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View Full Version : Best way to catch a momma cat and babies



ponygirl
Jun. 29, 2010, 10:52 AM
There is a momma cat that has decided to live in the woods next to my place. She has 4 kittens that look to be about 5 weeks of age. Momma is very thin and the kittens look to be thin as well. I want to catch them so mom can get fixed and the kittens can be placed (if they are healthy). I fed the mom last night, figuring she might stick around so easier to figure out how to catch her. She inhaled the food :( I also placed out kitten replacement formula and that disappeared. I have a hav-a-hart trap but it's small and I don't see how I can catch mom and the kids. Anyone?

CatOnLap
Jun. 29, 2010, 10:59 AM
since the kittens are still pretty young, I'd be wary of catching them just yet. Another week or two and they should be weaned, then get a raccoon size have-a hart trap or other live raccoon trap and bait it with soft cat food or canned tuna, fresh every day, then put the trap where you most often see the cats.

You can sometimes rent the traps from your local cat rescue society or humane society. They are about $60 to buy, but have great resale value if you only need it the one time.

In this way I first caught all the 4 kittens from my feral momma over 2 days and then finally got Momma cat. I was able to adopt all the kittens out and momma got spayed, happily still living feral in my barn and fields.

philosoraptor
Jun. 29, 2010, 11:06 AM
Wait until they're closer to weaning so if you get mom and not kittens or vice-versa nobody suffers. Then get cat "humane" traps and bait them with cat food. You might need to put away the traps at night to avoid catching possums.

Talk to your local shelter and cat rescue groups. They can help you with trapping. Some do trap-neuter-release meaning they'll fix ALL the cats. Ask around and see what the options are. Sadly in some areas (such as mine) there are soooo many kittens born right now, there aren't enough homes for them, so a % of the kittens get killed by the SPCA. TNR offers more kitties a chance at life.

In the meantime, I'd put food down for momma cat. Not only will it feed her, it may help desensitize her to people, making her & the kittens a little easier to catch.

ponygirl
Jun. 29, 2010, 11:23 AM
They might be older than they look as she's not a big cat at all but these kittens are little and thin. I'll continue to feed her. She lets me get about 3 feet from her so I think hunger is overtaking her being wary of me. :(

TKR
Jun. 29, 2010, 11:39 AM
I'd go ahead and trap them -- I just caught some about a month ago in one of my barns. The kittens were about that age and have done great. If the Mama cat is thin, they are a strain on her and probably aren't getting much from her. You could probably trap all of them in the smaller trap -- use some canned tuna, it's a cat magnet. You might trap the Mama and the babies separately. We caught the Mama and then two babies together and then one. One just disappeared, so apparently something happened to it. That's also a risk in the woods -- if they are moving around, predators will get them. We spayed/vax'd/dewormed/flea tx'd the Mama and I'm still feeding her at the barn. I placed two kittens together with a friend and one is up here playing at my feet. We've done this a few times with good success. Hope you can catch them! Good luck!
PennyG

JSwan
Jun. 29, 2010, 11:47 AM
I eliminated a feral cat colony through trapping, spaying, neutering and giving away babies (weaned). I worked with my local SPCA and vet.

I could not seem to trap the momma - she was too savvy. I knew where her litter was - they were pretty small and not getting around much.

I used the kittens as bait. I took the kittens and put them into a cat crate; and left the crate next to the area the litter had been hidden.

Then I took my humane trap, and placed the humane trap in front of the crate, positioning it so that the back of the trap (where the spring is located), was in front of the cat crate. Of course the crate door was closed - but it is made of steel mesh so they could see their momma and vice versa.

In order to get to her kittens, the mother would have to enter the humane trap. Of course course she tripped it.

Which she did - within a few hours.

Before doing this you need a plan worked out in advance with your vet, the local cat rescue or the shelter.

danceronice
Jun. 29, 2010, 01:02 PM
I second JSwan--we had a cat in our barn we couldn't catch, but when she had kittens we knew where they were (in the end stall, and when she moved htem around she kept them in the aisle or stalls) and the kittens basically grew up handled. Stuffed them in a crate, used them as bait, trapped her, took her in, spayed her. She eventually disappeared, but I still have one of the kittens (okay, a giant 18lbs fluffball--who daddy was I do not know, but he must have been BIG) and my parents still have another in the barn.

