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This is going to be a long story, so have a seat, lol.

My neighbor has cats that she doesn't get fixed. One of the younger mama cats had been coming over to eat my outside cat's food. She is feral, but got to the point she figured out who the food was coming from & didn't run each time she saw me. About 3 weeks ago I noticed her kittens, 2 tuxies & a "cow" cat, colored just like the mama. The 2 tuxies would come to me, but not the bicolor. A few days after I first saw them, Mama started bringing them to the All You Can Eat Buffet on my porch.

Of course, I wetted down some food for them & started feeding them. After a couple of days, I noticed one of the tuxies wouldn't eat, looked sick, eyes mattered & sneezy. My heart broke, my reason left me & I scooped it up & took it to the vet I use. (I have 2 ginger tabbies inside)
I don't know what I expected, but the reality was I got myself into it, big time. I got meds for the 2 tuxies: antibiotics, eye drops, Lysine & wormer. I saw the 2nd tux later that day & caught it. They were both lousy with fleas & ear mites. I bathed them & put them in the larger carrier I bought after seeing the vet. My husband works out of town, we have an empty room....so yeah, I brought them in the house, but have kept them separate from my gingers.

Three days later, I get my chance: the bicolor has her back to me eating. I snatch her up & put her in the carrier, boy was she mad! Bath-time was an adventure, just the getting hold of her. She took the bath really well. In with the other 2 she went.

The next morning, I'm outside & hear sneezing. I look under the picnic table & there is the saddest, skinniest, most pitiful goopy-eyed snotty-nosed grey kitten in the entire world. I look out in the yard & Mama is under the car; I swear she was smirking. She had to have brought the baby over; I'd never even seen it.

I go back by the vet's & get more meds; the grey & one tux were the sickest, in fact the vet told me the tux had pneumonia. I figured out I have 3 females & one male. I was just about ready to start trying to find homes for them when I noticed the little grey peeing on the carpet-"Ooops, UTI" I think, so to the vet we go. Urine had blood but no bacteria, more antibiotics needed, she had tape worms & she has ringworm around her ears. Ducky. I go buy a kennel, more food, litter, etc. I have kept her in the kennel since Saturday.

The other kittens don't show signs of RW. I read several of the threads here concerning ringworm and thank you all so much for the info! If I had thought this out, and been able to read all about the trials of rescuing ferals, I'd have been better prepared, but what can ya do? I couldn't leave those sick babies out in the heat like that.

Guess I better break up this post before it gets too long.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So, the 2 tuxies are dolls, sweet yet playful, purr-babies, love me like their luggage. The bicolor took a few days to actually come out from hiding & join the play, thanks to my DH back there playing with them. She has stopped hissing at us, lets us hold her but has never purred. Bitsy Grey is a sweetie, just a little doll.

One question I have is, when I try to re-home, how much info is too much? The shelters around here are full; the closest no-kill is 100 miles away. I can't keep these 4 forever. I do have to keep Bitsey for another month, says the vet. I'm shampooing her & after reading here, will get colloidal silver & Micatin for her instead of the stuff I am using.
 

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I don't really have any advice, but you are a wonderful person for taking care of these cats. It makes me so sad when people get pets but don't care for them properly (ie getting them fixed). Sounds like Mama cat had good intuition about where to bring her sick little kittens.

Can you ask the vet for recommendations about finding them homes? Or maybe work with the closest shelter where you could be a foster home for the kittens until they can be adopted? Kittens often go pretty quickly at shelters, so hopefully it won't be too long before you find a home for them.
 

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Thank you!

Ah, the vet recommended I get in touch with the local shelter, thinking they would be of help to me since I could foster these for a while. I called and got the "we're full" reply. I asked if they could at least take my name, but no. They did give me a lady's number to call, but could/would not tell me exactly who she was. I called but got a VM & what was I going to say? "Hi, the shelter told me to call you about stray cats. Call me, maybe?" Uh-huh.

I suppose my biggest problem is that I sell vintage stuff online and am used to listing every little "issue" with something, lol. I did do a Craigslist ad, and mentioned 'feral' 'have been de-flead' and 'new owner will want to have a vet checkup'. I have gotten no replies as yet. That could be because another ad has the most adorable ginger babies (apart from mine, of course). I picked a bad week, I guess!
 

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Thank you for caring for them, what a lot of work you've put in!

How old are the kittens now? If they're 8 weeks I'd start looking for homes, in fact I'd advertise them before 8 weeks and say they can't be rehomed for a few more weeks.

