new 6 week old kitten - socialization tips?

Suru

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Due to unforeseen circumstances I've taken in a kitten approx 6 weeks old. The friend who found her at around 3-4 weeks old said Kitten was being attacked by stray cats, so she took it in. Sadly, my friend's family adamantly didn't want to keep the kitten. After much discussion about the issues of having someone else raise a single kitten, we decided that the better option is for me to foster it as I have a very chill 3 yo cat - Getz, who is wonderful with other cats.

We're currently heading into day 4. They are playing better together, having made much progress from
Day 1: Kitten hissing at Getz
Day 2: Kitten stalking Getz
Day 3: Kitten attempting to play with Getz, who will sometimes engage and is actually quite gentle. But since he is so much bigger than Kitten, Kitten often backs off a little before coming back for more. Watching him play pounce the kitten is like watching a tank running down a sedan, lol. He will swat at her occasionally, I'm guessing to establish boundaries.

I'm hoping that my boy will teach Kitten proper socialization and cat manners, but I'm wondering whether it's enough to prepare her to become a confident, happy cat. She doesn't like being handled much, so I'm working on that by holding her while I prep her meals.
I was blessed with adopting Getz at 5 months old, he was the most confident and fearless kitten ever, so I haven't had any experience with a nervous cat, much less a kitten who left her mom too soon.

I'm hoping to hear suggestions and tips on doing right by this little girl. I would also love to hear from anyone who experienced a similar situation - how did the kitten turn out?
 

danteshuman

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What did the vet say? Does she have health issues? Or is she ok? Is she on kitten gruel? 1/2 kmr & 1/2 kitten wet food. Or is she all on solid food? Kittens as young can be put on solid food only but left to their own devices will take a bit of milk or nursing until they are 7-8 weeks old.

At 6 weeks old I would pick her up and place her on my chest ..... maybe even try to puuuuuurrrrr at her. You can try the reverse hoodie where you carry her around in the hoodie.

People recommend you not free feed feral kittens so they associate you more with food/goodness. I know people think temptations are the devil but now is the time where I would give her & your patient resident cat s single treat like 3-5 times a day. Really sell that humans are good treat givers.

I would play with her. Play with your resident cat in front of her to get her started.

I would invite everyone you can to meet her and give her treats. Get thd kids go play with her or at least pet her. If you have a well behaved cat friendly dog you can borrow (safely before the kitten is vacinated.... I’m not sure about this) expose the kitten to the dog & break out the tuna/catnip. After the kitten is vacinated & it is safe, expose her to dogs/kids/different people as much as possible.⭐ The 3 kittens are used to my niece & nephew. As adults they just want to be up high or 10 feet away from them..... guess they are to unpredictable. 🤷🏻‍♀️

You can sit on the floor and tempt her onto your lap with a ribbon wand toy. At that age give them a quick pet for a second or two then go back to play. Be the furniture & don’t move if she gets on you for at least half an hour.
 

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I took in a little orange feral kitten when she was maybe, 4 weeks old. I have two fixed males and they get along very well with her, although they seemed to be afraid of her for the first several days. She's never been a lap cat, but has over time become fond of grooming, which she sometimes does to me as well.

I made "kitty slop" from KMR and wet food as soon as she'd eat it. She already would lap up KMR from a dish when I got her (found that a little odd at four weeks of age, but it saved me some work). Gradually, I mixed some dry food with the sloppy stuff. She still took some KMR up to 2 1/2 months or so.

She was standoffish when she was younger, and petting her at mealtimes worked to get her accustomed to some degree of handling. I could never free-feed her as the two others are "scarf-n-barfers." Eventually, bathroom time in the morning became her social hour with me. It's where she feels most comfortable with handling--especially when I'm on the "throne." She also enjoys "helping" me as I shave.

Over the years, I find that ping pong balls are the cheapest toys to be had and are enjoyed by the largest number of cats. Put one in the bathtub for her when she gets old enough to get in and out on her own, or you can put it in the shower if you have a stall shower. I couldn't do the shower routine with mine, as they figured out how to get the strainer off and I didn't want ping pong balls going down the drain. I used a whiffle ball there, but the cats didn't like it as much as ping pong balls.
 
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Suru

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What did the vet say? Does she have health issues? Or is she ok?
She was seen about a week ago, she had worms and was dewormed (I forgot to ask my friend which worms), but otherwise given a clean bill of health. I'm so bad with timelines, since she was seen a week ago, maybe she's 8 weeks old now? I believe she's due to have her first round of vaccines next week. Kitten's been eating solid food since 3 weeks ago, and already knew how to use the litter - I'm so glad I don't have to go through a bottle feeding process!

Today she's been playing quite well with my resident cat! I've also started playing with both of them using a string toy, and my boy is very good at letting her have her turn. I was thinking about introducing more people to her as well. we have 3 people in the house, but I'm wondering whether I should start bringing her around to my friend's houses when she's 100% comfortable with Getz...

You can sit on the floor and tempt her onto your lap with a ribbon wand toy. At that age give them a quick pet for a second or two then go back to play. Be the furniture & don’t move if she gets on you for at least half an hour.
Oh no, I'm really going to turn into a skeleton now aren't I :flail:
 
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Suru

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I took in a little orange feral kitten when she was maybe, 4 weeks old. I have two fixed males and they get along very well with her, although they seemed to be afraid of her for the first several days. She's never been a lap cat, but has over time become fond of grooming, which she sometimes does to me as well.

