Trying to socialize a feral kitten, but need advice and encouragement

EnderWiggin

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On July 26th at 12:30am I woke up to the sound of scratching at my front door. I checked the security camera and saw a tiny starving kitten desperately digging through birdseed for something to eat. I've been wanting to adopt a new kitten, so this seemed like an ideal opportunity. I managed to catch her humanely using tuna and a stray cat trap and brought her inside. I pegged her at 5-6 weeks old by her looks but I think she's just small because she's underfed.

Week 1:
First I placed her in the bathtub of my spare bath while still in the cat trap cage. I ordered a bigger cage on amazon which arrived 2 days later. After that I moved her to the newer bigger cage and let her chill in the bathtub with food/water and a little litterbox. I placed a towel over the cage for optimum privacy and checked on her twice a day. She seemed to be potty trained right out of the gate and quiet which was great. She's also completely weaned and on solid foods.

Week 2:
I moved her whole cage downstairs into the living room with me so she could be around me 24/7 with the blanket over the cage. She bore it for a day and a half but then started wailing in fear, so I moved her to the guest bedroom and let her stay in their still in the cage for the rest of the week. She seemed to do well, she stayed quite, and even let me pick her up in an old shirt and purred as I pet her. If I held her too long she jumped for a hiding place though.

Week3:
It exactly 2 weeks, I fixed up the guest bedroom with no hiding spots I couldn't reach and then let her out. I started by putting her in a carpeted cat tower with a nice enclosed nook for her to feel safe. She took right to it and stayed in their all day, only coming out to eat/drink/potty. I have a webcam in their and monitor her 24/7 so that I know she's safe, and I come in twice a day to change the litter, refill the water and food, and reach in to wherever she's hiding and pet and scritch her. She hisses a little as I approach, but once my hand is touching her she immediately purrs and enjoys the petting. The only problem is she's still terrified of open spaces and will attempt to flee if you pick her up without a towel over her.

At the end of the week she discovered the guest bed and decided to spend all her time under the covers. I would pet her through the covers and occasionally reach in and pet her directly and she seemed purry and happy. However today I walked in and noticed a giant wet spot on the bed where she clearly wet the bed. I pulled the covers and found no feces, but it worries me that she'd make such a silly mistake. I've pulled the sheets off and put her back in the cat tower, and am now washing all the sheets. I've tried to clean the mattress and have placed it on its side so she can't hide under the bed where I can't reach her.

As I moved her to the cat tower I finally managed to weigh her on a kitchen scale and she weighs 1670 grams (about 3.6 pounds). So now I know she's a lot older than I thought. According to the age/weight chart she's actually around 11 weeks old now (almost 4 months). So now I'm afraid I adopted her too late. She had no human contact until she was about 9 weeks old, so I'm afraid she might not be domesticate-able.

What should I do now? I figure I have 4 options:
1) Get her shots, have her spayed, and then keep trying to domesticate her. I'm not sure if she can be, but if there's hope I'll try.
2) Get her shots, have her spayed, and then release her back into the wild. I don't like this idea but if she's never going to be a real house cat I don't want her and me to be unhappy.
3) Give her to an animal shelter, but I'm not sure which one since the humane society doesn't appear to take feral kittens. I'd have to find some Washington County OR animal services organization to drop her off.
4) Just let her go free. If I hadn't caught her she'd have lived the hard life she was meant to on the street. This just seems to cruel though.

Here are some other questions I have:
1) is wetting outside the litter box a common thing or a sign of a hopeless feral?
2) How many times a day should I pet this cat to get her socialized? Right now it's twice a day because I'm incredibly busy.
3) Where in Portland OR is the best place for me to surrender a feral kitten for the most affordable and humane treatment?
4) Is skittish behavior like I've described common for feral kittens at 12 weeks? At what point should I consider her a lost cause?

The image attached is from the day I caught her. She seemed really small.
 

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Furballsmom

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1) Get her shots, have her spayed, and then keep trying to domesticate her.
This.
There's all the hope in the world - she's already purring with you! You don't realize how much this means in comparison to other situations where true ferals are involved.

In other words, she's already far more than half-way socialized with you. Her fear of open spaces is quite normal - she is still getting accommodated to her new surroundings, and we have no idea what-all happened to her while she was out there on her own.

