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Domesticating stray kittens?

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  • ceresceres Just your problem OooSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    I would not force-snuggle, because he won't understand what you're trying to do. I think it's better to be available to explore, to sniff and watch and maybe climb if he gets confident without having to feel more trapped than he already does. Just bring something to do, because the waiting game is really boring.

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  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    Thanks dudes. I think I will give up googling this, too many contradictions. The anecdotes in here are far more helpful. I'll probably leave him alone for today and see if he's willing to move around by tomorrow.

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  • AnzekayAnzekay Registered User regular
    Has he been using the litter tray at all? I know not all kittens think to use that and just do their business anywhere when they are pretty scared. If he's doing that, you'll have to make sure you clean any of it up asap otherwise it'll become pretty unpleasant for him.

    9Xnmvna.jpg
  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    I went in there a while ago and found that he had come out and eaten the food I left for him, and used the litterbox, so that is progress. I'm glad he didn't just start shitting all willy nilly, it was definitely a concern.

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  • CatrichorCatrichor Registered User
    You could consider getting some feliway, if its available where you are. It mimics cat pheromones apparently and helps calm them down. There's a plug in, or a spray.
    It definitely works on my cats when we take then to the vet.

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    so judging by that picture i would say definitely under a year, but older than 3 months, but its hard to say

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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Judging from the proportions it is not a young kitten but it looks prepubescent. Of course, not even knowing the sex means it could just be a very, very small framed female. Speaking of sex, start shopping around with local vets and see how much a checkup, vaccinations, de-worming and neutering visit would be. For both a male and a female cat because I assume you haven't had the opportunity to flip the bewildered thing over to check yet . Prices on these things can vary greatly from vet to vet. Mention that it's a stray. Also look into buying/borrowing a sturdy cat carrier. Then try and get the vet visit taken care of within a week or two. If it's a male you need to get things snipped before he is old enough and decides to start spraying things. With a female it's not that big of an emergency, but she would still need her shots and such.

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    Siska on
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  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    Good job catching your wannabe-roadrunner!

    Remember, this is a kitten who has had to live in the cold, harsh world and is used to everything being dangerous. So you will have to be patient with him. I would not recommend forced contact or snuggling. I would do everything you can to associate yourself with FOOD and let the kitten come to you. (Except for getting him to the vet initially, he is going to hate that but there's nothing you can do about it. I wonder if you could get the vet to neuter him at the same time as he gets tested? Maybe even board him a couple days while waiting for test results, then neuter him? One trip instead of two might be less stressful . . .)

    You might try going in there, sitting down on a blanket or something (sitting down makes you appear smaller/less scary) and just reading a book or playing a handheld game for a couple hours. Preferably with your back to the kitten at first, then he can check you out without feeling threatened. Also maybe dragging a piece of string around once in a while, with a feather tied to the end.

  • MadpandaMadpanda Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    LaCabra wrote: »
    I went in there a while ago and found that he had come out and eaten the food I left for him, and used the litterbox, so that is progress. I'm glad he didn't just start shitting all willy nilly, it was definitely a concern.

    This is super good news, not eating or using the litter box can be a big problem after a few days.

    More anecdotes, my cat was in a foster home for 5 months before I got her and she still hid for 2 days when she got to my place. I just made sure she had food/water close by and knew were the litter box was. I would lay down on the floor and read for a bit now and then, but mainly left her alone. By day 3 I had cat in lap syndrome.

    You still should get her to a vet asap.

    Did it look like the other one was hanging around with the captured cat?

    Madpanda on
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  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    Siska wrote: »
    This seems like an awesome article, thanks!
    Thanks everyone else too.
    He is still hiding behind the washing machine - I had to reach out to him earlier, because he'd knocked down a bunch of crap from the windowsill onto himself - bottles of cleaning product etc (no spills or anything though, he just looked uncomfortable). He hissed a bunch, which was reasonable of him.
    Unfortunately the situation might have been worsened by my insensitive housemate deciding to do a load of washing in the machine he hides behind. I'm guessing his safe place doesn't feel so safe anymore. :/

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  • HeirHeir Registered User regular
    Yeah I would just leave him alone for the most part. Just go about your day like you don't even know or care he's there. He'll come out when he's ready.

