Adopt-a-Pet

How to Rescue Feral Kittens

With patience and persistence, you can tame a wild kitten and transform her into a loving pet.

By Sarah Magee

Page 3 of 3

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I sit on the floor, so I'm less intimidating, several feet from the food and speak softly. The braver kittens often warily eat. I repeat this process, so they begin to equate me with tasty food. I also visit at other times speaking softly. I know I've made progress when I enter the room and they don't immediately run and hide. Instead, their natural curiosity fastens on me.

A Little Closer
As the kittens become more comfortable, I introduce a toy on a string. As they play with the toy, I draw it closer to me, so they don't even realize how close they've gotten to me.

I continue the process with the food, visits and toys, and when I think they're ready, I lightly pet their heads while they eat. In time I work up to more extensive petting. Pretty soon the kittens are tame and in love with me because I provide food and positive experiences.

The entire process usually takes five days, but very shy kittens may take longer. Then they are ready for adoption.

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Reader Comments

Hira    Deer Park, NY

10/26/2012 12:44:01 AM

I 've found 2 ferral cats in my back yard.. its been like 4 months i m feeding them but i kept them outside.. i bring them in only for few hrs..sometimes they do stay inside for the whole night but im not sure how do i take them to vets..they do play with me n all but i dont think they will let me hold them. especially one of them gets scared too quickly.. any suggestions please? :)

Wayne    Fort Worth, TX

3/6/2012 11:16:40 PM

I rescued a feral ~8wk old kitten screaming under attack from two large dogs. My shouting presence scared off the dogs, but the kitten had suffered a major leg wound from the jaws of one of the dogs. The kitten did bite me and I was lucky there were no rabies. After keeping the kitten in isolation with food for a couple of days, it became less anxious. But when the kitten walked out on three legs, dragging the completely paralyzed leg behind it, I knew it would be death sentence to let it go. Eventually several weeks later, it regained use of the bad leg and was able to jump up onto platforms four feet high. During that recovery period the kitten would "knead" its paws into me as if I were its mother. Later I discovered this kitty had been visited through the window pane by her 3 other feral siblings, curious about how she got on the other side of the glass! Shortly thereafter one of the neighbors called the city pound who took away all the neighborhood feral cats. Only the little kitty with the bum leg which I rescued, escaped the city pound...

Joanna    Hemet, CA

9/6/2011 4:08:48 PM

Well, my cat was way different, he was a few months old, could talk and see already, it was during October( very cold ) and I was getting ready to leave for work when I heard several loud meows! I jumped against the fence to our abandoned neighbors house and saw a tiny black, grey, white kitten. I got some ham and threw some over and ohhh he started purring. I went to the front of the house andopened the gate to let him out, obviously he couldn't climb, so he came out, I thought he would run out and away, but no! He was attached to my leg purring and kneading on my legs! I named him Ace and he's been very, very easy to tame. I have had him for about half a year and he is great!

Joanna    Hemet, CA

9/6/2011 4:07:39 PM

Well, my cat was way different, he was a few months old, could talk and see already, it was during October( very cold ) and I was getting ready to leave for work when I heard several loud meows! I jumped against the fence to our abandoned neighbors house and saw a tiny black, grey, white kitten. I got some ham and threw some over and ohhh he started purring. I went to the front of the house andopened the gate to let him out, obviously he couldn't climb, so he came out, I thought he would run out and away, but no! He was attached to my leg purring and kneading on my legs! I named him Ace and he's been very, very easy to tame. I have had him for about half a year and he is great!

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