So you found a kitten…or two..or three…or six.
WHATCHA’ WORKIN’ WITH.
Numero uno is going to be trying to get a better idea of it all. You may see two kittens in the beginning, when there could actually be many more, especially on the chance of multiple litters.
Try to find a quiet spot that is close enough to them, while still keeping enough space so they will not notice you. Sit back and wait for at least 20 minutes, so they will feel comfortable coming back out of their hiding spots. This will help you get a better feel for exactly how many are in the litter(s).
- How many.
- Rough age.
- Eyes open?
- Are they walking? Playing & running? Or wobbly?
- Is the mom nearby?
- Do they appear healthy and fed or weak and malnourished?
- Are they crying because they’ve been abandoned and are hungry or are they playing around?
- Are they in any severe danger in their location?
- Are they in a safe place to be rescued?
- Can they fall off/into anything if they try to scurry away?
- Will they run and hide somewhere that will be more difficult to catch?
- Is there a busy roadway that they could run into?
- Are you able to catch the mom too?
Once you have more details, you’ll need to put together your game plan. If you are nervous or would like some guidance & help, try reaching out to any of your local volunteer rescue groups.
Unfamiliar with your local groups? G-O-O-G-L-E IT. Or call your local vets!
If you are in the Okanagan, here are a few to get you started!
- Okanagan Cat Coalition
- BC SPCA
- Okanagan Humane Society
- AlleyCATS Alliance
The groups should be able to:
- lend you the traps and tools necessary.
- organize a volunteer to come and assist you.
- send someone out to do it for you.
- organize a foster facility or family to take the kittens in once you’ve caught them.
Having as much as the above information ready, before you call, will make things go much easier and faster.
If you are going to trap on your own, check out my previous post here for some trap information.
TIME TO GO KITTY CATchin’.
Once you have located the kittens main base camp and have a better idea of how many there are, you can start to set your traps!
Take some old newspaper and lay it down so that it covers the inside of the trap and over the trip plate.
If they are very small and tamer it should be fairly easy, as long as they are walking around and not hidden underneath something. You should do just fine with setting the trap with some wet food in it and walking a small distance away. Try to find somewhere that you can still see them but they won’t be able to see or notice you. Give them about 15-20 minutes to feel safe enough to start moving around and inspecting the trap. They should have no issues going in it. You may find, however, that they are too small to set off the trip plate though. This is why I recommend staying close by so if needed you can manually close it.
If you are finding that they aren’t really coming out that well, try playing videos of kittens meowing or mama cat calling kittens. You can find lots of different videos on YouTube. Believe it or not, but Apple Music actually has an album of different cat/kitten meows! This has helped me tremendously with catching cats and kittens without running my data bill up or having to worry about commercials interrupting!
If the kittens are a bit older and more feral, my best recommendation is to give it a few days. Set however many traps out that you may need, but leave them fully open, without the trip plate set. Then, over the course of a few days, you will want to feed them at the same time each day inside the traps. That way they will get used to you being around and begin to associate you with food AS WELL AS being more comfortable going inside the traps!
As always when you are live trapping any kind of cat or animal, be sure to have towels, sheets or blankets readily available to cover the traps once the animal has been caught. This will help keep them calm and relaxed and prevent them from injuring themselves or damaging the traps by ramming into the sides of the traps.
If you are having issues luring the cats into the traps and the wet cat food just isn’t cutting it, try these:
- wet cat food & tuna mix
- wet cat food & kitten milk replacer mix
- KFC chicken drumsticks (have it hanging on a string above the trip plate)
- and yes, KFC works the best for some reason. Something in that batter!
SO, YOU’VE CAUGHT THE KITTENS. PURRRRFECT.
You officially just became a super awesome kitten rescuer! Job well-done!
Doesn’t it make your heart happy knowing that you’ve just given these little fur balls a MUCH better life!? It’s the best feeling ever, in my opinion.
Now, you should have already arranged with your local group or vet some form of intake program with them. If you are going to be responsible for transporting them to that location, make sure that your vehicle is equipped and ready for them.
Start by laying down cardboard & training pads (you can get them at most dollar stores now!) or towels & sheets. That way if there are any accidents, they won’t be soaking into your vehicle on the way! Also, be sure to keep their cages covered to keep their stress levels down.
I would avoid moving them from the live traps unless you absolutely have to (as in, you have more to catch and need the traps. Otherwise, you should leave them as is). If you have a larger kennel or cat carrier to transport them in then make sure that you have that prepped and ready to go prior to catching. Remember, you want to keep things as stress-free yet as quick as possible. When it comes to removing the kitten, make sure that you are in a closed room or somewhere that they can’t get away on the chance that they do get out of the trap. Then you will want to wrap your hand in a towel and move in as slowly as possible. I find that it helps to tip the trap up so there is less chance of them scurrying out of it. Once you have reached the kitten with your covered hand, try to grab them by the scruff of their neck. This will partially paralyze them for the time being and make it much easier to move them. It is also how their mom carries them around at this age, so it is totally normal for them. If you can, give them a little pet and whisper some sweet nothings into their ears to try to make it less traumatic. Once they are in their new area, make sure everything is locked up properly and covered.
The reason for covering your hand, other than avoiding any bites or scratches, is it helps prevent them of being scared of human hands.
Imagine being in their position and having this large hand coming at you and grabbing you during this intense moment of your life. Then try to not be freaked out by hands coming towards you even after you’re more tamed and used to humans…..see what I mean.
If you are interested in fostering them yourself, be sure to stay tuned for my post on kitten fostering!
If you are able to catch the mom, please make sure that you do that! That way she will be able to get spayed and vet checked so she can also begin her great new life!
**If you have been bitten by a feral kitten or cat DO NOT TAKE IT LIGHTLY!! While some wounds may not cause an infection, it is not worth it to take the risk.
- Immediately wash the wound under running water and encourage blood flow if you can.
- Seek medical attention to have the wound looked at and begin antibiotics.
*if left untreated, the wound can become severely infected and cause hospitalization*
If you choose to disregard and not seek medical attention, watch very closely for signs of infection and be sure to treat it right away at the first sight of any.**
Well, on that note, I better be fe-lyin’ outta here.
All the best,