Wetting outside of the litterbox is not a sign of anything regarding her tameness or feralness, --particularly since she's been using the box very accurately since the beginning. You might need to add a second, larger box nearer to her, plus you will want to get her in to a vet sooner than later.

3) Where in Portland OR is the best place for me to surrender a feral kitten for the most affordable and humane treatment?
I don't know but based on what I'm hearing/reading, every single organization is likely overloaded. Covid put many spaying and neutering surgeries on hold and additionally adoptions are down. If you tell them she's feral they won't take any time to try to find out differently, they'll just euthanize her because they don't have the room, staff or time to do much else.

The only problem is she's still terrified of open spaces and will attempt to flee if you pick her up without a towel over her.
She's a baby. To repeat, she is already not only accepting your petting she's purring. If you have a ticking clock, muffle it slightly with a towel and put that near to her sleeping spot. Or you could look into a heartbeat toy or a purr toy. Also, classical harp music can help amazingly well to relax kittens. Spotify has a selection called Cat In My Arms.

Please please please adjust your expectations, and open your heart and mind more fully to this darling little one. She needs you. Every single thing you've described above is of a young feline who is miles closer to a domesticated housecat, --and learning fast to become even more so, than a feral.

It worries me that she'd make such a silly mistake.
Just to mention again, I'd get her in to a vet as soon as you can. This wasn't a mistake on her part - she needs to be checked out to ensure everything is ok.

By the way, are you feeding her kitten food? You could add some Kitten Milk Replacer, or even goat milk to her canned portions, and have some kibble available for her to munch on. She needs to eat a lot, as much canned as she can consume in 3-4 small meals daily for now while her tummy is so small (it literally can't hold larger meals yet), then later 2-3 meals daily, until she's about a year old.

First-time Cat Owner’s Guide – TheCatSite Articles
 
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Babypaws

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On July 26th at 12:30am I woke up to the sound of scratching at my front door. I checked the security camera and saw a tiny starving kitten desperately digging through birdseed for something to eat. I've been wanting to adopt a new kitten, so this seemed like an ideal opportunity. I managed to catch her humanely using tuna and a stray cat trap and brought her inside. I pegged her at 5-6 weeks old by her looks but I think she's just small because she's underfed.

Week 1:
First I placed her in the bathtub of my spare bath while still in the cat trap cage. I ordered a bigger cage on amazon which arrived 2 days later. After that I moved her to the newer bigger cage and let her chill in the bathtub with food/water and a little litterbox. I placed a towel over the cage for optimum privacy and checked on her twice a day. She seemed to be potty trained right out of the gate and quiet which was great. She's also completely weaned and on solid foods.

Week 2:
I moved her whole cage downstairs into the living room with me so she could be around me 24/7 with the blanket over the cage. She bore it for a day and a half but then started wailing in fear, so I moved her to the guest bedroom and let her stay in their still in the cage for the rest of the week. She seemed to do well, she stayed quite, and even let me pick her up in an old shirt and purred as I pet her. If I held her too long she jumped for a hiding place though.

Week3:
It exactly 2 weeks, I fixed up the guest bedroom with no hiding spots I couldn't reach and then let her out. I started by putting her in a carpeted cat tower with a nice enclosed nook for her to feel safe. She took right to it and stayed in their all day, only coming out to eat/drink/potty. I have a webcam in their and monitor her 24/7 so that I know she's safe, and I come in twice a day to change the litter, refill the water and food, and reach in to wherever she's hiding and pet and scritch her. She hisses a little as I approach, but once my hand is touching her she immediately purrs and enjoys the petting. The only problem is she's still terrified of open spaces and will attempt to flee if you pick her up without a towel over her.

At the end of the week she discovered the guest bed and decided to spend all her time under the covers. I would pet her through the covers and occasionally reach in and pet her directly and she seemed purry and happy. However today I walked in and noticed a giant wet spot on the bed where she clearly wet the bed. I pulled the covers and found no feces, but it worries me that she'd make such a silly mistake. I've pulled the sheets off and put her back in the cat tower, and am now washing all the sheets. I've tried to clean the mattress and have placed it on its side so she can't hide under the bed where I can't reach her.

As I moved her to the cat tower I finally managed to weigh her on a kitchen scale and she weighs 1670 grams (about 3.6 pounds). So now I know she's a lot older than I thought. According to the age/weight chart she's actually around 11 weeks old now (almost 4 months). So now I'm afraid I adopted her too late. She had no human contact until she was about 9 weeks old, so I'm afraid she might not be domesticate-able.

