ARE YOU FEEDING STRAY CATS

ARE YOU FEEDING STRAY/FERAL CATS?

Who can’t resist the urge to put out a dish of fresh cat food and water for the stray cat that knows
you look out the window to see if she is there every night?  Scenarios like this are played out day after
day in neighborhoods and communities across the country and around the world.  

There is nothing wrong with you helping this free-roaming cat.  It actually gives you a feeling of
accomplishment and fills our human need to care for those whom we deem as less fortunate.  

But why is it we feel that we are the only ones who do this?  As if we are hiding a deep secret, we are
relieved to learn that we are not alone. Many people feed stray cats and provide even more help.
Thousands of us work together every day to reduce feline homelessness through Trap, Neuter, Return
or TNR.

WHY DO THESE CATS NEED OUR HELP?
Left unaltered, free-roaming cats continue to reproduce creating more homeless kittens.  Through
TNR, free-roaming cats live out their lives without adding to the homeless cat population.  According to
scientific studies, free-roaming cats gain weight and live healthier lives after being altered. TNR
programs are proven to stabilize and significantly reduce the size of free-roaming cat colonies.  By
limiting free-roaming cat populations, fewer unwanted and homeless cats are taken to shelters and
killed.

HELP! I HAVE FOUND KITTENS - It happens every year -- from late winter to early fall.  People find feral
mom cats with kittens in their garage, under their porch, or in a bush.  Although they look recently
abandoned, the mother and father have probably been living there all along but -- fearful of people --
came out only at night.  Now with needy kittens, they become more visible.  If you find kittens on your
land, your first impulse may be to call a shelter but  DON'T! Instead..
PLEASE CONTACT US

Evaluate the situation.  If the kittens are in a relatively safe spot, leave them where they are until you
have a plan.  Observe them from a distance, but don't disturb the mother's care of them.  If she
senses you may approach, she'll quickly hide them.

If you find kittens without their mother, watch more intently.  They may have gotten permanently
separated -- but, more likely -- the mother may be moving the litter (one at a time) or taking a
"mommy break".  As long as it's relatively warm out and the kittens are in a protected area, they are
okay alone -- but only for a few hours -- then, you may need to intercede.

Determine their age.  The options open to kittens depend on their age.  The Kitten Development
Timetable (below) is a rough age guideline.  The ideal time to find them is between 4-8 weeks -- when
they're old enough to leave their mother, yet young enough to still socialize to people.  If you find
younger kittens keep them with their mother -- if she is gone, find a surrogate (ask vet clinics) or find
someone who's able to provide round-the-clock care
.
Once Upon A Feralal
Approximate Age
Characteristics  
Gestation Period
63 days
Birth
Closed eyes/folded ears
5 Days
Loses umbilical cord
5-13 Days
Eyes open
14 Days
Teething Begins
18 Days
Litter box use begins
Ears straighten
Crawling begins
21 Days
Litter box training complete
Starts eating wet kitten food  
28-35 Days
Kitten stands
Weaning process begins
Able to chew dry food
Eyes become clear
Ears stand fully upright
14-49 Days
Critical socialization window  
42 Days
Deworm and vaccinate (FRTC)
56 Days
Littermates can be separated  
Once Upon A Feral *1025 Alameda de las Pulgas #436 *  Belmont * CA  * 94002