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Two days ago we trapped two feral kittens from our backyard. They are on the older side for taming, but we've decided to give it a shot. My best guess on age is 7-10 weeks. Most groups say its difficult or impossible after 8 weeks. I'm encouraged that we are able to touch them and pick them up. There's still a little hissing, but not a lot. I can pet both of them, but one of them I can pet a lot and he seems comfortable. I won't say they're happy, but they're not going crazy either. Any thoughts?
 

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Those aren't ferals but strays if they let you anywhere near.

I'll speak only for myself, but there are no words to express the immense satisfaction of rescuing strays.

Good for you to do this for them!
 

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I'm feeling nervous because there are some opinions out there that they are not tameable and that we are being cruel to bring them in to try it. I figure if there is no progress in a couple weeks, we'll re-evaluate, but its worth a try. We were able to feed and pet them this morning. They were a little hissy, but they're not jumping around or biting us.
 

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I don't think you're being cruel at all! Even if they're never lap kitties they have a safer, better life inside and will adjust to your presence.
 

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Those aren't ferals but strays if they let you anywhere near.
But surely cats were originally feral before (as one show put it) they domesticated themselves. I suspect they know cat people when they meet them. I think they also watch humans carefully and notice how other cats respond to kindness.
 

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With all due respect, what utter BS!!!! I adopted 3 adult strays, well beyond 2-3 years of age, and they're lap cats. And all the other adults, if I adopted them, would be in bliss, poor things. Ferals are cats that don't let you even see them, let alone pet them. I bet yours were born in a home and dumped.

Jusjim, yes of course, but I'm going by the American definition, ferals = born from stray/feral mother (you don't see them, even. They come feed when you're gone.), stray = dumped or born from stray mother (they usually play hard to get for some time and often end up as lap cats).
 

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Well, these are definitely feral kittens born to a feral mother. I don't want to sugarcoat the fact that we're doing something hard (and hopefully not foolish). There are so many opinions out there, but I have a friend who has successfully tamed feral kittens (even older ones) with lots of time and patience. I am also currently fostering a litter and their Mom through a rescue group. The two feral babies are in a separate room in a big cage.

I'm feeding them periodically and keeping my hand in the cage very close to them while they're eating. I'm also petting them. One is more skittish than the other one, but like I said, we are able to pet both of them. There is some hissing, but no biting or scratching yet. (Sorry I'm being redundant - I think it makes me feel better to write this all down). They have also both been held on a lap a few times. They don't love it though. I'm also leaving a radio on all the time in their room, so they can get used to voices.
 

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I'm feeling nervous because there are some opinions out there that they are not tameable and that we are being cruel to bring them in to try it. I figure if there is no progress in a couple weeks, we'll re-evaluate, but its worth a try. We were able to feed and pet them this morning. They were a little hissy, but they're not jumping around or biting us.
Not at all. Cats have been tamed at far older ages than this!! My cat Blaze was a feral kitten, he became the biggest lap cat around with a little effort. He's not without his issues, but he's very loving to the people he knows. Blacky was a semi-feral (used to be owned by someone, as she's spayed, but reverted to a feral state)... she took a year to let me even pet her. Currently, she's sleeping on my lap, and sleeps on my legs at night, and follows us around on walks. And in general is awesome and laid back although 100% indifferent to strangers (or even people she knows, besides my father and me).

Anyway, I'd say the kittens have a great chance to become tame with enough effort. Even adults can be tamed, but you'd have to give it more time the older they are; and those ones may only be friendly around the people that have tamed them.
 

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With all due respect, what utter BS!!!! I adopted 3 adult strays, well beyond 2-3 years of age, and they're lap cats. And all the other adults, if I adopted them, would be in bliss, poor things. Ferals are cats that don't let you even see them, let alone pet them. I bet yours were born in a home and dumped.

Jusjim, yes of course, but I'm going by the American definition, ferals = born from stray/feral mother (you don't see them, even. They come feed when you're gone.), stray = dumped or born from stray mother (they usually play hard to get for some time and often end up as lap cats).
Straysmommy, sorry but it's you that's wrong. Feral KITTENS are different, and feral adults can become accustomed to people over time. An adult feral might never be 'domesticated' the way that people normally think about it, but they can build trust and relationships over time.

The fact that the OP stated in his first post that he trapped the kittens is a fairly good indicator that they were feral. If they were dumped you'd be able to catch them, feral kittens mean traps usually.

I'm feeding them periodically and keeping my hand in the cage very close to them while they're eating. I'm also petting them. One is more skittish than the other one, but like I said, we are able to pet both of them. There is some hissing, but no biting or scratching yet. (Sorry I'm being redundant - I think it makes me feel better to write this all down). They have also both been held on a lap a few times. They don't love it though. I'm also leaving a radio on all the time in their room, so they can get used to voices.
OP, at the age you caught those babies if you put a lot of work and time into it you could easily get them to the point where they'd be considered adoptable by anyone.

You're already on the right track for sure, but I have a few tips that might help out.

