First Time Feral Mom Needs Advice

sharonwitch

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Hoping to get some advice regarding a feral kitten I recently rescued. It had appeared by my office so I had been leaving food & water out. Seems to be maybe 8-10 weeks old, not really sure. I trapped him/her (still don't know what it is lol) about 4 days ago. I have had kittens over the years, but never a feral kitten, but I know it can take a long time for them to warm up to humans. My friend had a cat playpen type thing, so we put it right in there after we caught it. It still hisses, spits & swats at me a little when I put anything new in there - food, water, litter box. I have been sitting with it whenever I can, talking, reading, trying to get it used to my voice. It seems to tolerate that, but nothing more. Yesterday I saw it cleaning itself after dinner & that was actually a thrill for me because sometimes it just sits there staring at me lol. Anyway, my goal was to get it to the vet to get checked out today - I have a 13 yo male - not that they would have any contact yet of course, but I wanted to make sure it got an exam, shots, tests, the works. Well, I thought I would be able to get it with a pair of gloves and transfer it to the carrier, but that was an epic fail. I, in fact, was super nervous and worried about it because I had a feeling this would not go well. There was hissing and growling and because it's a circular playpen, it was always facing me and I could not grab the scruff or get it from behind so I had to abort the mission. But, of course, it was very upset and now I'm worried that it's never going to trust me or it's going to take weeks for it to trust me again. I literally sat there and cried before I called the vet to say I had to reschedule the appt. I feel so bad that now it's probably more scared of me. Had I known it would be this unapproachable, I probably would have left it in a big carrier until I could take it to the vet so I didn't have to transfer it.

If I didn't need to take it to the vet, I really would have just let things progress slowly, and now I'm regretting trying to take it to soon without being able to pick it up easily. It seems relatively healthy, but I know it needs to be checked out eventually. Does anyone have any experience with feral kittens and can offer me some tips or suggestions? Do you think she's going to hate me forever?? I feel like such a failure. I attached a picture when she was a bit more relaxed last night (I tend to call her a she, but I have no clue). If anyone has an idea how many weeks this cat looks to be, that would be great too. I first saw the mother & 4 kittens walking together probably the beginning of June and then there were only 2 kittens coming around, and the last few weeks only this one, so I'm not sure what happened to the others.

Thanks for any help! :)
 

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Furballsmom

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I know it can take a long time for them to warm up to humans
Hi! You're ok, you haven't ruined your relationship with her, I promise.

She'll be wary of you for a bit, but think of it from her perspective, --that's the only sensible reaction to have. She is working on figuring out a ton of things, including all the sounds and smells inside as well as outside her area, never mind you yourself:).

You hopefully got another appointment fairly soon? She needs to be checked out, there could be things needing attention that aren't readily visible.

Be strong, take her in, and otherwise do as you were by sitting with her and that sort of thing.

You're better at this than you think :vibes::hearthrob::heartshape::hearthrob:
 

poolcat

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How big is the playpen... small enough to put in the car (with help)? Does it compress at all?

Really, four days is nothing. Not to discourage you, but it took a full month for my current foster cat to come out from hiding, and she wasn't feral. And another month before she began to be friendly. Now she lies on top of me at night, though she's still a little wary sometimes during the day.

It's so hard to be patient when all you want to do is pick them up and hug them.

Edit: Forgot to say . . . I think you're close re her age. My guess from the photo was a couple of months. Though she might be older if malnourished.
 
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sharonwitch

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Hi! You're ok, you haven't ruined your relationship with her, I promise.

She'll be wary of you for a bit, but think of it from her perspective, --that's the only sensible reaction to have. She is working on figuring out a ton of things, including all the sounds and smells inside as well as outside her area, never mind you yourself:).

You hopefully got another appointment fairly soon? She needs to be checked out, there could be things needing attention that aren't readily visible.

Be strong, take her in, and otherwise do as you were by sitting with her and that sort of thing.

You're better at this than you think :vibes::hearthrob::heartshape::hearthrob:
Thanks so much for the kind words :redheartpump:
 
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sharonwitch

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How big is the playpen... small enough to put in the car (with help)? Does it compress at all?

Really, four days is nothing. Not to discourage you, but it took a full month for my current foster cat to come out from hiding, and she wasn't feral. And another month before she began to be friendly. Now she lies on top of me at night, though she's still a little wary sometimes during the day.

It's so hard to be patient when all you want to do is pick them up and hug them.

Edit: Forgot to say . . . I think you're close re her age. My guess from the photo was a couple of months. Though she might be older if malnourished.
The playpen is too big unfortunately & doesn’t give much. I thought about it lol. That’s my problem-I’m impatient & want her to love me right away. It’s a whole different world with a feral kitten. It actually makes me feel better that you’re telling me 4 days is nothing. I just have to be patient.
 

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sharonwitch

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How to Socialize Feral Kittens<br/> — Kitten Lady
How to Socialize a Kitten
Taming Feral Kittens | Community Concern For Cats

Will a carrier fit in the playpen? It could be left there without attempting to close it. You could even remove the door for the time being.
It is true that 4 days is nothing in the time it takes to socialize a feral kitten. She is young enough (or he) to be completely socialized, even if you are beyond the 8 week cutoff.

Thank you for helping this kitten.
Thank you so much. I’m thinking about getting a smaller carrier that would fit inside, which might work.
 

DB89014

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I have a semi feral adult and I leave her carrier open in her room all the time. Its become her "safe space". She sleeps in it and runs into it if she gets scared which has become a godsend any time I've had to take her to the vet so far its been super easy because she just goes right in even though I can't pick her up
 
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