Author Topic: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!) NEW PIC #133!  (Read 12334 times)

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Shoo

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Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!) NEW PIC #133!
« on: November 18, 2012, 12:45:41 PM »
I've had several cats in my lifetime, but they have always come to me litterbox trained, and eating kitten food, totally weaned.  Today I am probably going to be bringing home 2 feral kittens, who have been living in a garden shed since they were born.

I'm not really sure what my plan is.  I think I'll run out and get a pen to enclose them in so they don't feel totally overwhelmed.  I will drape towels/blankets over the sides and remove them gradually to enlarge their world as they get accustomed to us.  How does that sound?

I suppose just steering them to a small litterbox is about all I will need to do to get them trained in using it.

What kind of food should I get them?

Any advice here?  I want these kittens to have an awesome life with us, and I'm pretty sure starting out on the right foot will be important.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 05:20:09 PM by Shoo »

wolfie

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2012, 01:01:54 PM »
I've had several cats in my lifetime, but they have always come to me litterbox trained, and eating kitten food, totally weaned.  Today I am probably going to be bringing home 2 feral kittens, who have been living in a garden shed since they were born.

I'm not really sure what my plan is.  I think I'll run out and get a pen to enclose them in so they don't feel totally overwhelmed.  I will drape towels/blankets over the sides and remove them gradually to enlarge their world as they get accustomed to us.  How does that sound?

I suppose just steering them to a small litterbox is about all I will need to do to get them trained in using it.

What kind of food should I get them?

Any advice here?  I want these kittens to have an awesome life with us, and I'm pretty sure starting out on the right foot will be important.

I have some great documents on how to tame feral cats. Your idea of enclosure is a good idea - I would recommend a dog crate. You want it to be big enough for a litterbox, a carrier and some room for them to play without being in the litterbox or carrier. Most likely they will use the litterbox instinctively - if not put any poop in the box and bury it - that's how Kiana figured out that was what the litterbox was for. If they really don't get it then put dirt in the box  - they should know what the dirt is for.

Make sure they are in a quiet place in the house - someplace where they feel safe. Interact with them multiple times per day. At first they will probably run into their carrier for safety (that's what it is there for) but once  they realize you aren't a danger they will come out and interact. The younger the kittens are the easier it will be. The recommended method is to bribe them with food. Meat baby food (make sure it only has meat - no onions) is what most people use.

Bring in the baby food an a small plate. Talk to them a few minutes and let them know you aren't going to hurt them - get them used to your voice and presence. When you are ready to leave pop open the baby food (you want a distinctive noise so they can associate it with good stuff) put it on the plate, put it in the cage, close the cage door and leave. After a few sessions stay a little bit so they can decide to come out while you are there and the door is closed. The goal is that they see you as a sign of good things to come and are happy to see you. I pasted a link but feel free to pm me if you have questions or anything. I can point you to an awesome yahoo group for feral cat taming.

http://www.feralcat.com/taming.html

Bijou

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2012, 02:09:21 PM »
I have nothing to add as Wolfie's post seems right on to me. 
These are lucky kitties to be coming to you with your loving concern.  I wanted to say thanks for taking these little guys into your home. 
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Shoo

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2012, 03:17:04 PM »
Thanks for all the great info!  I don't have a dog crate, but what I have is a pet "play pen" with metal bars that a kitty can't really climb up too easily.

We're on our way out the door right now to go see them.  I'll post pics when we get a chance later today!

Shoo

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2012, 06:21:39 PM »
So we are home with our new kittens!  It was instant love.  They are so cute, although they were filthy and terrified.  When we got them home we thought it best to just go ahead and give them a bath, since they were already a little traumatized.  Get it all out of the way.

Here is Sissy Cat before her first bath:


During her bath:


And Sissy all clean:


Tiger Kitty before his first bath:


Tiger during his bath:


And Tiger all clean:


Both of them keeping warm after their baths:


They are now in their carrier, inside the playpen.  They're sleeping at the moment.  I reckon it's going to be a while before they are brave enough to venture out of the carrier, but when they do, there's food and fresh water waiting for them.  Poor little critters.  So precious.

wolfie

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2012, 06:26:05 PM »
So cute! They look young enough that you probably won't need a lot of taming time with them! I was expecting much older kittens. Just keep talking to them and interacting with them - they will have you wrapped around their paws in no time. :-)

Are you sure Tiger Kitty is a him? Looks like a Tiger Calico and most of them are female.

