The longer a feline lives on the streets, the more independent it will become. Are you new to socializing feral babies? I have taken in feral kittens for decades. It’s taken 3 years of patience, but now she is relaxed enough to come into our house just long enough to oversee the scooping of her food from the container. It is very important that they socialize with other humans. Read all three if you want better insight into the difference between males and females past the relatively easy 8 week old stage. Go through this process with each kitten. In some litters, all the kittens must be isolated, so as not to reinforce wildness in the group. Food is how wild cats became domesticated in the first place: they figured out that hanging around humans equaled regular meals. These 6 steps will help you turn that frightened neighborhood kitty into a new furry friend! Give your time, and ask your veterinarian to do the same. After two days, select the least aggressive kitten, place a towel over it, and pick it up in the towel. In normal circumstances, kittens should remain with their mother until they are minimum 8 weeks old but with feral kittens it’s fine to take them away from the mother at 6 weeks of age provided they are eating and drinking on their own. Bonding with the Kitten Talk softly to the kitten throughout the day. This will be less threatening to the kittens. If you find a feral kitten, you can, through love and a whole lot of patience, tame it. Some Helpful Guidelines for Taming Feral Kittens. This can be fatal. I have a 6 month old feral kitten in my house. If you do not have a cage, or your carrier is too small for a litter pan, place the kittens in a small room, like a bathroom, in the carrier. Food, water, and bedding should be placed in the cage or carrier. Feral kitten socialization is most successful for kittens under three months of age. Each kitten will develop at a different rate. She’s not a touchy feely cat, but she will allow occasional pats. It is really important that you not take a kitten when they are too young, so make sure that they are of a suitable age for taming. Combing with a flea comb also helps the bonding process. They should not be taken from the mother before they are old enough to be weaned at about 4 weeks. If a trap was used, transfer the kittens to a cage or pet carrier large enough for a small litter box and bedding. Volunteering is so rewarding! Kittens that do not have any contact with humans after they are born will be feral, regardless of whether their mother is a lost house cat or a feral cat living in a colony. A couple of months ago I adopted a 6 week old stray kitten that was found eating rat bait. I love the challenge and patience it takes to tame feral cats. Feral cats are homeless cats, many of whom were born in the wild; others are pets who were abandoned or have become lost. This is because their behavior has been set during that early time in their life. Older feral cats who have been feral for a long time will be most difficult to tame, if you can tame them at all. A TV or radio will be your ally. The mother cat should also be captured and spayed, to prevent future litters. The longer a feline lives on the streets, the more independent it will become. Work with your local animal shelter and learn how to help. It stinks to hear that, I know, but socializing feral kittens is work! It is actually best if a kitten remains with their mothers until 8- or 12-weeks-old, but as taming feral kittens at 12-weeks-old takes more time and effort than at 5-weeks-old, it’s a matter of priorities. The optimum time to tame feral/wild kittens is when they are 5/6 weeks old. While the kitten is focused on eating, quickly throw a towel over him and wrap him up in it to prevent him from scratching you. It is rare that an adult feral cat can be tamed, but these same techniques can be applied to adult cats, and is some cases we have seen success. If you want to get somewhere with them, you have to use food. Socializing a feral kitten could be one of the most rewarding things a human being can do. Now taming and socializing a feral cat isn’t always the simplest thing. Here is a great video that tells about the taming of feral kittens. Put Together a Dedicated Room. When you want to help a feral cat adjust to living inside, the following tips can help. This is aggressive body language to cats. With no human contact, they will be totally wild. If you find a feral kitten, you can, through love and a whole lot of patience, tame it. Feed the cat at the same time and in the same spot every day. Kittens taken too young are vulnerable to disease and may not survive. page. However, kittens from 8 to 11 weeks old still have that taming window of opportunity. If there is one that is not becoming tame, place it in a separate cage in another room, away from the others. You need a cat trap. TNR is an appropriate option for older kittens who are not socialized to humans. They will make great outdoor mousers or barn cats though! Bedrooms can be a problem. Never approach from the front. Here’s a general outline of the process to tame a feral or undersocialized kitten … #21 Taming Older Female Kittens We've got a theme going with this and entries #19-20. The kitten that acts the most ferocious is just the most scared, but it is capable of giving you a nasty scratch or bite and will probably try to escape if given the chance. Fabulous Hub, Deb! After 3-4 months, the kitten will have a much harder time acclimating to humans. Taming Feral Kittens For all intents and purposes, feral cats are wild animals. Feral kitten socialization is most successful for kittens under three months of age. Here’s a general outline of the process to tame a feral or undersocialized kitten over a few days or weeks. The taming process is certainly worthwhile. Feral cats older than a year will be almost impossible to approach. Now taming and socializing a feral cat isn’t always the simplest thing. Feral kittens should not be removed from their mothers until they are ready to be weaned, at approximately 6-8 weeks of age. I thought that I would probably just neuter and release. When the kittens no longer respond by biting and scratching, encourage friends to handle them as often as possible. If you have friends around quite a lot, encourage them to approach the cat gently and pick her up. They are usually terrified of humans. Read also about inconsistent litter box users, training feral cats and about cats that go in odd places . The first three were barely 8 weeks old when I caught them in my driveway on Thanksgiving weekend. TAMING FERAL KITTENS. Consider the case of the feral cat whose fractured leg or fan