Rescued 3 Feral/Stray Kittens - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-26-2010, 06:02 AM Thread Starter
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Rescued 3 Feral/Stray Kittens

My grandmother is your typical cat lady (8 cats indoors) about 15 outside- anyways. Long story short a new cat started lurking around her house this spring (which irritates me since I spent the year I moved down here for uni capturing all of the strays/ferals/neighborhood cats who people let out- and getting them all spayed/neutered) had a litter of three kittens. As soon as I noticed them when I was at her house I caught them (to my grandmother's general displeasure). Vet estimated 7-8 weeks so they're weaned- even though my grandmother tells me the mother cat is still calling for them and believes they're 4 weeks old. You can see images of them here: http://www.wordedrealms.com/kitten1.jpg http://www.wordedrealms.com/kitten2.jpg http://www.wordedrealms.com/kitten3.jpg

I'm trying to tame/socialize them to make them adoptable, I already have homes lined up for two of them and am considering keeping the third one. I have used the resources listed in the threads above this past weekend. It found that the babyfood trick listed in one of the videos worked well. I can take them out of the cage and handle them easily, they usually calm down significantly after I pet them for a bit.

Example: This is Yoda- the wildest of the bunch. When I go into the cage to pick him up he will resist, hiss, swat, and try to bite. But after some hand feeding with baby-food and petting he turns into a relatively demure cat: http://www.wordedrealms.com/yoda2.jpg

However, when I place him back into the cage he goes back to hissing/swatting/biting mode. So recently I have been considering splitting the three up and putting them in separate cages. Would this be advisable? Currently they are in my dog's crate. I don't have the dimensions on hand but it's cozy enough for a 74lb German shepherd, so it's quite sizable for the kittens. Plenty of room for the litter box and food bowl plus bed and toys. However, I've only had them since Saturday- so should I just give it more time?

And before anyone asks- I plan on trapping the mother cat and taking her to the vet to be fixed, even though I would much prefer to take her to the shelter (and yes- I know what happens to ferals in shelters. Not a fan of TNR here).
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-26-2010, 12:42 PM
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Re: Rescued 3 Feral/Stray Kittens

Welcome to CF and I think I you for helping to improve the lives of the cats around your grandmother's home!

I foster, tame and socialize feral, semi-feral and poorly-socialized kittens/cats for public adoption. I loved Mike's Urban Cat League video because he uses many of the same techniques I do and it was amazing to *see* it working. It sounds like you are making great progress with the kitties, but yes, you'll need to spend more time with them, you've only had them less than a week. I would not separate them, they can/will take comfort from one another and something that is especially helpful is the braver ones tend to lead-by-example the shyer ones and help bring them to you so you can help them out of their shell. At 8wks old, I would expect them to take around 4-6wks to fully socialize, though each kitten/cat progresses at different paces and some will come around faster and others will take longer. Patience and consistency will win the day. Oh, and tasty food-bribes, too!

Anyhow, welcome and I look forward to hearing about your progress with them.
heidi =^..^=



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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-26-2010, 10:30 PM
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Re: Rescued 3 Feral/Stray Kittens

I agree that the kittens are about 7-8 weeks old. They can all be socialized, even the hissy one.

I hope you will reconsider TNR. It is not only kind; it is also efficient. Life is so precious.




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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-26-2010, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Rescued 3 Feral/Stray Kittens

Ah, that's good. Should I pick them up when they're antsy? I was told by the vet to 'handle' them regularly to tame them. Though I am uncertain if that means literally 'handling' them. They squirm at first touch, but usually relax once in my hands (gloved). Though sometimes they still squirm when I hold them. I try not to be forceful however meaning if they squirm too much I put them back into the cage.

As for TNR, it's not that I am against it so much that I am against irresponsible owners. I've seen, at least locally, it's hard to keep the population stable when people keep dropping off their animals thinking they'll be happy with other cats. Which is what we think happened in the case of this new cat- she just showed up at my grandmother's house pregnant (sigh).
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-27-2010, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Rescued 3 Feral/Stray Kittens

And here's a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys3nefuCTio

You can see that two of them are playful- while the third, the one I have named Yoda is very anti social/playing. He usually won't come when I feed the other two while they happily come over to eat (the dark gray one actually meows when he is hungry and waits for me at the crates' door.)
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-27-2010, 01:47 AM
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Re: Rescued 3 Feral/Stray Kittens

I think they look sweet. Yup, your vet meant handle as in hands-on-handling. That is the only way they will learn to accept being handled. It will be scary for them at first, but they need to be given the time (and opportunity!) to learn that being handled doesn't need to be scary because nothing bad happens, they might realize that being petted and gently massaged feels good, you have tasty treats to give them, you'll set them back in their crate when they get too antsy ... and they lived!

You need to work towards progressing forward, but you also have to guage how well each kitten is tolerating each step of the socialization process. Work towards progress, but watch them to be sure you haven't overloaded them. When they reach 'overload' they stop learning. Short and frequent handling sessions work well for me. You'll have to see what works well for you and your rescues.

Best of luck with the little darlings!
h =^..^=



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