I went to the shelter today to pick up a short term foster. I was given my choice of two separate litters of semi-feral kittens who were on "the list" for this weekend. Knowing what choosing one litter over the other was likely to mean for the other litter I obviously chose both! I have two weeks to convince them that people are a good thing. I have my work cut out for me but think I am up to the task. So far I have one stolen hub cap off my car from in front of the shelter and one bite wound on my finger to show for it but they are all safely tucked in my foster room, freshly bathed. One of the litters has the runs so they are separated for at least today. Pictures to follow after they dry off.
I used to specialize in ferals when I fostered for the shelter.
My main tip? Be "in their face" as much as possible. My fav was to keep them in a big dog crate and put them right in the middle of the living room, or some other busy room of the house. Then they'd get used to all the action, with frequent visits by me to force some petting.
The "forced interaction" tactic can seem a little harsh when the little itty bitties are hissing at you, but pretty much you just gotta introduce them to scratches and they're sold on domesticated life! And when it's get used to people or die....well, a little tough love is called for.
I am pretty well versed with ferals, but I appreciate the advice. All but one is coming along really well already but they have all eaten out of my hand several times per day.
So I go to the Urgent place for a tetanus shot and antibiotics and the next thing you know, the sheriff peeks his head in my room! He says he has a form he has to fill out but doesn't have any with him so he will have to come to my house! I get home and there are two cop cars sitting in front of my house. I guess they were blocking any attempt at escape by the kitten until I arrived!
Cop comes in, fills out the form and hands it to me and opens the door to leave. My 13 pound Mama kitty comes barreling into the house at warp speed (who knew she could move that fast?!) right between the cops feet! Almost knocked him flat on his butt. What a day!
This was for any kind of animal bite. I have to quarantine for 10 days then someone from the health department comes and inspects to make sure there is no sign of rabies. I am not even sure which one it was as there are two that look exactly alike but I imagine if one turns out to have rabies they all will. I think that is extremely unlikely at this young age but who knows.
LOL..potholdes!!great idea, i never thought of that.............i always use a HUGE birdcage for the feral kittens, as they are too small, and can escape the dog crates.......and bird cages have several smaller doors,which makes it easier to get in/out without having escapees.................and a ferret hammock is easily hooked to the side rails for cat napping!
isn't it a RIOT ,how something sooooooo tiny get get such a hissy fit on, and try to intimidate you?.........yes, the bites are ouchy, but it just makes me laugh to look at them, with such bravado, knowing that in a week or so, they will be RUNNNING to you for food and affection!
god luck......and thanks for taking both litters!
First let me just say that they are absolutely adorable!!! How's your bite doing? Hope it's healing up well.
Have you ever tried the sling method? One of my foster friends seemed to get a lot of feral kittens and swore by it. Make a sling out of a towel, part of a sheet or whatever and carry the kittens (one at a time) around for as long as you can.
She said it made a big difference in some of her fosters.
I never could get the hang of the sling without worrying that they would jump out and then I'd have a heck of a kitten round-up on my hands.
Good luck! It's so much harder the older they get - amazing what a difference just a week or two make.
These kittens are the gift that keeps on giving! In addition to a sore arm from the tetanus shot I now have a rather uncomfortable lady infection from the antibiotics....
The one who is not doing well got some serious immersion therapy yesterday. She was held in a towel most of the day by someone. She fell asleep in our arms but still hissed when I came in the room to take them out of the crate this morning so I don't know if it helped or not.