They did it again. They brought home more kittens. That’s fine. I don’t have to see them, but I am going to write about them! (We got a few photos, but it’s a bit dark in the bathroom and we didn’t want to flash them, so they’re a little grainy. More to come!)
Here’s the scoop: The FODs were on their way to pull more kittens from being euthanized when, on their way there, they got a call that another rescue beat them to it. Hurray! That’s great news because we know they got saved. Then they got a call that thirteen kittens had been saved from an overcrowded feral situation somewhere in the city and were in desperate need of a foster home. When they said thirteen, I put my foot down. I allowed them three.
And so, today we have three new kittens living in our bathroom. They’re being treated for eye infections so they look a little squinty, like tiny street thugs. They’re completely weaned, so it’s a little different than the last time we fostered. If you recall, last time we had to hand feed, warm them with heating pads, mix special foods, etc. This time, because the kittens are around seven to ten weeks old, they are eating entirely on their own. However, this scenario presents different challenges.
Did you know that if you take in feral kittens that are between six and twelve weeks old, they are going to need much more socialization than kittens who were trapped at six weeks of age or less? I, of course, was a special situation. I was four months old when I showed up at the FODs house and yet all I wanted was love. I’m just a lover. It is known.
So what does socializing a kitten require? Here are a few things you may have to do:
- Start by getting the kittens to eat in front of you. Progress to having them eat next to you, then from a spoon, then from your hand, then to allowing you to pet them while they eat.
- Feed them at appointed times while you are there so they associate food and happy feelings with humans.
- Use wand toys to coax them into playing. Use the toys to gently stroke them until they are ok with being petted by hand.
- Use caution for kittens that you don’t know at all. They have sharp claws and teeth.
- Spend alone time with each kitten to make sure they are all being socialized and that not just the most outgoing kittens are getting love.
- When the kittens are ready, invite friends to come and handle your kittens so they accept a variety of people and not just you.
For more information, Tree House has a fantastic document with lots of information about socializing feral kittens. You can read it here.
And, of course, if you have cats or other animals at home already, make sure you practice excellent hygiene by doing lots of hand washing, wearing a smock or robe when handling the ferals, using slippers or shoes specifically for that room, and keeping your home cats separated from your ferals at all times. Safety first!
PS. Remember: These guys are up for adoption very soon! If you’re interested, contact Erica at Tree House or send us a note and we’ll put you in touch! Please. They can’t stay. I need my bathroom rugs back.