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Adopting a Feral Kitten

Feral cats are born in the wild. You should always treat feral cats, and even kittens as what they really are, wild animals. Before you take the step of adopting, you need to understand that it is big commitment and there is a lot involved.



General Care:

Keep your feral kitten in a small cage with a place that he can retreat and feel safe while he observes his new surroundings.


Drape a towel over part of the cage to give it the feeling that it has a small niche of privacy where it can still see out. Let it settle down for a day or two before you try to handle it. 


Talk gently to the kitten through the cage, so it can get used to sound of your voice and your smell. Don't stare directly at it, as cats perceive this as aggressive behavior. Try blinking your eyes at the kitten instead. This is seen as relaxed and non-threatening behavior. 


When to Handle the Kitten:
Pay attention to the kitten's body language to decide when it is time to begin handling. It's important not to rush this step, let the kitten come out of the cage in its own time. Start by taking it out for handling several times a day, but only if it's able to tolerate it.

Be careful during the first handling. Use a towel or glove to pick up the kitten, and place it facing away from you. Pet the kitten, but not for too long. Try petting the kitten on it's cheek. During this stage don't introduce contact with other humans. 



Things to Remember:

There is no guarantee that your kitten will become a social butterfly or a cuddly lap cat. Taming a feral kitten takes time and each kittens personality is different. Often feral kittens will retain some of their shyness, even after becoming accustomed to people. Shyness with strangers is also common with domesticated cats who have grown up in the company of humans.

Obviously, the younger the kitten, the better chance that he can be domesticated. The time frame for this process varies, but it is commonly thought that the longer the kitten is living wild, the longer it will take. Patience is the key, and each kitten will be different.



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