In need of some advice for my ferals kitties

la4tunjosee

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
31
Good morning

I've been fostering 5-6month old feral siblings for a month, I wanted to adopt them but it was suggested to take them home and see if they would become tame.
I have them in my spare bedroom and spend time with them but when I approach them they run away.
I was able to pet one a few times without her running away or any aggression.
Her brother is a different story, he's terrified and the last few times I've tried to touch him he attacked me and scratched me.
I was told by a friend of mine that has a feral and was tamed by her, she told me if I don't start touching them, they will stay wild and continue to be scared and just live like that forever in my space.
That Brough me anxiety and I felt pressured, I felt like I had a time frame until there weren't going to be able to be tamed by me.
Then I got the opposite advice from the foster coordinator, who told me to wait till they come to me.
I've come to witness how happy & content they are here living with me.
I've been able to sit right next to them while they eat and walk by them without them running.
I'm a bit nervous around them, it's my first time experiencing life with feral.
I guess being attacked a few times has put my guards up.
and having then continually run away from them after I give them so much time and space,I rarely try to approach and touch them outside the spew bedroom.
It seems like they don't care too much in interacting with me unless I make the first move. playing with them or food/treats seem to be the only way to draw them into my space.
Just looking for some advice on expertise on continuing this journey with my young ferals cats.

Thank you Josée
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
7,499
Reaction score
38,856
Location
Southern U.S.
The advice about encouraging them to come to you is great. Pursuing them can make them flee as though being chased by a predator. No rush! Each cat will trust you at their own pace so , while it does take effort, for the most part, the cat must set the pace.
There are some things that can help. It’s always good to let the kitties know you are entering the room. “Coming in.” Short phrases used repeatedly can clue them in to what you are going to do next. Repetition is helpful to them. Cats do like to understand what is coming and what to expect. Routines with feeding and all else can help.
Food is a great tool. Use it as a lure. If you sit near during feeding or , even better, lay on your back very still. Let them learn that they can eat near you undisturbed. They may not do it at first but give it a chance at each feeding if possible. Once they will eat with you near, you can begin to move the food closer to you. Slowly. In time you should be able to have the dish next to you or even on your lap. After repeating this, they should come to trust it is safe and you may be able to put your hand by the dish and start to put out a finger or even , brush against them. This will lead to more contact. They may begin to climb into you.
Using things like Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food that is slightly warmed can lead kitties closer. It will have a nice smell to them. It’s hard for most cats to resist as a treat. If they love some other food, use that. A bit of baby food on a finger might get licked off. Don’t use enough that they feel they can nibble, just a hint to lick. Licking is a bonding thing for cats. Plus! Plus! They will trust just a little more.
A wand toy can be another tool. Don’t startle them by swinging the toy crazily in the air but , instead, drag the toy towards you and let them pursue it. If they come close enough, you may be able to gently touch or stroke them with the wand. Do not leave the wand toy unattended since cats can swallow strings. Some suggest using a sock on a stick as well.
Give the kitties a safe sanctuary. I use cat carriers and that can be very helpful if you ever have to take one to the vet. A box or any cave like space can work though. Place treats and things they love in their sanctuary. You may want to place a blanket or towel over it to make it feel secure to them. Also place a blanket or towel inside as a soft bed.
Another helpful tip is to try stroking them with a soft brush or comb instead of your hand. I leave the brush with them first so they can investigate it and see that it is not a threat. Brushing the tamer one first will put that cats scent on it and may help the more frightened one to approach.
Your scent is important. Leaving something you have worn or slept on for them to smell will get them used to your scent.
Whenever working with them, try to get down to their level. If you stand over them it makes you seem threatening like a predator.
Catnip or a Feliway diffuser might help too. I like to put catnip on my shoe and just lay on the floor while kitties rub against me. Not only does that bring them close, it leaves their scent on me which helps the next time I am near. To them, I smell like them.
Patience and time. Just keep working on it. If you sleep in the room with them then they can examine you as you sleep. You may wake up one day to find them sleeping at your feet. Hang in there. You’re doing a great thing and once these kitties bond with you, the rewards are huge!
Bravo and you have my greatest admiration for helping them!:clap2::goldstar::rock: Please ask any questions you may have. Others will be along to offer more help and support. Please do keep us updated.
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
16,740
Reaction score
35,034
Location
Canada
la4tunjosee la4tunjosee : hello and welcome to TCS. :wave2:
Thanks for wanting to adopt the feral kittens, and for currently fostering them. I suspect a "failed foster" is in your near future. ;)

There really is nothing I can add to Jcatbird Jcatbird 's post. She's an expert at socializing ferals, so you've gotten tons of good advice.

