Monday, August 6, 2012

taming feral kittens

The Community Cat Coalition, the group I am a part of here, puts on a number of classes for the community on how to take care of feral cats. This past winter I went to Introduction to TNR basic class, which was very helpful. Apparently there are lots of people in this area who want to learn how to TNR and so they put on the basic class every month or so. I'm thrilled to know there are that many people out there who want to become more active in taking care of the community cats.

This past weekend's class was on how to tame feral kittens so they can be adopted out. I figured this would be good information to learn in case someday I trap feral kittens, now I'll know how to tame them so they can find good forever homes rather than remain homeless. There was oodles of helpful information presented by several people with lots of experience. I love that kittens that would have grown up homeless are cared for so they can find good homes, where they'll be spoiled and loved on just as cats should be!

Joy of joys, there were even feral kittens present for us to socialize!

This was my kitten

Laura elected not to attend this class because she was afraid if she went she might come home with a kitten. I somehow made it through without taking any home with me! These littles one are so precious, I'm so thankful they are getting loves and plays rather than trying to survive on the streets. 

Their little blue eyes are stunning

One of the things I learned was the importance of giving them lots of contact from different people including children and other pets and gradually introducing them to all sorts of day to day sounds, like television, radio, kitchen appliances, vacuum, etc. so they learn not to be scared of them.

I would love to foster and tame feral kittens someday, however I think I need to work through my cat-attachment issues more before I am ready. I don't think I could give them up when the time came to adopt them out. I learned from the more experienced people at the class, that it is common to experience significant heart ache, especially when giving up the first litter of foster kittens.

After the class was done, one of the experienced teachers gave a brief demonstration on how to microchip and vaccinate kittens. I don't think I'll be doing that myself, no thanks! However, it was good to see that the kittens didn't seem bothered by any of it.

I think I'll attend some of the other upcoming classes too, particularly one on how to relocate ferals into a barn cat lifestyle and maybe the bottle baby class. I love that these resources are available here! I may not be using some of these skills right now, but one never knows when it might come in handy!


  1. I would LOVE to take a bottle baby class! Sounds awesome! That is so cool that they had kittens for you to "practice" on :)

  2. That's great! Absolutely fantastic!! The peeps of your community should be super-duper proud of themselves. I'm proud of them, too. I was born feral, you know. And look at me now? I've even got my own blog!

  3. This sounds like a great class to take. Those kittens in the pictures are beautiful!

  4. What a wonderful opportunity to learn, great class(es)!

    My former co-worker took feral kittens we caught some years back now (5 or 6 maybe). She won them over by spending a lot of time lying on the floor, with her hand smeared in canned cat food. :-)

    She also had other resident cats, one of whom (Ragdoll) was a particularly good "uncle." All the kittens she fostered turned out to be wonderful, so she did a good job, can't fault her for that.

  5. BTW, the only info I had on Nicki was that he was found feral at 8 to 10 weeks of age. Hard to believe, considering how much of a purr bug he is. :-)

  6. is there any online reference to these classes?? I would love to pass the idea on to my shelter..

    Bottle baby classes.. LOL.. if you were fearful of taking home a fraidy cat then don't take a bottle baby class!! They sucker you in so quickly.

    When they are sick or needed a lot of work, or still need some work or are only kittens then it is harder to let them go, but when you have a room full of kittens at adoptable age it is pretty much akin to a birthday party for two year olds with too much sugar and too many prizes.. They are in to EVERYTHING, they are a mess and way more work then they were at the beginning. I know I am so very much ready for them to go when it is time.

  7. what a great idea. we agree with Connie - beware the bottle babies - the cuteness is overwhelming. :)

    We have now helped mom socialize some (sorta) feral kittens and it has been a learning process. Not sure we could consider Junior a true success, but we think we did a better job with the memorial day kittens last year.

    It can be hard to give them up, but it is so rewarding to see them go from tiny and scared to bigger and outgoing and ready for their own homes. :)

  8. Oh..bottle baby class. I needed that SO badly when we found a 2 week old baby! I didn't even know the bottle's nipple was still closed. You had to open it yourself and who KNEW!? THANK HEAVENS we found a woman and her mother who were willing to feed the baby around the clock and love her. Her picture is on my human blog. Her name is Coco. We fed her the best we knew how but she got her new mama just 24 hrs, later...I was so sad but so glad she would get the care she needed what with me working 12 hrs shift rotation and my son a way we could serve the baby though we would have left no stone unturned to find her someone who would love her and care for her.

  9. I wish this was going on in our area. There is nothing available for feral cats. The vets don't even want to help rescues who trap them. If trapped, they get euthanized. Years back there was someone who trapped and spayed and then found homes for them but she has now moved on to caring for and boarding dogs. I would certainly attend some of those classes, too just in case it would help a cat in the future.

  10. Wow, I commend you for doing this training! I have tamed a few feral kittens in my time - it can be really fun and rewarding.

    Be well and keep up the great work!

    Pet lovers please check out my homeless cat blog archives for some informative posts and stories about the cat abandoned/feral colony I manage.

  11. Wow, what great resources! Bless you for doing this for our ilk.

  12. As much as I would love to foster feral kitties, I just KNOW I'll get too attached to them. All the cats at our household, with the exception of Cosmo and Ling are failed fosters. :) Tutu is especially close to me because she was abandoned at birth and I bottle fed her. Bottle feeding is very rewarding, especially when you watch them grow from being helpless little babies to them being independent. But bottle fed babies do tend to come with *issues* due to lack of socializing skills that is usually handed down by their mothers and siblings...from my experience.

  13. My current role with our rescue is finding barns to relocate the cats we can't return after TNR. We have "homed to barn" about 40 cats so far this year.

    The classes sound very interesting. When I retire from work my goal is to be one of the 'bottle-feeding' fosters for the rescue.

  14. What beautiful kittens. Bless you for getting involved. I fear that I too would become too attached to foster kittehs, so I don't dare start.

  15. What a fabulous idea!!! They should offer this class everywhere.
    Not sure if you saw my book review Monday (I read comments but don't remember so if you did I apologize!) The book is called "Taming Me" and it is through the eyes of a feral kitten, it will be released October 16, National Feral Cat Day

  16. This is such a great idea! Both of our cats were feral kittens and my husband was so upset when he brought them home and found they were terrified of us! I think this would even be great for new cat owners who have adopted or taken in a feral kitten. If they are like my husband who didn't understand and seemed disappointed that the kitten wouldn't initially do what he expected (like play with us, be excited to see us etc) they would get tips, advice and pointers to move them in the right direction. And meet others going through the same thing.


Thanks for sending in your comments!