More kittens..

newhomeseekerJuly 27, 2009

It is just my (bad) luck. We were doing yard work this weekend and I heard this squeaking/crying coming from the bushes and I just had to look. Another stray had five kittens in the bushes next to our woods. This stray is very friendly and I haven't seen her around before. She came right up to us, rubbed around our legs and purred and tried to crawl into my lap when I sat down. I couldn't leave the kittens in the weeds (there are too many stray dogs around) so I took them (mama followed) and put them in the little box we used for the last stray cat with two kittens (which are now in my basement!) It is just a storage container that you can buy at Wal-Mart turned upside down with a little "door" cut out of the front of it for them to go in and out. I put a carpeted welcome mat type thing underneath and cover it with hay. Mama cat seems happy with this arrangement. She was very thin so I am feeding her canned food and dry kitten chow. This set up is on our back deck so they are up off the ground. The kittens are probably between 2 and 3 weeks old (they sleep alot but are active at times and their eyes are open and still blue.)

My concern is that on days like today when it is hot outside the kittens are panting in the box and seem uncomfortable. I'm not sure what kind of set-up I can rig up so that they are comfortable during the hot days and also at night (when it is much cooler) and during rain storms.

Bringing them into the house (or basement) is not an option because I have four inside cats in the house and the two kittens (one I'm fostering for the rescue and the other I might keep) in the basement.

any ideas of what type of shelter I could create for them?

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Instead of finding them shelter... find them a shelter (like one that takes in strays and adopts them out). The whole bunch sounds very adoptable... friendly mom, new kitties...

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 3:43PM
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That is a good idea but the problem is the shelter is overcrowded. It is a dog and cat rescue and they practically won't even take your animals unless you agree to foster them. When I found the first two kittens (about ten weeks old now) I called them and they said they were full but could take them if I agreed to foster them until some cages opened up at the rescue. I have agreed to foster one of them (the other is not in their program as I may be keeping him) and it is quite expensive. The cat basically belongs to the rescue and if anything happens to it you have to reimburse them for their fees. They expect you to feed the cats a certain brand of (very expensive!) food (even my kitty who is on a limited ingredient diet does not eat food quite this expensive) and provide a certain brand of cat litter. This is on your own dime. Which is fine I guess for one kitten but not the five I discovered this weekend. Also the rescue will not even take kittens until they are at least six weeks old. (and this is only if they can find a volunteer to foster them) I can't even think about fostering them until the older two kittens are gone because you have to keep them inside (as fosters) and the older two kittens are currently in the only inside space I have (the garage) that is away from my four inside-only cats.

So for right now, I really need to devise a shelter that is suitable for mom and kitties. I guess anything is better than a patch of weeds (where I found them) but I want them to be comfortable.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 4:10PM
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I have no advice, but I find it pretty offputting that the shelter requires you to feed and expensive brand of food and a specific brand of litter! And if something happens to the cat, what "fees" have they incurred that you are required to reimburse?!! You are footing the bill for their care! I've never heard of such a bad policy. They should be THRILLED that people are willing to help out - especially with cats. In my experience, there are way more cats needing homes than dogs.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 10:15PM
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Idea: Check out Craigslist or Freecycle in your area. Someone might be giving away a large wire dog crate, or you could advertise that you need one. This will provide airflow, and you can put an old towel over the top and sides to provide a little privacy.

(still shaking head about the "rules" from that rescue!)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 11:00PM
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Do you have the money to spay or neuter and vaccinate all of these kitties?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 9:57AM
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The fees they've incurred are the spay/neuter and shots. I understand that they want the kittens to eat a certain brand of food because they will be eating that when they come to live at the shelter and need to be used to it. The shelter exists entirely on donations so I understand they need all the help they can get. When the five kittens are old enough I do plan to try to place them in the adoption program (but I won't foster them). The shelter charges $70 for each cat to be tested and spayed. And this is their spay a stray program. I'm thinking of taking them to a place near my parents (2 hours away) that only charges $10 to spay strays.