Good luck with the kittens. Please keep us posted on their progress. And do feel free to post lots of pics of them. :camera:
How To Add A Picture To Your Forum Post | TheCatSite
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

la4tunjosee

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
31
la4tunjosee la4tunjosee : hello and welcome to TCS. :wave2:
Thanks for wanting to adopt the feral kittens, and for currently fostering them. I suspect a "failed foster" is in your near future. ;)

There really is nothing I can add to Jcatbird Jcatbird 's post. She's an expert at socializing ferals, so you've gotten tons of good advice.

Good luck with the kittens. Please keep us posted on their progress. And do feel free to post lots of pics of them. :camera:
How To Add A Picture To Your Forum Post | TheCatSite
The advice about encouraging them to come to you is great. Pursuing them can make them flee as though being chased by a predator. No rush! Each cat will trust you at their own pace so , while it does take effort, for the most part, the cat must set the pace.
There are some things that can help. It’s always good to let the kitties know you are entering the room. “Coming in.” Short phrases used repeatedly can clue them in to what you are going to do next. Repetition is helpful to them. Cats do like to understand what is coming and what to expect. Routines with feeding and all else can help.
Food is a great tool. Use it as a lure. If you sit near during feeding or , even better, lay on your back very still. Let them learn that they can eat near you undisturbed. They may not do it at first but give it a chance at each feeding if possible. Once they will eat with you near, you can begin to move the food closer to you. Slowly. In time you should be able to have the dish next to you or even on your lap. After repeating this, they should come to trust it is safe and you may be able to put your hand by the dish and start to put out a finger or even , brush against them. This will lead to more contact. They may begin to climb into you.
Using things like Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food that is slightly warmed can lead kitties closer. It will have a nice smell to them. It’s hard for most cats to resist as a treat. If they love some other food, use that. A bit of baby food on a finger might get licked off. Don’t use enough that they feel they can nibble, just a hint to lick. Licking is a bonding thing for cats. Plus! Plus! They will trust just a little more.
A wand toy can be another tool. Don’t startle them by swinging the toy crazily in the air but , instead, drag the toy towards you and let them pursue it. If they come close enough, you may be able to gently touch or stroke them with the wand. Do not leave the wand toy unattended since cats can swallow strings. Some suggest using a sock on a stick as well.
Give the kitties a safe sanctuary. I use cat carriers and that can be very helpful if you ever have to take one to the vet. A box or any cave like space can work though. Place treats and things they love in their sanctuary. You may want to place a blanket or towel over it to make it feel secure to them. Also place a blanket or towel inside as a soft bed.
Another helpful tip is to try stroking them with a soft brush or comb instead of your hand. I leave the brush with them first so they can investigate it and see that it is not a threat. Brushing the tamer one first will put that cats scent on it and may help the more frightened one to approach.
Your scent is important. Leaving something you have worn or slept on for them to smell will get them used to your scent.
Whenever working with them, try to get down to their level. If you stand over them it makes you seem threatening like a predator.
Catnip or a Feliway diffuser might help too. I like to put catnip on my shoe and just lay on the floor while kitties rub against me. Not only does that bring them close, it leaves their scent on me which helps the next time I am near. To them, I smell like them.
Patience and time. Just keep working on it. If you sleep in the room with them then they can examine you as you sleep. You may wake up one day to find them sleeping at your feet. Hang in there. You’re doing a great thing and once these kitties bond with you, the rewards are huge!
Bravo and you have my greatest admiration for helping them!:clap2::goldstar::rock: Please ask any questions you may have. Others will be along to offer more help and support. Please do keep us updated.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to share your wisdom, it’s greatly appreciated.
I feel relief in your words. I will keep you posted.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

la4tunjosee

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
31
I’ve named them yesterday, I thought it would a good way to start feeling connected to them. Hope & Chance ❤
 

Attachments

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
11,947
Reaction score
14,466
Location
Nebraska, USA
They are definitely young enough to come around, it just takes time and a lot of it. Do not force them into accepting petting or socializing. Cats will gravitate towards people who ignore them because they do not feel threatened. Everything sounds perfectly normal at this stage. Try not to feel nervous, they can sense that. Leave treats when you leave them and they will associate that with you. The boy will witness you being nice to his sister, and that will go a long way in making him feel more comfortable. If you can sit by them while they eat, that is huge! I have often tamed down ferals by stroking them while they eat, that may be the next step, but do not force them. This just takes time and a lot of it. In a year you will wonder what made you nervous and love the attention they are giving you!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