What should I do now? I figure I have 4 options:
1) Get her shots, have her spayed, and then keep trying to domesticate her. I'm not sure if she can be, but if there's hope I'll try.
2) Get her shots, have her spayed, and then release her back into the wild. I don't like this idea but if she's never going to be a real house cat I don't want her and me to be unhappy.
3) Give her to an animal shelter, but I'm not sure which one since the humane society doesn't appear to take feral kittens. I'd have to find some Washington County OR animal services organization to drop her off.
4) Just let her go free. If I hadn't caught her she'd have lived the hard life she was meant to on the street. This just seems to cruel though.

Here are some other questions I have:
1) is wetting outside the litter box a common thing or a sign of a hopeless feral?
2) How many times a day should I pet this cat to get her socialized? Right now it's twice a day because I'm incredibly busy.
3) Where in Portland OR is the best place for me to surrender a feral kitten for the most affordable and humane treatment?
4) Is skittish behavior like I've described common for feral kittens at 12 weeks? At what point should I consider her a lost cause?

The image attached is from the day I caught her. She seemed really small.
On July 26th at 12:30am I woke up to the sound of scratching at my front door. I checked the security camera and saw a tiny starving kitten desperately digging through birdseed for something to eat. I've been wanting to adopt a new kitten, so this seemed like an ideal opportunity. I managed to catch her humanely using tuna and a stray cat trap and brought her inside. I pegged her at 5-6 weeks old by her looks but I think she's just small because she's underfed.

Week 1:
First I placed her in the bathtub of my spare bath while still in the cat trap cage. I ordered a bigger cage on amazon which arrived 2 days later. After that I moved her to the newer bigger cage and let her chill in the bathtub with food/water and a little litterbox. I placed a towel over the cage for optimum privacy and checked on her twice a day. She seemed to be potty trained right out of the gate and quiet which was great. She's also completely weaned and on solid foods.

Week 2:
I moved her whole cage downstairs into the living room with me so she could be around me 24/7 with the blanket over the cage. She bore it for a day and a half but then started wailing in fear, so I moved her to the guest bedroom and let her stay in their still in the cage for the rest of the week. She seemed to do well, she stayed quite, and even let me pick her up in an old shirt and purred as I pet her. If I held her too long she jumped for a hiding place though.

Week3:
It exactly 2 weeks, I fixed up the guest bedroom with no hiding spots I couldn't reach and then let her out. I started by putting her in a carpeted cat tower with a nice enclosed nook for her to feel safe. She took right to it and stayed in their all day, only coming out to eat/drink/potty. I have a webcam in their and monitor her 24/7 so that I know she's safe, and I come in twice a day to change the litter, refill the water and food, and reach in to wherever she's hiding and pet and scritch her. She hisses a little as I approach, but once my hand is touching her she immediately purrs and enjoys the petting. The only problem is she's still terrified of open spaces and will attempt to flee if you pick her up without a towel over her.

At the end of the week she discovered the guest bed and decided to spend all her time under the covers. I would pet her through the covers and occasionally reach in and pet her directly and she seemed purry and happy. However today I walked in and noticed a giant wet spot on the bed where she clearly wet the bed. I pulled the covers and found no feces, but it worries me that she'd make such a silly mistake. I've pulled the sheets off and put her back in the cat tower, and am now washing all the sheets. I've tried to clean the mattress and have placed it on its side so she can't hide under the bed where I can't reach her.

As I moved her to the cat tower I finally managed to weigh her on a kitchen scale and she weighs 1670 grams (about 3.6 pounds). So now I know she's a lot older than I thought. According to the age/weight chart she's actually around 11 weeks old now (almost 4 months). So now I'm afraid I adopted her too late. She had no human contact until she was about 9 weeks old, so I'm afraid she might not be domesticate-able.

What should I do now? I figure I have 4 options:
1) Get her shots, have her spayed, and then keep trying to domesticate her. I'm not sure if she can be, but if there's hope I'll try.
2) Get her shots, have her spayed, and then release her back into the wild. I don't like this idea but if she's never going to be a real house cat I don't want her and me to be unhappy.
3) Give her to an animal shelter, but I'm not sure which one since the humane society doesn't appear to take feral kittens. I'd have to find some Washington County OR animal services organization to drop her off.
4) Just let her go free. If I hadn't caught her she'd have lived the hard life she was meant to on the street. This just seems to cruel though.

