Trapped 2 feral 12-14 week old kittens

katlee

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hello all! I hate to sign up to this wonderful forum just to immediately post for advice but I need some help : (

I have fostered two pairs of kittens before, the first two were 5 weeks and the other two were 8 weeks. they were all done through an org, so they got the trapping, vet, etc handled and I just raised them. it was such a delight to see them go from hissy spitters to purring cuddle monsters! now, I've trapped 2 kittens as a courtesy to a coworker, but I'm completely on my own this time and they are older.

I took the first one I trapped to a low-cost feral clinic and they aged him at about 3 months, maybe 3.5. I've read the socialization "cut-off" to be 4 months, or even as low as 10-12 weeks. this is now day 3 of the first kitten being here, and day 1 for the sibling. they aren't hissy or aggressive (yet) but they won't eat if I'm in the room and will mostly just curl up and stare at me. I have picked up the first kitten in a blanket and held him while stroking him gently on the head, but he just shakes. they won't even lick the baby food I got them.

my coworker really wants to adopt them both, but she hasn't dealt with feral cats before. so my question... should I keep trying to socialize them myself before handing them off since I have (very slightly) more experience, or should I give them to her now so they can become acquainted with her faster and avoid having to adjust to another new home? or are they too old to be socialized and I should just TNR? I worry because their sibling sadly passed away outside before we could trap them. if you do think I should socialize, I'd love some tips for older kittens with this temperament if possible!

these are the little ones:
kittens.jpg
 

Norachan

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Hi K katlee Welcome to TCS.

Sweet little things! Thank you for trying to help them

I'm at work at the moment, so I'll post a longer reply later, but I just wanted to say I don't think they're too old to socialize. The youngest feral kittens I've taken in were 10 weeks old, most of them were 4 months or older. I have a few tips.

More to come........
 

tabbytom

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my coworker really wants to adopt them both, but she hasn't dealt with feral cats before. so my question... should I keep trying to socialize them myself before handing them off since I have (very slightly) more experience, or should I give them to her now so they can become acquainted with her faster and avoid having to adjust to another new home? or are they too old to be socialized and I should just TNR? I worry because their sibling sadly passed away outside before we could trap them. if you do think I should socialize, I'd love some tips for older kittens with this temperament if possible!
:hellosmiley: and welcome to TCS!

As Norachan Norachan mentioned, the kitties are not too old to be socialized.

My take is it will be an easier transition for them if your coworker will adopt them and have them under her care ASAP. Why I say this is because the sooner they get used to your coworker the better else by the time they get used to you, they have to move to a new strange place with new hoomans, they have to start all over again to gain trust in the new place and also to your coworker.

If your coworker is sincere in adopting them, do it quick and the sooner the kitties trust the coworker the better. You can guide the coworker or have the coworker sign up here and members can guide her along as many has done so and managed to socialize their cats.

Please don't TNR them. They belong to a good loving home. As with new kittens, ferals or strays, 3 key ingredients are lots of love, lots of patience and routine which will eventually win them over.

My boy was rescued off the streets at 3 weeks old and I gave him all the love and patience and routines he needed to adjust. So, I believe your coworker will be able to manage.

Do feel free to ask questions and do ask your coworker to join us and we'll be glad to help.
 

Norachan

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I agree with tabbytom tabbytom that it might be easier if your co-worker was their main care giver, with support from you. Is she prepared for the long haul, though? Some of my feral rescues were with me for over a year before I could touch them. One boy, Albert in my banner below, is still only accepting pets when there are treats and when he's standing next to his friends. His sister, bless her, was brought indoors at the same time and is a totally love bug. Personality plays a big part in how successful socialisation is.

Is your co-worker prepared to give them a forever home, even if they never turn into lap cats? Even if they take months and months of work before they can be petted?

OK, some tips for socialising older kittens. You will need to keep them confined to one small room at first. If you can get them a large crate covered with a blanket that will be a good safe spot for them. You will have to kitten proof the room first though, so they don't escape anywhere inaccessible.