I don't know what you mean about giving too much info... just say there were kittens outside you've been taking care of, play that up to get sympathy adopters! For the shyer ones, say they will need a patient and possibly experienced owner. Also, I'm not sure how long you've had the kittens, but it can take a few months for them to warm up to people... so you may have to work at taming them down before adoption if there aren't any takers.

What about the mother? They can go back into heat as soon as -- or even before -- their kittens are weaned. If you don't want this happening again you're going to need to trap and spay her, at the very least.

Here's a pretty good thread on foster adoptions:

http://www.catforum.com/forum/51-cats-need/166578-tips-tricks-write-ad-your-fosters.html
 

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Feral means unaccustomed to humans, if your babies are playing with you and cuddling they aren't ferals. My two boys had a feral mum, but I got them young enough and they've never been anything but tame, sweet, and the biggest cuddle bugs you ever met.

IMO, don't tell the negatives at all. If the people ask when they come over be honest: "I've treated them for URIs, UTIs, worms, ect but they're healthy and friendly now and ready to move on to their forever homes." Always try to be as positive as possible, and IF they ask they'll be doing it with a cuddly kitten in their arms. THAT's convincing, lol.
 

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I say be honest. The right people will want to adopt the kittens. People like honesty in other people. Being positive is good but also be honest about the kittens health. Not many people will ask about a kitten's health when wanting to adopt. They see a cute little kitten and it is active, therefore they think that the kitten has no health problems, so they don't ask about their health. So I say, be honest and give a health report on the kittens in the ad.

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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1. I wouldn't tell the whole history either but I would secretly size up the people. Are they animal lovers? Then they will do what is needed to socialize the kitties an have patience with them. And if you have to keep them awhile, please do socialize them now as my kitty who lived outside until 7 months still has a little wild in him after I have had him a year. I wished I had him earlier.
2. Do you think you could talk to the neighbor and offer to take her cat for a free neuter if they have one around your area? You could tell her what has happened. I know I was shocked when I saw an illustration of how fast cats can multiply in a colony. And then shocked again when I found out how many are put to sleep, dumped and feral. I would hate to see this happen over and over again. Plus the condition of those kitties was heartbreaking.
3. You are truly a big hearted person. Kudos to DH for helping out.
 

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I agree with librarychick. I've actually been in and am still in your exact boat (rescuing "feral" kittens and finding them homes). Your guys aren't feral now, so I'd stay way from that F word. ;)

The goal is to make everything a positive...even things that aren't. Instead of saying "they had worms and fleas" play up the fact that they've been checked by a vet. I hear you on the details for used/vintage ebay items, I've sold items that way too. The difference here though is that people can "see before they buy." You don't have to describe every little flaw. They can see whatever they would like to for themselves. And "flaws" aren't permanent in cats they way they are in objects. Did it have fleas? Sure. Does it now? Nope. The fact that it had fleas is mitigated by the treatment you gave them.
Here's the exact text of the ad I used for my last batch from a mom who was feral when she came to me (sorry, I'd just link the ad but it's long since expired).
___________________________

Kittens want a home for the holidays--ALREADY FIXED (Lacey, WA)

I have two kittens left from the same litter who are in search of great homes. Two males. They are approximately 14 weeks old. They HAVE already been spayed/neutered and are healed up from their surgeries and wormed and treated for fleas. They have not had any shots. Both are short haired. I have put a lot into these guys and want to keep track of them, so please live within 20-30 minutes of Lacey (near Olympia, WA). I won't send the kittens to homes further away than that.

This litter was born in a shed in Rochester and spent the first 3-4 weeks of their lives there. They were brought to me with their mother about 10 weeks ago. I supplemented them with kitten formula for the first two weeks until they got the hang of eating on their own. They are all sweet kittens and learning how to be good house cats. They have been indoors only for the last 8 weeks. They have been using the litter box without fail for the last 6 weeks. They have been introduced to the other adult cats in the home (of varying age, sex and temperament) and managed to get along peacefully with them. They also don't seem to care one way or the other about our dog (lab mix) except that they think her wagging tail is a great toy.

They will be going to a home on an adoption contract stating that if you cannot keep them for any reason, they must be returned to me. I do plan to do some follow up calls/emails to make sure that the adoption is working out well for everyone. I had these kittens for the last 10 weeks and invested a lot of love and energy into them. I want to make absolutely sure that they are in a great situation. Adoption fee is $75 each, which helps to cover the cost of their surgeries, medicines and food/litter. I am going to screen potential homes and will not let them go to a home that is unsuited. For example: if you rent and plan on hiding the kittens from your landlord, please do not respond. If you plan on getting a kitten as a gift for someone else, please do not respond. If you are under 18 years old, please do not respond. If you are not planning on keeping the kittens for the duration of their lives (approximately 15 years), please do not respond. If you plan on making the kittens outdoor only, please do not respond.

