Yesterday a neighbor and I were able to trap 5 baby kittens and their feral mama! The little family will get to grow up inside in a foster home until the kittens are ready for adoption. Mama will be spayed and returned to her colony. Here's our little week old babies.
Finding kittens always presents a (very cute) problem when working with feral cats. If you can, you want to get them early so they don’t grow up feral but they require a completely different effort. I am not equipped personally to foster kittens, so I have to find someone to look after them for me. They need a place to stay until they are 8 weeks old, so they need bedding and food and toys and room to grow and play for up to 8 weeks, as opposed to just a few days with feral adults. They will need to be vetted and then we will have to find homes for all of them. It’s definitely a group effort and can be more emotionally and financially taxing than working with feral cats. But it is also so rewarding. These are five little lives we saved yesterday from the harsh conditions of feral life and if all goes well they have a chance at spending their years lounging in comfort with a family that loves them.
If you would like to help, I have set up an Amazon Wishlist and I have the existing Go Fund Me which will go towards kitten costs as well. If you are local to DFW, feel free to contact me if you would like to help in any other way.
Some things we need:
Fleece blankets (new or used)- The small ones at Walmart for $2.50 are perfect, but any size could be used
Small cat/dog beds (new or used)
Cat toys for the kittens as they grow (new or used)
Live traps (new or used- favorites are Tomahawk and TruCatch)
Tuna and sardines for baiting traps
Spare kennels, at least 36in long
Cat food and litter (non-clumping preferred)
Disposable litter boxes
Future homes for five kittens!
Some of these things are on the Amazon list but I thought I'd write them out separately here because they don't need to be from Amazon specifically, and they don't need to be new. If you're interested in adopting a precious kitten or two get in touch as soon as you can and you can come meet them as they grow. Not very many people can say they knew their pet when it was only a week or two old!
Now I have to say, these kittens were extremely lucky. Every year thousands of feral cats have litters just like this one, just as deserving of love and a home, but there's not enough people to take them in, if humans even could find them. I am not equipped to save very many unwanted feral kittens, so I see my main calling as preventing them through TNR. If you are able, please please help me. Spay and neuter your pets, no exceptions. And if you can start TNR in your neighborhood, please do! It's not that hard, and you don't have to do it on this scale. If you can TNR one or two cats you can help lessen the suffering of feral cats and kittens.
In other news, I released Spruce, Iris, and Basil yesterday! They were hard to let go of because they were much sweeter than ferals usually are but they were happy to be home. Spruce and Basil ran off quickly, but Iris hung around to say goodbye. I'm sure I'll see them around and hopefully their socialization can continue with the neighbors that feed them.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be expanding my trapping into other neighborhoods (hence the need for more traps and kennels). There are 23 identified cats in my main location, of which 18 have been TNR-ed. This means I've taken care of 78% of the colony right now. The goal of TNR is 75% so we're there! The remaining 5 are all adult males, and all are known to travel pretty far. Some of them can be quite aggressive and I'm sure they are responsible for lots of kittens around Grapevine, so I'm very determined to trap them. Also, obviously Elm is injured and I want to help him if I can. So I will continue to try out the drop trap there, while also setting some out in the new areas!