Semi Feral or scared stray kitten?

Lindsayj014

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Hello,

I'm looking for some advice on how to socialize a possible semi feral or just skittish stray kitten. I've been feeding a small kitten for about two months now and he has been trying to get in my house frequently so yesterday I decided I would take him in and try to help him.

I put him in a spare bedroom I have since I have 3 other cats and a dog. He hid behind a chair I have in the room at first but after a few hours he was out from under the chair and playing, eating and sitting on a perch I have in the room. He also uses the litter box without any issues.

Any little movement though and he jumps and hides although I gave him some treats off my hand this morning and he rubbed up against me and let me pet him a little bit. I am wondering where I can find advice or information on how to help him become more comfortable with people. I'm not sure if I can financially keep this kitten permanently but I want to work with him so he can hopefully be adoptable in the near future.

I'm also wanting to know if I should be feeding him kitten food or if it is okay to feed him the same food I'm giving my adult cats? I'm not sure how old he actually is and I can't get him into the vets for another month at least although I might call another one to see if I can get him in sooner. My best guess is he's 4-6 months old but I've never owned a kitten before so I could be totally off.

Do these pictures help with an estimation on his age? The last one is only from two months ago when he looked only a couple months old.

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FeebysOwner

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Hi. Such a cutie! I don't know how old he might be, but 4-6 months seems a reasonable guess. If the cat food you are feeding your other cats is for 'all life stages', it should be fine for this little one. I truly wouldn't worry about it too much, as there is not a terribly significant difference in the foods anyway. The key is to feed him as much as he wants to eat!

It sounds like you are doing all the right things to help him acclimate. You could consider things like a heartbeat toy, or ticking clock, and/or some cat music to help soothe him. The odds are, over time, he will get used to the noises on his own.
 

tabbytom

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Hello,

I'm looking for some advice on how to socialize a possible semi feral or just skittish stray kitten. I've been feeding a small kitten for about two months now and he has been trying to get in my house frequently so yesterday I decided I would take him in and try to help him.

I put him in a spare bedroom I have since I have 3 other cats and a dog. He hid behind a chair I have in the room at first but after a few hours he was out from under the chair and playing, eating and sitting on a perch I have in the room. He also uses the litter box without any issues.

Any little movement though and he jumps and hides although I gave him some treats off my hand this morning and he rubbed up against me and let me pet him a little bit. I am wondering where I can find advice or information on how to help him become more comfortable with people. I'm not sure if I can financially keep this kitten permanently but I want to work with him so he can hopefully be adoptable in the near future.

I'm also wanting to know if I should be feeding him kitten food or if it is okay to feed him the same food I'm giving my adult cats? I'm not sure how old he actually is and I can't get him into the vets for another month at least although I might call another one to see if I can get him in sooner. My best guess is he's 4-6 months old but I've never owned a kitten before so I could be totally off.

Do these pictures help with an estimation on his age? The last one is only from two months ago when he looked only a couple months old.
:hellosmiley: and welcome to TCS!

Thank you for taking ins this kitty and for giving him warm and fur-ever loving hone and a safe sanctuary to live out his life! :clapcat:

He is sure a cutie and no wonder he stole your heart! :redheartpump::hearthrob:

It's normal for him to hide since the place is new to him. Give him time to adjust to get use to the sights and sounds. It is also normal for him to jump at the slightest sound as it could be that he is not used to the sound being made and also he may have some bad experience with loud sounds while he was outside. If he jumps at sounds, just reassure him that everything's ok.

Looks like he's pretty used to you and you have no problems socializing him. He looks more like a stray than a feral.

Just as what FeebysOwner FeebysOwner mentioned, if your cats are wet eating food that is labeled 'For All Life Stages', it's no problem feeding it to him. If your cats are on Adult's Food, then get wet food meant for kittens to beef him up as kittens need kitten food as they are full of nutrients and proteins for they need it in their developing year.

You can transit him over to adult's food after a year.

He looks like he's around 5 - 6 months old.

Feel free to ask questions and keep us posted of the progress.

Here are some articles for you to read :-

spay-and-neuter
 
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Lindsayj014

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Thanks for the responses! I initially thought he might be semi feral because he never let me come close to petting him when he was outside but now that he's in his own room inside he has become more affectionate and lets me pet him. He's also laying up against me now and purring very loudly. He loves playing with toys and definitely has kitten energy!

