What to do if you find and catch feral kittens?
A story of three little ferals found by Alma and Nikki, who left a comment here. They found three feral kittens but don't have the time to socialize them properly so they are asking for help.
I was a little surprised to find out that a number of feral cat organizations don't actually provide shelter to ferals that are found. Their focus is on trap neuter and return, which is very noble and a very important part of feral cat care. But what do you do if you find 3 kittens too small for adoption, but that you can't care for? Where do you take them?
Most shelters will euthanize them. They get killed just because they are feral. Horrible. Everyone knows that feral kittens can be socialized and they make great companions. Neo, my own cat was a feral kitten and I have never known a more loving cat in my life!
So what do you do? The first thing, is take precautions, sometimes they carry diseases and if they bite you or break the skin, you will have to see a doctor. But if the kittens are small enough, their hiss is much worse than their bite so you will be safe from any diseases they might be carrying.
But they have to be checked out by a vet right away. It is easy to get attached to found kittens but if they are sick, you may not be able to tell right away and when the symptoms do show up, it will be a very sad day if you have to euthanize them. Sickness in cats from fleas is a big problem for feral kittens.
So here is what you do if you find and catch feral kittens.
1. Handle the kitten with towel. Wrapping a towel around the kitten will keep you from getting scratched and biten.
2. Keep them contained. They are small and can run and hide far out of your reach if they get scared. A dog cage or cat carrier would work well.
3. Groom them using a brush or comb for cats. Their mothers groom them, so if you start, they will transfer their parental dependency onto you which helps them become socialized.
4. Take the kittens to a vet for a complete check up. Your vet might also be able to suggest families that have just lost cats that would be willing to care for your ferals and keep them.
5. If you can't keep them or if you are not around much to socialize them, the only thing you can do is find someone who can take them or contact your local shelter. If the local shelter won't take them and care for them until they can be adopted, they will be able to provide information on the nearest feral cat shelter. But before you take them anywhere, ask what their policies are, you might end up taking the kittens to their death!
Unfortunately there isn't that much support for feral kittens who need shelter. It is up to the people who find them to take charge of their futures. Make sure they are healthy and provide food and shelter and socialize them. And in some cases, find a new home for them. There really is a void out there for people like Alma and Nikki, who find kittens and want to help them, but can't keep them.
I'll keep you posted on the outcomes of these 3 kittens.
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