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Non-Spark-Related, Anyone have experience taming feral kittens?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Does anyone have any experience with feral cats? emoticon I think I got myself in over my head, and I am regretting it big time. I have my mom's help, but this just ugh...

Basically I've worked at my job over 5 years, there were 2 cats. A couple ladies there feed them. Over the years the momma cat has had litter after litter, and all the kittens would always end up dying. I should have done something about it then, but no one seemed to care so I ignored it. Well finally she had a litter of 3 cats survive. Which meant 5 full grown cats. 2 wandered off but 1 recently returned. Then both the momma cat and one of her full grown babies had a litter. One litter completely died, one had 3 survivors and are now 4 months old (give or take).

So of course everyone is complaining because there are 7 freakin cats, it's ridiculous. No one wanted to do anything about it so my mom and I are getting them fixed. The goal was to take home the 3 kittens, but we only caught 2. We have 2 adults fixed, still need to fix 2 adults, and the last kitten might end up just getting fixed and released. There is a Sgt there that wants to have the cats euthanized but I am not taking them to their deaths. I just fixed them, and released them. That has been their home and they are also doing their part to keep away any other cats. Apparently YEARS ago the same thing happened, and they had the cats taken away and these new ones moved in not long after.

I am just so frustrated because everything says after 4 months old you shouldn't try to tame them. I know I have to be patient, I know it takes time and it's only been 2 days. I read that you should have a spoon attached to something long, like chop sticks and try to get them to eat off the spoon through the crate and they refuse to even do that right now. Then on top of it, we gave them flea meds as soon as we got them but of course there are still fleas EVERYWHERE in that bedroom and it is the room with my guinea pigs. My mom is coming over in the afternoon and this is all just a mess. I vacuumed up a bunch of fleas but they are everywhere, and I don't want my guinea pigs getting eaten alive because I brought these stinkin kittens in.

I'm gonna watch some youtube videos on taming feral kittens and doing more research tomorrow, just curious if anyone had any experience with that? I guess I'm just looking for someone to say I did it and it was worth it, it just took time. My worry is that we do this for weeks and they don't get any better, and no one would adopt nasty cats, and I don't blame them. I am not even a cat person, isn't that funny? I guess I am just venting because I am just freaking out, especially over the fleas/guinea pig situation.

Sometimes I wonder why I do stupid crap like this, but I didn't want those cats to have 829038290 more cats and I know I've done the right thing, I love animals, I just wish the right thing didn't have to be so stressful!

Anyways, this is Lilo & Stitch *SIGHS*

I just wanted to say as a disclaimer, I am not freaking out because they haven't made progress in 2 days, I am prepared for this to take weeks, I think I'm just overwhelmed because I have 0 experience with this, plus the fleas/guinea pig thing is bothering me so much.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I never had cats, always a dog person... I hope you'll sort things out! It's a great thing that you took care of the cats, but maybe you could try to put the cage in another room cos:

    emoticon emoticon
    2707 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13298198
    You have a lot of comments here with great information. If you can't get them to be more tame/people friendly, try to find someone who needs barn cats. Some shelters offer programs to get feral cats into enviroments where they will thrive.
    2707 days ago
    Think of it as no different then your weight loss journey lol But with the fleas you HAVE to get that under control ASAP or you will end up like us! We finally went to the vet and got the advantage flea drops which are the ONLY ones that work. other than that vacuum vacuum vacuum and if you have to then get the foggers from the vet also. The fleas stuff from the store does NOT work
    2707 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8634484
    While you're waiting for the flea meds to work, take guinea pigs OUT of the room overnight, and use a long acting flea spray like Acclaim on the floor. You want one of the sprays that kills fleas and stops eggs from hatching. One spray will last 6 months, and the guinea pigs can go back into the room in the morning.
    2707 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12242035
    Good luck with whatever you end up deciding to do! I have heard of TNR programs (from watching My Cat From Hell), and it seems like a good thing to do. I would adopt them all if I could! In fact, probably the only reason I'm not the crazy cat lady is because I recognized that I could only take care of the one I had, financially.

    I wish Mr. Piggy luck as well!