la4tunjosee

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
31
They are definitely young enough to come around, it just takes time and a lot of it. Do not force them into accepting petting or socializing. Cats will gravitate towards people who ignore them because they do not feel threatened. Everything sounds perfectly normal at this stage. Try not to feel nervous, they can sense that. Leave treats when you leave them and they will associate that with you. The boy will witness you being nice to his sister, and that will go a long way in making him feel more comfortable. If you can sit by them while they eat, that is huge! I have often tamed down ferals by stroking them while they eat, that may be the next step, but do not force them. This just takes time and a lot of it. In a year you will wonder what made you nervous and love the attention they are giving you!
Thank you so much 😊
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14

la4tunjosee

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
31
The advice about encouraging them to come to you is great. Pursuing them can make them flee as though being chased by a predator. No rush! Each cat will trust you at their own pace so , while it does take effort, for the most part, the cat must set the pace.
There are some things that can help. It’s always good to let the kitties know you are entering the room. “Coming in.” Short phrases used repeatedly can clue them in to what you are going to do next. Repetition is helpful to them. Cats do like to understand what is coming and what to expect. Routines with feeding and all else can help.
Food is a great tool. Use it as a lure. If you sit near during feeding or , even better, lay on your back very still. Let them learn that they can eat near you undisturbed. They may not do it at first but give it a chance at each feeding if possible. Once they will eat with you near, you can begin to move the food closer to you. Slowly. In time you should be able to have the dish next to you or even on your lap. After repeating this, they should come to trust it is safe and you may be able to put your hand by the dish and start to put out a finger or even , brush against them. This will lead to more contact. They may begin to climb into you.
Using things like Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food that is slightly warmed can lead kitties closer. It will have a nice smell to them. It’s hard for most cats to resist as a treat. If they love some other food, use that. A bit of baby food on a finger might get licked off. Don’t use enough that they feel they can nibble, just a hint to lick. Licking is a bonding thing for cats. Plus! Plus! They will trust just a little more.
A wand toy can be another tool. Don’t startle them by swinging the toy crazily in the air but , instead, drag the toy towards you and let them pursue it. If they come close enough, you may be able to gently touch or stroke them with the wand. Do not leave the wand toy unattended since cats can swallow strings. Some suggest using a sock on a stick as well.
Give the kitties a safe sanctuary. I use cat carriers and that can be very helpful if you ever have to take one to the vet. A box or any cave like space can work though. Place treats and things they love in their sanctuary. You may want to place a blanket or towel over it to make it feel secure to them. Also place a blanket or towel inside as a soft bed.
Another helpful tip is to try stroking them with a soft brush or comb instead of your hand. I leave the brush with them first so they can investigate it and see that it is not a threat. Brushing the tamer one first will put that cats scent on it and may help the more frightened one to approach.
Your scent is important. Leaving something you have worn or slept on for them to smell will get them used to your scent.
Whenever working with them, try to get down to their level. If you stand over them it makes you seem threatening like a predator.
Catnip or a Feliway diffuser might help too. I like to put catnip on my shoe and just lay on the floor while kitties rub against me. Not only does that bring them close, it leaves their scent on me which helps the next time I am near. To them, I smell like them.
Patience and time. Just keep working on it. If you sleep in the room with them then they can examine you as you sleep. You may wake up one day to find them sleeping at your feet. Hang in there. You’re doing a great thing and once these kitties bond with you, the rewards are huge!
Bravo and you have my greatest admiration for helping them!:clap2::goldstar::rock: Please ask any questions you may have. Others will be along to offer more help and support. Please do keep us updated.
Good morning

It’s been 2 months since I’ve had the kitties.
A few bumps in the road, one month in one of them peed on a rug in the spare bedroom, so I got a second litter box and then they peed on a blanket that they slept on in the spare bedroom.
When I’m home I let them out of the spare bedroom supervised and they haven’t peed outside the litter box.
I feel it’s behavioral and he’s being aggressive with her behind closed doors but I’m not sure.

That aside, I’ve been able to get her to eat wet food from my hand and they eat with there bowl on my lap but I’m not able to touch them still, there still scared.
I feel discouraged, I’ve give them so much space and I only try to touch them if were playing or when they eat off my lap.

I waited a week for them to trust me before attempting to touch them on my lap has you said.
I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing or maybe I’m not doing enough.
Is it mistake letting them roam freely, I don’t keep them locked up in the spare bedroom.
Should I be sitting in the spare bedroom with them with the door closed?
I’m having a hard time connecting with them, sometimes it seems they rather hang out in a different room then be around me.

it’s like I always have to entice them If I want them near by.
It feels like they have each other and that’s all they need.
When I play with them they get lost and can play for hours.
I just wish they would trust me more and allow me to touch them.

