
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the support, Sharon! I was hoping she had a routine of bringing them out in the morning, but it was raining today so although I had eyes on campus no one saw the kittens (thank God, I was a bit scared she might bring them out in the rain!!) Here's to hoping she brings them out Saturday morning? If not, I'm not sure if we'll be able to get to them underneath that building! All I can do it hope.

In other good news, I've decided, with the help of many other cat lovers on-campus, to form a Cat Coalition to help our campus cats. There are so many of them, and they will keep reproducing if we don't step in. Once we're officially recognized by our school (which will take a while, but it'll be worth it), it will grant us lots of opportunities for fundraisers and help from other organizations. I'm very excited! It's still definitely in the works, but I know these cats need some help, and so do the dedicated few who are using their own time and money right now to help them!
 

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Struckers, Right On!! I love that idea of getting a "Campus Cat Coalition" going!! :thumbup::thumbup:
I would say that your dedication and excitement, is catching fire!!
And getting others excited to help!
Awesome Pawsome!!
Good Luck on Saturday!!:D
Or find a really skinny person to shimmy under the building!!;)
Sharon
 

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Great job struckers! Honestly, I can't tell very much what's going on in that pic - I think I see one kitten? But the important thing is that Lily was comfortable bringing them out. :) And it's really terrific that you're forming a cat rescue group on campus! What a great way to take the initiative and really do something important and meaningful - and that will bring you such satisfaction and happiness. :) If you were my student, you'd get an A+.

PS: doesn't matter what the class is. Still an A+. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Oh, I can see where they'd be hard to make out, especially them all being white! They're all laying parallel to each other, so it looks like one big kitten, LOL! But there are 4 of them -- the first one is lying with its head on the left side of the pic, you can make out little ears. And the third one is stretching out an itty bitty little paw. They're so darling, and are going to make someone very wonderful pets. :)

And awww, you're too kind!! I was very surprised by the amount of support from fellow students that poured in once they realized what was happening. And that was just the students that happened to be walking by the right building at the right time! I honestly just don't think a lot of the cat-loving population of my university knows they're there. Saturday will be quite interesting. I might just wind up climbing underneath the building.

Also, I'm curious: does it matter if they're picked up? I was being waaaay too cautious around them to do that, but one of the workers that pointed them out to me (and has apparently been keeping an eye on them) went in and picked one up. Lily didn't seem to care at all, and just laid there contentedly. I know it's not true that the mamma will abandon them if you touch them, but I'm just so nervous around them and wanted some opinions. Obviously, I'll have to pick them up when we put them in their little carrier, but... I did snap a pic when he picked it up, though.

baby.png
 

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Struckers,
The only worry I'd have, is if they were handled to much right now, Mama might decide to move them again!
Sure is an adorable little one!
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Sighs. Ever since that day when they were all out, she has not had them all out together again. I talked to a professor the other day and he told me he definitely saw FIVE of them. I have people on watch day-in-and-day-out. The closest we've gotten is a) seeing her moving ONE of them between classes, but she was gone in a flash, and no matter how much we looked we just couldn't find them and b) when my friend saw them but there was only three of them. ):

Here is a pic of one of them hissing at my friend though! They're so cute how can you be mad? I wonder if they will grow into lynx point markings like their mama.

babies2.png

I am waiting. We will get these kittens! Monday and Tuesday night a bunch of us are going to catch as many adults (excluding Lily) as we can and spay/neuter on Wednesday. We are working with some volunteers from an SPCA a town over, so that is good news. And my cat organization is coming along nicely! Hopefully we will be up and running by next semester. :)

In bad news, three new kittens have showed up, probably 2-3 months old, and I'm thinking they are one of the two tortis (who we named Dot and Dash). I see them around from time to time, but they are not a part of our main group. I am just so happy we are trapping some of them Monday and the rest Tuesday. Gotta get this population under control! I have not met the three newcomers myself (they only seem to come out after I'm long gone), but I'm hoping they can be socialized and adopted out.

Look at this beautiful pic of Mamma Lily my friend snapped when she was there the other day!

lily3.png
 
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