Kachina
Jun. 29, 2010, 01:30 PM
You're so nice to take this on! Over the years, we had some strays at our farm. One took two years to trust me enough to catch by hand. Another, a few months. These two fellows are still with us after being neutered. Later, I started catching the cats with the have a heart traps-so much faster and easier! Had great success adopting all of them out as none ended up being feral. My point is that the truly feral cats that I've been around would never have let me get close to them in such a short period of time as you have been caring for your girl, much less have allowed me to pick them up. All of these cats loved human attention almost immediately upon capture and had clearly been trusting of people at some prior point in time. Your girl might just be a stray. If she's letting you get that close to her, you may be able to pick her up by the time the kittens are weaned. If you need to wait until they're weaned to catch them with the have a heart, as folks with experience catching litters have suggested here, she may come to trust you as you continue feeding and sitting with her while the kittens mature. Good luck!

ponygirl
Jun. 29, 2010, 02:04 PM
Thanks guys. She is from a place down the street. They are a haven for cats as they dont' believe in spaying or neutering, let alone feeding them. I've seen her off and on at our place and she appears to be a bit injured as she now has a head tilt where in the past she did not. She's very wary but also very hungry so I think me being Ma Dinner Bell is the key. I'll keep you posted.

JSwan
Jun. 29, 2010, 02:14 PM
Her head is tilting? And this is a new thing?

This is going to sound mean but I would very much like to to BE CAREFUL.

She may be injured, she may just have a tick in her ear bothering her, or she may have rabies.

Not trying to be a party pooper or scare you. Really. Just please- be very careful around her and double check to make sure your own pets and livestock are current on their rabies vaccines. If she does turn out to be sick, you don't want to have to quarantine your own animals, or go through shots or deal with the health dept.

bird4416
Jun. 29, 2010, 03:02 PM
Take heed to JSwan's advice. A feral kitten was found and taken to the vet by a nice person in my county and the poor kitten had rabies. The kitten was euthanized and the nice person had to go through the rabies shot series.

I just rehomed 4 kittens that were born to a feral mom in my hay barn. They were about 7-8 weeks old when i discovered them. I used a racoon sized live trap baited with tuna and caught 2 kittens within an hour. I moved them to a large crate and then reset the trap. Within another hour I had momma and the other 2 kittens. Mom went off to be spayed and the 4 kittens were placed in a kitten proofed stall for intensive taming. lol They responded well and I had barn homes for them within a week.

ponygirl
Jun. 29, 2010, 05:45 PM
Her head is tilting? And this is a new thing?

This is going to sound mean but I would very much like to to BE CAREFUL.

She may be injured, she may just have a tick in her ear bothering her, or she may have rabies.

Not trying to be a party pooper or scare you. Really. Just please- be very careful around her and double check to make sure your own pets and livestock are current on their rabies vaccines. If she does turn out to be sick, you don't want to have to quarantine your own animals, or go through shots or deal with the health dept.

It was the first thing that crossed my mind so no worries there. All animals are UTD. I have heard a lot of cat fights in those woods as of late and it's very recent. I saw her just the other week and she looked fine. I was also thinking of a myriad of other things it could be as well but rabies is in the back of my head. We have not had any outbreaks in my area in a long time but that doesn't mean squat.

Buffyblue
Jun. 29, 2010, 07:48 PM
My one cat got a head tilt and it turned out to be Cryptococcus infection. Good luck with the kitties and I hope the mommy is OK.

ponygirl
Jul. 6, 2010, 11:27 AM
Just an update. I now have the 3 kittens in a large dog carrier in my tack room. I captured them last night via my hav-a-hart trap. A friend who is a vet is coming over Thurs to test the kittens for diseases as well as vaccinate and deworm. I am purchasing gloves, etc, for the initial handling of the kittens. They are scared and thin but *look* to be healthy in that there is no signs of URI. I think one of my neighbors will take a kitten so if all goes well I will have 2 to place.

I've been in contact with the feral cat folks and have found a vet who spays and neuters ferals for $40 and $20 respectively. So momma cat will be next in line. I've been feeding her to keep her close.

CatOnLap
Jul. 6, 2010, 11:56 AM
good luck and good for you PG.

goeslikestink
Jul. 6, 2010, 12:27 PM
There is a momma cat that has decided to live in the woods next to my place. She has 4 kittens that look to be about 5 weeks of age. Momma is very thin and the kittens look to be thin as well. I want to catch them so mom can get fixed and the kittens can be placed (if they are healthy). I fed the mom last night, figuring she might stick around so easier to figure out how to catch her. She inhaled the food :( I also placed out kitten replacement formula and that disappeared. I have a hav-a-hart trap but it's small and I don't see how I can catch mom and the kids. Anyone?

