Feral Kitten Foster meal time

Drk2cmp

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We have TNR'd 7 cats this year in our urban backyard. The clinic stopped bc of COVID-19, but we knew there was 1 last female. Sure enough she gave birth in our woodpile, but moved the kittens before we could get them all again.

When they showed up again, the kittens are now around 4 months. They were too old to place with a rescue group, so we are trying to socialize them ourselves.

We are able to pet them, although we still get some hissing when we come into the room. They have some issues when you reach towards their heads. We know it takes time to build trust.

I need help with feeding times because the best word is frenzy. They go crazy over their wet food. When we first had them in a kennel they would be grabbing for the food through the bars, getting it everywhere. So we started feeding them separately in different cages, because we were taking them to the food and they didn't have to protect their meal from the other. This helped a little. Now we keep them in a kennel overnite, and when we let them out to eat in the room they jump all over the place, swat at the hand trying to open the door, and then end up fighting over the same bowl of food when the other is 10" away.

Does anyone have suggestions for making mealtimes less of a frenzy? Thanks in advance.
 

susanm9006

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I would first make sure that they have kibble available to them all day. As growing kittens they need the extra calories and as feral they may have experienced hunger or the need to fight for food. This should make them a hair less aggressive at mealtime. If they still fight over the same bowl I would feed them inseparate locations.
 

fionasmom

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I agree that I would make the kibble available all the time for them and see if that stops the competition. Otherwise continue to feed in separate locations....which is work for you of course. I do think that they will calm down with time. I have TNRed ferals in my back yard and indoor only pets and all have free feeding.
 

moxiewild

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In addition to free feeding, you could try puppy litter feeding bowls - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005EZRJJ6/?tag=thecatsite

We use these for our puppy and kitten litters, and even at some of our feral colonies.

Instead of playing musical bows or pushing each other around, the really food crazy litters will often eat while moving in a circle together, which is pretty funny and cute to watch!

Just watch for any significant food aggression that calls for further separation.
 

di and bob

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I get those tiny paper plates (cheapest) or small styrofoam plates and feed mine separately. The styrofoam works great because the wet food doesn't leak through. Sometimes you have to 'guide' someone towards them, but they sure are easier for me! You can get a hundred of them for 2.99 at Walmart, the paper are even cheaper. For my inside cats, I even soak and clean them in hot soapy water and can get about 4 uses out of each one.
 
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