You said you were holding them on your lap every day, that's perfect. While you hold the kitten gentle scratch behind their ears and rub them all over. If you have to forcibly hold them still then do that with one hand, while petting and caressing with the other. Pay close attention and when the kitten starts to relax relax your hold as well, but don't let the kitten jump away. I like to hold them either by the scruff (which is still safe at this age as long as you're careful), or if you're not worried about biting, with your thumb and fore finger around their neck and the rest of your fingers wrapping around their chest. This prevents them from escaping and they should learn to relax and lean in for cuddles quickly. If you can get them to purr and snuggle let them go and choose to stay or leave on their own terms. I never put a kitten down until it purrs though.

The other thing that will help the most is play time. Ideally you want something where you can sit in one place, move minimally, and have them playing around you to the point that they forget you're there. Laser pointers and wand toys work best. Either way this is something that should only happen when you're around. You want them to see you as the bringer of all things fun.

Once they will come up to you if you sit down on the floor you add more people. Take them into a room like a bathroom, or somewhere else with no places you can't reach them if you need to, and just sit or lie on the floor and let them explore you. Introduce them at first to one new person at a time, and have that person just sit calmly while you play with the kittens. As the kittens get more comfortable with that you can bring in two people at a time and give them toys. Make sure your helpers understand they have to speak calmly and not get excited or move quickly.

Good luck...and post pictures! :)
 

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Sounds as if you are doing well and please don't think it's impossible. We have had ferals older than this that we have gradually won around and while they may always keep a feral streak, they can bond with a particular persone (or people) even if they remain elusive in the extreme with the wold in general.
 

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My two were born in a large feral colony and trapped by a rescue/TNR group at the approximate age of 3 months for Lickorish and 6 months for Squeek. You would never guess Squeek was ever a feral, she is a total lovebug, albeit not a lap kitty. Lickorish is also a total lovebug, but she is a nervous kitty and prefers to retire to a quiet place by herself during the day. May just be her personality, and nothing to do with ever being feral. She does sleep curled up next to me at night. Squeek prefers to curl up next to hubby. I think she's a daddy's girl.

Anyway, good luck with yours. Just let them do things in their own time.
 

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forgot to mention: The group I got them from routinely takes ferals and works with them until they're adoptable, and many of those are even older than mine were. Don't let the naysayers discourage you.
 

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I'm also petting them. One is more skittish than the other one, but like I said, we are able to pet both of them. There is some hissing, but no biting or scratching yet.
Somehow I missed this. Basically, these kittens are already half way there. They are only hissing which is common, they're unsure of their new environment and scared. The people that adopt them may need to be willing to work with them a little as well, they may never be instant friends with everyone they meet. But then, many cats aren't, even without such a start in life. However, they could also become huge lovebugs to everyone, I know one if fact that wants to ride on everyones shoulders (and several others that are also very receptive to everyone)! You'd never know they started out feral.

No biting or scratching is a fantastic sign, I put put up with biting and scratching from Blacky for the first few years; pet her wrong and she was unimpressed. We don't have that problem any longer. Blaze also hissed for the first year or so, since then I think I can count on one hand how many times he's hissed in 17 years.

I also wouldn't reevaluate after only a few weeks, that's a very short time span in the grand scheme of things. The first time I placed Blacky inside the house was like a death sentence to her; she flipped out and jumped out a broken window, despite that she was somewhat friendly outdoors by that point. Back then I didn't read on the internet about taming cats, just did it as best I could figure on my own. However, if I'd gone online and read what people have to say about that, they'd say it was a bad sign and likely means they're not tameable. I guess "they" were wrong. Don't listen to everything you hear online, go by your own situation and pace yourself at the cats own time, building trust and getting them used to people isn't instantaneous and some cats need more time than others.
 

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I don't know if you have read any of my posts, but I have takend in (trapped), a little feral female cat, probably about 2 years old. I couldn't even touch her when we took her in 8 weeks ago. We had been feeding her outside for about a year, she was slowly beginning to trust me. She would roll around on the ground, when I sat and talked with her. Now that she has been in, she is in a room we especially set up for her, she comes to me, rubs all over me purring away, and now lets me pet her head. Picking her up is a long way off. But, I will give her all the time she needs, I do not want to see her out in 10 degree weather and snow again. I think she is coming along great!!! I don't expect her to be a "regular" lap cat, but as long as I can pat her, and she is happy, that is fine with me. I even was able to put flea medication on her this weeked.
I don't think there is such a thing, as a certain age when they cannot be "tamed" I think it depends on the cat and how much work you want to put into it.
This is the first time I have ever done this, and this site has been a tremendous help to me! It also is very rewarding to see this slow but steady progress with her!
Sally
 

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Off topic a bit, but you should post pictures :-D Also, it might help you if you keep a log of their progress... that way on days you get frustrated, you can look back and see how far they've come! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, today my daughter fed them and petted the orange one the whole time he (not sure of sex) was eating and for a while after. She says he seemed to enjoy it. The gray tabby is still hissing, but will tolerate petting. The last time she tried to pick one up (yesterday), he put his teeth on her hand and bit a little (not enough to break the skin), so she's a little nervous.
 

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I think the orange ones are usually male but I could be wrong :) Sounds like they're doing really well for as short a time as you've had them inside!
 

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The majority of orange ones (we call them ginger over here) are male but not all of them - the one in the litter I found this summer was female.
 
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