get a large crate as in dog crate - then shove food in there every night make it cosy with a nice bed
once shes in and if you know where the kittens a rethne grab mum then get kitties
then have he spade and leave the crate in your yard eventually she will clas this as home and you can then start letting out again as she will return for the food

tikihorse2
Jul. 6, 2010, 08:48 PM
Thank you for doing this! My sister ended up doing the same thing--feral cats kept coming over from her neighbor's barn and he didn't give a $h!t. In fact, he asked her why she was bothering to TNR! She asked him what HE proposed as a solution and he said, "There's tons of coyotes around here--" What a prince! :cry:

You got LUCKY on the trapping. My sister's first two attempts got a large and very annoyed raccoon! :lol:

BTW, did I mention my sister has four kitties now? ;)

Kim

Laurierace
Jul. 6, 2010, 08:53 PM
The sooner you catch the kittens the better. You have a much better chance of taming them when they are young. The have a heart trap will do the trick then put them in a dog crate once you have caught them. Hopefully you can catch Mom too but if not by that age they should do ok with some milk replacer mixed with canned food.

bird4416
Jul. 7, 2010, 07:26 AM
Good job catching the kittens. Hopefully, you will get the mom soon.

ponygirl
Jul. 7, 2010, 08:40 AM
The folks that spay and neuter ferals only do it on Mondays. So I have to time catching momma cat with when she can be spayed. I'm out of town next week for work so it will have to wait till I get back and can figure out how to time things.

The smallest kitty is hungry and is eating kitten replacement formula and canned kitten food in my presence. One other now is thinking about it. The 3rd is hiding behind the litter box so that one will take awhile. I hope they will come around. I put them at about 6 weeks so here is hoping they will tame up.

Mimi La Rue
Jul. 29, 2010, 06:00 PM
Any updates on the kittens?

There is a mom and 4 feral kittens at my barn. The mom will let me pet her if I feed her and wait around patiently for her to trust me enough. She had to have human interaction at some time but she was either abandoned or ran away from home and found the barn to be a nice place to live. I could easily catch her but I don't want the kittens to be without her.

The kittens however stay their distance but look to be curious. The kittens are gorgeous and I think they are half bengal. The mom cat is black and there is a semi-wild male cat that looks to be a bengal. He is very exotic looking! I have a bengal cat and he looks just like mine. Two of the baby kittens are spotted and the other two are marbled. Really adorable. I am not sure how old they are but they are still pretty small. Saw them out and running about just last week.

I would like to catch the kittens if possible and mom (take her to get spayed) because I know eventually they will get hit by a car or keep breeding. I don’t think the stable is very happy with them, even though they help with the mice population, but the cats keep multiplying. Another litter was removed by animal control a couple months ago and probably destroyed since they were wild.

grayarabs
Jul. 31, 2010, 03:18 PM
I am remembering seeing a "drop trap" online.
http://droptrapdesign.blogspot.com/

Or just google for "drop trap and feral cats" - lots of info.

anna's girl
Aug. 1, 2010, 10:57 PM
what a timely post, I too have a feral momma and 4 kittens in my back yard. I'm feeding them all but i know I have to do something or I'm going to have a very big problem. I'd say mine are about 8 or 9 weeks old. I will contact the shelter tomorrow for advice

ponygirl
Aug. 2, 2010, 09:15 AM
Well, I have 3 kittens in my possession. I had them tested for FELV, FIV, wormed, given their 1st shot and are on flea prevention. My wallet hurt after that! THere are 2 males and 1 female. I've had them for about 3 weeks. I took two into the house and my sister took the other that was the most "feral" as I was told to separate the most shy from the others to force the issue of human/kitten bonding with it. Vet said they were about 5 weeks when I caught them so a good age to tame them. They are doing really well. The runt is a tiny calico who is the kitten I was most concerned about. She's so very tiny as she's 1/2 the size of her brother. They have learned how to play and are being introduced to "house noises" like washing machines, TVs, etc, etc. We are starting to introduce them to other people as well in order to find them homes. That is the hardest part. The shelters, rescue groups, etc are maxed out with kittens. :( The feral group told me they'd help me with the momma cat if I can trap her. That's been put on hold till I find homes for these guys. They are actually really pretty kittens too but so far, no takers. One is very ready for a new home. He's a gray and white kitten who will keep his lovely gray/green eyes. He's a lap kitten. I've not named them but I can't continue to say "Hi babies" for much longer as names have started to creep into my head. My sister named the other kitten Cooper b/c he sounds like a Mini Cooper when he purrs. That's apparently key to getting them to come around. All kittens are purring so we are doing good there. :winkgrin:

TKR
Aug. 2, 2010, 09:22 AM
You'd better trap the momma cat and get her spayed or she'll produce another litter right away! Good luck! I've just done that this summer -- we've done it before with good results. Missed one of the kittens, so need to get him/her and the Tom kitty.
PennyG

