I am thankful that 2 more kittens of the 5 we took went to their new home today!
Kittens, how did that happen?
In the summer of 2012, we started feeding an outdoor cat that we often saw in the neighborhood. He appeared to be a feral cat as he had a 5-foot rule – he would not come within 5 feet of me. He would come for food almost every day. The last day we saw him was February 22, 2014. We do not know what happened to him. Perhaps, his family moved away. There are many possibilities!
So, we kept putting food out thinking he might come back. Other cats (and maybe other animals) kept eating the food. In spring 2014, a gray cat starting coming nearly every day. She looked like she needed the food.
On July 20, we found her nursing 5 kittens in our yard. They kittens looked to be about 2-3 weeks old. I think they were born in a creepy garage a few houses down the street.
Making friends with the kittens
I decided to make friends with them for I did not want my neighborhood to end up with too many stray cats. They would need to be socialized in order to be adaptable. While the kittens were nursing from the mother (she is a good cat mom!) we continued to put out dry cat food. The kittens would not approach us at all. The local humane society considered them to be feral and therefore could not take them. They were also full up on cats/kittens already.
The mother cat (aka Mom Cat), was friendly enough and would approach me and let me pet her once she started bringing the kittens to our yard on a regular basis. We think she may have been abandoned be a former owner. As the kittens grew we started feeding them wet canned cat food. They were excited about this as was Mom Cat.
After a few days, the kittens let me pet them while they were eating the wet food. We continued this for many weeks. Some days all the kittens and Mom Cat would show up for canned cat food (we always had dry food out) but we didn’t seem them all every day.
Bringing them in
We made an appointment on September 23 to get Mom Cat spayed. She also tested negative for feline leukemia and FIV. While she was at her appointment we corralled all of the kittens and brought them into our breezeway. This took over an hour!
We put Mom Cat in the breezeway when she came home too. Then a few days later each kitten also tested negative for feline leukemia and FIV. Mom Cat and kittens were also treated for ear mites and worms. We had put Frontline on them while they were still outside to combat fleas. We have 3 indoor cats already so we needed to keep the rescues separate to avoid spreading any icky stuff and cat drama.
Finding good homes for the kittens has been more challenging than I anticipated. Turns out that not everyone wants a cat! And “free” kittens are not really free as they need to be neutered or spayed and receive shots. Once that is done, they do not require much other than food. Also, there are plenty of kittens and cats available for adoption at pet stores and animal shelters. Sadly, there are too many pets and not enough homes for them. We are planning to keep the Mom Cat if she can integrate okay with our 3 indoor cats.
We’ve found homes for 3 of the 5 kittens so far. My 13-year-old niece made TWO PowerPoint presentations to convince my brother that their family needed another cat (they have 1 dog, 1 cat, and 1 bunny already). I delivered their kitty to them last weekend. Today two of the black kittens were picked up by the parents of a friend.
I am very thankful to this family and my brother’s family for taking in the kittens. They went to good homes which was important to me. I wanted them to end up in a better situation than the one the born into. Outdoors without much access to food and shelter.
We have at least one lead on the 2 orange kittens and hope to have them in a new home soon.
Update 10/07/2014: the leads didn’t work out. My husband and I have decided to keep the orange kittens!
What can you do to help strays?
There is excellent advice on helping strays and feral cats on the Alley Cat Allies site.
Remember what Bob Barker said at the end of Price is Right “Spay and Neuter your pets!”
What are you thankful for today?
Tomorrow, I will begin a series on why you should write thank you notes!