How Can I Help Feral Kittens?
by Mary Fariss
It is important to trap feral kittens, and whenever possible, foster and socialize them until they are old enough to be adopted out. “Once born, they struggle to survive,” Hartmann confirms. “Their mortality rate is very high because of all the challenges of life outside on the streets. Those who do reach adulthood are often seen by local residents as a nuisance, since the presence of intact cats comes with roaming, yowling, spraying, unwanted messes, etc.—so it’s best to get them off the street.”
How Do I Tame Feral Kittens?
The Urban Cat League has a great resource for socializing feral kittens, if you have the time and energy to dedicate to the task. Here are some tips to help you along:
· Whenever possible, kittens should continue to nurse until four weeks old—this can be done in captivity.
· Do not let feral kittens run loose—they can hide in tiny spaces and are exceptionally difficult to find and catch.
· Confine the kittens in a dog crate, cat condo or cage with a small litter box, food, water and something snuggly to cuddle in.
Food is the key to socializing. Give the kitten a small amount of wet food by hand at least twice a day—eventually the kitten will associate your presence with food. For those who are more feral, start by offering baby food or wet food on a spoon through the cage.
· Younger and less feral kittens can be picked up right away. Make a kitty burrito by wrapping the kitten in a towel, allowing her head to stick out.
· Once the kitten no longer runs away from you but instead comes toward you seeking to be fed, held and pet, you can confine her to a small room.
· Be sure to expose the kittens to a variety of people.
· Do not forget about the mom—spaying her is essential as well.