When we were house-hunting, I noticed a small black cat (a kitten, I was sure) roaming in the nextdoor neighbor's junk piles... I never thought I'd see it again, or come to know it so well, but I did.
The black kitten turned out to be full grown. She was probably so small because she was likely abandoned young or born on the streets, and was malnourished. She just never grew to her potential. She had at one point broken her hind leg, and no one took her to the vet, so it healed improperly. She could not use it at all.
We dubbed her "BC" for "Black Cat," and she had two litters next door. We thought she was owned by the next door neighbors, and that they weren't very good owners. But she had actually just made their junk piles her home.
We didn't see much of her until the second litter. She seemed to be comfortable with us by then. The kittens would visit us when they were young, though they became a bit more skittish as they got older.
We began feeding them when we found a dead kitten in our garage. It had been gnawed on. We later saw the mother carrying it off to finish it.
To make a long story short, we spent MONTHS trying to befriend the momma (BC,) her son from her first litter (Midnight,) and her latest three kittens (Nyx, Po, and B.E.) Finally it paid off. We lured them into a cardboard box that was rigged up to trap them, using tuna fish as the bait. Then while they were happily munching away, as they did everyday in our carport, we snuck up and closed the box on them, taping it to secure them. (No worries, we had lots of holes punched in it for air. We had no other way to secure them, since our only other option was to drive an hour away and borrow a humane cat trap form the Humane Society for $80+)
We took them to the HS and turned them over. We were told BC and Midnight were too feral to be adopted out, but that the kittens had a chance.