Operation Kitten

Feral Cat litter, August 26, 2003

My parents have had a colony of feral cats living in their Fox Point back yard for several years now.  This past season I have been making a half-hearted attempt to trap the cats and get them fixed at the Wisconsin Humane Society.  The WHS has a free program for feral cats, they will give them a medical checkup and spay/neuter them.  Then the cats can then be returned to where they were trapped, or possibly put up for adoption if they are tame enough.  So far I have trapped 3 cats, one was a nursing mother that I re-released when I couldn't find her litter, another was a neighbor cat, and the third I took to WHS.

But I finally hit the mother lode this week, Mom alerted us to a new litter of kittens spotted near the woodpile.  Maria & rushed over, only to become discouraged after seeing the mother rush off 30 seconds after we arrived.  The kittens were nowhere to be found--we tore the woodpile apart and found nothing.  We were about to give up when I peaked under a lawn mower.  Six kittens ran out in six different directions!  After a panicky 2 minutes while Maria & I grabbed at anything furry, we managed to round up the last kitten and get them into a crate.

Number 1. Brindell, dark colored, female.  14.5 oz

Number 2. Calico with brown spots on back, female, 14.0 oz

Number 6. calico with some tiger coloring on right front leg, female, 15.0 oz

Number 4. Orange with few markings, male, 16.0 oz

Number 3. Orange with tiger stripes on legs, male, 17.0 oz

Number 5. orange with white boots, male, 16.5 oz

The kittens are now at our house in Bay View, they are eating ravenously and appear quite healthy.  Maria estimates their age at 5 weeks.  I have attempted to document each one, but it is really hard to tell the orange ones apart.  My plan (right now) is to keep them until they are 2 lbs, this should take 3-4 weeks.  This is what the vet at the WHS recommended, when they are at 2 lbs they can be spay/neutered and put up for adoption.  However, I have already had two inquiries for adoption (!), so I may be handing over fewer than 6 to the WHS.

Want to help out?  The kittens will be eating about $1.00/day of IAMS kitten food, plus occasional formula and litter.  They also need to be de-wormed at some point, this is about $12/kitten.  The button below will allow you to pass on money to the kittens, I promise to use any donations strictly for the benefit of the kittens.  If there is any money left after the kittens are adopted out, we will pass on the funds to the WHS.

The kittens are pretty well behaved.  Last night they spent in a cardboard box, today I have them in one of those folding baby play-things made out of nylon.  So far they have had little trouble escaping from either of these situations, Maria & I have been finding them under dressers, behind the couch, and in various corners of the house.  Miracles of miracles, they actually know how to use a litter box!  It seems pretty clear that they can be socialized enough for adoption into a home.  Please come and visit them if you like, just drop me an email to make arrangements.

We are continuing to make attempts to catch their mother, but she is very wary of the trap.  If we trap her, she will be fixed at the WHS and returned to the woodpile to live out her life without creating more feral cats in the neighborhood.

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