I was reading this forum and you all seem so helpful that I had to post.
Ok, this is the situation. We are a family currently posted to Cyprus so that my hubby can complete a 2 year Peacekeeping tour. We live among the locals and are going home in July.
Cyprus has many many many stray cats. They are not considered pets here. They fend for themselves and just continue to populate. Cypriots think it is barbaric to fix animals.
Anyways, one cat who we know is someone's pet would come to our window and visit. She is actually fixed. Then she brought a tiny cat to the window that appeared to be a runt from another litter. The older cat - Virty (which stands for "virtual cat"...cute eh) started caring for this cat. We called this cat "Mini-me" - Austen Powers fan will get it.
So... Mini got pregnant, had babies and has had them hidden away for about three weeks. In between nursing, she would come around to visit.
As we sat in the kitchen, Mini came through the open window with one of here kittens in her mouth. Next thing we know, 3 more came in. She found a cubby hole with newspapers in it and hid them there. Right in our kitchen!
Ok, so this is my dilemma. We are leaving Cyprus in July. There is absolutely no hope in having the babies adopted out. I don't mind Mini keeping them here safe until they are big enough to eat solid food etc. BUT, how do I keep them feral so that they can fend for themselves. Odd eh? I can't tame them or else they will not survive outside. Should we just allow them to stay where they are but not interact with them. The Cypriots can be quite cruel to cats. I am worried they will get attached to people and then we will leave.
We are prepared to leave the window open so Mini can come and go as she likes. The kittens are not eating solid food yet, but they will most likely make a mess of their cubby hole. What do I do with that.
Advice is surely appreciated.
The irony is that our family has been fostering dogs for over a year now (5 dogs so far), but we don't currently have one in the house. My son is allergic to cats but the kitchen is all tile and no fabric so that should not be a problem. We are also able to close the door to the kitchen so that they can not be moved to a different part of the house.
Thank you in advance for any guidance you can give.
Hi, it's dear of you to be concerned about these babies and their mama. Your guess is right: not interacting with them, so they'll have a fighting chance in the cruel world of humans, is the best way to help them. Cats are so close to feral that if they aren't socialized very early (we're talking weeks, not months), they'll be feral and almost impossible to domesticate. With a feral mother, they'll learn from her that humans aren't to be trusted. I'd try to minimize human experiences - the smells and sounds of a household, etc. Best wishes. I'm sorry there's so little hope for cats there.