The Humane Society of the United States featured an article about FOGAS in their July/August 2012 issue of their bi-monthly magazine - Animal Sheltering. The author Nancy Peterson, has been interested in FOGAS and our relationship with the municipal authorities, and our efforts to control and manage the cat population of Gonzales through Trap, Neuter, and Release.
Click HERE to go to the article.
If you find baby kittens, don’t move them! More than likely, their mother is close by. Animals in the wild rarely abandon their babies except for human intervention. If you know the mother will not return, act quickly. Baby kittens need a lot of care and attention. Even under the best of conditions orphan baby kittens are difficult to raise and keep alive.
1) First thing, keep kittens WARM. If they are cold when you find them, get them warm first. They must be warm to want to take food and then digest it. Do not force feed. If they are cold, they will not swallow. If they are swallowing, feed very slowly with just drops at a time. A kitten must be taught to take a syringe or a bottle and it takes many tries. Keep the kitten quiet and only handle it to feed it. Stress can make the kitten sick. If your kittens’eyes aren’t opened yet, they are less than 2 weeks old.
2) FEED the kittens every 4 hours using a pet baby bottle or syringe. You can buy powdered kitten milk replacer at Wal-Mart or the tractor store or feed store. Mix up only the amount of food the kitten will eat as the milk does not keep more than a day. Some stores have liquid milk replacer in a can. Do NOT feed cow’s milk or any other human food or this will cause diarrhea. Diarrhea will eventually cause dehydration through loss of body fluids and the kitten will eventually die.
3) If the kitten has fleas, bathe the kitten in a sudsy bowl of Dawn dish detergent and warm water, then rinse well. Do not let the kitten get chilled. Make sure he’s thoroughly dried, then wrapped in a warm towel and placed in a warm location away from cold air. The towel can be warmed in the microwave. If you leave the fleas on the kitten, the kitten will lose a lot of blood from flea bites and die of anemia.
4) Follow up with a vet visit if the kitten gets a cold. Many kittens will get an upper respiratory infection which includes matted eyes, sneezing and congestion. The kitten may not want to eat if he is sick. The vet will advise you when vaccinations and wormings should be done. Neutering should be done at approx 4 months and a rabies shot at the same time will give the best protection to your new kitten. .
Welcome Home: Here are some guidelines to help your new feline fit in. If you already have a cat, then you will need to make introductions. A new cat coming from the shelter will likely be sociable with other cats, but your resident cat may resent the newcomer. Take the time to make gradual introductions, especially between adult cats. This can be done from a cat carrier, through a screen door, or even sniffing under a closed door. If your new cat is timid she may hide under the bed for as long as 3 weeks. If you chose an out-going personality, she could be involved in family life from day one. Allow your cat to fit in on her own schedule because either behavior is normal. Both types of cat will return your love and become a part of your family if you give them time to adjust. You will find kittens usually adapt much easier to their new siblings, new humans and their new house.
Litter box: When you get home with your new cat or kitten, let her know where her litter box is going to be by confining her to that area at first. She shouldn’t have to guess where you want her to go. Old smells and stains may lead her in the wrong direction. Once there’s an accident, that spot may always be a target for new accidents. As she gets familiar with her new home, she can be allowed to gradually have a bigger territory. A kitten should always have her box close by and after you feed her or play with her, make sure you show her the box again. If you already have a cat, a second litter box is a good idea. Just be sure the box is clean, clean, clean. A dirty litter box will be the first reason your cat will stop using her litter box.
Feeding: Whether you feed several times a day or leave dry food for free choice, keep it in a spot where you can see her bowl to keep it refilled. A handful of fresh crunchies every day tastes better than a big tub of stale food. Pick a feeding spot away from the litter box; you wouldn’t want to eat there and neither does she. Because cats are meat eaters, your indoor cat will also enjoy some meat in her diet which in turn benefits her urinary tract health. If you are feeding just dry food, your cat is receiving only grain in her diet. It will be up to you what canned food you feed as price is tied directly to quality. However, only a small amount is needed. Choose a large can or small, depending on the number of cats you have to feed, but after opening try to feed it within one day. Many cats will not eat leftovers once it has been in the frig overnight. Some owners believe the aluminum taste may leech into the food. Your cat will thank you and her good health is your reward.
Daily Life: Cats like to sleep above the floor because they feel safer. Allow her to have a sleeping spot that’s her very own. It may be the back of your favorite chair or on top of the bookshelf. Statistics prove that indoor cats live longer lives. Be very cautious if you plan to let your cat go outside. Make sure that you provide the protection that she needs to be safe from predators, vehicles and severe weather. Avoid having Easter lilies and Christmas poinsettias as they are highly toxic to cats. Be careful of discarded dental floss or Christmas ribbon. Cats can steal it from a trash can and ingest it where it can be lodged in their intestines. A half glass of water can kill a cat; her head can become stuck when she attempts to drink and she literally can drown. Instead, you can give her homemade toys for safer activities: a pipe cleaner, a ball of aluminum foil, a paper bag or even a cardboard box! Better yet, adopt TWO kittens to bring home to romp and play and grow old together.
If you are looking for information regarding Feral Cats, please visit this LINK provided by the Humane Society of the United States.
Click HERE to access an excellent article about fostering. This article was featured in Animal Sheltering, which is a publication of the Humane Society of the United States.
The following article, which can be accessed by clicking HERE, was written by shelter director Mary Anne MacLean, and was originally published in the Gonzales Inquirer.