Kitten Proofing Your Home: 13 Practical Tips – TheCatSite Articles

A Feliway diffuser will help to keep them calm.

FELIWAY CLASSIC Diffuser

Classical harp music, played at low volume, is very soothing for cats. You could also try leaving the radio tuned to a talk show at really low volume when you can't be with the cats. Food and play are the ways to win them over. Here are a few more articles that might help

Should You Try And Tame A Feral Cat? – TheCatSite Articles

How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home – TheCatSite Articles

The Five Golden Rules To Bringing An Outdoor Cat Inside – TheCatSite Articles

.I would definitely recommend trying to get them sociable enough to live indoors. They may never be lap cats, but they will warm up to people over time and they will have a much longer, happier life indoors.

:goodluck:
 

Talien

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There's no such thing as too old to socialize. As far as whether it's better to socialize them yourself or let your friend adopt them right away, as long as your friend knows what they're getting into and is not just saying "oh they're cute, can I have them?" I'd say it's better if they take them now, it would be less traumatic for them than getting used to you and your home then suddenly being moved to an unfamiliar place and person.
 
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katlee

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wow, thank you all so much for your quick and helpful replies! and thank you for the welcomes as well.

tabbytom tabbytom Norachan Norachan I see! I'm really glad I asked because I assumed that since my role as foster before was to get the previous kittens ready for adoption, I should do the same here first. but I understand that it could be harmful to uproot them a second time from their home. and thank you both for reassuring me they're not too old; I'm still new to this, and I see a lot of shelters say they TNR at 8-10 weeks so I was a bit worried. all of these links are lovely and I will be passing them along to my coworker along with this wonderful site! you guys rock.

Talien Talien thank you for the advice! I have told my coworker several times that it may be a bit of a challenge and take time for them to open up, and asked if she was ready, and I believe she is : ) she has all the supplies and has been watching lots of videos and researching. and, in the worst case scenario, i will be willing to take them back myself and keep them until they are ready for a new home.

also, a small step, but a step: I put wet food on a spoon in front of the tabby and stepped away, and he ate! he wouldn't come closer than that, but it was the first time he ate when I was in clear view. I have high hopes for them!
 

moxiewild

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wow, thank you all so much for your quick and helpful replies! and thank you for the welcomes as well.

tabbytom tabbytom Norachan Norachan I see! I'm really glad I asked because I assumed that since my role as foster before was to get the previous kittens ready for adoption, I should do the same here first. but I understand that it could be harmful to uproot them a second time from their home. and thank you both for reassuring me they're not too old; I'm still new to this, and I see a lot of shelters say they TNR at 8-10 weeks so I was a bit worried. all of these links are lovely and I will be passing them along to my coworker along with this wonderful site! you guys rock.

Talien Talien thank you for the advice! I have told my coworker several times that it may be a bit of a challenge and take time for them to open up, and asked if she was ready, and I believe she is : ) she has all the supplies and has been watching lots of videos and researching. and, in the worst case scenario, i will be willing to take them back myself and keep them until they are ready for a new home.

also, a small step, but a step: I put wet food on a spoon in front of the tabby and stepped away, and he ate! he wouldn't come closer than that, but it was the first time he ate when I was in clear view. I have high hopes for them!
That’s a good sign! The really feral kittens can take a week or more to eat in front of you!

Just be absolutely sure she is prepared and committed. Send her here to search the forums, as this comes up A LOT.

I personally socialize mine before adoption, because finding people who I believe are truly prepared to do it themselves happens for maybe 1 out of every 100 people.

Like others say, they can be socialized at any age. We often say otherwise in official rescues because there is simply an issue of resources and homes.

The older they are, the longer they take to socialize, and that’s time, money, resources, space, and fosters that could have been used to save many more cats during the same amount of time it took to make that one adoptable.

So it’s strictly a pragmatic thing to say they can’t be socialized after 6-12 weeks old. So long as one has the patience, time, and a little know how, it can be done!
 
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