To state it in a very lucid term, a feral kitten is a kitten with no experience or contact with humans. There are many reasons why a kitten is called a feral one. The most prominent reason is that when the kitten is born to a wild mother, it automatically learns to fear humans and eventually turns feral.
However, in the end, they are just kittens and need help, as they aren’t strong enough to survive alone. You can contribute to and care for feral kittens in numerous ways if rescued at a young age (around 5-6 weeks). Whether providing food and water or creating a habitable place for these kittens, a little effort goes a long way. You can also vaccinate them so they don’t fall ill and live long lives. Eventually, if you find they can be tamed easily, you can adopt one and give it a lovely home.
So, today we will provide in-depth information about how to care for feral kittens.
How to Differentiate Between a Stray Kitten and a Feral Kitten?
The first step towards helping a feral kitten is differentiating between a stray and a feral one. To do so, you must watch the kittens closely. Based on their actions and reactions, you can identify whether it is a stray kitten or a feral one and take the necessary measures to care for them.
Feral kittens’ most prominent behavioral traits are hissing and lashing at humans. Other reactions of these kittens include huddling up in a small corner of any building or structure when approached, crouching and not making eye contact, and mostly protecting their body with their tail.
On the contrary, a stray kitten shows friendly signs and is more approachable, unlike ferals. However, a surprising fact is that even a stray kitten can become feral if born on a street and does not find a home or shelter by the time it is 5 weeks old.
How to Care for Feral Kittens?
Now that you have identified a feral kitten, you should approach it carefully and take good care of it to help fulfill its basic necessities. Caring for a feral kitten is not a one-day job. It takes consistent attempts and efforts before the kitty reacts to your gestures.
Below are a few simple yet effective methods of caring for a feral kitten.
- Get Them to Trust You
Feral kittens do not trust another creature easily. It is in their nature to be wary. Hence, they might not always be pleasantly surprised if you pay a visit. They may hide or even run away if they have the option to. Thus, you must first get them to trust you.
You can show up at the place where they lurk around and keep food and water for them. It is best only to keep the food and water bowls and leave. Let them come forward without fear to see what exactly you are offering. Upon sniffing, they might even start eating it sooner or later. Once they know that you provided them with food and water and do not want anything else in return, they will start trusting you.
- Give Them Food and Water
Even if they start to slowly come out from the hiding spot when you regularly keep food and water for them, you need to have patience and continue giving them their staples daily. It will take time for them to trust you completely. But after the kittens understand that you mean no harm to them, they will start coming out to eat the food, even in your presence. So yes, having patience is what will work in specifically caring for feral kittens.
- Provide Appropriate Shelter
Feral kittens might not always live in the safest place. They live in the wilderness or at least far away from humans. Thus, they are easy to hunt down by predators. Also, external hazards like bad weather conditions can make the current living space of these kittens unsafe. Hence, it is crucial to ensure they inhabit a safe space. The best way to do so is by providing feral kittens with a comfortable shelter.
- Get Them Spayed or Neutered
Neutering or spaying feral kittens can help them remain healthy. It can save them from the growth of cancerous tumors, UTIs, Feline AIDS, and many other feline health issues. It can also help tone down their aggression. Above all, it controls the chances of other feral kittens being born in case the feral kitten you care for is not fit for adoption and happens to conceive later.
- Get Them Vaccinated
Vaccinating kittens at a proper age is imperative to keep them healthy and away from diseases. Even feral kittens must be vaccinated if you consider adopting or socializing them. A wide range of vaccinations must be administered at different intervals. Below are mentioned 3 vaccination dosages that are a must for feral kittens, along with their benefits and pricing.
|How Does It Help?
|FVRCP (feline distemper)
|The first dose protects the kitten against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus, and Feline Panleukopenia.
|FVRCP (feline distemper), FeLV (feline leukemia)
|This second dose safeguards the feral kitty from Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus, Feline Panleukopenia, and feline leukemia.
|FVRCP (feline distemper), FeLV (feline leukemia), and rabies vaccine
|The third dose protects the kitten against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus, Feline Panleukopenia, feline leukemia, and rabies.
- Socialize Them
You must socialize the feral kittens once they are comfortable around you and are done with vaccination and spaying or neutering. The right way to do this is to put them in a safe cage and introduce them to the human world. Also, let them socialize with other cats or animals over time.
You can start by taking them to your house and slowly make them adopt hygienic practices. You can buy the Amazon Basics 3-Tier Cat Cage. It is perfect for feral kittens as it has ample space for them to stay inside for long hours without getting bored.
- Adopt Them
If you want to give the newly socialized feral kittens a better life, you can adopt them. You will get a pet, and the feral kitten will find a permanent home. It might take time for the kitty to adjust and adapt, but it will all be worth it in the end.
- Tame Them
Before teaching feral kittens anything or letting them free in the house, it is essential to tame them. If not tamed, they can become restless over time and react violently, causing harm to themselves or even you and your family members.
Initially, you can let them stay in their cage and feed them there. Once they start adjusting, you can take them out of it for short durations and play with them to create a bond.
Converting a feral kitten into a domestic kitten is possible if you take the right approach. However, you should know that it needs lots of time and patience. They are tiny creatures that have never been in contact with humans. But once they trust you, over time, you can transform and help them leave behind their feral traits and lead a happy, healthy life.