How to tame a feral kitten

Got a new, young, furry love in your life? This is the place for you to ask all of your questions - big or small! Just remember that you are receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a vet or behaviorist! Most important is to remember to have fun with your new fur baby.


Purred: Sun Feb 10, '13 12:42pm PST 
Not too long ago we decided to get a new addition to our family, and we went through the whole adoption process for Mia. The foster mom said she was a great cat and that she’d be a little scared at first, but then she would turn around once she got used to her environment. Well its almost two months later and she’s still scared. You can’t even go up to her and approach her. The only way you can touch her is if she’s on one of her “safe spots” (the bed, couch, and cat tree). We've been giving her treats, playing with her a lot, talking to her, handling her as much as we can. That seems to be helping out a lot, but I’m just scared I’ll never be able to approach her in the future. Anyone have any tips on how to help her get friendlier?


Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
Purred: Sun Feb 10, '13 1:04pm PST 
It sounds like you're doing everything right. It just takes time, time and more time. I always use food to help my fosters get used to me, especially kittens. Make petting a part of meal time - they're less likely to run away if they're busy eating and they come to associate your touch with food. Hang in there! It does get better.


My little hobo- friend
Purred: Sun Feb 10, '13 7:07pm PST 
I agree, you are doing everything right, it just takes a long time to really gain that trust. I adopted a feral kitten once, and it took many, many months before he would even let me pick him up. He never really took to anyone else but me. Once they know they can trust you, they will come around. I have a feral cat that I have been feeding for going on a year now, and it took months before she would even come within 6 feet of me, and she used to hiss at me to. Now, I can almost pick her up, she just jumped in my lap a few times, she lets me pet her, scratch her chin, but it took a lot of time to get to that point. Trust takes time. She will get there. Bless you for being so patient with her.


mon petit chat- noir
Purred: Mon Feb 11, '13 2:25pm PST 
I am working through this right now with Felix. He was born in my backyard & became very very ill, I nursed him back to health & he was doing pretty good, then after a break-in at my home, he got very frightened. Patience is your mantra. Food can be a big help. If you area able to, sit on the floor, in the same room as Mia, and have a few treats or favorite snack. Put some a bit away from you. If she is hungry & curious, she may go for it. talk to her, but no quick movements. You can try this every day, and slowly move the treat closer to you. I find speaking softly helps too. A few things I am currently trying and they do seem to help:
Feliway diffuser - has pheromones that release a calming effect
Nature's Miracle calm spray. I sprits it on the wall or bed where he likes to nap
Pet Naturals of Vermont Calming treats - he loves these and they help - I give him 1 each day, and if he is really nervous, I give him an extra. Something I just ordered that I have read good things about is Bach Remedy. You can put the drops in food or rub some on them. On the IBDkitties.net site there is a calming collar that is said to be great - I will be trying that too.
Felix is still afraid of The Dad. If he walks into the room with his work boots on, Felix will slink away as fast as possible. And believe me The Dad knocks himself out to try & be friends with Felix - he adores all the kits. He is just a scared kitty. It just takes time. I will post on the Bachs after I get it. Good luck & feel free to pawmail me if you wish!


My little hobo- friend
Purred: Mon Feb 11, '13 3:48pm PST 
I like what Felix said. I also speak very softly and make no fast moves when I'm around Arwen, especially when I was still trying to win her over. Now, she trots right up to me and it's not really an issue, but, she has been outside for a long time, and every once in a while she gets a little spooked and retreats from me, when she sees my hand from behind her, but I just have to realize that she had probably never been touched before me, and I have to respect that. I remember the first time she decided that she would eat from her bowl while I was about six feet away from her, she slinked up to my front porch, dragging her belly and terrified, and she shook all over and kept one eye on me and one eye on her food. Now, I can pet her all over while she is eating. This is the cat who used to hiss at me. I never got angry with her for any of her behavior. I respect that she is a wild cat and I accept her for what she is. It is so funny now, how much she loves me, she is all over me. She rubs her head all over my shoes and she almost lays down at me feet, like my other cats do but she still has yet to do that, to give me her belly, not sure if she will ever do that. She has jumped in my lap two times, but I had food. It has been a long, long time, gaining her trust, and it has been so sweet to see her come around and how much she loves me. She used to only let me pet her by my front door, now, she will come running up the sidewalk when she sees me outside.