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Because You Are Mine

Cats often like to mark their territory by peeing or pooping.  Generally though, they prefer to do their business on soft sand or very fine gravelly litter.  If they are going someplace they shouldn’t, it may be that they don’t like whatever kind of litter you’re using.  Different cats like different things.

Our Free Cats: Levani and Dani

Levani and Dana

Levani and Dani

These are two of the cats who live on our porch, Levani and Dani.  They are brothers.  Their mom had babies on our porch, and we took them in when she left.  Dani has disappeared, but we always hope he will return someday.

In learning to care for outside cats, we made many mistakes, one of which was not getting them spayed and neutered soon enough.  Since Levani was more docile, we caught him, but we could never catch Dani successfully.  So he grew up, started breeding and competing, and suffered a lot.

Raising Kittens

The best one to raise kittens is their mother, but sometimes she dies, abandons, or somehow gets separated from them.  Here are some tips on how to raise kittens that will hopefully increase their rate of survival.

The first thing you should do is introduce them to the litterbox.

They don’t have to do anything there, but find out where it is.  Their instincts will guide them the rest of the way.  It is best not to carry them out, but to let them walk out on their own, so they remember how to get there.

Next, show them where the food and water is.

Many abandoned kittens are malnourished, so feed and water them right away.  If you can’t find or can’t afford special food for kittens, soak some dry cat food in water, so that it will be soft enough for their tiny mouths to bite.  Alternatively, you can chop it up into small pieces.

Do not give kittens undiluted, unfermented milk.

Straight cow’s milk may give them diarrhea, and this could cause dehydration and death.  So use the special cat formula or forego milk altogether, and beat an egg in a bowl for them.  You can let them lick a little high fat sour cream or yogurt if they like it.

Give them a warm place to sleep, and places to hide from other cats.

Most free cats don’t have behavior problems that would lead them to harass kittens overmuch, but you can never be sure.  So make sure your place has areas that large cats can’t get into.  Show them these hiding spaces, and play a game where you try to catch them.  They’ll get the message.

If you notice that they don’t get a moment’s peace, put them in a rabbit cage a couple of times a day, and at night so that they will be able to eat, sleep, and use the box in peace for awhile.

Be aware that kittens who are abandoned too early often get sick more easily.

They didn’t get the antibodies from their mother’s milk for long enough, so they don’t have normal immunity.  So they can get the cat flu, also known as “the yellow”, very easily.  They also suffer more from fleas and mites, so you may need to bathe them a couple of times when you first get them.  Use a regular cat shampoo though, because pesticides can hurt young kittens.

Kittens need a lot of attention.

You’re replacing their mother, so you will need to do cat-mama sorts of things with them.  Gently pet them all over, and use a damp washcloth to mimic cleaning them daily.  Teach them how to hunt by playing with them with strings and mouse toys.

How to Bathe a Cat

Sometimes it just needs to be done.  If your cat has gotten itself into some serious dirt, or if they’re a kitten who can get literally eaten alive by fleas, a cat sometimes needs more than a licking.  If you don’t want to get totally scratched to pieces, here’s some advice.

Kittens are going to be more receptive and easier to handle than adult cats.  If you have the fortune of getting ahold of cats when they are kittens, plan for the future, and get involved in their grooming.  Even if you don’t need to, offer to wipe them down with a damp washcloth and/or wet hands.  Most will enjoy this, especially in the summer.  Fleas don’t just jump on for the ride.  They lay eggs and drop feces.  Cats are very clean animals, so make some good use of petting time by brushing and wiping them down frequently.  Get them used to seeing water and getting wet.  Even some adult cats might go for it.

Use lukewarm water, not too warm and not too cold.  Their skin is very sensitive.

Usually you can get by with a wipe down.  In the rare case that you will need to put them in the water, the proceedure should be as follows:

  1. Get all your supplies ready.  You’ll need a wash tub or sink, a large towel, and a plastic detangling brush with balled bristles.  If you’re trying to wash off fleas, you will need a cat shampoo or a gentle fragrance free baby shampoo.  Also, wear protective clothing like a thick flannel long sleeved sweatshirt.  The cat will probably try to scratch or cling to you.
  2. Fill the tub or sink with no more than 2 cm. of water.  More than this, and the cat will panic and stay panicked.  They should be able to stand or lie down in the tub without the water reaching their chin.
  3. Try to keep the cat calm, and grab them gently but firmly by the scruff of their neck.
  4. Get them into the tub, and work quickly.  It may help to have one person doing the holding, and another doing the washing and rinsing.
  5. Afterwards, wrap them in the towel, and try to calm them down.  If they really want to escape, let them go, but some cats will accept the hugs and drying off.
  6. Let them free to lick themselves dry.  It helps if you put the towel someplace where they will come to it to dry themselves.
  7. Give them a very nice treat.

…and that’s about it.  It’s very simple, but just kind of dangerous.  Good luck!

Free Cats

Welcome to Free Cats @StudyItOnline.com!  This is a site about caring for your neighborhood cats.  We’re not crazy cat people, but we are crazy about cats.

Cats are intelligent animals who deserve their freedom, but still need human care.  In urban environments, they serve the purpose of keeping down rodents.  Wonderful creatures that they are though, some people abuse and mistreat them.  So they also need human protection.

On this site, you’ll learn the basics of feral cat care, but we’ll also teach you how to curtail cat abuse.  We also hope to create a directory of veterinarians who will spay and neuter for free or a low price for known cat rescuers.  If that’s you, write to admin@studyitonline.com to get on the list.  Make sure to include your contact information and requirements for someone being known to you as a cat rescuer.