I work with a small, all-breed animal rescue in Indiana and have just gotten in 4 kittens. They came from my sister who lives in a rural area. She is not sure whether they are feral kittens or if they were just dumped in her area. I have gotten 3 dumped dogs/puppies from her so far this year, so it is possible they were just released because someone didn't want to bother finding them homes. Because of the coyotes (and the area dogs), cats in her area do not last long unless they are indoor only pets. Her husband is allergic, so there was no way to keep them safe and she did not want them to become coyote snacks. So she used my humane trap to catch all 4 of them one-by-one yesterday afternoon. I'm estimating that they are about 8 weeks old, although they have not been to the vet yet. They are currently in my large cat cage in my house isolated from my cats and the dogs - it is in the bathroom. Needless to say, they were all 4 petrified & traumatized yesterday by their experience of being trapped. All 4 were hissing, spitting & trying to attack (one actually managed to bite thru my gloves - couldn't find my leather ones when I needed them of course). My question is, is there any way to tell if these are feral kittens or just totally freaked out kittens? And no matter which they are, I could use some advice on handling them. They will all be spayed/neutered of course, but can anyone offer advice on settling them in & taming them? Should I leave them alone for a few days, just talking to them & feeding them? Or should I immediately start handling them to get them used to human contact? (with the proper protective gloves this time) Each one of them looks healthy with clear eyes & healthy looking coats. There was no diarhea or anything else unusual when I scooped their litter last night & this morning, so I feel safe in letting their first vet visit wait a few days until they are a little less upset. But they were all cursing me & giving me the evil eye as I got ready for work this morning. I want to do the best I can by them and if they are adoptable, find new homes for them as soon as possible.
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6/12/06 at 10:50am