How often should I feed my feral kittens? And... touching!

Julesandtheferals

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
11
Purraise
14
Hello all! Firstly, thank you for reading this post! A week ago, I brought three feral kittens from the farmyard at my house inside my home, in the hope of taming them to rehome (I am considering keeping them however). They are now around 5 weeks old. Whilst I do not have a cage, I am lucky to have a small room just off my lounge, where they are currently residing quite happily (lots of playing, sleeping, playing again...and are kneading the ground after eating, so seem very happy!). I have a 'guard' in the doorway, so I am visible to them at all times (I work from home from my lounge) and I am sitting with them and attempting interactive play for 3-4 hours a day. My questions, which I would appreciate any advice on, are:

1 - How often should I feed them? I am currently putting out milk or wet food at 12pm, 4pm, 8pm and 12am, however they do not come near it when I put it out, they tend to graze. I also have hard nuggets out at all times. I realise this is madness and taming ferals needs to be done via food, however I am totally clueless about how much kittens eat and also have trawled the internet for information on this, and have ended up confused!

2 - Touching the ferals. I have managed to lift each of them maybe once or twice, and they have responded well once lifted, however it is getting harder to catch them, and also I do not want to distress them. I have been advised to keep trying to lift them with a blanket a few times a day, and I have also been advised to wait and let them come to me, which will happen over time, helped by interactive play. So yep... I am confused again!

I honestly will appreciate any help or advice. The back story - I moved into this farmhouse about 6 months ago, there were 5-7 feral cats then. This number swiftly went up to 17. I am now permanently residing in the farmhouse and after realising the extent of the issue - I am addressing it - I have TNR teams coming out for the 14 ferals outside and have 'my three' (the youngest kittens) inside with me now.

Thank you again!

Jules
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
5,417
Purraise
7,814
Location
Los Angeles
Welcome to The Cat Site and thank you for helping these kittens! They are a little on the young side to be away from their mom, but will probably do fine with your care. The first two articles give suggestions about kitten feeding; however, the last one from Hannah Shaw, the Kitten Lady, is extremely complete and her website will also help you with many other questions about kittens. If you are using cow's milk, that is not the best. Goat milk is better but I would probably use a milk replacer specifically for kittens.

If they are friendly, as they seem to be, don't feel as if you have to treat them as ferals. You have brought them in early enough that their socialization is more or less guaranteed. Play with them, maybe get a kitten safe toy or two and, as you are doing, let them see you in the house so that they become used to you. As for running into corners or hiding, that is very typical behavior.

How Old Is That Kitten? Kitten Guide: Five Weeks
How to care for orphaned kittens: Feeding and weaning motherless kittens
Kitten Lady

You have your hands full. Getting the 14 fixed is a great idea and you will find that your "colony" will probably remain stable with few newcomers once that is done.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

Julesandtheferals

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
11
Purraise
14
Welcome to The Cat Site and thank you for helping these kittens! They are a little on the young side to be away from their mom, but will probably do fine with your care. The first two articles give suggestions about kitten feeding; however, the last one from Hannah Shaw, the Kitten Lady, is extremely complete and her website will also help you with many other questions about kittens. If you are using cow's milk, that is not the best. Goat milk is better but I would probably use a milk replacer specifically for kittens.

If they are friendly, as they seem to be, don't feel as if you have to treat them as ferals. You have brought them in early enough that their socialization is more or less guaranteed. Play with them, maybe get a kitten safe toy or two and, as you are doing, let them see you in the house so that they become used to you. As for running into corners or hiding, that is very typical behavior.

How Old Is That Kitten? Kitten Guide: Five Weeks
How to care for orphaned kittens: Feeding and weaning motherless kittens
Kitten Lady

You have your hands full. Getting the 14 fixed is a great idea and you will find that your "colony" will probably remain stable with few newcomers once that is done.

Hi there!

Thank you so, so much - these links are fabulous, I've had a quick look and oh my goodness, so many questions answered already! I shall have a proper explore this evening after I finish work. It is looking like I will be keeping the kittens as our (in Ireland) rescues and rehoming charities (I was planning to foster then rehome by myself with the aid of charities for home checks) are overrun, and I am not at all disappointed. I already cannot imagine them not being here!

Thank you again, so glad I found this forum!
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
5,417
Purraise
7,814
Location
Los Angeles
Please let us know how this goes and remember that you can get help in a lot of different cat areas here on TCS!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

Julesandtheferals

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
11
Purraise
14
I just have to let you know - day 1 of timed meals, following the advice on the links you sent me - and it has been an amazing day! I managed to touch 2 ears. Cannot believe the progress, I cannot thank you enough for your help!
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
5,417
Purraise
7,814
Location
Los Angeles
I am so glad to hear that! As I said, these little ones should adapt very quickly to life with you.
 
Top