Friendly mother but very fearful kittens

kittensfiretime

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Hi!

Recently we discovered a litter of two kittens who look to be about maybe 6-8 weeks, possibly more, of age, living in our shed and they're adorable: an entirely black little one and a tabby. They are very fearful of humans, but will come out to eat food when we move further away. Yesterday mama cat also decided to show up, she's a small tabby and very friendly, clearly been socialised.

We're planning on continuing to feed them, but is there any way we can gain the kittens' trust enough to take all of them in? I've read countless tales of feral mothers and kittens being taken in, but haven't found much when it's the other way around. I'd hope the kittens can be socialised eventually as well, they seem to be weaned since they're eating wet food with no issues, so they're definitely on the older side. Would a humane trap work for kittens if they continue to refuse to trust us?

Thanks!
 

maggie101

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Hi!

Recently we discovered a litter of two kittens who look to be about maybe 6-8 weeks, possibly more, of age, living in our shed and they're adorable: an entirely black little one and a tabby. They are very fearful of humans, but will come out to eat food when we move further away. Yesterday mama cat also decided to show up, she's a small tabby and very friendly, clearly been socialised.

We're planning on continuing to feed them, but is there any way we can gain the kittens' trust enough to take all of them in? I've read countless tales of feral mothers and kittens being taken in, but haven't found much when it's the other way around. I'd hope the kittens can be socialised eventually as well, they seem to be weaned since they're eating wet food with no issues, so they're definitely on the older side. Would a humane trap work for kittens if they continue to refuse to trust us?

Thanks!
Yes, humane trap before they have more litters. 3-4 months old they can mate. Kittens can be socialized and sounds like the mother could too
 

Norachan

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They probably haven't seen people before, which is why they are so fearful, but they are at the perfect age to socialize.

Can you take in all three of them, mother as well?

If the mother is already friendly it should be pretty easy. Much simpler than working with a feral mother and un-socialized kittens. I suggest you prepare a room for them, as it will make them feel much safer and make it much easier to gain their trust if they are all in one confined space. Then, once the room is ready, trap the kittens and either coax the mother into a carrier with some food or trap her too. If she is friendly she might even let you pick her up, but it's much safer to coax her into a carrier than to pick up a cat you don't know very well.

A few articles here that might help.

Kitten Proofing Your Home: 13 Practical Tips – TheCatSite Articles
How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home – TheCatSite Articles
Bringing Home A New Cat – The Complete Guide – TheCatSite Articles
Handling Feral Cats – TheCatSite Articles
14 Cat Experts Reveal: How To Get A Cat To Like Me – TheCatSite Articles

I've taken in lots of feral born kittens. They usually warm up to people very quickly, particularly if you can get them safely indoors when they are still small.

Good luck, please keep us posted.
 

moxiewild

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Can you get a photo of the kittens so users here can help verify age for you?

Kittens can eat solid food at around 4 weeks (however, the weaning process can continue for 12+ weeks even while some of their diet consists of solid foods), so they may be younger than you think if that’s what you’re basing it on!

But if they’re as young as you say, then they will be a breeze to socialize regardless if you bring them indoors! And if mom is already socialized and you bring her in too, then it will go even faster since the kittens will be able to observe her behavior with you and learn from it.

Thank you for caring for these guys!
 

lavishsqualor

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I totally agree! Get mom and her kittens inside and they'll all be sitting on your lap before you know it.

You are A W E S O M E for helping this little family! We tend to say that a lot on this site but we mean it. Just know that there's a guy in Orlando, Florida, right now thinking how great you are!

And please . . . get us some pictures!
 

fionasmom

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You are so kind to take an interest in this little family. I could not agree more with the other members that getting the whole family right now is so much easier than doing this later. If the mom is friendly, it is very possible that the kittens will be as well and that right now they are just scared and unsure, not necessarily even truly feral.
 

Antonio65

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A similar thing happened to me 9 years ago.
A rather friendly and socialized mama cat, with two kittens around 8 weeks old, one black the other tabby grey, joined my feral cats colony.
Mama cat was tabby grey.
She would even jump on my lap, the two kittens would run away and hide for hours.
I eventually managed to trap the kittens. I thought I had lost Mama's trust, but when I came back half an hour later to get her too, she just let me pick her up.

Mama was taken to the vet and spayed. A few days later she was adopted by a family. I was then informed that she died a year ago, 8 years after being rescued and adopted.

I brought the two kittens home after they were checked by the vet, and I had them for nearly 2 months.
In my case I wasn't able to really socialize them, I think because I had separated them from their mother, and they couldn't learn from her that people may be good.
I used to handle them everyday, and I used to talk to them a lot, but nothing really worked.
A friend of mine asked me to adopt them and I agreed because I know how good with cats he is.
The two kittens are adult now, and they love their home and all, but they never became friendly cat to strangers, and keep hiding when visitors go to my friend's home. But he loves them.

This is to tell you of an identical story, and to advise you to take the family in and keep the friendly mama along with the kittens so that they can learn from her how to live with humans.
 
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