Will A Feral Cat Mother Take Her Kittens Back?



There are a bunch of feral cats around Magda's workplace. The workers rescued some kittens trapped on the roof, but will the feral cat mom take her kittens back after they've been handled by people? Get our answer in this week's post.

Will a feral cat mother take back her kittens if they’ve been handled by people? Photo via Pixabay

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

We have a couple of feral cats at our work place and are giving them food. One of the mothers took two little kittens up into the roof about three weeks ago and she could not get to them again. We took them in so that we can find good homes for them, but they still are in the office as I am looking after and feeding them. The mother cat hovers around as she obviously knows they are in the office. My question is, will she take them back once she gets to see them when they are alone?

~ Magda

Thomas: Well, Magda, there are a couple of parts to your question. First, what do you do about the feral cats? Second, are the kittens socialized enough to become domestic cats? And finally, would the mother cat take the kittens back if you were to put them outside?

Bella: As for whether the mother would take the kittens back–it’s possible but unlikely. She’ll smell that they’ve been handled by people, and that will probably keep her from wanting to get near the kittens.

Tara: And finally, now that the kittens are socialized to people and are no longer feral, do you want to give them back to the mother? Since you’ve already said you’re wanting to find good homes for them, the answer is almost certainly no.

Thomas: But the bigger picture remains–what do you do about the feral cats? You don’t want to have them trapped and killed because that’s just going to create a vacuum into which more feral cats will come, and your feral cat problem will return once again.

Bella: The best way to deal with a feral cat colony is a process called trap/neuter/return. What that means is getting the cats into humane traps and bringing them to a vet or your local animal rescue to have them spayed and neutered, then returning them back to their home colony at your work place.

Tara: We were able to find out from your email that you’re located in South Africa, not too terribly far from Johannesburg. There are a number of animal welfare groups in Johannesburg that might be able to help you trap, neuter, vaccinate and return your feral cats.

Thomas: Trap/neuter/return (also known as TNR) is really the best and most humane way to manage feral cat colonies. First of all, by having them neutered you’ll prevent more and more kittens from being born.

Bella: Secondly, you’ll be able to stop the fighting, spraying and other nuisances feral cats can bring about.

Tara: Finally, the cats will be healthier in the long run because they’ll be vaccinated against rabies and other diseases that can plague wild animals.

Thomas: The best thing about TNR is that it allows the feral cats to stay on site and decrease in size by attrition. This keeps the colony stable, thereby not allowing a new bunch of cats to fill the vacancy created by trapping and killing.

Bella: You may be able to get some help with TNR from the Johannesburg SPCA. If they can’t do it, they may be able to connect you with groups in your area that are doing the TNR work. They may also be able to help you place the kittens once they’re old enough.

Tara: Another group, Animal Allies, specifically works with TNR, so they also may be able to help.

Thomas: Long story short: We are pretty sure that mama cat wouldn’t take the kittens back, since they have been handled by people. And we’re not sure you’d want to send the kittens back to the colony if you’ve been able to socialize them and they could find good homes.

Bella: We strongly recommend working with TNR groups in your area to help get the feral cats fixed and returned to their colony at your workplace.

Tara: And finally, we’re so happy that you and your co-workers care so much about these kittens and their mothers and fathers.

Thomas: Do any of you have other advice for Magda? Have you dealt with a feral cat colony, and how did TNR work out for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

The post Will A Feral Cat Mother Take Her Kittens Back? appeared first on Cat Advice | Paws and Effect.

Should I Rehome My Isolated Cats?



JJamie's cats are currently living in one room at her in-laws' house. She doesn't want to rehome them, but she wonders if that's the best thing for her to do because of their isolation in their current home. Get our answer in this week's post.

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

I have two tortoiseshell cats named Inari and KitKat. Just over a year ago, I moved in with my fiancé and his family because my parents were moving in with my grandparents and I had to take my cats to his house. About three months ago, the cats were moved into a smaller room across the hall, the lights are off 90 percent of the time and the only time I get to see them is when I go in at night to give them food and fresh water. I feel awful that they are kept in the room all the time with little to no interaction. I love my cats very much and I want what’s best for them. For the past few days I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not I should rehome them. Every time I think about giving them away I start to cry (I’m crying as I write this) and I just feel awful. I would never surrender them to a shelter or anything like that. I just would really appreciate some input on what I should do and what is best for the cats.

~ Jamie

Thomas: Jamie, that’s a tough situation you’re in. We have some questions for you that might help you answer your questions about Inari and KitKat’s future.

Bella: First of all, we’re not sure why the cats have to be confined to one room. Are your in-laws allergic to cats? Are Inari and KitKat having litter box issues? Do your in-laws just not like cats?

Tara: Is your living situation a temporary one while you save up money to rent or buy a house, or is it a permanent one–for example, are your in-laws elderly and do they need in-home care?

Thomas: If your living situation is temporary and there’s an end in sight, we think Inari and KitKat will be okay until you and your fiancé find a new home.

Bella: But even if it isn’t temporary, we have some tips on how you can help the cats get more human contact.

Tara: Can you take them into your bedroom when you go to sleep? That way, they’ll get to spend time with you and they’ll be able to take comfort from your presence.

Thomas: Another thing you can do is try to spend more time with them. Sit in their room and read a book or watch TV–just hang out with them and give them a chance to be with you.

Bella: If your current situation is going to be permanent, it would be great if you and your fiancé could talk with your in-laws and allow the cats to spend time in the rest of the house.

Tara: On the other hand, if it’s temporary and there’s an end in sight, just being able to spend a bit more time with them and allow them to sleep with you will help Inari and KitKat feel more like part of your family.

Thomas: If your in-laws are allergic, dusting, cleaning, and vacuuming regularly with a vac that has a HEPA filter can be very helpful to keep the allergens down. Also, an air purifier–again, with a HEPA filter–would be a good idea as well.

Bella: You can make sure the cats don’t go in your in-laws’ bedroom, too. That way they won’t have to deal with the allergens while they’re sleeping. Here are some tips from PetFinder about dealing with allergies to cats.

Tara: If Inari and KitKat are having litter box issues, we have lots of posts (and book recommendations) on the subject, and we’re confident that if you take the advice in those posts and books, you’ll be able to eliminate any problems.

Thomas: Ultimately, we don’t think you’re going to need to rehome your cats for their best interest, as long as you can try to get some more time in with them. Also, make sure they have comfortable beds and places where they can look out the windows–they need some stimulation while you’re not there, after all.

Bella: It’s clear that you love KitKat and Inari, and we hope you can have a talk with your in-laws about letting the cats out of their room.

Tara: We also hope you can manage any behavior or allergy issues that might have you thinking the cats have to be stuck in one room. If your in-laws just don’t like cats, that’s going to be a harder nut to crack!

Thomas: But rest assured, KitKat and Inari love you as much as you love them, and we think you’ll be able to find a way to live together happily.

Bella: What about you other readers? Do you have some advice for Jamie? Do you think she should rehome her cats, or do you think there are other solutions?

Tara: Please share your thoughts in the comments!

The post Should I Rehome My Isolated Cats? appeared first on Cat Advice | Paws and Effect.