I usually foster for the shelter (this batch is not from there) and have spent the last 2 years fostering over 70 cats and kittens. My babies have been exposed to other cats and our dog (a small, mellow black lab mix). Their spay/neuter surgeries were done on November 8th and they are all healed up and ready to go.


*Ivan (the Terrible): Solid black male except for a small white spot on his chest. Beautiful yellow/brown eyes. Ivan is **** on wheels and a classic rowdy kitten, but does know how to snuggle.

*Igor: Beautiful black male with a white spot on his chest and white hair inside his ears. Lovely yellow/brown eyes. He had an umbilical hernia when he first arrived, but it closed on its own and by the time he was neutered, the vet said it had completely healed and so did not need any kind of medical intervention. He is a big snuggler and has the best purr of the bunch.

****Picture of them in the blue cube shows the entire litter of 6. Any not listed above have already been adopted.****


Please respond telling me what kind of home you can offer a kitten(s) and which one(s) you are interested in and I can write back and arrange a time to meet you if it seems like a good fit. I am available for the remainder of the weekend.

Thank you.
 

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Wow, you are just amazing for doing all of this for cats. I hope that one day I am in a position to be able to do what you did, and get the care and help out cats in this way.

I would not state all of the negatives. You don't have to lie, but like others have said, state and push the positives, already de wormed, de flead, fixed...all of those good things! I wonder, will your vet allow you to try to put pictures at their office, or do they have a facebook page? My vet has a facebook page, and they let some of their customers post pictures of animals needing homes. Or maybe another vet in the area will let you do that.

There is lady at the end of my street who is doing this, just feeding a bunch of cats and NOT getting them fixed or to the vet. One of them does not look too healthy, and it is making me mad. I think it's so irresponsible to feed a bunch of cats and not help get them fixed so they don't repopulate the world....UGH!!!
 

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Thanks for all the help! And what a great ad!

By the vet's estimate they should be about 10 weeks tomorrow. I will reword my ad; I was going to try to put them up one kitten at a time. Any opinions on that are most welcome; I'm a n00b at the rescue business (obviously!)

My DH is back to working out of town & what I'm doing is advertising in the large town about 20 miles away. I'd planned to bring the kittens to a public place for the potential new owners to look at; I am not comfortable with strangers coming to the house while DH is away. That's kind of why I thought rehoming one at a time might be better (easier to manage one than three, less decision-making on the part of the new owner, lol)

As for the mama & neighbor, since I snagged the kittens I have not seen the mama; the neighbor, I'm 99% positive she has stopped feeding the cats except for a select few, I guess she hopes they will find greener pastures.

Thanks again so much!
 

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Howsefrau32, I tend to do things like this when the old Ball & Chain is away; I got my ginger kitties while he was gone & then a year later 'find' these lil misfits, lol. I was getting discouraged, what with the ringworm & all, about the money I was spending on them but then Saturday I sold a bracelet that almost covered the whole amount I've spent at the vet, so that was a load off.

Things have just fallen into place with this bunch. I'd decided I was not going to try to catch the one wild girl, then go outside to see her attention diverted & thought "It's now or never." Then the grey girl showing up, in the worse shape of the 4. To top it off, I'd have probably not realized the grey had a UTI if not for DH telling me (when I talked to him & mentioned needing a nap) "why don't you go take a nap with the kitties?" I did & when I woke up, I caught the grey girl whizzing outside the box. So, it's meant to be, I just don't know what the ending is going to be.
 

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Karla - you are funny, ball & chain, and lil misfits, LOL! And selling a bracelet to pay for it. You sound just like me and the the crazy life that revolves around cats......and many of us here are like that!

