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Socializing Semi-Feral Kittens

Cat_s Paw


We all know most kitties love their food, and where does it come from? If we free feed cats that are feral or shy, they will not associate the food with humans and will most often continue to hide. This is not saying to provide no food to a cat that continues to hide, these cats do need access to a grace time to eat when they feel safe.

When we do not free feed, kitties learn their food schedule and become eager to come to their bowl for their next meal. This gives more time for possible human interactions.

The exception to this is kittens, as they are young and growing are usually left dry food. Their wet food meals however are what wins them over!

The Power of Treats

Treats are the best "weapon" we have to use on shy or feral kitties. Those tempting things cats just can't resist bring them closer to us humans and they often don't realize a hand is on the other end of that Churu treat!

Finding their hiding place and luring them out with a treat or just feeding them in place with a treat once a day is a great way to gain their trust over time. Sometimes the packaging or your hand can be scary, so using a spoon may work as well!

Baby food is a wonderful treat, especially for kittens that may be experiencing bouts of diarrhea. Just make sure it is chicken or turkey baby food, with no onion or garlic in the ingredients, Gerber brand is usually our go to!

Cat Feeding
Caressing a Cat

A Gentle Touch

For very scared kitties, petting them with an object may be the best way to start if they are often hissing and swatting.

For kitties that appear calm and relaxed, do not go for their back where they cannot see you as this may startle them and do not go near their mouth or cheeks as you could receive a quick bite.

Start off going gently and slowly near their shoulder where they can see you or behind their ear where you can quickly retreat. If they allow touch, keep it gentle and short! You do not want to overstay their welcome, they will start to come to you over time and allow longer periods of attention or even ask you for it with purring or rubbing!

Play Time!

Play time is extremely important in socializing cats, and it's good exercise!  Remember, we are on the other end of this fun activity. Keep them engaged and switch to different types of toys and when you find a favorite, don't over do it! 

Play until they become a little tired and follow up with some more treats, kitties always eat after a successful "hunt"! 

The beautiful striped domestic cat plays with a toy..jpg
Napping Kittens Cuddle in A Cat Hammock.jpg

The Living Space

If you are fostering kittens that need socializing, setting them up in an often frequented space is a wonderful idea! They will see people often and quickly learn they are in no danger. Very large wire dog crates work well for this!

Make sure not to offer them cubbies and beds they can hide in, instead give them hammocks and other fun things to climb on!

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