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Best way to catch a momma cat and babies

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  • Best way to catch a momma cat and babies

    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?
    "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."

  • #2
    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.
    "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      Veterinarians for Equine Welfare

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        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.
        "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."

        Comment


        • #5
          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

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          • #6
            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.
            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
            -Rudyard Kipling

            Comment


            • #7
              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.
              Author Page
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              Steampunk Sweethearts

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              • #8
                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!

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  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.
                  "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.
                    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                    -Rudyard Kipling

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.
                      Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                        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.
                        "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.
                          She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Update

                            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.
                            "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              good luck and good for you PG.
                              "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ponygirl View Post
                                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

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  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!

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

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

                                  Kim
                                  I loff my Quarter horse clique

                                  I kill threads dead!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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.
                                    McDowell Racing Stables

                                    Home Away From Home

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Good job catching the kittens. Hopefully, you will get the mom soon.
                                      Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        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.
                                        "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."

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