- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


taming a new kitten

milo's mama
November 27th, 2005, 06:56 PM
hi everyone! all of our adopted kittens/cats have been some form of feral, but i suppose we have just been darn lucky in that they were very quick to socialize with humans and other felines.

now we have a new kitten. adopted her at about 2.5 months old. never truly had a kitten that exhibited feral behavior, so we unfortunately did not know what to do the first night. however, after doing some reading and doing the containment/handling method she became quite the character! we could very easily pick her up and hold her. she loved our other cats and loved sleeping on our chests (for hours at a time). she developed a URI and we had to respirate her and choose to assist by syringe feeding (which she absolutely loved) but now is a very healthy happy 3 month old kitten.

however, now that she is out of the cage, she is running away once we get to about 2 feet of her. she doesn't run and hide. she just kind of skitters away and peeps up at us. she is very interactive otherwise, coming up to us when it is feeding time and actively playing with us with string, etc. and if she is tired enough, we can approach her and pet her briefly.

any ideas to help her become more socialized??

November 27th, 2005, 09:22 PM
It can be hard to socialize a feral kitten and some forever remain skittish. It is possible that this is just her personalilty.

As far as training goes, cats respond best to an immediete reward. To most this is food. But it might also work to only play with a favorite toy when you have been allowed to approach. Or to engage her curiosity with an object so she will have to approach to see what is so interesting.

You might have to experiment to see what works for you. All cats are different.

Cats also tend to settle down as they get older. Although, it is still best for her to become acustomed to you while she is a kitten, before any habits start.

November 28th, 2005, 09:27 AM
All of my cats have been feral at one point, to some degree, and I have fostered many feral cats/kittens as i work with a feral cat rescue group. I would say make sure you let the kitten come to you (don't follow her around trying to pet her, or do anything else she can perceive to be chasing her) and when you go to play with her or pet her, get down on her level. All of my ferals have hated having humans standing over them and reaching down to pet them.

Having other cats that are tame and affectionate will help, as the kitten will learn from their human-friendly behavior. Also, as was already mentioned, food is the best bribery! I have one foster that has been with me for over half a year right now, who is still getting tamer by the day, but still skittish and semi-feral in many ways. I first got her at about 4 months old and she was aggressive, frightened and completely feral. Little bits of tuna were my saving grace!

I'm sure your kitten just needs time, though. She will come around but she will do it on her terms and in her own time, in true cat fashion :) Good luck and thank you for adopting!

milo's mama
November 28th, 2005, 10:06 AM
thanks for the replies! it's so hard because she is so darn cute, we just want to pick her up and squish her! she definitely is a copy-cat to our two other cats, so i'm hoping eventually she will catch on to their lap behavior. we did finally realize last night that we must stop trying to pick her up everytime we get close (but it is so hard to resist!) and she is seeming better with that. she is definitely very curious about us at times so we still have hope.... it's just nice to hear some encouragement from others! :)

November 28th, 2005, 10:15 AM
Maybe she has associated you walking up to her and picking her up as being a bad thing? It could be traced back to when she was sick? When our first cat was sick we had to jam pills and all kinds of crap down her throat. She's a very affectionate and normal (as normal as a cat can be!) now but she won't take food from our hand. She turns away and won't eat it unless we put it down so she could eat in on her terms.

Perhaps it might be the same with your kitty, she wants to be with you but only when she feels safe? Hopefully it all works out for you, good luck.