Thursday, July 4, 2013

Catching a Stray Kitten

Now that weather is warm the feral and stray cats that have not been spayed or neutered are breeding and there are sounds of kittens meowing in the woods.  

Kitten season is here and it will run from spring to fall but when the weather starts to cool down then the cats will stop breeding. During the cat breeding season the city and neighborhood shelters will become inundated with thousands of adorable stray kittens that need homes desperately.  The kittens that are not caught and taken off the streets will be left to fend for themselves and will become feral. 

Yesterday I found a stray kitten hiding under my neighbor’s deck. The first thing that I did was look for the mother cat.  The kitten may be weaned or she may have been moved to this area by the mother cat.  

I informed my neighbors that there was a kitten under their deck.  I asked them to watch for the mother cat and let them know that I would trap the cat family. 

We all watched for the mother cat and did not see her.  This was an indication that the stray kitten may be older and had been weaned.  

Since mother cat was not around I decided to approach the kitten to find out if it was people friendly.  The kitten hissed at me which was an indication that this kitten was probably feral.  She did not run from her hiding place but instead held her ground and in her "cat way" told me in so many hisses to stay away.

See bellow feral kitten cards that I designed at my zazzle shop. The images used are of cats that I care for at the colony. See mother cat watching black kitten in the background.  This little kitten was not weaned.
Catching Stray Kittens
Get ready to catch a stray cat by showering with hunter’s soap.  Lather up with this soap and it will take away the human scent.  

Gather cat supplies; cat carrier that is lined with newspaper, feliway behavior modifier spray and a half can of kitten food that is diluted with water.  Mix the food and water well to make gravy.  

Before I go out to catch stray kittens I will spray heavy leather gloves with the feliway. The gloves will protect my hands from being bitten or scratched.  I will wear protective clothing: leather boots, socks heavy denim pants and long sleeve shirt.  All clothing will be treated with Feliway behavior modifier spray 75 ml.  I spray the formula onto my clothing, boots and socks.  

Feliway behavior modifier simulates a cat’s natural pheromones and it comforts the cat by relieving stress.  I find it is helpful when trying to catch stray kittens or cats because it creates a state of security and helps the cat to cope with a new human, crate or home.

Put away all phones as any noise will frighten the kitten.

The first step to catching a stray kitten is to communicate with food and water.  A hungry cat will get close to the human that is feeding them.  I find that a strong kitten food like salmon and ocean fish entrĂ©e for kittens will attract stray cats quickly especially if they are hungry.

Note if you are not an experienced cat trapper then do not attempt to catch a stray kitten.  Instead contact your local cat network to inquire about trappers in your area.

Approach the kitten where it is hiding by walking slowly.  Do not make eye contact with the kitten as they will feel threatened.  

Sit down on the ground and keep your eyes to the ground.  Set the food and water directly in front of the open cat carrier, close enough so you can grab the kitten by the scruff and put into the carrier. 

stray kitten in trap

If the kitten will not allow you to grab them then plan to catch with a live animal trap.  Obtain a trap by borrowing one from your local animal control, humane society, and veterinarian or contact your local cat network.  Ask to borrow a trap and follow instruction on how to safely set up and trap cats.

The scent that your body is projecting is that of a cat’s natural pheromones.

The stray kitten will approach the food slowly with cautious steps.  Be prepared to wait awhile because the stray kitten may linger in their hiding spot and approach the food very slowly. 

It is best to sit quietly and refrain from speaking to the kitten, as your voice may frighten them.  Think positive thoughts and project a calm energy.

Sgolis recommends these Cat Adoption Guide posts.
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