Taming the Wild Beast

Raising a feral kitten requires time and patience.

By Justin Sanders

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Raising a feral kitten is not for everyone. If you're interested in rescuing feral kittens, be prepared to invest your time and patience in this challenging commitment.

Keep in mind that feral cats need other feline companions. Brian Kortis of New Yorks Neighborhood Cats offers these tips on how to help your un-socialized animal adjust to human contact.

  • In a feral kittens mind you're a predator, so don't try to force yourself on it. Don't reach your hand in and grab it or start trying to pet it, and then wonder why it bit your finger. First you want to teach it that you're OK.
  • Keep the kitten in a confined space at first, because if you just let it out it will go find a place to hide that usually is somewhere extremely inconvenient for you. Put it in a big cage or in the bathroom, and give it a big box it can run and hide in. Let it know it has a safe spot, preferably covered, soft and dark.
  • Start to play with the kitten, using some string or a little ball so it will come out and start playing with you. In the course of the play you get it used to physical contact. For example, if you're using string, run it over your leg or your foot so the kitten will get used to touching you.
  • At a certain point reach down and give the kitten a stroke on the back. As the play sessions continue, increase the amount of contact. Depending on the kitten, after two or three days you might pick it up and hold it in your lap for 10 seconds, and a day later you might make it 30 seconds. At a certain point it will find that you're OK and realize you're the one bringing the food. Then it will completely switch and attach to you.
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Reader Comments

Linda    Coventry, CT

12/16/2007 3:53:45 PM

This article is really helpful. We've encountered several ferals and it's been tricky gaining their trust. Thanks for the tips.

Donna    Limington, ME

12/16/2007 9:33:56 AM

Good advice, it certainly is difficult to tame a feral!

caleb    st. cloud, FL

12/15/2007 5:00:36 PM

very helpful

caleb    st. cloud, FL

12/15/2007 5:00:33 PM

very helpful

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