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Kittens... not feral anymore! Update 9/26 (Balto. MD)

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  • Kittens... not feral anymore! Update 9/26 (Balto. MD)

    I've been helping a couple of people in my neighborhood trap and spay/neuter feral cats that they've been feeding, and being that it's "kitten season," there are of course a ton of cute little kittens running around. I'm fostering a few right now to see if they will tame up well enough to be adopted as house kitties, but if not, we would like to find them barn homes -- they're too young and cute to put back out on the street! Plus many of them are from really bad areas that are not very safe. (The group I have now came from an alley where cats are often killed with baseball bats. )

    They will probably all be reasonably tame and used to people, but just might not be the pick-up-and-cuddle variety of barn cat! And since they're so young, they'll only get friendlier as they have more good interactions with humans. They've been fixed, vaccinated, and are negative for feline leukemia. (They were too young to test for FIV.) They're varying ages, sizes and colors (there are even a couple of fluffy longhairs!), but they're all under 12 weeks.

    So if you have room for a couple more cats in your barn, please let me know -- these guys would much rather be stalking mice in your hayloft than living on the mean streets of Baltimore, dodging pit bulls and drug dealers. You'd be giving a very nice life to a needy city kitty!
    Last edited by Erin; Sep. 26, 2008, 12:35 PM.

  • #2
    Erin, Are these kittens from the same group that you got me Fred and Wilma? If so, I can totally vouch for their hunting skills for anyone out there needing help in their barn. Fred and Wilma (who are friendly, playful, and not really feral) are mighty hunters. To the point that I dread looking under the bench (their gifting place ) each morning.
    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
    <>< I.I.


    • Original Poster

      No, they're from a different alley than your guys. Sadly, most of the alleys in Baltimore are populated by pit bulls and drug dealers. These guys are from just a couple of blocks away from me. (I'm pretty sure all the cats from Fred and Wilma's alley were successfully rehomed.)

      But alley cats are resourceful little buggers, so these will probably be good hunters as well... AND their new owners get the added bonus of saving a cat from a bad situation.

      Glad to hear how well Fred and Wilma are doing! I am still thinking of doing that calendar project, so if you get any good pictures of them, send them my way.


      • #4
        Any pictures? I might be interested in taking one or two. We just lost both our barn cats (old age ), and the "house" cat that likes to play "barn" cat is a very poor mouser. We now see that our barn is becoming ever populated by the meeses!


        • Original Poster

          Yep, I will get some pictures! I loaned my digital camera to a friend, but should have it back today or tomorrow and will post pix. They are adorable. I've got four boys (a black longhair, brown tabby longhair, silver and white, and brown tabby with white) and two girls (a brown tabby and a black and white).

          I want to work with them a bit more (I've only had them since Sunday) and see if any seem like they'll get totally tame, but I'm pretty sure at least some of them won't tame down enough to be adopted as housecats. At least, not in a reasonably short time frame, which is all I can afford to spend on them, unfortunately. But if they do get moved into barn homes, they will continue to get friendlier. It just takes time.

          It's really rewarding to see the feral guys start to trust people, and to know that you're giving them a shot at a better life. Plus, they're all a-freaking-dorable!


          • Original Poster

            OK, I can't find the charger for my good digital camera so these pictures aren't the best, but will at least give an idea...


            There are three different litters with three kittens each (and one mom-cat, who would probably like a barn home along with the rest of her brood). The litter that is still with the mom is not fixed/tested/vaccinated yet, but will be shortly. The other two litters are coming around to being petted and are getting used to people. They are all very playful and cute, and would definitely like somewhere else to live than an alley!

            They would need to be confined in a crate at their new home for a while also, but I have crates (and beds, litter boxes, and other supplies) that I'm willing to lend out for this purpose.
            Attached Files


            • Original Poster

              An update on the kittens!

              Two have actually been adopted as housecats. Yay! So there are eight kittens remaining from three different litters/groups.