I did get a vet appointment for him at the end of next week so I'm hoping I can start gradually introducing him to my other cats after that. He has already met then through the screen door and really seems like he wants to play with them.

I'm still not sure I can keep him permanently but I definitely feel better about taking him to the local shelter if needed now that I know he's probably just a scared stray and will be adoptable. I think with a little time he will make a great house kitty.

I checked the dry food I have for my cats and it does say all life stages so im happy about that. I do feed them mostly wet food though so I will be getting him some wet kitten food shortly.
 

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Welcome to the site! It’s such a great place for advice (& a shoulder when needed) — you can almost always find members who’ve been through almost anything you’ve got a question about. And it’s wonderful you took the time & initiative to care for this total cutie (& bring him inside to keep him safe). Hearing that you happily did this even though you may not be able to be his forever home — & that you’re willing to vet him & socialize him so he can find a happy home - it’s this kind of caring that restores my faith in humanity!

I agree with both tabbytom tabbytom & FeebysOwner FeebysOwner . While it’s hard to be totally accurate re: age from pictures, I’d also guess he’s about 6 months old (your vet can give you a pretty accurate age).

SO thrilled to hear you’re getting him to the vet (today, right?) — particularly since he’s inside with your other kitties. It sounds like you’ve kept him separate from your others — which was the smart thing to do. Especially since he hasn’t been tested for FeLV, etc yet. I never expose any kitties we foster (feral or not) to our “permanent fur family” until they’ve been tested & vetted. Are your kitties all spayed/neutered? Because this cutie looks old enough to father a litter (& I’m sure you’d rather not have even more kitties to feed & find good homes!!). And if (post-vetting) you decide to begin introducing him to your other guys (which I’d recommend, as being able to say he gets along w/other cats is a great thing you can tell someone - or a shelter that takes him). Just be sure to do a sloooowwww intro — there are lots of us who’ve got experience in that & can guide you through that.

I too think he’s not feral (or even semi-feral). His socialization’s progressed way too quickly to be a true feral. He’s likely a dump, an outside kitten who wandered, or an escapee from a home. It sounds like he’s already getting very comfy with you - which is wonderful & definitely points to him being able to find a good home! He sounds like he’s already becoming a real love bug! I think you’re doing just what you should be with him. :rock:

Since you aren’t keeping him permanently (yet:catlove:) — I recommend you start taking lots of good pictures of him. Prospective adopters love seeing pictures of ‘their kitty’ as a kitten. And in case you end up trying to find a home for him yourself (most shelters are jammed right now as it’s still ‘kitten season’), having lots of cute photos is always heart-tugging.

Keep us posted on him (& his vet visit) — and thanks again for stepping up & making a HUGE difference in this little guy’s life!
 
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Lindsayj014

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Welcome to the site! It’s such a great place for advice (& a shoulder when needed) — you can almost always find members who’ve been through almost anything you’ve got a question about. And it’s wonderful you took the time & initiative to care for this total cutie (& bring him inside to keep him safe). Hearing that you happily did this even though you may not be able to be his forever home — & that you’re willing to vet him & socialize him so he can find a happy home - it’s this kind of caring that restores my faith in humanity!

I agree with both tabbytom tabbytom & FeebysOwner FeebysOwner . While it’s hard to be totally accurate re: age from pictures, I’d also guess he’s about 6 months old (your vet can give you a pretty accurate age).

SO thrilled to hear you’re getting him to the vet (today, right?) — particularly since he’s inside with your other kitties. It sounds like you’ve kept him separate from your others — which was the smart thing to do. Especially since he hasn’t been tested for FeLV, etc yet. I never expose any kitties we foster (feral or not) to our “permanent fur family” until they’ve been tested & vetted. Are your kitties all spayed/neutered? Because this cutie looks old enough to father a litter (& I’m sure you’d rather not have even more kitties to feed & find good homes!!). And if (post-vetting) you decide to begin introducing him to your other guys (which I’d recommend, as being able to say he gets along w/other cats is a great thing you can tell someone - or a shelter that takes him). Just be sure to do a sloooowwww intro — there are lots of us who’ve got experience in that & can guide you through that.