I hope it all ends up well, and everyone finds a home in good time. I would be that picky about where they go too. My sister has a friend who is in cat rescue, and she has had success in going to the Farmer's Market that is only out on Sat and Sun, and bringing a kitten with her. This is in a very quaint, upper class little town (about 20 min from where she lives), and all the rich yuppies (sorry.......and I don't know if they are still called that these days) and preppy family people are buying their fresh produce on the weekend, and she will get LOTS of attention for her little kittens she is trying to find homes for. She usually has one on a harness so they can't get away and just walks around with one, and sometimes will have her husband with her with a few more sitting nearby, and she gets lots of attention, because who can resist a cute little kitten! So she strikes up a conversation about how she is in rescue and looking for homes for the babies, and she has been very successful in finding homes this way! She is one of those people who can tell right away if they are cat people, or if they have kids with them how the kids act towards cat.....she is just a good judge of who would be a good cat owner, and she doesn't just let anyone walk off with one of her cats, but she has found many good homes for her cats this way. She doesn't actually go in there with the "I am trying to find homes for these cats, attitude" but rather just holds the kitty as she is buying her produce and strikes up conversations with people and "mentions" that she is in rescue and looking for homes. She is really sly about it, but so successful at it. And when she does mention things like, they are de wormed, had shots, been fixed, all ready to go, that the kitty has already been through all the things you usually need to do....it makes it easier, much easier.

Just thought I'd share her little trick. It has worked like a charm for her. My sister has a 10 year old Manx that she got from this woman in rescue, and she has done some amazing things for cats, her life is revolved around cats.
 

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I prefer doing ads in groups (for the whole batch at once) rather than individually. I just put in something about "let me know which one you're interested in" at the end. One, it makes sure that people have read the ad carefully and two, the odds of them wanting more than one at once are pretty low.

Also, a word of caution on meeting up with people somewhere else...while I completely understand not wanting strangers in your house while you're home alone, bear in mind that in general cats don't like to be moved around from place to place and taking them somewhere else to meet strangers will probably make the a bit more shy and reserved than they usually are.
 

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Go to the top of the feral cat page and look thru the thread socializing kittens and cats, in the sticky section. There is an excellent video series on Utube by the Urban Cat League. It will give you lots of information on socializing and treating kittens.

DO NOT adopt out any of the kittens unless they are spayed & neutered. Otherwise you be adding to the problem of more kittens being born and no homes to be cared for in.

You don't need to tell people what the kittens were treated for. Just give them the kittens vet records when they adopt them. Encourage people to take two kittens to keep each other company and play with. Kittens have an insane amount of energy. A buddy will help run and play that energy off!

You have done a wonderful thing helping these cats! You have a giant heart. Kudos! Invest in a Havaheart trap. That mom needs to be trapped, spayed, vaccinated, and a tipped ear. Otherwise you'll be back in this same situation with kittens. Nursing mothers can get pregnant so she is prime to be pregnant soon!

I have a rule. If your cat is in my yard it will be trapped s/n and ear tipped. Just cuz your neighbor is being irresponsible by not TNRing doesn't mean you have to enable her! She doesn't have ownership of the strays. Its fair game.

Honestly you have done an awesome deed. You changed these cats lives for the better. Were all very impressed how responsibly you handled this so far being new to all this.
 

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Mitts&Tess I agree with you mostly...but it's not always possible to s/n every kitten before they go. Where I live I would have had to pay full price for each kitten myself. At one point I had a litter of 10 kittens, plus a mum; females $175/each, males $75/each....There is no WAY I could have done that.

What I DID do was charge an adoption fee of $100, half of which went into an envelope and they could get it back when I saw they s/n certificate. Out of the 10 kittens 7 got their money back and the other 3 just didn't want to drive back to my place, lol. (The rest of the money went to paying to get other adults in the colony fixed as well as buying food for the colony and litter for more fosters.)

If there's a low cost s/n clinic nearby, or if there's a place that will s/n them for free then I'd go for it...but it isn't always possible.

If asked directly if the kittens had been sick I would tell the prospective adopters, but otherwise I'd just give them the records.
 

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I'm spoiled cuz we have 3 low cost s/n clinics here. Your solution was a good one since its so expensive there.

I've never had an adopter ask if a cat or kitten had been sick. They do ask if the cat is s/n and is it covered by the adoption fee. We give a list of good cat vets to go to along with the vet records. That way they have the vaccination schedule. Then I lecture them about not over vaccinating! We emphasize our cats need to be indoor only otherwise we won't adopt to them!
 

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Update on my adventure

It's been a long road, with health setbacks and several false-starts on adoptions, but I am pleased to report that (despite my heart breaking, lol) all the kittens have been adopted. I deliver the last one tomorrow.

I had been on a waiting list for my local no-kill shelter for over 2 months now. With help from Facebook networkers, I managed to find homes before they could make places for them at the shelter. The one male, I payed to have neutered & delivered him yesterday. The females will be spayed courtesy of the Shelter.

Thanks for all the help from the forum!
 

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Wonderful work Karla. You've got a big heart. It's really hard to let foster babies go huh 8-(
 
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