Oct. 10th, 2005 05:45 pm
woolmyth: (cat & canary)
[personal profile] woolmyth
I have a bit of a conundrum. It seems that we have four (possibly more - the neighbor said last week he saw six) young kittens living in our backyard. I'm not good at judging kitten age, but they're very fluffy and about 8" long, not including tails. They're clean and look healthy. We have yet to see a mama-cat. My conundrum is this: were it not October, I'd probably leave them alone. But I really don't think feral kittens are going to last out the winter if they're still this young. I know of a no-kill shelter in Fredericksburg, but I am entirely unsure of my ability to catch people-shy kittens. [ profile] dreamhawk suggests setting out a saucer of milk, but isn't cow milk bad for cats? Or is that just older cats?

Should I even try to catch these kittens? Is it physically possible? Will they be fine or better off on their own? Last year there were several kittens growing up in the neighborhood, and one by one I saw them become road kill. I do not want to clean frozen kitten corpses out of my back yard in the spring.

Date: 2005-10-10 10:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We had ferrel kittens near our old house. Just because you don't see momma right away doesn't mean she isn't there. If you are going to feed them, skip the milk and put out kitten chow.

Date: 2005-10-10 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
All cats are lactose intolerant.

I'd suggest setting out a can of tunafish.

Whatever you do...

Date: 2005-10-10 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Whatever you do, even if it's a no-kill shelter, ask and make sure what they do with kittens that are that young. Usually, if they get the mother too, they'll keep them. Last spring, when I was thinking about getting a dog, I saw about 3 different boxes of young, young kittens taken to a shelter, where, unless they could find people to bottle-feed the kittens, the kittens would still be euthanized.

Date: 2005-10-11 05:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
my kitty is not lactose intolerant. but then again she is 20 and well she has been drinking milk almost all of her life so.... you statment wrong sry :-P

Date: 2005-10-11 09:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Then your cat is a freak of nature.

Every vet I have ever talked to, including the three in my family, all say that cats are lactose intolerant and that milk will make them very sick.

Date: 2005-10-11 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
well maybe if you let them drink a little bit and build up their tolerance to it they would not be. but then again the other cat likes milk too. and neither one gets sick :-P and i love my freak of nature.

Date: 2005-10-12 12:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ALL cats are not lactose intolerant. Kittens drink milk from their mother when they're very young, after all.

However, if you don't keep giving them milk, they will loose the enzymes that they need to break it down. But, if you do keep giving them milk, they will stay able to digest it.

Date: 2005-10-12 03:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
then how does it work with my younger cat who was a stray for a good 2-3 years before she was adopted by my faimly and she loves milk too.

Date: 2005-10-13 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Maybe it didn't have enough time for the enzymes to go away?

Or maybe it was getting milk somewhere else.

Or I could be completely wrong.

Date: 2005-10-17 04:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
nope..not all cats are lactose intolerant. a lot of adult cats become that way, but not all of them (i have a 6 yr old who LOVES milk and has no adverse effects).
kittens are not lactose intolerant... or they wouldn't be able to drink their mothers milk.
I agreed, kitten chow would be the best to put out.

Date: 2005-10-10 11:16 pm (UTC)
needlegrrl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] needlegrrl
there is cat milk available, at pet stores. kitten chow would be good, as well. Animal control or shelters generally have cat traps that you can rent, if you *really* need to catch them. but yes, there may be a momma cat.

also, not sure how your house is set up - but a nice, non-flamable box, set up with a light or two (enclosed, so they can't burn themselves) with 100 watt light bulbs, and some blankets or something, could keep them warmer. of course, you are farther north than me!

What naesa said

Date: 2005-10-11 01:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
They do market a kitten formula at Petsmart. It's with (amusingly enough) the kitten products.

Yes, kittens can be caught. It requires patience and (occasionally) treats to do it by hand.

You might be able to check with Animal Services to see if they will catch them for you. Tell them you have someone to adopt them, you just want help catching them and see if that is something they will do (I have no idea, this is just a random idea). Ask them first, before you give them your address.

Date: 2005-10-10 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
okay, all mammals can digest lactose in their infancy. its a protein thing, really.
if you feed them, they will likely stay, mom or not. you can put warm bedding outside (change it when wet) and offer food. this will make them much more likely to survive. nows the time to socialize too.
if you want to physically capture them, you need either a trap, and/or quick hands and a carrier to transport them into a more appropriate facility.
my neighbor is the h-burg appartment complex spay and release person. i can see if she can free up some traps, or perhaps more tailored advice. or a referral for like agencies in your area.

Date: 2005-10-11 12:26 pm (UTC)
winterbadger: (gilbert's twin sister)
From: [personal profile] winterbadger
Check out Metroferals ( They are recommended by the Feline Foundation (people I trust) as a resource for information and help on dealing with feral cats.

Normally I'd say check around your neighborhood and make sure they might not be someone's cats, but if someone is letting *kittens* wander around outside by themselves on October, screw them.

Good for you for looking out for them!

Date: 2005-10-11 01:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
if you want to go out and buy stuff, a jar of baby food chicken (no onion) mixed with kitten dry food works well, assuming these kittens are 6-8 weeks old. A bit of tuna mixed in will lure them in more quickly.

I'd go ahead and try to catch them. How big is your backyard? Gradually leave the food closer to the porch, and provide a warm place for them to sleep in at night (box with old towels, for example.)

The C'ville SPCA wouldn't euthanize them. In fact, they'd get adopted pretty quickly (or fostered until they're ready).

Date: 2005-10-11 07:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I highly recommand contacting Animal Allies. I volunteered with the group in my home town until I moved. IT's also where we got Indy and Tommy. They should basically take the cats in and put them into foster care until they are adopted. Vet bills, and all that are taken care of by the group usually. You can often locate them at one of the local pet shops (Petsmart, Petco, etc.). Sometimes they'll have a little section of the store, and other times they're only there on SAturdays. Who knows they might even help you catch them. Also, if you just try to slowly get to know the kittens they're less likely to be completely feral.

Good luck, and let me know if I can help anyway. I still have the phone number of the head contact back home and she might be able to get me a contact number for your area.


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