Ask Ms. Kitty: How can I help my outside cat?

By Sara Ferguson

Dear Ms. Kitty,
A hungry kitty showed up on my porch last year. She had kittens, but we don’t know where they went and weren’t able to get her inside. Now she’s back with more. Is there anything we can do to help these little ones this year?

Sad on Shooks Lane

Dear Sad,
Thank you for wanting to help! Kitten season is here, when homeless outside cats and their kittens show up under decks, in woodpiles and anywhere they can shelter. These cats come from humans who abandon their own pet cats.

An unspayed female can have babies by the time she’s 6 months old. Without human care, her kittens grow up unsocialized to humans. The cycle continues, adding thousands to the community cat population each year.

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the best way to control these populations. TNR cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and surgically ear-tipped on one ear, as the universally-recognized sign of a TNR cat.

They are then returned to their territory where their colony managers feed and provide shelter, monitor them for illness and adoptability, and trap and fix newcomers.

Without the drive to fight, mate and raise kittens, fixed community cats become much better neighbors. Every spay or neuter prevents hundreds if not thousands of needless feline deaths in our region, mostly in vulnerable kittens.

Within the city limits of Colorado Springs, The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region has a TNR program for these Community Cats. If you live in the city, you can call them at 719-302-8786 or go to their website for more information. If you become a sanctioned colony manager, they will provide you with free cat sterilizations, vaccinations and instruction for trapping.

Happy Cats Haven receives dozens of calls each month from people outside the aid of HSPPR. If you find kittens in your neighborhood, we will try to help. We first bring kittens into safety, but we always make sure the mother cats are taken care of too.

Even if the mother is outside, she is still the kittens’ best chance for survival. Of course, our goal is to spay her so that this doesn’t happen again.

Bumblebee was found outside with two mom cats and all their kittens. They needed a little medical help, along with patience and love to build their bond with humans. In just a few weeks with a caring foster family, Bumblebee was ready for her forever home. Her mothers are happy outside with food, shelter and care by their Colony Manager.

We can support you with resources if you join our Foster Program to help these families. We are always looking for people who can bottle feed kittens, if they are orphaned. If you can’t help the kittens you find, we will try to locate a foster parent for them as soon as we can.

We assist HSPPR by showing the benefits of TNR and helping people sign up to be Colony Managers within their agreements. We have a number of humane traps for loan, and our TNR Coordinator Barb Jones can instruct you on how to use them to trap, transport and release each cat. Our goal is 100 percent sterilization in every colony we support.

Our TNRCare Fund helps us pay for spays and neuters for cats outside the targeted focus of HSPPR. We are grateful to community members who help our community cat friends with their TNRCare donations.

Refugee Cats
Abandoned cats don’t survive outside unless they adapt to acting feral. It is common for abandoned cats to end up at an outside colony, searching for food. Sometimes these scared pets get put through the TNR program.

Colony caregivers often spot these refugee cats who desperately want to find a home again, but are scared to trust humans. Each year, we help dozens of these cats recover from the trauma of being abandoned.

Big Daddy showed up one day at a managed colony with an eye condition that would have eventually blinded him. We gave him medical care and found he was very happy to be inside again. In a few weeks, he found his forever home.

If you find cats on the street who appear to be friendly, please consider getting them inside to safety. Please contact us so we can get them on our waiting list and help you foster them, if you are able.

Working together with volunteers, veterinarians, other rescues and people just like you, we can make life better for abandoned cats like Big Daddy. When we rescue cats like your mother cat, we can prevent feral kittens from being born on the street. In addition, we save the ones already born, giving kittens like Bumblebee a chance to be someone’s Happy Cat!

Sara Ferguson is the Director of Happy Cats Haven. Ask Ms Kitty is a free helpline offered by Happy Cats Haven and Colorado Cats Boarding, and sponsored by Maddie’s Fund.

One comment

  • Dear ms. kitty, I have a female outside cat with a ear infection and the size of her ear is getting smaller everyday because of the infection. I been using some homeopath and rawfood diet to build her immune system but I have come to conclusion that something has to be done before it’s too late to save maybe het life.

    I met her during the pandemic lockdown. She was sitting on the steps of empty mobile house (4 units away from my place)where she used to get fed by an old couple for a few years but the couple are not there anymore due to their health issues. I was walking by and she said “meow” as if she was saying “I’m hungry” .

    It took 5 months since our first meeting ,for her to come sitting on my front steps to get fed everyday. Huge relief for me because I have been looking for her 4am or 10 pm everyday (depending on my work schedule )with a plate of food calling her in the street like a crazy cat person. I noticed her both ear tips been cut like the feral cats have after they have been spayed. Her left ear tip looked clean and healed but her right ear tip has been attacked by flies and scratches and more. I could see the raw skin was badly infected.
    If I put vitamins (Bcomplex, CO-Q 10 ) or any other supplement she wont eat. Once in a while she won’t notice the homeopath pallets such as -Arnica, Ledum, Aconitum, or skin and itch formula. With her big appetite, she’s been eating big portion of Darwins Raw food for her first serving and Weruva’s canned food for 2nd serving. often followed by 3rd serving.

    I been putting Skin soother, and Scaredy Cat formula (made by Jackson Galaxy) along with Bee Pollens ( now up to 8 tiny pollens) on her 1st and 2nd serving for 3 weeks now and ready to add L-Lysine on her food and hoping she will eat. She uses the shelter I mad for her outside enough to avoid the cold harsh winter temperature(If I try to make her shelter really nice warm she wont use it at all) but sometimes she will be gone for a few days and even thought she will come for the food and hang out all day but gone for the night. Although she looks less stressed and maybe a hint of contentment is there, but still requires to close my screen door for her to start to eat her food. I thought about trapping her but if I don’t succeed on 1st attempt she will be gone and won’t be back for a while if she comes back at all.
    I don’t know how to help her to save her ear and more with only what I can feed her everyday. I am hopping you have some suggestions.
    Thank you for your time.


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