While we made plans to get the neighbor's cat colony TNR'd, other issues began to surface. Namely, there are several kittens in the colony who may be young enough to be tamed. We discussed what to do and consulted our friends who have way more experience with kittens. The consensus was that we should nab the kittens and see how wild they were. We approached the neighbor to ask if we could go in back and get them and she said okay, so we took a couple carriers and some cheap mackerel cat food and some paper plates. The kittens (and the rest of the cats) were so hungry that they came right up to get the food. Two were trapped by simply putting the food inside the carrier and opening the door. We caught the others as they came up to eat just by grabbing them and putting them in the carriers as well. I got a little scratched but they were no match for my brawn. All told we had 5 kittens. We gave the leftover food to the rest of the colony, noting that many of these 'adult' cats (none of whom could be older than 2) also appear to be tame, since we could pet them while they ate.
We set the kittens up in our trusty crate, which turned out to be so big they were able to slither through the bars at the bottom. Whoops. I cut strips of cardboard and taped them around the perimeter to contain them. The kittens were understandably freaked and tried to hide in their box or behind it. We got a good look at them, resulting in this inventory from biggest to smallest:
- Black, probably male: he is clearly larger than the others and is most likely from an earlier litter, he is the bossiest and hissiest of the group
- Orange tabby, probably male: also fairly hissy and assertive, he may have a slight upper respiratory infection
- Gray tabby, probably female: the most reticent of the group, but looks very healthy
- Tuxedo, probably female: looks healthy and generally fearless
- Black, probably female: the tiniest kitten, she is either a from a different litter or a real runt, she is totally unafraid and doesn't mind being handled, she has a minor eye infection (possibly from a URI).
Wild-wise I think we will be able to tame them.They vary from avoidant to nonplussed, but I guess we want them to actively like us, right? They are all eating well except possibly the gray tabby, who doesn't attack her plate with the same vigor as her siblings. The one thing she (and all the rest) have been responding really well to is licking baby food off our fingers. They love that stuff! Now if we could just get them to do it without hissing at us on the approach. Of course we expect even more hissing when we start handling them on a daily basis, but judging from their behavior so far I think it will be an easy transition from feral to lapcat.