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Socializing kittens.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I didn't know if I should post a new topic, but I thought I would go ahead.
I am sorry If I shouldn't have.
I recently (Yesterday) caught 3 kittens about 8 wks old, whose mother is unsocialized (Possibly feral ).
Anyway I am still trying to trap the mother, but it rained all day, so no luck.

Anyway, I have never socialized kittens before, so I really need help.
Today I held 2 of the kittens, and they actually went to sleep in my arms.
At first they were upset with me holding them, and growled, but eventually relaxed enough to sleep.
They slept for about an hour each, and although they didn't purr, they did seem completely relaxed, and let me pick them both up several times, and on rolled over and I petted his stomache.
Turns out I have 2 females and 1 male instead of 2 males and one female.
They let me look at their teeth, and in their ears, and they laid in my arms and on my lap . one of them sat up while I was holding him, the other one layed down and slept.

I am really not sure If I am doing this correctly, so any help or tips or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thank you so much!
post #2 of 7
Hiya Rice, I'm new here and don't exactly know much about cats or kittens for that matter But I can tell you my experiences.
Both of my cats were born to feral mothers. Calley (2yr) was saved when she was 8 weeks, Her momma was with her so it was much different. Her mother Corey was so week she could hardly walk. This poor cat would let you pick her up but was so exhausted that she'd just fall limp in your arms.
The kittens were so hungry that as soon as we put food and water in front of them they'd go to town.

I just took in Zoey about a month ago. She's 11 weeks (on weds). I Started giving her canned food and just dropped a few pieces of dry food in it. Now all she eats is dry food and MY food. lol Drinking was a different story though, I don't think she learned how until I gave her a bath (had fleas bad).
As soon as her little paws touched that warm water she was trying to drink it, I had to wait to soap her up until she was done. After that for a few days I put warm water down for her, now she runs around complaining when the water dish is empty. I had to go over a day later and put her brothers paws in warm water to get him to start drinking too.

She still can't sleep unless she's next to me. No matter where I am if she's tired and she's not arould Calley she has to be touching me. As far as litter goes, I put it down and put her in it and wiped her paws in it. She played in the litter for an entire day SO FUNNY! and then just started using it. Her brother and the neighbors did exactly the same thing.

I hear playing relieves anxiety. Good Luck, they're cuties huh?
post #3 of 7
Just sit with them. Lie down on the floor in the room they are in and just take a nap- they should come and climb all over you. Just let them, and don't move they will make you their playground. Get them accustomed to seeing you, talk to them all the time in the same low soothing voice. Don't make eye contact with them at all, stay down low to their level and be sure and feed them at least 4 times a day small amounts
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
thank you for the suggestions!
post #5 of 7
You are off to a good start. I would recommend putting them in a dog crate or ferret playpen (ask around to borrow one, or buy one at the pet supply store and donate it to a rescue after you're done so you can get a tax write-off). Put the crate in a high traffic area of the house so they get used to household activity. The living room is a good place to start.

Handle them every day. It is better to handle them 10 times a day for 5 minutes each time than for 45 minutes at a stretch.

If one kitten is making slower progress, it is a good idea to separate that kitten from the others. He will be lonely without his siblings, which will make him more willing to accept contact from you. Once he is doing well with you again, you can reintroduce him to his siblings.

I would recommend not letting them free feed on dry food as long as they are a healthy weight for their age and size. Feeding canned food is a good way to reinforce a positive connection to you and also encourages them to eat in meals rather than nibbling here and there. This way, they will probably be just a little hungry by the next mealtime and will be eager to eat when you feed them. I give my kittens a small amount of dry food before I leave in the morning and before I go to bed, but when I am home they get small, frequent meals of canned food.

Once they are comfortable with being handled, move them out of the crate and into a small room without much furniture or many hiding places. A bathroom is a good place, as is a den or guest room (take out beds and upholstered furniture because they can hide in these). Spend as much time as possible in this room. You might want to move a small TV in there, for instance, and have a desk or table and chair so you can pay bills and read in that room.

Once they are comfortable in that situation, they should be ready to have full run of the house and also ready to be adopted! The whole process normally takes 2-4 weeks for 8 week old kittens.

This document is very useful: http://www.alleycat.org/pdf/socializingferal.pdf

It is important that you trap the mother and get her spayed ASAP because without her kittens to nurse, she is at risk for mastitis. Once her ovaries are removed, she will no longer have the hormones that cause her to produce milk and her milk production will dry up quickly.

It sounds like you are doing great with them! Post pics when you have a chance.
post #6 of 7
I am sorry but I disagree about the feeding and the handling- depending on how feral these kittes are. But at any rate, at 8 weeks old they should be eating four times a day, both dry and wet food.

If these are truly feral kitties and you hold them against their will they will run from you and resent you over time. It has to be their choice, otherwise you will get bit and scratched. If you pick them up and they resist, let them go. They will come to you easier if you back off than if you chase and scare them. Even though I know you are not going to scare them but you are scary to them just because of your size and your smell.

Get an old teeshirt you don't need and exercise vigourously in it- get it wringing wet with your sweat, then put it in the room and feed them on top of this shirt. Set the food directly on the shirt not in bowls. This gets them to accept your scent quickly. At the end of your long day and you are in their room, remove your shoes before you go in. Work in your socks only-

Good luck!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the responses!
I got the kittens to the vet yesterday, They tested negitive on the FELV/FIV combo test they all got a FVRCP booster, ear mite medicine, advantage for fleas, and strongid wormer. He said to bring them back in 3 weeks to make sure they were healthy enough for altering.
He said the smallest's throught was really red, and her eyes were runny. He put them on antibiotics.

They are very underweight. I have them in a dog carrier in the middle of the family room. They no longer cower when anyone approaches.

Again thank you for your responses.
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