Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cat Lovers, Can You Help?

Those who read this blog know I'm mostly a dog person. Well, when I got up this morning to let the dogs out, I noticed three kittens on the back porch. They ran away when they saw me and I haven't seen them since (or before). I assume this means they're living under the porch/house.

I know very little about cats, so am in search of people with more expertise.

INFO:

-- I borrowed a trap from the vet, but they've had over 20 kittens dumped on them recently, so cannot take them if I do catch them.

-- It's been well over 100 degrees in Georgia, and they survived that, so they must be able to find some cool place.

-- All shelters are packed and overflowing. The same is true for all rescues around here.

-- There is always water on the porch for the dogs. This might be why they were on the porch this morning. I've also put out other water bowls. Is there anything else I should do?

-- I have no idea whether my dogs are aggressive toward cats, though I had noticed them sniffing around the porch with interest in recent days. Since I heard nothing, I assumed it was probably rabbits.

I'm pretty much a complete novice when it comes to cats, so any basics you want to tell me would be beneficial. I'd really love it if anyone has experience with something like this before. You can also email me at hektorkarl at gmail dot com or send me a note on Twitter (@hektorkarl) if you prefer.

If I see them again, I will try to get a picture. 

Thanks! And Happy Holidays to all. :)

10 comments:

  1. I'm a dog person through & through, and unfortunately have no experience with cats either. But what you said so far sounds like a sound beginning. Hope you can save them from starving or dying of hyperthermia.

    I think it's a great thing, what you're doing. Kudos to you. :)

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  2. Yeah, my network of dog people is stronger than my network of cat people.

    And thanks for the encouragement. Haven't seen them again today, though I think I've seen the mother roaming a couple of times.

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  3. Hey Hektor, I really hope you can find a solution for the kitties. I don't know if you live in town or in the country but if mom cat is around then I guess that's a good sign, but if she's bringing them to a house that has dogs then it sounds like she may be desperate. Keeping water out is good in this heat. If your dogs have never been around cats before, then chances are they're going to chase the cats off their territory if they see them. Other than that you may just have to wait and see if they stick around or move on. Good luck. (:

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    Replies
    1. Hey Elise -

      It's country-ish. The dogs are mostly inside dogs, and the porch is wired-off so that it's not accessible to the dogs. Some neighbors let their dogs somewhat roam, which might explain why she chose here.

      "Other than that you may just have to wait and see if they stick around or move on"

      I've only seen them once so far, though the dogs might be contributing to that...

      "Good luck. (:"

      Thank you! The advice is much appreciated.

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  4. I'm not a cat expert, but I have had cats most of my life. My tips are just common sense:

    In this heat it's a good idea to put water out for them. You can also put a little food out for them, but then what do you do when you have cats hanging around who expect to be fed? Animal shelters are full of kittens this time of year, so it would be hard place them. If you're serious about helping them out, check with friends and family to see if anyone wants a cute kitten or 3.

    Keep the dogs away. They might behave, but the cats may not, especially if there's a mother cat with them. Cats will usually run away, but if they're threatened and can't escape they may hurt you or the dog trying to defend themselves. Just give them their space and everyone should stay safe and happy.

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  5. "If you're serious about helping them out, check with friends and family to see if anyone wants a cute kitten or 3."

    Yeah, though it's hard to compete with the deals offered by the shelter, even if offering them for free. For example, from a local shelter:

    "June is National Adopt-A-Cat Month. All kitty cat adoptions are only $25 and includes vaccines, spay or neuter and registered microchip."

    It'd cost a lot more than that to get all the vetting done...

    "Keep the dogs away."

    Underneath the porch is fenced off, and the dogs are only allowed in the fenced off area. So I think that should be okay.

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  6. Hektor, this is so cool of you! :)

    I am a cat person, and I have experience trapping cats as well. If you want to talk alittle more, my e-mail's mirascorner@gmail.com

    Here's a really good site that talks about how to trap kittens: http://www.feralcat.com/trapinst.html

    Some important things are to bait the trap with something smelly. Also, you can put smelly food in the trap for a few days without setting the trap. Once they are used to the trap and associate it with a safe place and food, it's easier to trap them (and less traumatic when they are trapped).


    Also, make sure the trap has a towel or sheet over it, so it's like a little cave. Make sure not to leave the trap in the hot sun - they can die from exposure.

    Once you trap them, you can take them to the vet to be checked. He or she can tell you if they are young enough to be tameable. If they are too old, it may be a matter of fixing them (if they are old enough) and releasing them back into the wild. If they are young and tameable, it's usually pretty easy to tame them. They are very sweet. :)

    In terms of where to put them, rescue agencies usually have foster homes that will raise a kitten until it can be adopted. A friend or family member or aquaintance might take it for awhile. You might just fall in love with a kitten, youself. :) Things tend to work out.

    Again, I think they are very lucky to have found you. I hope it works out, but don't feel badly if it doesn't - there are millions of wild kittens and cats, and it can be very hard to help them sometimes. It can be hard to trap animals. Cats are very good surviving on their own. They are naturally wild. On the other hand, it's a real gift if you can help them. Their life will be much longer and happier if they are tamed and cared for. It's a wonderful feeling to help a kitten. :)

    Good luck, Hektor!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mira. Very helpful!

      I've put out some canned cat food I got from the grocery store, and mixed in a little canned chicken. So far no signs that any of the food has been touched (though it's attracted a lot of flies).

      I haven't seen the kittens or mother today, though there are a lot of places where they could be hiding out of sight.

      I made sure the trap was in the shade. I'll also cover it.

      I will probably be in touch if I find out more about them.

      Thanks for the help! I've learned a lot about cats in the past day (though I've still got a ways to go :).

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    2. No problem. Glad to help! And don't hesitate to give me a holler. I think it's very kind of you to want to help them.

      Good luck! :)

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  7. I'm a little late to the game, but I am a cat person. Cats are very good at taking care of themselves so they have probably found a coolish place out of the sun, possibly near your house. They might have just been stopping by.

    I wouldn't bother putting food out for them unless you know for certain they are around. They can go for a long time without food and are also very good at getting their own food. Water, on the other hand, is very essential. Cats can die quickly if they don't have access to water. It's very very good of you to put water out for them.

    You have a couple of options for taking care of them, even if you don't want to keep them yourself. If you do manage to trap them, check with the local shelters before you take them in and make sure they are a) a no kill shelter b) can manage them and find either foster homes or real homes for them.

    Call your local vets and see if they know of anyone who is looking for kittens. Some vets keep a list of owners who have recently lost a cat and will sometimes contact them to see if they'd like to adopt one that has come into their care.

    Your other option is to a) keep them or b) become a foster parent. Being a dog house, this is actually a very good deal fir the kitties, though some work for you. You'll want to contact the shelter to arrange with them to become a foster parent and they'll usually get your kitties their shots and get them fixed if they are old enough. Then you socialize them, play with them, get them used to being around dogs, and then the shelter can arrange for the adoption. Being socialized around dogs makes kitties more adoptable.

    Your final option is to contact the local vets and see if they have any services where they'll fix a stray cat for free or very very cheap. This will keep your cat population down, even if you plan to let them go back outside.

    Let me know how things are going :-)

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