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HELP! I feel like a well-meaning but totally incompetent mad scientist right now, and I just want to do the right thing.

We have a feral cats who have made our backyard their home. A mama cat always brings her litters to our backyard because my husband insists on feeding them. I put my foot down and insisted we get them fixed if they are going to keep coming around. Then my husband got this bright idea to make a couple of older kittens (maybe 3-4 months old) from the last litter indoor cats. We caught the two kittens last week and had them neutered, and they have stayed in this kennel ever since. The female is doing fine and lets us feed her and pet her, but the male still seems really scared; and I was wondering if what we are keeping them in might be contributing to his fears.


My question is, is this sort of kennel appropriate for trying to socialize feral cats? (picture) If not, what is the best kind of cage for feral kittens?
 

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Are they locked in the kennel, or is the kennel simply their bed area? A lot of cats do not like being "trapped" in really small spaces, and it will make them antsy. Other than that, socialization times are different for each cat (or kitten in this case).
 

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I think a larger, more open area would be better. Kittens need to play and exercise. I'm glad you're taking care of them! :) Give them lots of loving attention and interactive play...especially the little boy. Treats and toys will help considerably. Kittens usually come around fairly quickly...with lots of attention. :)

PS It's important for mother cat to get spayed. I hope there is a low cost spay/neuter organization near you! Here's a link that might help:

http://www.lovethatcat.com/spayneuter.html
 

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Forgive my ignorance, but neither my husband nor I have had feral cats so I am going by what I have learned from the internet. (1. Confinement in a cage or carrier. 2. Repeated and brief handling with a protective cloth. 3. Confinement in a small room that is escape proof. 4. Exposure to other humans.)

They were neutered last Wednesday (8/11). I kept them apart until Thursday morning, then put them together in the kennel to give them 2-3 days to 'settle in'. I have started handling the female since she is receptive, but haven't tried with the male since he still hisses and swipes. I planned to let them have free reign of our guest room, which is the only available room we have, starting tomorrow morning (day 6), and I plan to keep the kennel in the room for them to have a bedding area.

Am I on the right track???
 

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PS It's important for mother cat to get spayed. I hope there is a low cost spay/neuter organization near you! Here's a link that might help:

http://www.lovethatcat.com/spayneuter.html
Thanks for the link. We have a low cost organization nearby that we have used. We will get the mama cat spayed as soon as we can. I think a) she's close to giving birth and/or nursing a new litter or b) something has happened to her because we haven't seen her around in a couple of weeks.
 

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I think the room will be great. If these kittens were new born, the suggestion about handling would be valid. However, these kittens are old enough to handle, and it will help their socialization move along more quickly! :p

I hope mother kitty is all right.
 

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Im surprised the kittens havent clawed their way out of that kennel! 12 weeks is our cut off point to decide if we can take a kitten in to socialize. That is not to say an older feral cant be socialized, it just takes longer. Go read thru the Stickies in the feral section of Cat Forum for more tips.

I had posted this a while back but feel you would get a lot of information on how to socialize a feral cat/ kitten from the videos. And it shows their set ups.

The Urban Cat League teaches you how to tame
and socialize feral kittens to make them ready for adoption
into homes instead of life on the streets.

Produced for the Urban Cat League (http://www.urbancatleague.org)
with a Partners in Caring grant from the ASPCA (http://www.aspca.org).




Hope this helps.
 

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Another tip I would like to add is I use soft food as a reward system and it really helps them warm up to you. Be careful how much you give at a time tho as it can cause diarreah. Good luck!
 

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Merry, those videos are excellent! I would rename them, "Socializing With Love." There's nothing tough about the loving way they are being socialized, only kindness, patience, and love. Excellent! Thank you so much!
I think this would make an excellent sticky!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks for the videos, Merry! I found those online last week, and they gave me the encouragement to agree to try to keep the kittens instead of just releasing them.
 

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Those videos were posted in a Feral Forum sticky a few months ago. I think they are WONDERFUL because they show, in real-time, how the techniques work.
http://www.catforum.com/forum/56-feral-cats/125860-taming-caring-feral-kittens-cats.html

I have fostered, tamed and socialized many feral cats and kittens. I use the same techniques Mike uses in his videos. I would suggest a larger kennel, like the one Mike uses. I have one sized for Great Danes and by putting a shelf along the back, it gives them more space utilized w/in the kennel. I haven't used it for taming/socializing, I use it for outdoor-time or indoors to intro new cats to our resident cats.
When I bring in kitties to tame/socialize, I use my master bathroom. It is okay, size-wise. Easy to safety-proof and easy to clean if the kitty has any accidents. I provide ONE 'safe-cave', that I can have access to. My first contacts are putting cooked chicken on my fingers and holding my hand through the safe-cave to offer the tasty treat to them. They are usually eating out of my hand w/in a matter of days and it is a fairly simple process to lure them out of the safe-cave and into handling distance for beginning socialization.
You can use a bedroom, but I would advise taking steps to prevent the cats from being able to become inaccessible; like under or behind large furniture further away than 18" from your shoulder. I do this because in an emergency, I want to be able to get my hand on them to put them in a carrier and get them out of the house in case an evacuation becomes necessary. This also simply helps fascilitate socialization if the kitty cannot make themselves completely inaccessible to you.
Anyhow, remember that patient persistence pays-off, and good luck!
heidi =^..^=
 
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