Look up the No Kill Shelters in your area. Traditional animal control programs have an abyssmally high euthanasia rate.
I’d say it’s far more likely that she was a pet right up until she got pregnant, and then she was dumped. I doubt there was any straying involved.
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I’ve never kept cats at home, but I’ve had them at work (factories) and lived in places that had cats. In one of those houses the owners were amazed that I could get their cat Lucy on my lap, she wasn’t fond of strangers: all it took was a bit of chicken leg (no bone) and making sure I didn’t show her my “claws” until she was ok with being touched by me. When I want to fondle/grab a cat who doesn’t know me and isn’t being fondled by his owner already, I begin by using the back of my hand, or my knuckles. Always follow the direction of their hair, from head to tail. They love having the back of their necks and the bottom of their ears rubbed/scratched.
My aunt and uncle have a ton of semi-ferals in their house, it’s in a tiny zero-streets village. They often mix the cats’ food with rice, overcooked by human taste. If they include scraps they make sure there’s no fishbones or chicken bones. Please, people with actual cats, if this is bad practice say so before we drive poor cowgirl nuts!
Mr. K and I went to his folks’ place once, and remarked about the apparent electrical hook-up my FIL trenched from the house to his shed at the back of the yard.
“That’s not a trench. That’s the path the feral momma cat and kittens walk from the shed to the patio where we’re feeding them.”
How cute is that? Twice a day, single-file, 'til they wore away the grass.
I love dem little softies!
So I went home and put out a big bowl of kitty kibble. When I came back in there was instant chaos and I was able to do an inventory: FOUR kittens, Mama, and even a big Tom who looks like Pap was hanging around.
A couple of the kittens porked out while Mom kept a close eye on me through the door. There’s one little one that I’ve totally fallen for, s/he is nearly white with light grey stripes and a racoon-striped tail. That one didn’t get much to eat. When they finished the food they were all feeling lazy and playful so we tied a bit of paper to a string and they loved it. (The white one was the first one to come out and play!)
Mom even left us alone with them (although none would let us near them). So I assume they are strays, and I have totally fallen for the little white one and want to keep it.
(And then I saw a mouse in my house which supported my decision even further.)
This morning when I got up all I could see was Mama, who was on the other end of the deck but her body was oriented directly towards the door and she was staring at it. When I brought out a bit of food she went straight for it, and the kittens didn’t seem all that interested.
My friend (whose cat knowledge I have no reason to trust) is hypothesizing that Mama is preparing to leave her kittens now that they have someone to look after them. But I don’t want her to leave until I can get her spayed. Do you think it’s likely that she’ll take off? The kids look nearly self-sufficient.
I think I should start collecting cat carriers now, I don’t have a car so I’m going to have to impose on a friend or loved one to trek over to the Humane Society with a few cats in carriers.
Any Toronto-area dopers want a kitten?
hehehehehe. That “chair” you designate <snerk> would be called “The Throne”. Hey, if you manage to do that, let me know, would you? My two cats actually own the entire house. :rolleyes:
About cat allergies…As far as I know (and I’m not a physician and am not providing medical advice), most people who are allergic to cats are actually allergic to cat dander (the spit and dust stuff on the cat fur), rather than the cat itself. I have horrible reactions to cat dander (itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and if I wait too long to take something, then the inside of my ears itch and my eyes begin to swell), and in order to avoid an allergic reaction with my own two feline fur balls, I simply give them regular baths (about once a month) and vacuum the house twice a week, washing all the throw pillows in the couch, etc. They are NEVER allowed in my bedroom, and certainly never allowed on the bed or anything I put near my face (towells, throw blankets, etc.)
Good luck with your kitties. (Oh, and cats are much easier and much less demanding than dogs. Dogs are almost as bad as kids with their demands for constant attention. I’ve been both a cat and a dog owner, and vowed never to own another dog until ALL the Hallkids were out on their own.)
Thanks for the allergy-related advice. I am feeling pretty confident about it, I think that given my tile and hardwood apartment and sparse furnishings (and light, powerful vacuum) I can keep it pretty clean.
One question, tho:
How, pray tell, do you give a cat a bath? How do you do it simply? Especially when it is necessary to avoid scratches (which for me always turn into festering itchiness)?
Never give a doper a straight line.
My allergic to cats but cat owned anyway friend never bathes her cats. I am not allergic to cat dander, but am extremely allergic to cat scratches so I don’t bathe mine either. Use Advantage or Frontline drops for flea control and brush the cat to remove dander. This is much kinder and less stressful for the cat and safer for you. Bathing a cat too frequently can result in dry skin, which means more skin flakes to carry dander around the house. Brushing every day is the best thing.
If you are seriously interested in adopting the little one, you need to capture it as soon as possible. Socializing feral kittens was one of my duties at my last job, and my success rate went waaaay down after the kittens reached about 6 months of age. The sooner, the better. When you have the kitten confined, the first few times you try to handle it you may need to wear gloves to protect you from scratches/bites. Remember, the kitten is terrified of you - s/he is not being vicious, just scared. Hold the kitten to you ( a heavy shirt is a good idea at first also) and talk softly and soothingly. You will need to confine the kitten in a small area at first, so you can catch her for socializing. With small kittens, it never took more than a few times before I didn’t need the gloves anymore. With older ones, it sometimes took longer, and there was one that I was never able to socialize. He would let me hold him without struggling, but he never liked it - he never came to me or purred for me. He just didn’t like people. You might also want to consider a kennel (cage) at first - that way you will have an easier time catching the kitten and litter training won’t be a problem.
Sorry about such a long post - socializing kittens is one of my favorite things in the world to do! It is so rewarding to watch them change from being terrified of people to believing that people are the source of good things such as ear scritches and treats. Wish I could help!
Oh yes, for your sake, when you bring your baby in, feed the highest quality food you can afford - no less than Purina kitten food. Your nose will thank you, as cheap food results in a much smellier litter box. Of course, higher quality food is also better for your kitten.
If your vacumn doesn’t have a good furniture attachment, go to a pet store and get one of the rubber finger brushes - nothing works better for removing cat hair from furniture. If you brush your kitten daily, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
My e-mail is in my profile if there is anything I can do to help, or if you have questions.
Nava mixing rice and/or scraps with kibble isn’t a bad idea for outside cats. Vets often recommend a rice/chicken concoction for digestive upsets. It’s not such a good idea for inside cats, because it can result in a really stinky litterbox.