I think I might be a foster failure but not in a good way - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy I think I might be a foster failure but not in a good way

Hi All,
So its my annual kitten fostering time and I contacted the rescue where my two cats came from and for whom I fostered for last year. I'm not overly experienced with cats only becoming a cat slave three years ago. Never had any pets growing up etc. Anyhow I spoke with fostering coordinator yesterday and agreed to take two 6 week old kitties who had been hand rared from 10 days old and just needed more time for vaccination etc before they were ready for adoption. I went to collect them today as agreed only to be told there was a mix up and could I take three six week old kittens who had come in a few days ago after being abandoned by their feral mother. I agreed to give it a go but oh my they hiss and spit and I'm kinda nervous of them or at least one of them who is most aggressive. I know getting them socialized by seven weeks is pretty important but I havent been able to handle this lil calico at all today. They named her "anaconda" in the shelter so I should have guessed something. I'm not sure if I should send them back to a more experienced carer in case I waste valuable time or if I should see if things settle down over the next few days. Any advice will be greatly received? I'm just not sure how far to push her and haven't dealt with a hissing spitting kittie before. They are three lil cuties I have to say and I renamed them John Snow (an all black lil lad), Arya (a tuxedo with the cutest pink nose - I have the thing for pink noses)and Khallisi ( a beauty claico). Apologies for the length of my post but any help would be great.
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post #2 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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some pics of the trio and Khallisi looking like butter wouldn't melt!
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post #3 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 08:47 PM
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How have you tried to socialize with them so far? What have you done and what has their reaction been?

I generally start by just sitting in a corner of the room and reading a book out loud so they can hear me (or talking to myself). After a while, I push my glasses (or something with my scent) towards them. Most cats will sniff it. Then I lay down and just look like I am about to doze off. If they look directly at you, blink really really slowly. Stay calm, no sudden movements...talk quietly. Some come fast...some take several sessions...some stay fraidy-cats for a long time!

...Always in my heart... Mocha....Nov. 13, 2002 - Dec. 6, 2013
.... Slave to Bengal Cats....Luna, Mystik, Simba, Komet, Meli,
, and Star
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post #4 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 09:01 PM
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I'm no help, but I love the names, you know why.
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post #5 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 11:04 PM
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You just got them today. Of course they are nervous and scared of you.

They need your time and your attention! Start slow, they are just babies.

They are absolutely gorgeous. If I were fostering kittens like that, they would have a forever home, I would give up and just adopt them.
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post #6 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 11:15 PM
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Try playing with them with one of the fishing pole cat toys. Kittens love to play and they will associate a good time with you. Also, try giving them the yummiest treats you can find. See if they will take it from your hand. You just got them today. They will mellow out once they feel safe. At the shelter I volunteer at, there was this super shy, hissing ball of fur named BooBoo about 7-8 weeks old. First day, he hissed and hid the whole time I was playing with the other kittens. Over the next few days, I made a point of spending some one on one time with him. Within a week he was like a different kitten much more relaxed and happier. Don't give up on those babies. Thank you for helping them. Please let us know how it goes and there is a lot of people here willing to answer any questions. Hang in there!
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post #7 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-12-2014, 11:16 PM
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They are so adorable! I bet they will come around in a couple of days. They are probably just scared now.
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post #8 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-13-2014, 01:28 AM
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Getting hissed at can be scary because we kind of expect them to just be loving and adorable and grateful. I've got a batch of 8 hissy-spittys right now. They've already come a long way after 24 hours. Kittens adapt so fast...give yourself a chance.

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post #9 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-13-2014, 07:23 AM
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Do not be afraid to tell the shelter that this is a bit over your head. You explained it all nicely in your opening sentences. With little experience it can be quite frightening and it is necessary they do get handling and playtime so if you feel this is a tad too much at the moment see if you can ask the shelter to find someone more experienced to take them in. THIS IS NOT AN INDICTMENT ON YOU! It's important to feel positive with this experience because your fears will be transmitted. I"ve had a hissy little 6 week old guy for a week now. I think leaving town for 3 days didn't help because he was getting much better and today he is hissy and running from me again.

Having said that, if you want to proceed, just do your best by handling them (get some gardening gloves if you are afraid of getting bitten). Hold them close to your body (snuggles) and speak softly to them in a quiet room for several short periods of time a day. Use some of the other tips others have said. This week is very important so be sure and spend time with them as best you can and as much as you can. That is all anyone else can do for them. My gut tells me you will do just fine and this will help with your confidence handling these young growlers/hissers.

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post #10 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-13-2014, 02:01 PM
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Try watching these videos for tips on taming. You need a foster buddy to help you from the rescue. They can give you moral support and information. If they dont have that then I know there is lots of seasoned advice on Cat Forum from savvy cat people.

Three videos from the Urban Cat League
Tough Love: Socializing Feral Kittens (Part 1 of 3) - YouTube

Tips for older and younger cats which need socializing.

The rescue should not put a time limit on socializing these kittens. They will be ready when they are ready. Yes, they are more easily adoptable when they are young and they do come around faster when they are being socialized as kittens.

We all had our first kittens we had to work with to bring around. Just jump in feet first and ask lots of questions here. It is super rewarding when you see them come around and then find forever homes. Your giving a gift to the adopting family who wants a cat or kittens and you are saving a kittens life and giving it a chance of a bright future in a forever home. Good on you for being willing to try.
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