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Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:11 PM

*sigh* A feral cat has had a litter of kittens in my side yard.

They're cute as the dickens, but I don't know what to do.

They are not accessible, at all. The momma had them in my husband's derelict 52 Ford pickup. It is wedged into the side yard between our house and the boundary fence along with two kayaks, a sailboat, and various other detritus. It's a perfect place to hide kittens without big predators coming to get them. That includes humans.

When I was young and not hopelessly arthritic, I probably could get at them, but not as things are now.

I can set cat traps and try to TNR the group.

But the real tragedy is that we have coyotes. Lots and lots of coyotes around here.

If I do nothing, the likelihood is that they will be eaten in a matter of weeks.

Feral cats can be tamed, but it takes time and patience. Time they probably don't have.

We don't have a feral cat problem around here. I'm really stunned that a momma cat was even able to reproduce before becoming coyote chow.

Anybody have any great ideas?

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Reply *sigh* A feral cat has had a litter of kittens in my side yard. (Original post)
Coventina Apr 10 OP
SheltieLover Apr 10 #1
Coventina Apr 10 #5
SheltieLover Apr 10 #8
Coventina Apr 10 #17
Buckeye_Democrat Apr 10 #14
femmedem Apr 10 #15
Coventina Apr 10 #16
femmedem Apr 10 #18
Coventina Apr 10 #19
tblue37 Apr 12 #27
femmedem Apr 12 #28
Buckeye_Democrat Apr 10 #2
SheltieLover Apr 10 #9
Rorey Apr 10 #10
Coventina Apr 10 #11
Coventina Apr 10 #20
Buckeye_Democrat Apr 10 #21
Pugee Apr 11 #25
Bev54 Apr 10 #3
brewens Apr 10 #4
58Sunliner Apr 10 #6
Coventina Apr 10 #7
applegrove Apr 10 #12
idziak4ever1234 Apr 10 #13
eppur_se_muova Apr 10 #22
Jacoby365 Apr 10 #23
Coventina Apr 10 #24
Fla Dem Apr 12 #26
Coventina Apr 12 #29

Response to Coventina (Original post)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:14 PM

1. Trap & take to a rescue?

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Response to SheltieLover (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:21 PM

5. Not many rescues take ferals.

The county and our local human society are quite upfront that they are not "adoptable" and immediately euthanize them.

Maybe that's better than being hunted by coyotes?

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Response to Coventina (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:22 PM

8. Feral cat rescue org?

Are you sure mom is feral? Maybe a pet who has been dumped?

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Response to SheltieLover (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:52 PM

17. She's very skittish and skedaddles whenever I try to coax her to me.

I am thinking I will leave them food and water, though.

It's starting to get really hot here.

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Response to Coventina (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:39 PM

14. One of my past employers was located next to...

... a wildlife preserve, and there were many feral cats and coyotes in the area.

It was a factory with bay doors often left open, since the place mostly operated 24/7 anyway.

Lots of the employees placed cat food bowls and litter boxes near the doors, and we had a few of the feral cats who became less skittish around us. A few were taken home by people there, whereas others basically became "company pets". I should have adopted one of them because I loved it so much, but others would've objected since they liked it too.

Anyway, that cat made the inevitable mistake of wandering outside again. It somehow escaped being eaten, but it died on the factory floor from being badly mangled.

Any of the cats who stuck around that place very long at all were doomed to disappear... after they got curious about exploring the outdoors. All that a coyote needed to do was hide and wait in the thick nearby brush, waiting for any cat to wander outside the building which was wide open and illuminated.

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Response to Coventina (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:45 PM

15. If you can get them by the time they are five to six weeks old, they will tame easily.

I have a couple of adult cats that climbed out from under my porch as five-week-old kittens a few years ago. I adopted their littermates out, too, and all of them are tame love bugs now.

If you can catch the kittens that young and either foster them or find someone who will, they will be indistinguishable from kittens born in someone's house within a few weeks.

It will be painful for the mom, but then again, it would be painful for her to lose them to coyotes, too.

I was lucky: I was able to trap the mom at the same time I caught the kittens. I kept everyone enclosed in a bathroom until the kittens were eight weeks old. By then the mom trusted me because she saw me treat the kittens well. The mom went back outside after I got her spayed, but one winter day she walked back into my house and she's been inside again for about a year. She's on the bed with me now.

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Response to femmedem (Reply #15)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:51 PM

16. These little ones are at least 8 weeks old, and just as skittish as their mom.

I love your story.

I have tamed ferals in the past myself. Even adults.

Since I've been in this neighborhood I haven't tried, because they just keep disappearing.

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Response to Coventina (Reply #16)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 10:05 PM

18. Oh gosh. Eight weeks, the window for easy taming is barely open. I hope you can get some help soon.

I'd be a wreck, and it sounds like it's as hard on you as it is on me.