I made "kitty slop" from KMR and wet food as soon as she'd eat it. She already would lap up KMR from a dish when I got her (found that a little odd at four weeks of age, but it saved me some work). Gradually, I mixed some dry food with the sloppy stuff. She still took some KMR up to 2 1/2 months or so.

She was standoffish when she was younger, and petting her at mealtimes worked to get her accustomed to some degree of handling. I could never free-feed her as the two others are "scarf-n-barfers." Eventually, bathroom time in the morning became her social hour with me. It's where she feels most comfortable with handling--especially when I'm on the "throne." She also enjoys "helping" me as I shave.

Over the years, I find that ping pong balls are the cheapest toys to be had and are enjoyed by the largest number of cats. Put one in the bathtub for her when she gets old enough to get in and out on her own, or you can put it in the shower if you have a stall shower. I couldn't do the shower routine with mine, as they figured out how to get the strainer off and I didn't want ping pong balls going down the drain. I used a whiffle ball there, but the cats didn't like it as much as ping pong balls.
The pingpong ball in the bath tub seems like an awesome idea! I wonder why I've never thought of it before, I'm definitely going to try that with both of them.

My boy was scared of her on the first day too! not he lets her paw and bat at him. it hasn't gotten to the point where she's jumping and climbing all over him, but I wouldn't be surprised if that happens tomorrow, lol.

I'm doing all the handling just before she gets her meals (4x a day), including picking her up, and trimming a claw or two if I can get away with it. She's protesting much less now knowing there's food coming at the end of the handling, and her progress has been very rewarding!

I honestly don't mind if she doesn't end up being cuddly, I just dont want her to grow up into an anxious kitty.
 

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Being the furniture worked for mutiple cats. It helped raise 3 cuddly kittens into snuggly cats ..... even the one with bypersensatvity when you pet her. Cami doesn’t like to be pet but she loves to be next to or on us.

This is Jackie who I raised from 4 weeks on. He views me as furniture half the time but he is a total lap cat. If he is sleeping I don't pet him.
 

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Suru

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Quick update, she is doing super well. Definitely gone from coward single kitten to brave explorer. Whereas she was terrified of even leaving my friend's bedroom previously, she's now doing kitty zoomies all over my 3 story split level house!
I think having my older cat as a fearless feline role model played an instrumental part in her rapid progress. She's also gone from 2lb to 3lbs in the past 2 weeks, I'm almost a little worried that she's a bit chonky for being approx 10 weeks... lol
 

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danteshuman

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I’m so glad to hear she is feeling braver and firmly attached to her humans!

Don’t worry about her weight until she is 2 years old. Until then she is still growing. Your vet can tell you if your cat is overweight & if so how much to feed her.Though please feel free to include more adorable kitten pictures so we can see her cute chunky kitten belly! 😻
 

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your kitten is a very lucky little baby ! Yes - having your cat as a role model and also ... future source of manners teacher will be enough for the little baby. Older cats are amazingly tollerant of little kittens but will draw the lines of allowing misbehavior later on. Introductions under the 8-10 week mark are often easy and chances are good that they will get along in the future as well. I have 5 cats ... all of them foster failures and introduced as young babies to my resident cats and life is very harmonic here. All 5 play, eat and sleep together , they romp around, discipline each other ( especially those pesky teenage punk kittens who can get quite rambunctious between age 4 month and 1.5 years ) . All my babies were spayed and neutered as kittens before the age of 12 weeks which prevented a lot of animosities due to gender specific issues it seems ... I believe most cats love having a buddy - especially young cats ... my bunch spends hours playing, grooming and interacting with each other
 
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Suru

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Don’t worry about her weight until she is 2 years old. Until then she is still growing.
That’s good to know, she’s going through one 5.5oz can of wet food a day, what an appetite. There’s always dry food available should she need it, but I haven’t seen her attempt to eat it much.


Yes - having your cat as a role model and also ... future source of manners teacher will be enough for the little baby. Older cats are amazingly tollerant of little kittens but will draw the lines of allowing misbehavior later on. Introductions under the 8-10 week mark are often easy and chances are good that they will get along in the future as well.
Yes, I would totally do it all over again in the future (bring me more kittens!). I would also need to find a higher paying job to afford all those vet visits 😂 My older boy is a great role model, he lets her climb all over him and puts up with being her personal chew toy... lol

I’ve discovered that hissing is a great teaching tool, if I see her trying to swing off the curtains or climb the the couch I can get her to pretty much stop immediately by hissing from across the room. That, along with food to reinforcing good behavior, and she’s now practically a completely different kitten from a month ago :)

This week we started harness training!
 

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Suru

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Oh my, we're almost at 4 months and Pepper's (yes she has a name now!) become the sweetest lap cat. I was clipping her claws for the second time the other day, and she didn't even flinch. She also remains completely still and trusting for ear cleanings etc. so I'm thinking of introducing her to the....dun dun dun... toothbrush very soon. Somehow she has also acquired the gentlest paws ever, no more of that claws out and getting caught in everything (such as my skin..ouch!). I have no idea how this happened, but gee I'm proud of her!
 
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