Snaffle81
Aug. 2, 2010, 10:18 AM
I just wanted to applaud what you're doing OP! I'm at a barn where there are now 4 litters of kittens... 12 itty bittys. 3 of the mommas were last years kittens. All kitties are tame but nobody wants kitties so they stay :no: The BO feeds them but doesn't want to spend the $50 to spay. I'm trying to save up money to have it don't if she'll let me. If not I don't know what to do because I LOVE kitties and it's soooo hard to look at those little kitten faces and not want to take them home. And I would take them home if I didn't already have 4.

ponygirl
Aug. 2, 2010, 10:48 AM
You'd better trap the momma cat and get her spayed or she'll produce another litter right away! Good luck! I've just done that this summer -- we've done it before with good results. Missed one of the kittens, so need to get him/her and the Tom kitty.
PennyG

Apparently we also missed a kitten. It's on my "to do" list. Also plan on catching the daddies as well.

Zu Zu
Aug. 2, 2010, 10:57 AM
Bless you for helping them ~ I have been involved in this ~ very rewarding and they will be GRAND house or barn cats ~~~

ponygirl
Aug. 2, 2010, 11:00 AM
I just wanted to applaud what you're doing OP! I'm at a barn where there are now 4 litters of kittens... 12 itty bittys. 3 of the mommas were last years kittens. All kitties are tame but nobody wants kitties so they stay :no: The BO feeds them but doesn't want to spend the $50 to spay. I'm trying to save up money to have it don't if she'll let me. If not I don't know what to do because I LOVE kitties and it's soooo hard to look at those little kitten faces and not want to take them home. And I would take them home if I didn't already have 4.

Would maybe the boarders chip in to help do this? Just a few $s from each could spay a cat. Also I'd get a hold of the feral folks as they can do that as well.

Snaffle81
Aug. 2, 2010, 11:58 AM
Would maybe the boarders chip in to help do this? Just a few $s from each could spay a cat. Also I'd get a hold of the feral folks as they can do that as well.

Part of what I really like about my barn is that there are only 3 boarders, myself included. I'm the only one who likes kitties. So I don't know how happy the others would be about chipping in. I've also looked at www.alleycat.org/ and it seems that part of the problem is that the closest feral organizations are over 1.5 hrs away. So I've downloaded a lot of their helpful info about starting my own organization. Moreover, there are not any vets in the area that have some sort of program for ferals. It seems the best option is the mobil spay/neuter unit that's $50 per animal. So I'm working on finding homes for the kittens and saving for surgeries. My next task is that my babies are due for their annuals and I'm going to talk to my vet to see if maybe they might be willing to give back to help the community... Their practice seems to do very very well, so I figure it won't hurt to ask :D

Brandy76
Aug. 5, 2010, 11:59 AM
JSwan - awesome idea! I live near a lot of Amish, and they don't seem to spay or nueter, so I get many strays.

I've got everyone done now, but just the other day, a new unaltered male showed up.... So it's back to the trap.

I had one who had the head tilt thing, had already had their rabies shot - I took the cat to the vet, and apparently they had worms - don't remember what kind? We put the cat on wormers, and it eventually resolved itself.

I hope that I don't get any more cats, though!!

ponygirl
Aug. 10, 2010, 01:21 PM
Well, they are now 9 weeks of age and have doubled in size. My sister is keeping the kitten she took home. Funny how giving them a name seals the deal there. :winkgrin: He is doing well and is playing with her youngest cat, who has decided he is the little brother he's never had.

I had a couple come and see the two I have been raising, taming and caring for. They took the cute little male home. He had the best personality and I miss him but am happy for him. THey have an appt to get him neutered the end of the month. It's a great home and that is what the goal is. They wanted the little calico female too but a voice inside of me escaped and said "I think I'm going to keep her." :eek: My husband is away on travel for work. Not sure how to tell him that it was the inner child in me that said it. She really is the whole reason I even captured them. She was starving to death and to see how she's come from being a wild child to what she is now...well. I have another week to come up with some sort of confession about little Bella;)

Diamondindykin
Aug. 10, 2010, 02:43 PM
I took in a litter of kittens that had been trapped on a property that had over 70 feral cats. The rescue spayed and neutered them and delivered them to my house. They were supposed to be barn cats BUT :lol: the little small calico got very sick and I trapped her. My husband and I had our inner voice tell us that she needed to be an indoor kitty :winkgrin: Hailey is now living the life of a princess that she deserves. She never did grow and looks like she is about 6 months old........we don't care..........we still love her:yes:

Listen to that innervoice Ponygirl...........it will never do you wrong!!!