Ms_Cellany

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2012, 06:34:26 PM »
Adorable!  And I echo that Tiger is probably a girl, because of the calico.
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JoW

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2012, 06:42:24 PM »
Human baby food may not be nutritionally right for kittens.  I would go to the nearest pet store and get canned kitten food.  You can wait a few days.  Anything you give them can't help but be better than the 1/2 dead sparrows and other small critters their mother was probably feeding them.

Its not easy to tell tiny boy kittens from tiny girl kittens.  Have the vet check the first time you take them in.  Do that soon.  Many feral animals have digestive worms.  The vet will check in that first visit.  And if worms are found the vet will teach you how to squirt wormer in their mouths.  There's a trick to keep them from spitting it out. 

Bijou

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2012, 08:35:25 PM »
They are adorable!  There must be some trust if you were able to bathe them without mishap! 
My sister named her cat Ethyl and found later that it was a male.  He was Ethyl, anyway.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2012, 09:54:48 PM »
*sqeeeeee*

I can't believe you got through the bathing in one piece!  Agree with the others that a trip to the vet asap is in order.  If you can take some of their feces with you, they can do a worm check, that way, too.  And I also agree that at their age, they won't need much taming.  They'll probably settle right in.  Warm?  Food?  Less scary noises?  SCORE!
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Reika

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2012, 10:15:26 PM »
The poor things look a little shellshocked, but I bet they were grateful to have the nastiness off of them, which is probably why they didn't fight too much.

So adorable though!

Venus193

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2012, 10:25:15 PM »
Awwwwwwww!  How adorable they are!  Give them some toys to attack and lots of cuddles.  Such cuteness!

greencat

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2012, 10:39:56 PM »
At that age, instead of trying the hands-off-give-them-space method of feral taming, you can just set yourself up as "replacement mommy."  Means lots of snuggling and maybe even some kitten milk to really give them that "this is the new mama" sense. 

Tiger is something like 99% likely to be female, and almost certainly sterile if not (my parents actually did have a naturally sterile dilute longhair tortoiseshell male - gorgeous, but dumb as a box of rocks.)

If you are going to feed human baby food, you will still need to get them some form of cat-specific vitamins - the meat flavored gels generally go over well, but you may have to experiment with different brands to find the one they try to eat your fingers for.  Err, watch out for your fingers when you give them the vitamin gel.  Kitten teeth are sharp.

Kittens are so much easier to house train than puppies.  Just watch them to make sure they aren't eating the litter, and switch to a pine-based one if they do.  I've seen cats have pica incidents with every type of litter but pine.



Jocelyn

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2012, 11:11:26 PM »
I tamed a litter of ferals a few years back. I kept them in my bathroom, and would go in several times a day to sit and talk with them to get them used to my voice. I would take in toys to play with them but be careful not to leave anything they can get tangled up in! They liked to pounce on strings, but I always carried the strings out with me. I would handle them whether they wanted to be petted or not. One of them was a hiss-monster, and I would tell her, 'You know what hissing gets you?' and pick her up and cuddle her until she would purr.
They still live with me (it wasn't as easy to find them homes as I thought it would be!) and all are very satisfactory pets, if somewhat shy of company. I'd really encourage you to have cat-loving friends help you with the taming, so that they don't learn to be shy of all humans except for you, like my Gang of Four are.

Elfmama

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Re: Adopting 2 feral kittens (possibly today!)
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2012, 11:46:59 PM »
Yes, socialization is very important.  Even if the kittens hide at first, letting them hear non-threatening human voices will help.

How old do you think they are?  From the pictures, I can tell that they aren't tiny babies.  My wild guess would be 10-12 weeks old, so kitten milk replacer is probably unnecessary.  I'd go with a good quality dry kitten chow for a balanced diet, maybe canned food once a day, and the suggested baby meat as a treat to get them to associate you with Good Things, not the main component of their diet.  Do NOT give them cows' milk right away.  Many cats have diarrhea  if they drink cows' milk, and their little tummies will have enough to do to adjust from mice to dry food.

(As an aside, meat baby food is one of those things that even a seriously ill cat will eat, even if they're refusing other foods.)

How fast they tame down may come down to their own personalities.  The stray kitten currently sleeping in my downstairs bathroom was reported to be a feral, but if so he's the most people-loving feral I've ever heard of!
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