Socializing Foster Kittens

You Guys!

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!)

Two of the new foster. They're getting eye meds.
Two of the new fosters. They’re getting eye meds and look a little goopy.

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.
A very interesting looking kitty....
A very interesting looking kitty…. Who seems to like sitting in the litter box.

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!

Love,

Crepes.

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.

17 Comments

  • Crepes, you are such a good sport for letting the FOD’s take in those little sweeties. Good luck, FOD’s! You are doing great and wonderful things.

  • Your pawrents have very loving hearts to care so much,,, I am thankful for your pawrents.
    love
    tweedles

  • Crepes, thanks for the great tips. Connie and Sparkle have some good ideas, too! Your MomFOD is amazing! Extra kitties mean extra work but it is a labor of love.

  • We didn’t know this about little feral kitties. Thank cod your FODs took these babies in. We know they’ll be happy, healthy kitties in no time!

  • Oh, those are cuties for sure. ADORABLE. Ol’ Peepers here is oohin’ and ahhin’ like there’s no tomorrow. I wonder if I should be feelin’ jealous. Hmmm…

    Purrs,
    Nissy #Niss4Senate – tell the PM, today.

  • Wow….what a great thing to do. We really liked your tips for dealing with feral kittens too. Mom says she wished she knew when I came here cause my mother was feral and I had picked up her ways. Mom wondered about me but she persevered and gave me love and now I totally love her back….my favourite time is 4am. hahahaha

    Licks,

    Shoko

  • These are great tips (and Connie’s too!). Crepes, I think you should set up a foster human training program. The kitty community needs more good ones.

  • crepes…total lee rockin awesum oh de fodz ta help out de wee kittehz….even tho we due knot noe if they bee gurl boy boy ore gurl gurl boy ore gurl gurl gurl….boy oh boy oh boy…we will still call em larry moe N curlee for de three stoogez !!!

    best fishes stoogez on finded yur for evers home N try N get used ta de flashin….yur bound ta see butt frum everee wear…for like eternitee ♥♥♥♥♥

  • thanks for this post! I always attribute Cody’s nature (he is beyond loving and cuddly) to his Foster mom. When I adopted him, she had told me that he was her “favorite”, his name at that time was “Prince” so now we call him, “Cody, the cat formerly known as Prince” xoxo

  • we know those kittens are in great hands/paws. it is fun to watch them turn the corner and decide that people are a wonderful thing 🙂

  • Wanna know another little trick? Eat something the kittens want in their presence.. some chicken some steak, etc.. have your dinner with the kittens. When they see you don’t eat kitten for dinner, it does a lot to help over come the fear.. (that and the smell of your dinner)

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