Your last response to me was very encouraging and I’ve reread it a few times to sooth my worries after feeling discouraged with my progress.


I’m just wondering what I’m doing wrong or if there anything more I can do..
Thank you for listening
Josée
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15

la4tunjosee

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
31

CatladyJan

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
684
Reaction score
1,399
Good morning

It’s been 2 months since I’ve had the kitties.
A few bumps in the road, one month in one of them peed on a rug in the spare bedroom, so I got a second litter box and then they peed on a blanket that they slept on in the spare bedroom.
When I’m home I let them out of the spare bedroom supervised and they haven’t peed outside the litter box.
I feel it’s behavioral and he’s being aggressive with her behind closed doors but I’m not sure.

That aside, I’ve been able to get her to eat wet food from my hand and they eat with there bowl on my lap but I’m not able to touch them still, there still scared.
I feel discouraged, I’ve give them so much space and I only try to touch them if were playing or when they eat off my lap.

I waited a week for them to trust me before attempting to touch them on my lap has you said.
I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing or maybe I’m not doing enough.
Is it mistake letting them roam freely, I don’t keep them locked up in the spare bedroom.
Should I be sitting in the spare bedroom with them with the door closed?
I’m having a hard time connecting with them, sometimes it seems they rather hang out in a different room then be around me.

it’s like I always have to entice them If I want them near by.
It feels like they have each other and that’s all they need.
When I play with them they get lost and can play for hours.
I just wish they would trust me more and allow me to touch them.

Your last response to me was very encouraging and I’ve reread it a few times to sooth my worries after feeling discouraged with my progress.


I’m just wondering what I’m doing wrong or if there anything more I can do..
Thank you for listening
Josée
It's so understandable to feel discouraged, this is not an easy undertaking. Of the 4 I trapped in August, 2 have gone on to be adopted. They other 2 are going to get a good chance. Of the other 2, one just started warming up to me 'finally' and now he is probably going to a shelter (which is good). I've got 2 more that are 3 months younger and they socialized fast because I learned and got them sooner and learned from the first group.

I can so relate to feeling they have each other and that is enough and I wish I had the answer to that, I have read that it's best to separate to speed up socialization. One thing you can try is to let one out of the room at a time to play one on one, watch tv, do things online.... just let them observe you.

I'm so grateful for people like you who care enough to make a difference and sometimes that difference takes longer than we would like.
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
7,499
Reaction score
38,856
Location
Southern U.S.
You are not doing anything wrong! You are making progress. You can try keeping them in one room so they have to focus on you more or you can just keep up the tepitition. As kittens they need a ton of play time but they will grow out of some of that. As they mature they will stay bonded but may be more interested in letting time or snuggling the human! Lol You’re doing fine just keep up the good work!
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
16,740
Reaction score
35,034
Location
Canada
Thanks again for helping with their socialization. It may seem like things are going slowly, but they're out in the open and look happy, so progress is being made.

It feels like they have each other and that’s all they need.
I have read threads where the cat parent of a single cat, decides their cat is lonely and needs a feline friend, and will notice the original cat becomes less clingy towards the human once there's a second cat in the home. So your observation is probably not wrong. However that doesn't mean your fosters won't still learn to love human interaction. So keep up what you're doing.
:redheartpump: :petcat::redheartpump:
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19

la4tunjosee

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
31
It's so understandable to feel discouraged, this is not an easy undertaking. Of the 4 I trapped in August, 2 have gone on to be adopted. They other 2 are going to get a good chance. Of the other 2, one just started warming up to me 'finally' and now he is probably going to a shelter (which is good). I've got 2 more that are 3 months younger and they socialized fast because I learned and got them sooner and learned from the first group.

I can so relate to feeling they have each other and that is enough and I wish I had the answer to that, I have read that it's best to separate to speed up socialization. One thing you can try is to let one out of the room at a time to play one on one, watch tv, do things online.... just let them observe you.

I'm so grateful for people like you who care enough to make a difference and sometimes that difference takes longer than we would like.
Thank you, I’m glad I’m not alone 😊
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20

la4tunjosee

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
31
You are not doing anything wrong! You are making progress. You can try keeping them in one room so they have to focus on you more or you can just keep up the tepitition. As kittens they need a ton of play time but they will grow out of some of that. As they mature they will stay bonded but may be more interested in letting time or snuggling the human! Lol You’re doing fine just keep up the good work!
Thank you, I needed to hear that 😊
Happy New Year 🎉🎉
 
Top