I too think he’s not feral (or even semi-feral). His socialization’s progressed way too quickly to be a true feral. He’s likely a dump, an outside kitten who wandered, or an escapee from a home. It sounds like he’s already getting very comfy with you - which is wonderful & definitely points to him being able to find a good home! He sounds like he’s already becoming a real love bug! I think you’re doing just what you should be with him. :rock:

Since you aren’t keeping him permanently (yet:catlove:) — I recommend you start taking lots of good pictures of him. Prospective adopters love seeing pictures of ‘their kitty’ as a kitten. And in case you end up trying to find a home for him yourself (most shelters are jammed right now as it’s still ‘kitten season’), having lots of cute photos is always heart-tugging.

Keep us posted on him (& his vet visit) — and thanks again for stepping up & making a HUGE difference in this little guy’s life!
Hi! He did see the vet today and she thought he was around 5 months old since he doesn't have any adult teeth yet. He isn't fixed yet which I assumed and he does have an umbilical hernia which will need to be removed when he gets neutered. He also tested negative for Felv and FIV so I did let him meet my other cats briefly today. My oldest cat has been pretty good with any other cat I've brought home in the past so I introduced them first and it didn't go too badly. My other two cats were hissing at him so their interaction was very brief.

He does seem to like my dog a lot and has had positive interactions with him so far. He is adjusting pretty well and just wants to play with everyone so hopefully with time it will be fine. My cats are 8, 6 and 2 and the 2 year old I recently took in as a stray as well and he always wants to play with the older two even when they don't want to play with him so im hoping the kitten and him will become friends after some time because he's needing a playmate.

My cats are all male and fixed so there won't be any babies in the house 🙂. I would really like to keep him but im still not sure about how my other cats are going to do and I will have to look at my finances of course as well. At this point though, I know he will be adoptable since he is doing very well with myself and my roommate. He also did very well with my mom so I think interacting with people will not be an issue.

I have went to several neighbors and posted on the neighborhood Facebook site to see if anyone will claim him but I haven't had any responses and the people I've asked don't know where he came from. There are several other stray cats around, including a female that has had more than one litter I know of but im not sure if this kitten is young enough to be hers because she is very young herself.

I'm really hoping everything does work out and he gets along with everyone. I would like to get him neutered and get him the vaccines he needs in the next month or so if everything goes well.
 

Cat McCannon

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There are experts that say there are no “semi feral” cats. Either they’re feral or they’re not. Feral cats cannot tolerate the presence of a human at all. If a cat can tolerate any contact with a human, they aren’t feral or “semi feral”.

Instead of thinking of them as “semi feral” we should think of them as “semi socialized”. “Semi feral” sounds like we’re already thinking we might have to give up on the cat.

Semi socialized sounds like there’s hope the cat can be socialized.
 
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Lindsayj014

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Hello,

Just an update and concern about the stray kitten I took in. He's doing good as far as getting along with everyone even though he is a little too hyper for my older cats sometimes.

My concern though is that in the past week I've noticed 2 of my cats and the kitten himself having loose stool. My two cats basically have diarrhea. In the past two days my oldest cat has thrown up as well (two times in the past 3 days). I have seen kittens stool and he doesn't appear to have any visible worms but could he still possibly have parasites that he's passing to the other cats even though they aren't visible? They all seem to be acting okay and eating but when weighing my oldest cat today he's lost a couple ounces. Although that is probably due to the throwing up.

The only other thing I could think of would be the food change I did recently. I probably should have made a slower change then I did so could that possibly be the reason behind the vomiting and diarrhea? It's been a little over a week now since the change. I'm especially concerned about my oldest cat who hardly ever vomits and had liver issues a few months ago. He's 8 years old so not that old but has had worms when he was around a year old right after i took him in as a stray. My 4th cat has also had worms in the past but with both cats the worms were visible in the stool. Im wondering if I should be getting any of them to vet or just wait it out for a little bit?

This also might be a stupid question, but can parasites be passed from cat to dog? My dog also has had worms in the past but it was also very visible in his stool.
 
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Lindsayj014

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I forgot to mention also that the kitten is having very foul smelling flatulence pretty frequently and I dont think that is normal. I'm glad that they are all acting pretty normal still (even my cat that's been throwing up) but all of these issues are making me think that he might have a parasite he's spreading to the other cats.
 
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