When to allow a feral kitten to roam? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-27-2012, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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When to allow a feral kitten to roam?

Hello everyone! I am, of course, another newbie here. My maint. man that works in my building caught a feral kitten by his bare hands. The kitten appeared very weak and close to dieing. He asked me if I wanted him. Without, question, I decided to adopt him knowing the tough path I have ahead of me. I placed him in a kennel and had my wife take him to the vet. The Vet put him about 8 weeks old. Blood test was negative and he had worms in his feces.
He was given medicine for his worms and was told that he needed to eat and drink quickly. I brought him home and contained him in a bedroom that was not used. He ate almost immediately without me in the room and appeared he drank water as well.
I later bought a kennel large enough for him, a bed, litterbox, and hid food an water. At night, the kitten would try to get out of the room and he injured his paw clawing at the window frame.
After a week of having him, he is allowing me to pet him. he even eats out of my hand. He is now trying to walk out of the kennel when I open it; however, I am just too afraid to let him out. the reason is because he still hisses when I approach him. no matter how I approach him, he hisses. I ignore the hisses and go for his chin. His hissing stops and he starts to purr. He still does not come to the gate when I approach it. I have to cover him with a towel to get him out and place him in my lap to pet him. After awhile, he is looking around really curious. I am just afraid he will take off under the couch or bed when I let him out. There is not one room in my house I can completely kitten proof. If he hides under the bed, how can I continue taming him with socialising?

My question is, when should I let the kitten out to roam the house? When he no longer hisses?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:00 AM
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What a great thing you're doing!

I would allow him to roam a single room, a room where things like the bed, dressers and desks have no place for him to squeeze under or behind (as you said, if he's hiding he's not being socialized). If no such room exists, block off his access to getting under and behind these places.

You can keep his kennel in the room as his safe place to run to, cover it partially with a towel or blanket if it isn't a dark area, so he feels safe while in there but it's still an area where you can reach in at any time if needed. Keep working on socializing him in the one room, spend as much time in there (with a tv, books, phone, computer/laptop) so he gets used to everyday things, your voice, and your movements.

That he's allowing you to pet him after a week in a good sign. Keep your movements slow, don't look in his eyes (that's seen as a threat). Try petting him as he's eating, when his guard is down, and don't be too put off by hissing, he will grow out of it as he learns to trust you but it'll take some time. He may scratch at doors and windows to get out because the area isn't what he's used to, but for now I would just endure it, the wanting outside should pass. When he seems confident in room you keep him in leave the door open and let him explore for a little while on his terms. Put him back in the room if it seems like he's hiding somewhere. Keep at it until he seems content in most areas of the house, and make sure he has access to this one room at all times.

When I had a feral kitten (16 years ago) he stayed curled up pressed into couch for a long time and he hissed a fair bit (there wasn't anywhere for him to hide). Outside of the first year of his life I can say I've only heard him hiss about five times, when he's extremely stressed. It probably took a year or more for him to feel totally at ease in the whole house, he didn't like the hallway where he could hear people coming and going in the apartment. Eventually he started sleeping in the closet right by the door though, so he got over it.

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Last edited by Carmel; 02-28-2012 at 12:04 AM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 01:21 AM
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Carmel posted good info.
Did you check out the pinned links on working with feral kittens here on catforum?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much Carmel. I had him roaming in my guest bedroom. The problem was that I started seeing blood along the edges of the window. I checked the kitten, Jasper, out and noticed that his front paw was injured due to all the clawing he was doing trying to escape.

Hello Nora. Those pinned links have a wealth of knowledge and I am following them based on where I think Jasper is on his taming process; however, the links were not able to answer my own question as to when I should let Jasper roam the house, or what is the average time it takes to transform this awesome kittem. One link indicates that it is up to the kitten when it is time for him to roam a little bit. I just don't know how to tell when it is time for the kitten to roam. I thought it would take a week but I think it will take much longer than that. It doesnt matter how long it takes. Me and my wife are committed to taming Jasper.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 03:21 PM
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I say a little of both, lol. Keep him in the kennel when you're not in the room and open the door when you're there. Get a wand toy, and bring yummy special food, like wet food for ONLY when you're in the room. Time with you is fun happy play time with yummy treats! He'll come around really quick, especially if you use the toy. He'll forget you're there.

Use something, cardboard, pillows, w/e, to block him frim getting under the bed.

When you leave the room take the wet food away, take the wand away, put him back in the kennel. When he's to the point where he'll come to you if you're sitting down then you can give him free roam of the room.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-20-2012, 12:51 PM
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Produced for the Urban Cat League (Urban Cat League - "Friends of the Forgotten Feline" Helping NYC feral cats)
with a Partners in Caring grant from the ASPCA (ASPCA | The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

These are the best Youtube videos Ive come across when your trying to
socialize feral kittens. Check out their website too. They do great work and
have great tips. They have a proven track record.
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