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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!

So a few days ago I adopted two 8 week old kittens with the intention of making them very spoiled outdoor cats. We live on a small organic farm and have been having problems with rodents, so what better to control that than to have a few good hunters around? Anyway, these kittens come from a couple of generations of working cats, and are what I would classify as semi-feral. Basically what happened was a small series of mistakes that culminated in the innocent looking babies going gremlin on us, going from sweet kitty faces to spitting mad mini-tigers, and promptly escaping. I'd originally planned to keep them enclosed for a week or so, teaching them that I'm the bringer of food, and also swaddling them in towels and petting them until they purred and realized that I was also the bringer of affection. I don't need them to be lap cats, but I would like them to be friendly, and I would like to be able to easily handle and catch them later on for any vet visits they might need, spay/neuter, etc. Anyway, they returned and have a hidey-hole underneath our well house, which is right next to our back porch. They obviously don't want to be caught again. They let me see them when they are eating, so long as I don't come too close. I set their food in a large, out of service rabbit cage last night, and they did go in to eat. I'm fairly certain that I could attach a string and pull the door closed without coming very close to them, and I think the taming process would be a lot faster if I caught and handled them. The last thing I want are feral cats! It's okay if they are somewhat aloof, but downright wild is not what I had in mind.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions, reassurance? Thanks. :)
 

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You'll have to trap them and them bring them in the house. Confine them to a fairly small room with no "hidey holes", but make it comfortable for them, with litter box, toys. They will only associate you as their "bringer of food", if they are kept confined and you feed them their "meals".....don't free-feed them by leaving food down and available for them to eat when they want. At 8 weeks they should be fed 4 meals a day. They will soon realize you are the "bringer of food". Sit near them when they eat and gradually move closer until you can sit about a foot away, and still reach them to give them some stroking....as they eat. Also try handfeeding them treats, like a bit of cheese, or chicken. Sit on the floor to do this as sometimes a person bent over seems very threatening. You can start enticing them to play with you by dragging a cord around you sitting on the floor and through your lap, or using a fishing-pole type of toy, and flicking it from on the the other....bring it back to you in your lap....Eventually they will become accustomed to you, and permit gently stroking. Graduate to briefly lifting them up about 6 in. from floor and putting them right back down....do it this over several times....give them a treat afterwards. These "feral" kittens should come around fairly quickly if you don't rush things too much or too fast. Gentle persuasion is the key.

There is an excellent 3-part video series from Urban Cat League on taming feral kitties:
 

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Sorry, thanks for this reply! I kept looking for this thread in the introduction where I posted it, and I couldn't find it. I just found it finally! I ended up posting a question in the feral cats section and got a lot of great feedback, and the kittens in question are doing very well! :)
 

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Congratulations! I checked the Feral section, and you did very well....what was it about 6 days before you had them sleeping on their own in your lap? Each day do a little more...like picking them up briefly and then putting them down, until you can pic them up and hold them for a few seconds and then put them down. Don't them down if they squirmy or trying to get away...the moment they relax then put them on the floor, otherwise they'll learn that all they have to do is wriggle hard enough and they'll get their way. Handle their paws and squeeze gently...this is prep work for to clipping claws. Do it while they're sleepy and just nip off the tips. Introduce them to a pet carrier....you can feed the occasional meal or treats in it. This will make it easier when you have to take them to the vet for shots and spay/neuter. They are well on their way to becoming well socialized....keep up the good work. They're both adorable....love the cream classic tabby male with his darling white socks. The girl's sweet too...I've found that blues (greys) are often a bit more reserved. Do you have names for them yet?
 

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I haven't named them yet, because I'm not 100% on their genders. Now that they're really getting comfortable with me, I can do a little investigation of my own. I've heard that kittens are notoriously hard to tell at this age. It was easier just to assign something to them while discussing their progress though. They have interesting temperaments - the orange one will still hiss when startled, but almost immediately starts purring when I enter the room now. His purr is bigger than he is! It look longer for the grey to talk to me, so I guess it could be because she is more reserved. But now she has the funniest little meow, and is usually the first to settle and sleep on my lap. The orange guy is often content to lay right next to me, or with two paws on my legs. The grey was stalking a fly and making the funniest little meows yesterday... :)
 
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