    2707 days ago
    Not sure they can be tamed into house cats but they may make good outdoor cats if you live in warm weather.
    2707 days ago
    My daughter works with a rescue group and has raised over 50 kittens for adoption. I took in an abandoned kitten last fall and raised him until he was adopted by a wonderful family. So there is hope and help!

    The first thing you should do is see if there is a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) program in your area. They will help you to trap the kittens and adults; they will lend you the special traps that are needed. They will take care of the spaying and neutering and rabies shots, and the cats usually get an ear tipped so they can be identified as TNR cats. Some groups also test for FeLV and FEHIV. If the cats test positive for these diseases, they will likely be put down rather than released.

    The younger the kittens, the easier it is to tame them. The three-week old I took in was totally dependent on me for his food—had to be fed with a syringe—so he saw me as Mama right away. It also helped that I had two cats of my own; they learn how to socialize from other cats. These guys are probably pretty set in their feral ways at four months. One helpful group, Alley Cat Allies, says that after five weeks, it is really hard to get feral kittens tame enough for adoption, so you may find that the best option is to get them fixed and release them. I know that my daughter has never had luck taming the older ones, despite all her experience. All the kittens she has raised were either born to pregnant mothers who were trapped and gave birth before being taken in for spaying, or kittens under six weeks who were abandoned. In the first instance, the mother and babies were kept in a cage until the kittens could eat on their own; then the mom was spayed and released and the babies socialized for adoption.

    Here is the website for Alley Cat Allies, which may have some useful advice:


    You have done a good thing for these cats, even if you do have to release them. If they are fixed, you will be helping to reduce the feral cat population, and they will be less susceptible to getting injured in fights and won’t have as much competition for food. Good luck!

    2707 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/23/2013 12:43:11 PM
    Ask the vet about something called Capstar. It helps reduce the flea population. The only thing is, it comes in a tablet form which might be a problem for your situation. Here's a description:

    Capstar Flea Treatment Tablets are used to kill fleas on dogs and cats, which begins working within 30 minutes. Capstar will kill more than 90% of adult fleas within 4 hours on dogs and 6 hours on cats, and pets may temporarily scratch as a result of the fleas dying.

    One year our entire neighborhood was having a terrible flea problem. Capstar helped us get it under control. You still have to use other flea treatments, but this stuff gives you a fighting chance.

    Also SP member CATHUT runs a cat rescue, she might have some useful advice for you as far as the rehabilitation (or not) of the kittens.

    Best of luck.

    2707 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/23/2013 10:53:56 AM
    emoticon I have no experience with this either but just want to say how I admire you for trying! And thanks for the giggle: "I didn't want those cats to have 829038290 more cats." Exactly!! Anyone who keeps animals around should be humane enough to have them fixed. Good luck!!
    2707 days ago
    I wish I could give you some hope. Feral cats tend to remain feral. Even when they look tame for a while, they can turn "wild" on a dime. I don't know where you are, but In Kansas City, we have a wonderful no-kill shelter that has a special program for feral cats. They adopt the cats out as barn cats as long as folks agree to get them necessary shots and vet visits as needed, along with general feeding and watering. We have a barn cat and it's worked out well for us. I do not expect my barn kitty to be overly friendly with me - although he will come up and say help every once in a while. The good news is he keeps our barn free of mice and snakes. I applaud what you're doing, and I'd highly recommend that you look for a similar program or at least someone with an acreage willing to take on a spayed or neutered animal. The very best to you!!
    2707 days ago
  • AMOS76
    Keep us posted on their progress! I wish you all the luck in the world. You have a kind heart and breaking the cycle of death and reproduction is a start.
    2707 days ago
    I just wanted to wish you good luck. You are very kind to care for the cats. I wish there were more people like you around!

    I hate to be discouraging, but I would think they are probably best off if you let them out again if they don't seem to settle in (after having them fixed and vaccinated ofc). You could try to tame them long term by feeding them on the outside to gradually build trust before taking them in, but they will likely not be content living as indoor cats anytime soon..
    2707 days ago
  • FABAT402009
    Reach out to Spark member 3_GIANTS_4_ME, she's amazing and rescues cats and dogs.
    2707 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13976750
    I have no comforting words or experience sorry to say, but I'm sure it's possible given time. I'm sure there is someone here who knows, or knows someone who knows.... Hope you get the answer.

    2707 days ago
    May it go well with you.
    2707 days ago
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