Here are some other questions I have:
1) is wetting outside the litter box a common thing or a sign of a hopeless feral?
2) How many times a day should I pet this cat to get her socialized? Right now it's twice a day because I'm incredibly busy.
3) Where in Portland OR is the best place for me to surrender a feral kitten for the most affordable and humane treatment?
4) Is skittish behavior like I've described common for feral kittens at 12 weeks? At what point should I consider her a lost cause?

The image attached is from the day I caught her. She seemed really small.
Dont give up..she will become friendly...I have 2 kittens (about 15-16 weeks old. They were born in our yard, I started feeding them back in late April along with the mother but in late June or early July the mother cat would take off for days/ weeks. But when I would be outside they would follow me but not let me touch them. They were always together. Then one day I was watering the garden and one came up to me meowing, I didn’t see the other one so I thought something had happened to her. Without thinking about it I reached down and he let me pet him and he started rubbing against my leg. When I went back up to the house the other one suddenly appeared and let me pet her. I was shocked. I was feeding them everyday and a couple of weeks ago the temperature reached 100. I felt so bad I brought them on our enclosed porch, had fans, littler box, food and water for them. They seemed very happy..and they are still on the porch, I haven’t let them out. Took them to a vet and they got the first distemper shot and rabies shot. But I found out they have worms so I’m keeping them separated from my other cats til they get clean bill of health. I’m really surprised they don’t try to run out when we open the door. They’re really nice little cats who will forever be an addition to my other indoor rescues.
12 weeks is still young, don’t give up hope...
 

tabbytom

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What should I do now? I figure I have 4 options:
Totally agree with Furballsmom Furballsmom .

What should I do now? I figure I have 4 options:
1) Get her shots, have her spayed, and then keep trying to domesticate her. I'm not sure if she can be, but if there's hope I'll try.
Do all this in one go. To the vet for the shots and check and keep her indoors. She'll only be angry at you just once instead of recapturing her again and again which will stress her out more.

2) Get her shots, have her spayed, and then release her back into the wild. I don't like this idea but if she's never going to be a real house cat I don't want her and me to be unhappy.
Do not release her back into the wild nIt;'s a cruel world out there and she can't live a good and happy life.

3) Give her to an animal shelter, but I'm not sure which one since the humane society doesn't appear to take feral kittens.
Please do not surrender her to the shelter. A shelter is crammed and they can't take good care of her.

4) Just let her go free. If I hadn't caught her she'd have lived the hard life she was meant to on the street. This just seems to cruel though.
Follow answer on question 1.


Here are some other questions I have:
1) is wetting outside the litter box a common thing or a sign of a hopeless feral?
Might not be the case. Peeing on the bed could be due to that she can't get to the litterbox in time. A feral cat still can be taught how to use the litterbox. Since she was from the outside, you can use the soil and leaves where she does her business while she was outside as they have not gotten use to litter and the box. Slowly transit her over to using the litter.

2) How many times a day should I pet this cat to get her socialized? Right now it's twice a day because I'm incredibly busy.
As often as you can. She needs to build up her confidence in you and by having your presence helps her. You don't have to pet her every time you go in to see her. You can just sit ob the floor and talk to her and do slow eye blinks with her and read a book or do nothing. Once she does not see you as a threat, she'll be more bold and explore the place.

If you just come in to feed her and clean her litterbox and not spending time with her, you can never build a bond with her. If you are really busy, just pop in once in awhile and say hello and slow eye blink with her and on other times, stay longer nit you can.

3) Where in Portland OR is the best place for me to surrender a feral kitten for the most affordable and humane treatment?
Please don't surrender her.

4) Is skittish behavior like I've described common for feral kittens at 12 weeks? At what point should I consider her a lost cause?

Cats can be skittish at any age and also depends on how long they have been or not been in contact with any hoomans. Some are more skittish due to their nature and some due to the bad experiences they have while being to defend themselves outdoor.

At no point you should consider her a lost as feral cats can be socialized in the right way. Many of our members have tamed feral cats and now they live happily inside and are well domesticated. What you have here is a kitten and thy are way much easier to tame as opposed to adult feral cats.