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Response to femmedem (Reply #18)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 10:13 PM

19. Sadly, I didn't become aware of them until a few days ago.

I happened to see the mother, and was trying to coax her to me, when all of a sudden I saw the littles scurrying away.
(They were venturing into our front yard, and all ran under our side fence where the truck, etc. is).

A few days of stalking the yard yielded the intelligence that the truck was their home base.

I gotta hand it to the mom, it is a genius location. She managed to hide them for what seems about two months!

Now I know why my dog has been so interested in that side yard lately!

Thanks for the hugs. I love all animals, and I hate to see any of them in bad situations.


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Response to femmedem (Reply #15)

Mon Apr 12, 2021, 01:00 PM

27. Two of my senior cats started out as ferals, one 10 weeks old when I adopted her, one 18-24 months

old. Both very affectionate & cuddly.

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #27)

Mon Apr 12, 2021, 07:31 PM

28. How wonderful!

I have one who was an adult when I tamed her, but I had been building up trust by feeding her for months before I brought her inside.
She still never purrs, but she curls up next to Mr. Femmedem with her head in the palm of his hand every evening.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:17 PM

2. Maybe you could borrow a donkey from someone?

If you don't have any pet canines, that is.

Donkeys Kicking Coyotes Out of Pastures
https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1989-12-03-mn-307-story.html
----------
The “deliberate” disposition of the donkey and the animal’s innate dislike of canines make it useful for guarding goats and sheep against coyotes and other predators, rancher Nanci Falley said.

State officials say the donkey guard, an old-time form of protection, is enjoying a resurgence on ranches around the country.

“It’s such a natural thing for a donkey,” said Falley, who also sells the guard animals. “It’s not something that requires training. They have a natural instinct to run dogs and coyotes out of their territory.”
----------

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Response to Buckeye_Democrat (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:24 PM

9. Excellent idea!

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Response to Buckeye_Democrat (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:24 PM

10. I had no idea! NT

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Response to Buckeye_Democrat (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:25 PM

11. I have an ancient GSD. He knows they (the cats) are there.

He'd probably kill them if he weren't so old (he's always had a high prey drive).

He keeps the coyotes out of the back and side yards when he's outside. The cats are safe as long as they stay on our property.
But, as they get older they will wander.

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Response to Buckeye_Democrat (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 10:15 PM

20. A relative of ours had a llama that did the same job.

They had the llama, a few sheep, a goat, and lots of chickens.

After the llama died of old age, the coyotes came and took all the chickens and killed one of the sheep.

So, they bought a new llama and it seems to have fixed things.

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Response to Coventina (Reply #20)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 10:26 PM

21. I didn't know about llamas!

Thanks for that information!

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Response to Coventina (Reply #20)

Sun Apr 11, 2021, 10:17 AM

25. I watch a farm animal sanctuary on youtube

I learned that lots of farmers keep a llama or two in their fields with any type of wildlife (from sheep/cows/horses to ducks and geese) as they consider the area theirs and the animals their responsibility. They are very territorial and protective of "their" animals.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:17 PM

3. Call a rescue, they will probably come and get them

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:18 PM

4. You say you can't get at them. Can you get some kid to give it a try? n/t

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:21 PM

6. Sell your kayaks and boat. Good way to clear the yard.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:22 PM

7. I'd love to, but my husband would disagree. n/t

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:27 PM

12. Call a pet rescue and tell them the situation.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 09:27 PM

13. I don't have good advice, but I would like to know how you resolve it once you decide.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 10:30 PM

22. Maybe you could check out Feral Friends Network ...

https://www.alleycat.org/our-work/feral-friends-network/

I haven't used them myself, but there are people out there who help take ferals in.

When I lived in west TN, there was an organization called Barn Cat Rescue which helped trap and neuter ferals, then adopt them out as barn cats, which are a bit wilder than household pets.

OTOH, they neutered two 6 mo feral kittens which I have converted to indoor cats with no real problems after the first week or two.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 10:32 PM

23. Call a cat rescue. They will bring cages and trap them and take them away for you.

You should be able to find one in your area.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Sat Apr 10, 2021, 11:23 PM

24. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions!

I will look into some of those resources tomorrow!!

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Apr 12, 2021, 11:29 AM

26. Any update on your cat family?

Have you been able to get in touch with a rescue group?

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Response to Fla Dem (Reply #26)

Mon Apr 12, 2021, 07:54 PM

29. So far, no rescues can take them. :-(

I went and bought a bag of kitten chow, and leaving it in the bed of the pickup truck.
They seem to like that!

The bowl gets emptied pretty quickly.

They are still very skittish, but I'm hoping that I can win them over by feeding them....

If they don't disappear, I'll TNR them.

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