Semi Feral Kittens rescued - but they seem to be regressing!

Indigo_blue_sky

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Hi Cat Guardians and rescuers!

I am a proud Guardian of 3 kitties currently, the youngest being a failed TNR - she was so sweet and happy when she was recovering from her spay she just easily adjusted to inside life with us and our other cats! Now, she is chubby, happy and rules the roost.

That being said, we have been feeding a feral cat momma. She brought her 3 kittens to feed a few weeks ago, and we have sat outside with them , played with them, loved on them (under momma's watchful eye) and (I thought) semi- socialized them.

We made an executive decision last night to bring in the babies. Picking them up one by one was no problem. We had our small bathroom ready with a big cardboard box with a cat bed inside (basically a giant kitty cave) a litter box with kitten attract, and towels that they had been laying on/playing with while still outside.

We fed them and let them be until this AM. They are definitely eating, drinking and using the litter box, but they are now hissing, swatting, and growling at us, which they have never really done before. They don't want to leave their giant box (maybe a bad idea on my part?) and seem to have regressed. They were sweet when outside, but I feel like I have somehow caused them to regress.

I have an appointment with the vet on Monday for deworming, FIV/Leukemia check etc. for all 3, but worry about causing more trauma to get them out of the box and to the vet!

My first semi feral was so easy and sweet - and she was older! Any thoughts and/or advice is appreciated!
 

nycats

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They are probably just scared. How old are they? Socialization window is pretty small for kittens, so hopefully you got them in time. Give them some time to adjust and bribe them with baby food. I have a feeling they will come around, once they become comfortable with the new environment.
 

Jcatbird

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Please don’t worry! Regressing is normal. Socializing them with Mom around and outside is one thing but now they are in a strange new world. Give them time. Every cat is different but I have worked doing nothing but socializing ferals for the last few years. I’ve worked with kittens and old cats with great success. My oldest and , apparently fierce , feral Tom looked like he might try to eat me at first. Lol He’s the biggest lap cat baby now! It did take time though. The kittens are looking at a new world that is filled with new sounds, sights and smells. If Mom is not there for support, they probably miss her. They will adjust as you continue to work with them. There is a process I go through with each kitty. Kittens are usually the quickest to adjust. Even older kittens can socialize well. Try laying down in the room with them and being still and quiet. The floor is a good place to start. As nycats nycats mentioned, baby food is an excellent idea. Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food that is slightly warm is hard to resist. Try putting some on a dish beside you and over several feedings, move it onto your lap. The kittens should get brave enough to follow and at that point you can start trying to pet and hold again. Using a wand toy to lead them out of the box can distract them too. Some kitties seem to respond to soft music. There is music online that is specifically for cats. You could try that but I think that time and getting them adjusted to the new environment will just take some time, love and reassurance. You can try putting a shirt or something with your scent on it in their box. The box is a very good idea. I use a carrier as a permanent home for each cat to use for naps, play time and treats. All the residents here like having a private room as a retreat. Anytime they get startled or want quiet time, I can find them there. That makes vet visits easier. Lol They see the carriers as their safe haven and it helps them to stay calm. You’re really doing great! Just keep on doing what you previously did with them. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see they make progress again.
IN my book, if you’re a kitty guardian, you’re a kitty hero! Thank you for bringing them into a safe and loving home!
 
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Indigo_blue_sky

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I will have to stop by and get some baby food tonight! I am assuming a meat flavor? I am trying to not hover or scare them. It's been just a day so I KNOW they have to adjust to the new atmosphere, but they were so happy and friendly before. :( I know rescuing them is the good thing to do, but I feel guilty!!!

think they are around 2.5 to 3 months. The eyes are starting to change and bit, and they have already been eating wet and dry food with momma cat.
 
