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Bonding with semi-feral kittens

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Lucy2020, Jun 27, 2020.


  1. Lucy2020

    Lucy2020 PetForums Junior

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    As I've mentioned elsewhere, I adopted two feral kittens nearly two weeks ago and they're getting comfortable with me and my husband. When I feed them, I stroke them and pick them up and put them down a little. I throw balls for them to play with and dangle a toy mouse in front of them and throw it for them. They are happy to sleep, clean themselves and play near us (we're in the same room together all the time). They will also sometimes approach us and sniff at us, and they particularly like to walk all over my laptop keyboard.

    But I can't pick them up when they're not eating, and get hissed at if I get too close without food or toys, generally. (The hissing is certainly getting quieter though.) Big movements make them run away. Does anyone have any tips for getting further with this, or is it simply a matter of time and they'll eventually start coming over and snuggling etc? lol

    I haven't once had a purr from stroking them while they eat. I don't know if I'm 'doing it wrong' - I haven't had cats before this. To be fair, I don't think I've heard them purr at each other, either.

    They're about 9 weeks old, I think, for reference.
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Lucy2020 - if they are feral kittens (born to a feral mother i.e.) then it sounds as though you are doing very well with socialising them and have made excellent progress with them in only 2 weeks.

    The fact they like to play near you, they come and sniff you, are very good signs. They need to learn to trust you in their own time, so plenty of patience is the order of the day. :)

    I wouldn't keep trying to pick them up at this stage. Even non-feral kittens are not always keen on being picked up. Let them decide for themselves what kind of interactions they want with you. Hissing is a way of them telling you they do not feel comfortable with you getting too close sometimes, and it is best to respect this.

    With my timid youngest 2 rescues I deliberately didn't pick them up when they were young kittens, and only started doing it - very briefly - when they were over 6 months old. They are now aged 7 and neither of them likes being held for long. But they are lovely, friendly cats with sweet, funny ways, so not being able to pick them up much is not important to me. My boys are different and from the start liked being picked up and held. Every cat has their own preferences. :)

    With your 2 the purring will come, when they fully trust you. It will be worth waiting for I promise. x

    It would be lovely to see a photo of your 2 kitties if you have one to share. :)
     
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  3. Lucy2020

    Lucy2020 PetForums Junior

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    Thanks, that's really helpful! I'm glad to know we're doing well with them. The video I watched when I got them implied they should be cuddling with me within a week, lol. The mother is feral, I'm almost certain, and the father is a stray (he's lovely... not around as much now).

    This was taken the other day: (Ardath on right, Triss on left)
    kittens-in-washbasket.jpg


    And just now:
    kittens-27th-jun.jpg
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Lucy2020 - aww they are such cute little poppets! I love black and white cats - I have 2 :)

    Thank you for the photos. x
     
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  5. Lucy2020

    Lucy2020 PetForums Junior

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    It's just nice having people definitely want to see the photos, haha. My poor friends must be a bit bored by now of hearing about them. I love these two to bits though. There's very little they do that isn't cute.

    I woke up last night to one of them on my legs. I'm not sure if she was playing or lying there... jumped off when I woke.
     
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  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    You're always welcome to show photos of them on the forum - we all love kittens! xx :)
     
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  7. tyg'smum

    tyg'smum PetForums Member

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    Oh, what pretties!
     
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  8. Irene81

    Irene81 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi @Lucy2020, I think I am in a similar situation! I adopted feral 2 cats about 4 months ago from a local cat rescue, and they were already 5 months old. I only discovered after they were already with me that they went through five different foster families in a month, before being adopted.
    With a lot of patience, the male one (Darcy) has slowly become more confident, he lets me touch him when he gets food or when he sleeps, he purrs, he plays a lot, but in any other situation he runs away from me. The female one (Carolyn) is more curious, she plays and comes closer to me but she doesn't want to be touched at all. When I slowly put my hand closer, to let her sniff me, she just goes away like if she's scared/annoyed by any human touch. I am not sure if I am doing (or have done) something wrong to scare her, and if there's anything I can do to make her feel more comfortable. I try sometimes to push her and go for little touches when she's relaxed and sleeping but it doesn't work...
     
  9. Lucy2020

    Lucy2020 PetForums Junior

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    Yes, that does sound very similar. One of mine decided to start playing with my toe today, lol. I think sometimes you're making more progress than you're seeing.

    They've started purring finally. Specifically when they're kneading the fur in our bedroom.
     
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  10. Lucy2020

    Lucy2020 PetForums Junior

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    So, things have improved hugely since I posted this! Our two little darlings are even more confident now. Ardath is so cuddly! She's happy to be picked up a lot of the time, and will nuzzle into us and purr while we stroke her. I regularly have her on my lap now - she chooses to sit on me if I stroke her. Triss doesn't like snuggles so much, but she likes to sit and watch what we're doing (quite intently, lol).
     

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  11. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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