I do have a large dog crate and thought about using that but the kittens are so little they can crawl right through the openings. I may try that though.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 10:38AM
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Our Freecycle here accepts posts for kittens and it always surprises me that most seem to find homes that way. I know some Freecycle sites don't allow pet posts though -- have no idea why.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 3:27PM
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I really don't want to put an ad in the paper and just give them away. The chances they will end up as this stray did are very high for "free kittens". People see them or have their kids who think they are cute and want one and they take it home and when it is no longer cute they just toss it away. So I prefer to have them adopted through a rescue if I can. I just can't put them in the rescue program right now because they have too many rules and restrictions and I don't have the space or the funds to follow all of them right now. Even if they would take them and I'd foster them I'd have to keep them all inside (can't do it at the moment as I have 3 "strays" in my basement as we speak and four inside only cats of my own that roam the rest of the house. I can't keep the five little ones plus mom in the basement because the other not-yet-spayed mom is down there with her 2 kittens (one in the foster program) and the two groups would NOT get along.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 4:38PM
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Newhomeseeker, If you don't me asking, what state do you live in? I find it incredible you are finding all these strays and litters at your doorstep. Do you live by a feral community were these obviously friendly cats are zoning in to have their babies? Could you get one of the no kill shelters or groups to check out the area and find out whats going on? We are having quite the overload of kittens and cats at our shelters too and foster families are greatly needed. So good job, but your name implies you found your new home and if this continues, you might have to register as a shelter!

It would be my lucky day to find a stray or kitties at my back door so I could rationalize keeping one. I keep my forth slot for an emergency only and that might be an emergency.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 11:12AM
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I've been in your shoes many times....It is very sad to have so many "unwanted" fur babies....I was lucky to have an organization near us that do the spay/neutering once a month by volunteering vets for just a donation....Also, another good group is Ally and they might be able to give you some good information.....
For a while, I volunteered with a cat/kitten rescue organization, trapping and taming, and then fostering...I had to stop because I really had a hard time giving up the fur babies after they were tamed...Of course I did end up keeping 2 little girls to add to our zoo.....
Good luck with your little ones....Bless you for taking care of them.....

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 11:29AM
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Even with a rational explanation, the shelter's policy still seems unreasonable to me. I would think if they were a little more flexible it would open the door to more people being willing to foster strays.

I can understand your unwillingness to advertise the kittens. Whenever I see "free to good home" ads I worry about where the animals will end up. Here in PA, we are warned that kittens and cats are sometimes acquired for horrible purposes, often related to dog fighting, and the same is true for puppies and dogs.

The crate idea is good. Meanwhile, how about a fairly deep box turned upside down (open at the top)?

You have such a good heart!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 12:49PM
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I live in Ohio and it feels like I live in hillbilly central sometimes. Practically NO ONE spays or neuters their animals. The neighbors that just moved in next door (a couple in their early thirties) have a huge mixed breed dog that they just let roam everywhere. He is not neutered. He frequently crosses the road and fights with the neighbor's collie that is also running loose. I've contacted animal control and they come out and speak to the owners if they are home at the time. They apparently tell them they are doing a license check and warn them that their dogs must be confined. If they don't have a license they are either told to get one or they are fined the cost of the license. We received a note on OUR door saying we needed to call them to verify we had a license for our dog (we dont' have one) and I never called and there was no follow up. So I guess if the owners just never call back the matter is dropped.

There are TONS of dogs that techincally aren't strays but run loose, eat garbage etc but are someones' "pets". The same is true of cats. I've seen probably at least five different tom cats in our yard at one time or another. It seems people get a pet and then toss it out when it is no longer cute. The neighbor kid that my fiance's son plays with told me that their cat had kittens and their dog got to one and practically killed it. He proudly told me that his dad let him finish it off with his bb gun. Makes me SICK! But there is nothing I can do. The authorities don't see animal cruelty as a crime or anything.

And these cats that are having kittens aren't feral. They are friendly (but wary at times understandably) cats that were probably pets and then were either left or thrown out to fend for themselves.

As for the kittens, they are very active and wander all around the back deck so they've taken to sitting outside their box if it is hot outside. There are five and are quite a handful. Two will eat canned food (only two that I can interest in it) and they wolf it down. I have started bottle feeding the other three (one loves it, the other two will drink it grudgingly. I've only been doing the bottle feeding since yesterday and already the little ones run to me when they hear my voice, thinking I'm bringing them goodies.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 3:01PM
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