belt injury requires longer-term incarceration than the standard TNR (trap-neuter-release) candidate. Step 1 Obviously, the first thing you need to do is capture the kitten. This is because their behavior has been set during that early time in their life. They should not be taken from the mother before they are old enough to be weaned at about 4 weeks. The kittens will follow and learn from your cat. If you are an individual with the time, space and patience, it is possible to tame older kittens and young adults, but it is a more time consuming process with a higher failure rate. Feral Kittens. Block access to behind bookcases and heavy furniture behind which the kitten can become wedged. You are saving lives and producing affectionate loving companions. She has since found her forever family and now has a new cat best friend. But, the most important aspect of taming a kitten is not the kitten – it is you. Since feral kittens differ in age, temperament and rate of progress, these suggestions can be adapted to individual needs. All of these suggestions have worked for someone. Feral moms usually give birth in quiet, unseen spots where kittens will not be visible for several weeks. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to tame semi-feral and feral cats after 4 – 6 months of age, but it is not impossible. Feral kittens older than that often have a hard time adjusting to people. The kittens are 8 weeks old or older, meaning they and their mother should be spayed or neutered and vaccinated as soon as possible. It really has to do with their personality. Many forms and contracts exist for doing this. The kittens are 8 weeks old or older, meaning they and their mother should be spayed or neutered and vaccinated as soon as possible. However, this is not an easy task. Some people use worn clothing as the kittens’ bedding to get them used to the smell of humans. You may want to ask for a refundable deposit from the adoptive family to encourage them to neuter. Individuals can differ greatly in temperament, even within the same litter. GOOD LUCK! We recommend that unsocialized kittens over 8 weeks of age be trapped, neutered, vaccinated and returned to the colony. Christiane. If you have an older cat, that will help. Visit them frequently and talk to them quietly, but resist touching. Baby food or Hills “a/d” brand canned food off a spoon is always a great ice-breaker. Approach the cat a little and sit down; talk in a calm voice so that they get used to your voice. All the work you have done can be easily shattered by normal kid activity and noise. The first one I caught was a bit wild at first, but after a few days, settled down. If the kitten is not rescued until it is ten to twelve weeks old the taming can take several weeks, if not months. A feral kitten is a cat that was born in the wilderness. At best, you're likely to have a semi-feral cat, who may allow some contact but is not friendly by any stretch of the imagination. They are usually terrified of humans. They will be frightened of people and demonstrate all of the signs of fear and anxiety that an adult cat would, like spitting, hissing, and running from human contact. Place the litter box in the room and leave the carrier door open so that the kittens have access to the box. We often receive calls from people who have a feral cat who just had kittens. Be sure to inform the adoptive family that the kitten must be neutered. Currently, she is crated in our bedroom. Everything on this list will work for you, but only if you have the patience to go with it. Kittens under 8 weeks can usually be socialized without much difficulty following the guidelines detailed below. They prefer a nervous seven-week-old to a tame four month old. Brushing with a soft pet brush imitates the action of the mother grooming the kittens and will help the kitten start to transfer its need for parental love to you. Consider the case of the feral cat whose fractured leg or fan belt injury requires longer-term incarceration than the standard TNR (trap-neuter-release) candidate. Support us by. I was thrilled to discover this and it’s great to know others have experienced it too! If you are bitten, seek medical attention and quarantine the kitten. The process of taming kittens can take from two to six weeks (longer for some exceptionally skittish kittens), depending on their age and state of wildness. I'm trapping my first feral colony. Some say as young as 3 months may be too late. Once feral kittens reach the age of 12 weeks without socialization, taming them is difficult. Taming feral kittens is a race against time because people want to adopt kittens as young as possible. Play with the kittens using “kitty tease” toys (a tiny piece of cloth tied to a string that is tied to a small stick) or lightweight cat toys. Then she dashes back out to the deck and eats. Repeat this process as frequently as possible. One of the kittens in this litter was paralyzed with fear. The group also lists the pros and cons of each. The socialization of feral kittens requires a daily commitment of time, the duration of which depends on the age of the kittens and the amount and consistency of the time you spend working with them. Kittens can be adopted out at 8 weeks or so if tamed and socialized to humans. A very crucial determinant of will this kitten tame is the individual kitten – because they all have their own unique being, their own personality, and there is no guarantee for any. Approach the cat a little and sit down; talk in a calm voice so that they get used to your voice. The guidelines can be […] First and foremost, the female cat must be spayed. Taming Adventures: the 5-month feral kitten Today I trapped a kitten, the last from a litter of four that I have been socializing for several months. Feral cats older than a year will be almost impossible to approach. Worn human clothing used as bedding can h… San Diego Shelters and Adoption/Rescue Groups, Containment (I) in a cage or large pet carrier, Periodic and brief handling with a protective towel. Those adult stray cats that were once owned, or feral cats of quiet temperament, may sometimes be tamed with patience. I took him in and the first few hours of him being in my apartment with me he was hiding and incredibly scared. If you want a kitten as a pet, provided you do it within the small window of time, you’ll actually not only prolong the life of the cat but it will actually help with improving the overall happiness of the cat. 1. Older kittens can also be captured and tamed, but the process becomes slower and less successful the longer the kittens stay in the wild. 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