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going to try to socialize a feral kitten

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I know, just what I need! I've agreed to try to socialize a feral kitten (4-4 1/2 months). The rescue group will bring her over in one of the large/tall crates. As I spend so much time with my other 2 feral, (not any longer) kittens. The TNR group can't adopt her out with the way she acts now. I know it will be fine, and as she has already been spayed and tested, and she is clean, that I can keep her in the room with the other 2 girls. that way she can see me loving on and touching the other two. Any thoughts or advice on this would be great. I just have to tell myself I can't fall in love with her. I did give the 4 wk old kitten that I was bottle feeding back to the couple that found her. I miss her, and they are going to bring her over this Sun. so I can visit her.
post #2 of 6
What a wondeful thing!

Yup, ferals learn a LOT from watching you interact with your other kitties! Make sure the cage is large enough for her to be comfortable - space for food and water to not get litter in them, and buying a "cube" kind of bed or one of those single story round condo thingies would be nice, so she's got a kind of hidey place.

But really - just spending as much time as you can in the room - ignoring her presence, is the best thing initially. Let her get used to the new sounds, the new smells, the activity.... and just being around and being totally non-threatening by not looking at her, not trying to interact with her is the best thing you can do to build that trust she needs.

Doing stuff for her on a schedule as regular as possible REALLY helps. Put her food in there the same time every day, clean her water dish the same time every day, clean her litter the same times every day, etc. The schedule also helps build trust.

I'd use Feliway in the room.

I'd use baby food as a treat to bribe her.

And I'd just hang out as much as possible near her crate doing whatever you can do, just letting her watch and get used to everything.

Don't look her directly in the eyes - look at her forehead or over her head. Looking at them in the eyes (before they trust you) is a sign of aggression.

Consider purchasing some harp music and leaving it playing in there real softly at night. Ferals find this very calming.

for being so wonderful!

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
harp music???!!!!! interesting. I would never had thought of that. I wonder why it helps? I'll see what I can find, or download and play it for them. This is the same TNR group where I have gotten several of my feral (not) barn cats from. The crate they are bring over is about 4-5 ft tall with shelves in it so the kitten can move around. I hope I can live up to their expectations. I'm afraid that they have might have more faith in me than I can deliver. Oh well, no way to tell but to do it. I'll get the Felway also.

post #4 of 6
Yes harp music of all things. I didn't believe it at first, then was transporting a semi-feral cat to a rescue group one day in my car. I was listening to public radio and a harp song started to play. This cat who screamed up to that point immediately got very quiet, and didn't start up again until another song came on.

Another tip: if you happen to catch her eye, slowly blink your eyes. This is a sign of greeting with feral cats.

Grab a book, sit on the floor and read it out loud. This will get her used to your voice.

I've bribed feral kittens with their favorite wet food (or baby food as Laurie suggested) on a spoon. This gets them used to hands approaching them. Don't do it if she runs away - she won't be ready for that yet and I would give her time to adjust before you try this.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
all great ideas, thank you. This will be the first of many. THey just trapped a pregnant female yesterday, and I may be taking her and the kittens. Otherwise, I'll take some of the kittens that they trap and work with them. We will see how it goes. As I don't get out much due to an illness, this makes me feel as if I'm doing something to help. I was helping out at the spca here, but now that my pain meds have changed, there is no way I can drive safely or legally. So that has gone down the tubes. doing this, I'll be helping some furbabies, and still not be a threat to the rest of the driving public.

post #6 of 6
The younger the kittens, the easier it is to socialize them. But sometimes the older ones fool you and socialize very quickly! Keep asking away - we love to see folks rescue these babies!!
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