I Tried to Socialize a Feral Kitten and Instead Got a Catastrophe


Three kittens were recently brought into my foster care for rehab. I think I’m a pretty patient cat lady, and I’ve seen many scared, angry, and aggressive animals. Many people believe that after 12 weeks or so, the chances of domesticating a feral kitten sharply decrease. Well, I now have the video to prove it.

Meet Little S***. She didn’t have a name until the weekend after we got her, and boy, did she earn it. Her two siblings were also scared and shy, but they lack the intense maniacal genius that this gal has.

The story begins with all the kittens being housed loose in our little bathroom. They hid in their crate mostly. Little S*** hissed and growled and nipped at anyone who went into the bathroom. Each night I’d hear wailing and crashing of food bowls. Around 4 a.m. most nights, someone threw her or himself against the wall. In the morning, I’d find litter and water strewn around, towels on the floor, and rips in the shower curtain.

I said to my husband, who goes by the name $hClean!, “Let’s give her a few days. Maybe she will come around.”

$hClean! would spend time in the bathroom trying to socialize the kittens, and Little S*** would literally bite the hand that fed her. Luckily, we’ve learned to wear leather gloves in cases of angry animals. Animals will usually chill out when you leave them alone, but this kitten wreaked havoc with or without our provoking presence.

Enter Friday morning. $hClean! and I leave for work. Then we work. Then we come home. I open the door and walk into one solid inch of water on the kitchen floor. WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUUU… open the door to the bathroom and see towels on the floor and IN THE SINK. The faucet is running full blast. I run down to the basement, and the water is pouring from the ceiling. There is another inch of water. There is a waterfall cascading from the window sills and covering EVERYTHING. Guitars. Pianos. Computer. Recording equipment. Teaching materials. Books. Canvases. Boxes of albums. Basically my entire means of how I make a living is either in a pool of water or being rained on.

This kitten had jumped onto the top shelf in the bathroom, knocked the towels into the sink, clogged the drain, and SOMEHOW, SOMEHOW turned on the faucet full blast. All of this. No thumbs.

We quickly ran to save the instruments and electronics. We threw all the towels we own on the ground. It took hours of sopping and wringing the cold water just to get the water level down to zero upstairs and downstairs. The cats were all hiding either in the bathtub or on higher ground. I was crying and freaking out. I’ve discovered I’m not the person you want to rely on in an emergency. I feel all the feels and cannot be level headed until I’ve had a good panic attack.

Thankfully $hClean! is the man to be with during an emergency. He jumps into action without thought of the things that are ruined or the patina of litter sludge all over the floor or the fact that it is 15 degrees outside and HOW WILL THINGS DRY WE DON’T HAVE LAUNDRY THE WORLD IS OVER.

This is how my mind works.

Well, two days later, I’d felt all the feels, and I could be level headed. I know what really matters is that no kitties were hurt. No people were hurt. The instruments appear to be okay. I haven’t had time to plug in everything and assess the damage. I plan to just let things keep drying and hope for the best. In the meantime, we’ll just have to accept the fact that not every kitten can be domesticated. Little S*** is living in a cage in the bathroom right now, and she actually seems calmer in there. We had her spayed and her ear tipped late last week, and we released her back to her home in the wilds of Trenton, New Jersey, over the weekend.

I love fostering and helping animals. I even love Little S***. From afar. With a glove on when I change her food dishes. She is an animal, more wild that we can handle. It’s not her fault. We took her out of her home and tried to force her to see how awesome we are.

There are limited foster families out there, and tons of kittens. We need to put our energy into socializing the shy, the fearful, the hissy, the motherless, and the sick. I learned long ago I cannot save every kitten. I can give it a good chance at life, even if that life isn’t going to be in someone’s home. After all is clean and dry, at least I will have her reproductive parts.

Read more by Sarah Donner.

Read more about feral and stray cats on Catster:

Sarah Donner is an indie folkpop songstress who has embraced her inner cat lady. Her cold New England heart was transplanted to New Jersey where she fosters kittens when not on tour. The four cats in her permanent collection hate listening to her play guitar, so she takes in kittens without discerning taste to keep her feeling validated. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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