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Best Way to Domesticate Feral Kittens?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone. My mom and I have recently trapped 2 kittens out of a litter. We still are trying to catch the mother cat and the remaining baby (which we think is a male), but they come around our house all the time for food so it shouldn't be too difficult.

Anyways, the two we caught are probably about 5 months old, both girls. We named the tabby Sydney and the mixed calico Honey. They've both been spaid, gotten shots, and have great health. My question is, what are some good ways to domesticate ferals? I've tried spending a lot of time petting and coaxing both to come out, but they usually don't want much to do with me. They hide most of the time behind things or crawl together through our one cabinet into the drawer above and nestle in there together (which is very cute but not very helpful).

Sydney is better than her sister because we caught her earlier on, and I had more time to get to know her. She'll come out for me on occasion with her tail up and rub against my hands for affection, however when other people come she hides immediately. Any advice or tips?
post #2 of 5
good for you, taking in these cats and going through this process! i'm not sure if there's one best method since cats can vary so much, but it sounds like you're on the right path. do you have any other cats? i think it helps for a feral to see a domesticated cat being petted, etc., to help them get the idea. but it's mostly about getting them comfortable with being in a house full of humans. when they really get used to it, they will start to come out of their shells.

i try to talk to my cats a lot, tho i notice the least socialized of them don't like it, so i try to give her more space than the ones who are tamer. i have been training them to recognize all their food comes from humans, getting them to take cat treats from my hand and whatnot.

so far i'm having good luck with most of them, but there's a couple that aren't as motivated by what i'm doing as the others. it's a fine line, trying to make them feel comfortable while subtly showing them how much they will like people and being indoor cats. good luck!

p.s. oh, and sydney's progress is awesome, consider that many totally domesticated cats run when company comes over
post #3 of 5
Some people will shut them in a certain room and try to go in and pet them everyday. Most end up not making enough time for them and they don't get tamed as quickly as they could have. A second way is to let them loose in the main part of your house but I found the amount they managed to hide again made it only slightly more effective than trying to set aside specific time for them and they can get into all sorts of things.

My solution was to build a cage based off the guinea pig cages on here: http://www.guineapigcages.com/ You just take shelving cubes, cable tie them together, and you can make multiple level cages of any shape or size to set anywhere in your house. I have one that's 28"x112"x 56"H sitting in my diningroom. You don't need a bottom if they are litterbox trained or if you set it on something like linoleum but you can just use a tarp or painter's plastic rolled out across the carpet if you need to. Takes like 30mins to setup a huge cage. Then the cats can constantly see everything, watch any other cats in the house interact with you, can't constantly hide (do give them some places to retreat to), and can't get into anything. When your done cut apart 2 sides and the whole thing will fold up if you used cable ties to connect it.
post #4 of 5
Awesome idea..the best I have read about or heard of...I am trying to catch 3 stray kittens and had no clue what to do with them if I caught them! I have 3 grown cats already and no spare room to put them in....I think I will have a cube cage in my dining room also! thank you for a great idea! Tammy
post #5 of 5
You can PM me and I will help you socialize these kittens. It doesn't involve cages however
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