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feral kitten advice

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
About one a half months ago we noticed kittens started gathering to play in secluded areas. We would leave them food and water under our shed where they had made home.

A few weeks after this, we started to notice that only 2 of the original 5 kittens were showing up. I'm not sure if it was illness, or stray dogs. (there are quite a lot of strays around here) After another week, we were only seeing one.

I spent a lot of time outside with this kitten, feeding it and such. Soon enough it would come up to me when I came outside, but would not get too close and would hiss and run away if I got too close. But he would always soon come back. After about 2 weeks of doing that, there was a flash flood warning in my city so I went outside to see if I could find him. He was in the usual spot that I fed him at, crying. It was on a whim that I picked him up and brought him in. He gave me a big fight but I wasn't sure what else to do and didn't want to leave him out there like that. I had planned to bring him in eventually anyway, because I wasn't sure if he would make it.

The first night he stayed under my bed except for when I fed him, I didn't particularly want to cage him considering what I already put him through. On the second day, I wouldn't allow him to eat unless he took it out of my fingers. He was still hissing if I made any odd movement, though.

Now i'm onto the fourth day, and he seems to have really lightened up. He is coming and staying out most of the time. He will sleep on the bed I have prepared for him behind my computer chair. When a few people enter the room he tends to run, but will come back out eventually. Another odd thing is when I first put my hand near him he seems a little frightened, but once I pet him gently, he will not stop rubbing me.

so my main questions are... How do I introduce him to the litter box? I thought I had made enough progress to be able to pick him up and put him in the box, but he gets really jittery and jumps out as soon as I put him in there.

and also, I have another cat in the house who seems really eager to see what's up with this new cat. They play with each other by sticking their paws under the door to my room, but I haven't let them interact beyond that yet. When would be the ideal time to allow them to do so?

thanks so much for any thoughts ahead of time
post #2 of 5
I see it is going marvellously well for you! You can soon ask further questions in the behaviour forums, as he is neither homeless nor feral any more...

When can they meet? After the quarantene period including deworming is over. Preferably including veterinary check up. Quarantene necessary as you dont know if the siblings died by stray dogs or sickedness. (edit: lets hope someone of them get adopted by someone else - quite possible)

Is your resident pure indoor? If yes, you must be rather strict with quarantene.
If he is healthy, often free roaming outside and fully vaccinated, you probably dont need to overdo the quarantene.
But better safe than sorry!

As there dont seems to be any hissings or growls, and they even try to play with each other, there shouldnt be any big problems. You dont need to overdo the first meeting, only a couple of small precautions should suffice. But that will be next step.

Litter yes. Most cats use the litter spontaneously.
Does he do his on the floor??
What sort of litter do you use as now?
Try with either a classical cat litter (ie baked clay) - NO fancy parfumed sort, or else something he is used to from his life outside. Common sand. Or even common earth. (should be enough if you have only some earth in the litter).

Heat up and sterilize this common earth or this common sand in oven; there are a lot of bacterias in earth (=dirt).

Good luck!
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
my other male resident cat has never went outside for more than a few minutes at a time, and only has the rabies shot. So I guess I should be cautious.

the kitten does do his on the floor, or my bed.. which has been really unsettling. I have been using a 'gritty' style litter, I will try adding some heated dirt. thanks for these suggestions
post #4 of 5
It sounds like he is socializing very nicely! Thank you for rescuing this kitten!!

Depending on where you live, you might also look for Kitten Attract litter. It has an earthy smell to it that draws kittens to it. It will be obviously more expensive than dirt, but if you have the money, it will save you the time to prepare the dirt.

And I would definitely take the kitten for a health check with your vet before you introduce him to your resident cat. Ask for a FeLV test on him, seeing that he lost all of his siblings to an unknown cause.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
I had never heard of the kitten attract litter, I will definitely be looking for that. The whole feral process was a new thing to me, I wasn't aware of how important a check up was. I plan on taking him in to the vet at the beginning of next month, I can only hope he's as healthy as he acts!
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