              Group 1 is three "teenage" kittens, two brothers from one location and another guy from a different location who's about the same age and needed some buddies. All boys -- a silver and white, a brown tabby and white, and a gray tabby. They are very rambunctious and love to play and wrestle! The gray tabby is quite friendly and can be picked up. The silver and white LOVES to be petted and purrs like a freight train, but is still skittish and a little frightened of being picked up. The brown tabby and white is just starting to let me pet him a little bit -- he's pretty brave, but standoffish and not sure about those humans yet. These guys are probably 3-4 months old and I haven't come up with names for them yet.

              Group 2 is three siblings -- an orange tabby male (Calvert), brown tabby male (Charles), and solid black female (Saratoga). Charles is quite friendly, can be picked up and held, etc. Definitely housecat material there! Just needs some more work to "finish." Calvert and Saratoga are shyer -- Cal likes to be petted, but you kind of have to sneak up on him. Sara is still not sure about people.

              I also have their mom, a pretty torti named Tori. She is shy at first, but quite friendly when she gets to know you, although hasn't been crazy about being picked up. I think she was a pet at one point, but she's probably been on the street quite a while and is sort of re-acclimating to humans. She's going to be hard to adopt out as a housecat for that reason, so she might be better off going to a barn with some of her kittens.

              Group 3 is two siblings -- a brown tabby female and a black and white female. The brown tabby is pet-able, the black/white isn't sure about people yet. (These guys are with a friend of mine so I'm not as familiar with them.)

              All of these guys are fixed, vaccinated, and negative for FIV/feline leukemia. The kittens from groups 1 and 3 are also ear-tipped (the tip of the left ear is clipped -- this is done for ferals that are released so you can visually identify them as having been fixed), since we were unsure if they'd tame up or not. A couple of the kittens do have some goopy eyes going on -- I'm hoping as they get tamer, this can be treated a little bit later on.

              I am guessing that only Charles is going to be relatively easy to adopt out as a housecat (although the silver tabby has potential too). The rest may best be suited as barn cats -- I certainly think they'll ALL be at least somewhat friendly in time, but I just can't hang onto them that long. Plus, it has been REALLY tough going for adoptions lately -- even the perfectly nice tame kittens are having a really hard time finding homes. (Damn economy!)

              So does anyone need barn kittens? I would like these guys to go in pairs, at least, so they have buddies. They will all be a little shy at first, but are easily won over with food and toys!

              Some pictures...

              Mama Tori... who I imagine is saying something like "Get me OUT of here and away from these damn kittens already!"

              Her brood: Charles, Calvert, and Saratoga:

              The silver tabby:

              Gray and white:

              Brown tabby and white:

              Group 3 -- the brown tabby on the left and the black and white need homes (their fluffy brother has been adopted ):


              • #8
                Erin, So they would need to be crated in the barn? For how long? I am still game for two. RL


                • Original Poster

                  imissvixen, I responded via PM, but might as well post the info here (and bump ) as well...

                  Usually I have people crate a barn cat in his new home for about two weeks... it can be less if the cat is very friendly, but the idea is that you want the cat to get used to the sights/sounds/smells of the barn, and get to know the people, so he's comfortable there and doesn't get scared and run off. Also, they learn that food magically appears several times a day, and this makes them much more inclined to stick around!

                  I have a bunch of crates, litter boxes, food bowls, etc., that I lend out for this, so I'll provide everything. You just provide the food, litter, and TLC.

                  Charles and the gray tabby, who is now named James, are super friendly and should hopefully be adoptable as housecats. Calvert and Saratoga are quite happy to be petted now, but not exactly climb-in-your-lap type kitties yet. The silver and white, now named Simon, is very friendly and likes people when he gets to know you, but quite skittish also, so he's probably better off as a barn cat. And the tabby and white, Jackson, really hasn't let me pet him yet. He's not terribly skittish and is content to be around people, but just doesn't seem to want to be petted yet.

                  Although I will say that almost any feral cat can be brought around in time... some of them just take a year or so.

                  I'd really like to get these guys moved into nice barn homes while the weather is still nice. They are super-cute, sweet, and playful and would make a wonderful addition to any barn!