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Indigo_blue_sky

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Please don’t worry! Regressing is normal. Socializing them with Mom around and outside is one thing but now they are in a strange new world. Give them time. Every cat is different but I have worked doing nothing but socializing ferals for the last few years. I’ve worked with kittens and old cats with great success. My oldest and , apparently fierce , feral Tom looked like he might try to eat me at first. Lol He’s the biggest lap cat baby now! It did take time though. The kittens are looking at a new world that is filled with new sounds, sights and smells. If Mom is not there for support, they probably miss her. They will adjust as you continue to work with them. There is a process I go through with each kitty. Kittens are usually the quickest to adjust. Even older kittens can socialize well. Try laying down in the room with them and being still and quiet. The floor is a good place to start. As nycats nycats mentioned, baby food is an excellent idea. Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food that is slightly warm is hard to resist. Try putting some on a dish beside you and over several feedings, move it onto your lap. The kittens should get brave enough to follow and at that point you can start trying to pet and hold again. Using a wand toy to lead them out of the box can distract them too. Some kitties seem to respond to soft music. There is music online that is specifically for cats. You could try that but I think that time and getting them adjusted to the new environment will just take some time, love and reassurance. You can try putting a shirt or something with your scent on it in their box. The box is a very good idea. I use a carrier as a permanent home for each cat to use for naps, play time and treats. All the residents here like having a private room as a retreat. Anytime they get startled or want quiet time, I can find them there. That makes vet visits easier. Lol They see the carriers as their safe haven and it helps them to stay calm. You’re really doing great! Just keep on doing what you previously did with them. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see they make progress again.
IN my book, if you’re a kitty guardian, you’re a kitty hero! Thank you for bringing them into a safe and loving home!
Thank you so much for the reassurance and the great info! I am very grateful! I will totally be patient and keep trying...and I am looking for "kitten music" now! :)
 
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Indigo_blue_sky

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I will have to stop by and get some baby food tonight! I am assuming a meat flavor? I am trying to not hover or scare them. It's been just a day so I KNOW they have to adjust to the new atmosphere, but they were so happy and friendly before. :( I know rescuing them is the good thing to do, but I feel guilty!!!

think they are around 2.5 to 3 months. The eyes are starting to change and bit, and they have already been eating wet and dry food with momma cat.
I will have to stop by and get some baby food tonight! I am assuming a meat flavor? I am trying to not hover or scare them. It's been just a day so I KNOW they have to adjust to the new atmosphere, but they were so happy and friendly before. :( I know rescuing them is the good thing to do, but I feel guilty!!!

think they are around 2.5 to 3 months. The eyes are starting to change and bit, and they have already been eating wet and dry food with momma cat.
This reply was for nycats nycats - and THANK YOU for your advice too!!
 

nycats

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Yes, Gerber 2nd stage meat flavored baby food. Chicken and turkey usually work well. You can put a little on your finger and have them lick it off. Not many kittens can resist the temptation. Since they were already friendly outside, I don't think it'd take long for them to get back to that point. Just remember, food and play. Those are the keys to cats hearts ❤
 

Meowmee

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Many people wrap them in a blanket and hold them etc. called a purrito. It calms them and gets them used to human contact.

 
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Indigo_blue_sky

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HI Guys!
Just an update - the kittens are doing well! They aren't hiding from us anymore and playing up a storm! They are using the litter box ike champs and eating well. They LOVE the baby food. We use it to lure them near us and love on them. We have even received some purrs and licks!

Vet visit tomorrow -i am hoping it doesn't freak them out too much, but it has to be done. Pray for no FIV/Leukemia or any other whammies. When home tomorrow after the vet, we plan on moving them to a bigger bathroom so they will have more room!
 

nycats

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Yay that's fantastic! I'm sure they probably have worms or parasites lol. They always do. But those are easy to treat anyway. So glad to hear they're doing well! Thanks for the update.
 
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Indigo_blue_sky

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Another update for you all if you are interested!

Babies are a smidge underweight, but healthy. They look to be 81/2 to 9 weeks old. They are all FIV and Leukemia NEGATIVE, but the vet did let me know at this stage it could be (but probably is NOT) a false negative. All have had dewormer and were super good at the vet - they actually really liked the vet and the tech!

They are still playing and sleeping a lot, but all are purring and learning to like cuddles. It's not the norm yet, but last night I came in and sat down and they all came and crawled on me and all were purring!

The next challenge - not becoming so damn attached that I won't let them go into new homes! :) I will try to get some pics when they aren't so squirmy! :D
20191125_135852.jpg
 
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