Training a feral kitten, any help would be greatly appreciated - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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Training a feral kitten, any help would be greatly appreciated

Three weeks ago tomorrow I took in two rescued ferals, roughly two days old. They were both in awful shape, but with round the clock care from their new momma (me) they came around. Sadly the male orange tabby was too weak to rebound entirely and he passed at two weeks old.
His sister on the other hand, an adorable polydactyl calico, is doing fantastically well. Gaining weight, starting to walk pretty well, eyes open, orients to my voice and scent, and is seemingly in perfect health.

My questions are: Has anyone else ever taken in a feral so young and can you share any tips?
How likely is it that a cat abandoned by her mother at two days will hold any feral traits?
Aside from the basics, feeding, helping with the poopies, keeping warm, grooming etc. what else can I do to help train her to be an awesome, well rounded kitty?

I do have two adult cats, a ten month old male, who is still very kitten-like except in size, and a less tolerant 3+ year old, male orange tabby, who is not only very big, but very firm in his desire to end any play with the younger cat when he has had enough.
I have given them all limited and highly supervised sniff abouts and the older cats are fine eating in the same room with her. The younger cat is very curious and always very close. At times he seems to view her as a toy or prey, and has given her a few little swats and even a light neck nip, but mostly he will watch her lick a hawk and even give her a little nuzzle or lick.
The big orange guy sits near and watches. He has given her a few sniffs but he keeps his distance.

I want to socialize her with other cats as much as possible while still making it easy and enjoyable for my bigger "kids". Any tips?

I also have two teenage boys at home and they are great with her, and she has spent a decent amount of time with my mother and my young nieces and nephews so she is already very comfortable with people of all ages and sex.

Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, another note, this is not my first feral, but the other were much older.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 12:39 AM
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My questions are: Has anyone else ever taken in a feral so young and can you share any tips?
How likely is it that a cat abandoned by her mother at two days will hold any feral traits?
I'm sorry to hear about your orange-boy. I've lost some foster kittens too, and it is always difficult.

I have bottle-raised three orphaned litters of kittens, the youngest at 9dys old. I've also trapped, tamed and socialized several litters of feral kittens, older feral kittens, juvenile feral kitts/cats and adult feral cats for public adoption and for my own cat clan. Husband and I currently have 9 indoors and 5 outdoors. One of my indoors is "special needs" because she is deaf.

Any chance of feral traits after being abandoned by feral mother at 2dys old? NONE.
...and certainly not after the way you've described their socialization with members of your family and your two other kitties. It sounds like you're doing a fabulous job!

I have found that my large group of indoor adult cats are far more forgiving and tolerant of young and playful kittens than they are with juvenile and older cats. If your cats will accept her being around, that is the best you can do. The way you are loving and socializing her to handling by people is fantastic and The Very Best Thing you can do for her.
heidi =^..^=



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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the response, your kind words about the loss of my little orange guy, and for the compliments!

TBH, I wouldn't mind if she retains some feral traits as I have a special fondness for their ways. I am also very much a believer of allowing cats to be who and what they are. Their different personalities are what makes them so interesting!

As far as human socialization, I think you are right in that it will not be a problem for my sweet little monkey girl. I guess I am more concerned with her socialization with other cats. Within the first 3 weeks of her life easily %99 of her interactions have been with humans, and it is clear to me that she very much views me as mama cat, heck, even when sound asleep as soon as she hears my voice she starts shouting for attention and looking around for me.
I just don't want to over-humanize her, and no matter how much I would like to be a cat (particularly for her benefit) I am still mostly human.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 11:04 AM
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It's sad about your little orange kitty, but happily this calico is doing really well.
I think I'm safe in assuming your two older cats are fixed. With a kitten as tiny as this one you'll have to keep supervising all their contact, but it sounds like it's going well so far.

When I first brought abandoned 4-week old Tigger in the house, I kept him away from my curious 18 month old male Scoop. Then introduced them gradually. The first thing I noticed was that Scoop seemed to treat Tigger as his own little alive play toy - but not in a threatening way. Pretty soon Tigger was playing with Scoop's tail and wrestling with him. Scoop was the ideal nanny. He loved the little guy and Tigger learned a lot from him.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 11:28 AM
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I just don't want to over-humanize her, and no matter how much I would like to be a cat (particularly for her benefit) I am still mostly human.
I understand you completely! When I fostered Rulos, he was the runt so I after syringe-feeding him and taking care of him as the little baby he was I'm sure I became mom. He's 6 months old now, I kept him (new foster failure) and he became the most loving and affectionate kitty I've be ever met. Also very drawn to people, eager to say hi and be a cutie for anyone who comes visit. But he is still a cat, with quite a cattitude, and plays and hangs out with all the rest of the boys.

Good luck with your little one , and I'm very sorry about lil' bro
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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:)

Thanks for the responses. I am also a foster failure and had every intention of giving up both of these little babies. I had homes for both within the first couple of days. Both to my siblings and their families, so I knew they would be well loved and cared for.
The home for the calico was tentative, but I had a backup home too!
After the loss of my precious little orange guy, his adoptive family was understandably upset, and the calico's family ended up having to decline (my sister and the kids all said yes but step-bro ended up putting his foot down - allergies. )
My Mom was still more than willing to take the little girl, but as fortune had it, my other sister came across a neighbor with a littler of ten, so she brought two down for my Mom and my sister (the one who was to take the little boy).
I think I was just meant to keep this little girl!

Yes both of my boy cats are fixed. I am a huge advocate of spay / neuter and NO declawing under any circumstance. My furniture and walls are never more important than the cruelty, pain and disfigurement that declawing causes. That is another one of my "cats must be cats" beliefs. Honestly, if there wasn't such a problem with abandoned and feral cats, I would prefer not to have them fixed either. I have never gotten completely comfortable with making such an important decision for another life form and it makes me sad every time. But, as it is, I know it is the best thing for all involved.

Heh. Sorry about the tangent! I actually have some pretty fantastic news about my sweet little monkey today!
I have continued with the supervised visits with my big Jim and Dibo, feeding them in the same room, letting my little girl freely walk about and letting them sniff her etc. And every time I take her out the big guys are right there watching.
Big Jim, the orange tabby and eldest jungle beast (3+ years) is still keeping his distance, although the distance has gotten down to almost nothing.
Dibo, on the other hand seems to have turned a corner! He stills seems to view her as a plaything most of the time, pouncing on her out of nowhere, rolling her over and then bounding away like a clown, but today he grabbed her, held her tight, and started grooming her! She fought him a bit and a few time he gently held her in his mouth or gave her a little boop with his paw to keep her in line, but the whole thing was very maternal. He was dead set on getting her ears and back end spotless!
She acted the way kittens do with their Queens, putting up enough of a protest to show they don't need Mom's help, but for the most part she seemed pretty content. It was so touching to watch, my heart just swelled with love for them both.
After he was she fell asleep on my chest purring away. So it has been a wonderful day.
I will post some pictures of all of my loves. Her face is just too darn cute for words.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Here you go! I will add a couple pictures of my little lost boy also.

https://www.catforum.com/forum/41-mee...tml#post797892
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Here is more back stories on my little family:



https://www.catforum.com/forum/40-cat...y-stories.html
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