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Does my feral kitten have a chance of socialisation?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have 5 kittens. 1 is fairly sociable, the other 3 are untrusting and shy, but like to play, and have let us pat them.

The last kitten hates us. He hisses and growls at the sight of us, and if we get too close to him (to fill food/water bowls, change litter etc), he spits and tries to charge us. He has made no progress in the week we've had him, whereas the others have at least made a little progress.

Do you think this sort of kitten has any chance of being socialised enough to be adopted?
post #2 of 10
Does he have a chance? Yes he does. Rescue groups sometimes separate out a kitten from a feral litter who shows signs of slow socialization. Sometimes the kittens encourage each other's wild behavior and isolating the wilder ones can allow you to work with them uninterupted. I've had kittens spit at me for a long time before they became socialized. There is always hope when caught that young.

I sort of like the little spit fires. It's that much more reward when they finally come around!
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok thanks. That is one fear I have - that he's upsetting the other kittens with his behaviour. Will he be ok if I separate him completely on his own with only me for company?
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok, I just spoke with a couple of rescue people, and I've decided to get him neutered tomorrow and release him on Saturday with his mum. They were in a fairly safe area, there's people there who put food out every day for them, and he'll have mum to watch over him until he's big enough to fend for himself.

He won't let me approach the other 2 shy kittens, so I think it's best for everyone - it will certainly give the others a better chance of socialisation. Realistically, I don't have anywhere else I can separate him, I don't have the time needed to socialise him, and I am trying to find homes for 10 other kittens who are a LOT more sociable. I think this is best for him.
post #5 of 10
We weren't fostering at the time because we were totally new to rescue AND cats. We'd brought in Lazlo and Shelly as pets, but left Spooky, Tuxedo and Julius outside. Of course at the encouragement of people here and guidance especially from hissy, we started practicing TNR. We waited until we were sure they were 12 weeks old, then we spayed them all (we were afraid momma cat would run away after that, and she did).

Tuxedo used to hiss and spit at Gary any time he went out to put the food out for the growing colony. If Gary didn't put the food down and back off, Tuxie would attack his hand or foot or ankle! He was terrible to other cats, and sent two kittens to the hospital needing stitches. We worked to adopt out Julius and Spooky, but determined Tuxedo to be unadoptable. We had to feed him separately from the colony, and we moved him further and further away so he didn't completely disrupt everything.

We kept at it every day - and with about a foot of snow outside that December, Gary finally gave up, sat down on a bench near where we were feeding Tuxie, and started crying. Tuxedo then walked over and head bumped him.

Tuxie is now the most loving kitty we have. But it took a year to get there. And that was just to get the the point where we could bring him inside and he fit in as a pet without killing any of the other kitties. He could only stand to be petted ONCE on his cheek at first. It took years to get him to the point where he asks for pets and can be petted for 15 - 20 minutes. Five years, in fact. So without the time and space - it can be a very difficult proposition. Sending lots of to your mean baby boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope it all goes well for him.

I know it wasn't an easy decision to make.

post #6 of 10
I'm with Laurie. I started rescuing and socializing cats a year ago. I have 4 ferals that live with me that had no where to go. The youngest was six months old when I trapped her. After 9 months one will stay with us, play with me and follow me around everywhere. Some cats that aren't feral born will not like pets or people. I have two 1 year old bottle babies and one will not let you hold him or pet him. Just his personality. I have limited experience and this is only what we have learned in a short time.

Some of the ferals we have socialized will take longer than others. Being that young I bet he would settle down in time, in his time. It's a hard decision to make to put them back. Is there anyone you know that will take him and give him some time? He may be one of those cats that would rather not be petted. Like Laurie has shared, it takes some months to years to get to that point. I wish you the best in taking care of these babies. You are doing a great thing for them.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Turns out it's a baby girl not a baby boy - that's what I get for assuming vicious cats are boys I don't have room to properly socialise her with my 3 girls in the house. I've just brought her back form surgery and she's already hissing and spitting at me again

I was going to think about releasing her tonight with mum if it was a boy, but now that it's a girl I guess I'll keep her and mum an extra day and see how they're going tomorrow night.
post #8 of 10
This is a long-shot but PM me and tell me where in California you are. It is possible I might have a contact that will take him from you and work on socializing him and add him to her group or find another loving home for him. I would take him in a heart-beat but I am in Oregon-

It takes a long time to gain a kitten's trust when they are born outside to strays with feral tendencies. Most people want "instant kitten" and it just doesn't work that way. He has been taught that anything bigger than he is can eat him- and guess what? You are the number one predator in his life. You want him as a playmate and he wants a preymate. It just doesn't happen that they accept us overnight- if that were the case, more shelters would be willing to accept feral kitties instead of euthanizing them. I've had some go as long as a year before they give me an initial headbump- but oh how wonderful when it happens.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
PM sent.

I find it so interesting that one kitten is trusting of me, and purred the first time I patted him, one is so angry, and the other 3 are in between - not aggressive, not completely trusting yet, but definitely will get there.
post #10 of 10
Lucia is a gentle stray that has taken to indoor life but her kittens were wild and feral acting when they were caught. But I honestly think it was getting one at a time that made the difference. By the time demon child Sachi came she had her litter mate here all happy and trusting so she followed suit. It helps that they were under 6 weeks and Lucia is sweet but they were out of control when we caught them.
If she were alone for a few days she may mellow quickly. I am not an expert but that is what happened with ours.
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