                  • Original Poster

                    OK... Charles, Calvert, and Saratoga are now tame and ready for indoor homes. As is their former alley-mate, James. All can be picked up, held, and snuggled, and are ready to start their new lives as housecats! Their mom, Tori, still plays with and loves on her kittens ALL the time and would love to go to a new home with one of them. (Especially Charles, who seems to be her favorite!)

                    Simon and Jackson are probably better suited to barn homes (although with the right person, Simon is also indoor cat material).

                    The tame kittens can still be a little skittish, so need a relatively low-stress and patient home with people who are willing to give them time to adjust. Probably not suited to a home with small children. They get along very well with each other and other cats, and ideally would go in pairs or to a home with another friendly cat to play with.

                    These little guys are some of the lucky ones... lucky enough to get rescued in the first place, and doubly lucky that they've become so friendly. Otherwise they'd be facing a much different existence, trying to survive on the streets of Baltimore...

                    I would love to send these guys to live with COTHers! I'm willing to deliver anywhere within reasonable driving distance of Baltimore, and if an adoption doesn't work out for any reason, I'll take the kitten back.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by Erin; Jul. 31, 2008, 12:51 PM.


                    • #11
                      Oh, Erin, your kitty posts just kill me. If I were closer, I would just HAVE to take some of your kitties home.


                      • Original Poster

                        Kind of irresistible, aren't they? Which is why I really didn't want to put them back in their alley... I don't mind so much with the adults who are truly feral, but the little guys always come around, if you've got the time to spend with them.


                        • Original Poster

                          Poor Charles, Calvert, Saratoga, and James... they were the ones I thought would be easy to adopt out, and they're the only ones left! The still-feral ones all got adopted first.

                          I had to take these guys "off the market" about a month ago because they all came down with an upper respiratory infection, which they kept passing around to each other like kids in daycare. So they are older now, not itty-bitty-cutie kittens. I guess they're probably about 5-6 months now? So kind of "teenager" kittens, but DEFINITELY still kittens ... but their personalities have evolved now to a point where I have a little better idea what they'll be like as adults.

                          Charles (brown tabby) is the lovebug/snuggler of the bunch. He just loves attention and will come running up to you for petting, purring like a freight train! He also likes to nibble on fingers and toes, so use caution if you like to go barefoot. I think he has a bit of "middle child" syndrome, since he's "just" a plain brown tabby... but in truth, he's my favorite. He's just a complete sweetie.

                          Calvert (orange tabby) is the big brother -- the most adventurous of the litter. And he is MUCH bigger than his siblings, so may grow up to be a very big boy! He is very talkative (although he has kind of a sissy-girl whiny meow, which I find very funny ) and inquisitive -- he's always climbing things and investigating his surroundings. He loves attention also, but isn't as much of a snuggler/lap cat as his siblings. He seems a bit more independent.

                          Saratoga (Sara) is an all-black female. She's the little sister -- much smaller than her two brothers, and her personality is much more demure. She's a quiet little sweetie who loves to sit in your lap and watch the world go by.

                          James is not related to the other three, but he is just a couple of weeks older and was living in the same alley. (And in fact, the other kittens' mom sort of adopted him and nursed him with her litter after they were rescued.) He is a silver tabby male with white, and has very pretty green eyes. He is very rambunctious and LOVES to play with other cats. (Although I'm not sure the other cats always like to play with him... he really likes to roughhouse!) Personality-wise, he is like Calvert -- very adventurous, always getting into trouble.

                          And the mom, Tori, is also in need of a home (and would be happy to be adopted with one of her kittens). She was obviously a pet at some point, but had been living on the streets for quite a while. You have to earn her trust before she'll be friendly with you -- I imagine she had some not-so-nice interactions with humans during her time on the street. She is super-super playful, and really wants to hang out with "her" people. Very very affectionate... really just a wonderful cat. She's a very pretty tortiseshell.

                          All of them are a little on the shy side with strangers, so would need a little time to adjust in a new home. But they all mob me for attention anytime I go in my basement, and are totally ready to be someone's new best friends. All are fixed, tested negative, current on shots, dewormed, etc. The kittens would be great adopted in pairs -- they all get along well with each other and other cats.

                          Oh yeah, pictures!


                          • Original Poster

                            A little bump for Tori and her kittens...