Please check out this video :- 736211323853504

Feel free to ask questions and there are no such things as a stupid question and many member will be glad to help you get this kitty integrated into your home. Please reconsider and give her a warm and fur-ever loving home which she needs. Since you've been wanting to adopt a kitten, well, this kitten has chosen you by knocking on your door nLook no further.

BTW, she's beautiful and is such a cutie :redheartpump: :hearthrob:

Some interesting articles for you to read :-

6-amazing-cat-rescue-stories-that-will-melt-your-heart

twelve-heartwarming-cat-rescue-stories-shared-by-our-members

should-you-try-and-tame-a-feral-cat

a-feral-cat-or-a-stray-cat-how-to-tell-the-difference

adopting-a-stray-cat

And many more articles here :- ferals-rescue
 

will2002

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In the just past three weeks or so, the wife and I got young tom to come inside the house for food, water, and "attention". We have been working with him for six months or more. He is small, probably born in November or December of 2019, and he was starved. We had been placing food and water out side for him, however it was not nearly enough. He now comes inside our house four to six times a day, and eats like a horse!

Keep working with your little girl. You WILL be rewarded!
 

shadowsrescue

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Here is a really good video series no the rescue and socialization of feral kittens. I believe it's a 2 or 3 part video. The first part is the rescue of the kittens and then it moves onto socialization. There are some wonderful tips and tricks.

 
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EnderWiggin

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This.
There's all the hope in the world - she's already purring with you! You don't realize how much this means in comparison to other situations where true ferals are involved.

In other words, she's already far more than half-way socialized with you. Her fear of open spaces is quite normal - she is still getting accommodated to her new surroundings, and we have no idea what-all happened to her while she was out there on her own.

Wetting outside of the litterbox is not a sign of anything regarding her tameness or feralness, --particularly since she's been using the box very accurately since the beginning. You might need to add a second, larger box nearer to her, plus you will want to get her in to a vet sooner than later.


I don't know but based on what I'm hearing/reading, every single organization is likely overloaded. Covid put many spaying and neutering surgeries on hold and additionally adoptions are down. If you tell them she's feral they won't take any time to try to find out differently, they'll just euthanize her because they don't have the room, staff or time to do much else.


She's a baby. To repeat, she is already not only accepting your petting she's purring. If you have a ticking clock, muffle it slightly with a towel and put that near to her sleeping spot. Or you could look into a heartbeat toy or a purr toy. Also, classical harp music can help amazingly well to relax kittens. Spotify has a selection called Cat In My Arms.

Please please please adjust your expectations, and open your heart and mind more fully to this darling little one. She needs you. Every single thing you've described above is of a young feline who is miles closer to a domesticated housecat, --and learning fast to become even more so, than a feral.


Just to mention again, I'd get her in to a vet as soon as you can. This wasn't a mistake on her part - she needs to be checked out to ensure everything is ok.

By the way, are you feeding her kitten food? You could add some Kitten Milk Replacer, or even goat milk to her canned portions, and have some kibble available for her to munch on. She needs to eat a lot, as much canned as she can consume in 3-4 small meals daily for now while her tummy is so small (it literally can't hold larger meals yet), then later 2-3 meals daily, until she's about a year old.

First-time Cat Owner’s Guide – TheCatSite Articles
Thank you for putting this in perspective. I was worried that my house was the wrong place for her, but if there's even the slightest possibility she'll get euthanized at the SPCA my place is infinitely superior. I got her a vet appt but it's not for 2 weeks because COVID19 has screwed everything up lately. I don't think there's anything wrong with her though (beyond needing shots and a general checkup), upon further reflection I think she peed the bed because she was so comfortable in there, and so scared to leave, that she waited too long. I picture her as Homer Simpson in bed on Sunday morning: "I'm just a big toasty cinnamon bun.. I never want to leave this bed... Uh oh, gotta take a whiz.... think man think..." So I put the bed on its side because she needs to get over her fear of open spaces. She's back in the cat condo again, which has a little nook for her but she's always seeing out into the room.

I watch her on the security camera and she's begun to periodically come out and play, so she's improving. Of course the second I enter it's right back to the nook. However she's stopped hissing when I approach, and today she actually started purring before I even touched her, so I think this is working. She really likes my hand, I just need to train her that I and my hand are attached and one in the same, she hasn't quite figured out the mechanics of humans yet.

I've decided to keep her :) I think I'll call her Valentine
 
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