Colony Cats and Kittens
Kittens in Colonies
If you take kittens from colonies (and for that matter, pounds and sometimes even breeders), expect them to bring with them the gift of cat flu which can either be herpes or calici virus based. Untreated herpes virus can damage their eyes and cause blindness, and the calici virus can kill if the carer / owner is not extremely diligent, and can cause permanent damage to their gums and teeth. Also ringworm and other diseases are common in kittens and cats coming from sources outside of your home or someone you trust, such as a reputable rescue group who you can contact anytime if you have any concerns. These cats will need vet care, medication and good quality food to recover. Please ensure you keep them fully isolated away from your own cats for at least 2 weeks or more and disinfect your hands and change your clothes after leaving the room they are being isolated in. Also ensure your own cats are fully vaccinated before bringing strays home.
DO NOT TAKE KITTENS FROM COLONIES unless you have found a safe place for them BEFORE you take them. That means someone capable of nursing them back to health if needed. And someone capable of rehoming them safely – that means DESEXED AND VACCINATED and hopefully microchipped. Unweaned kittens must be fed with proper kitten formula every 2-3 hours or they will die. If you find a crying baby kitten, please observe from a distance for up to 3 hours to determine if mama cat is coming back (she probably is) before you even consider taking any action to remove the kitten. If you remove an unweaned kitten from the care of their mother (even if it appears at first she’s abandoned her baby) they will die unless they go to an experienced hand rearer with the time for 2-3 hourly feeds for the next month or so. IT IS EXTREMELY HARD TO FIND HAND REARERS.
DO NOT GIVE KITTENS AWAY FOR FREE – often they don’t have a good end. People who have very bad intentions are usually very good at dressing up and lying. There are a number of ways these kittens meet a bad end often ending up as live snake food, or to train dogs the aggression of the kill into a fighting dog, or to “blood” greyhounds for racing.
It takes a lot of time and effort and SKILL TO SOCIALISE colony kittens and cats. if you do not know what you are doing you risk having kittens and cats who will not socialise and be almost impossible to rehome. People rarely want to adopt a very shy one.
If you take cats from a colony for any reason, unless you are committed to keeping them forever, they must be returned within TWO WEEKS to ensure that they are not rejected by the other colony cats upon their return. Once you have provided food and shelter to a cat for a long period, that cat has become dependent on these things being provided, and may struggle to survive once returned to the street or colony.
Rescue cannot keep up with the huge amount of homeless cats and kittens. You cannot always rely on rescue for help to take in more cats and kittens.
The best way to help colony cats is to get some friends together and TNR (trap, neuter and return). We can help with information, traps and finding a rescue rate vet for you. Teamwork wins the day and stops the flow of kittens. Desexed cats are healthier and happier.