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  • EchoEcho staring is caring Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Just wanted to say that anyone that takes care of stray cats is good peoples in my book.

    My own little kitty came from a cat shelter, after being found inside a cardboard box. That was taped shut. No mercy for whoever did that.

  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    Jesus christ, that is unbelievable.

    In kitten-taming news, uhhhhhh - not going so well as of now, as it turns out.
    Went in this morning to feed him (he still just stays behind the machine and comes out to eat when I'm not looking) to find him sitting adorably behind there on his blanket as is usual (he doesn't stare as much now, like he is to some extent used to us), left food, left. Then fifteen minutes later my girlfriend goes out and finds him like this:

    7078318803_86805ed9e6_c.jpg
    7078311653_37eb989e7d_c.jpg
    7078316179_69863b0709_c.jpg

    I had left the window open by like half an inch, which was enough for him to open it halfway and then crawl into the tiny gap between it and the screen, at which point he got stuck and I had to get him out. He is still in terrified aggressive hissing mode unfortunately. It also turns out he took a couple shits behind the washing machine, mostly using the litterbox to pee. So now we've cleaned that up, and we got the opportunity to seal off the area behind the washing machine so that now he still has a comfortable hiding place, but it's down the side of the machine rather than behind it, so we don't have to look down on him scarily any time we need to check on him.

    Also, I took those pictures so that people could guess his age better, not just because I am a heartless bastard. Really hope this little feller comes around eventually..

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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    Well judging from the bottom picture he is about your size, so I say you caught a bear.

    Seriously, it's hard to tell. It doesn't look fully grown. I am sure a vet can give you an estimate. Have you figured out if it's a boy or a girl?

    Pressed kitty is very cute!

    Izuela.png
  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    He looks to be about 5-7 months old? Don't quote me on that, I'm just judging it by my own kitteh (who is 10 months old now).
    But he's definitely somewhere between 5 months and 1 years old.

    Also zomg so cute.

  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    Yeah, I guess I didn't really put anything near him for scale...
    Not sure if boy or girl yet - haven't taken him/her to the vet. Need to get one of those cat-carrying devices.

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  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    Didn't you say there were two cats living under your house? Did you only catch one then? Is the other one still around?

    I've never owned a cat so I don't know a ton about cat psychology, but maybe s/he's freaking out because you separated them?

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  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    It's possible I guess. I haven't seen the other kitty lately at all, and I never saw them together, but that doesn't mean they weren't pals.

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  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    best way to tell is by their teeth. our youngest is a tiny guy. i wouldn't be surprised if it was over a year old

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  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    I'm taking him/her to the vet tomorrow, who can tell me sex and approximate age. Today I tried dangling a string down to him and wiggling it around. He looked at me like "it's a fucking string dude, grow up".
    Also he keeps tipping over his water bowl for some reason. Clumsy git.

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  • ceresceres Just your problem OooSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    If less than 6 months old, it's approximately 1lb/month.

    I've got my own life and I've got my own plans
    I hope you understand, and like the way that I am
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  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    In up-to-the-minute kitty news, he doesn't give a shit about string, but if I soak it in milk first he will give it a few tentative (adorable) licks.
    Hopefully he now associates me with delicious milks.

    edit: still don't know the sex, I'm just saying "he" for convenience

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  • AnzekayAnzekay Registered User regular
    Avoid giving him too much milk, I know it can cause problems with some kittens' poop (happened to mine when the food we were giving him had cows milk powder in it). A little bit off a string probably wont matter much though.

    9Xnmvna.jpg
  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    Oh, this is some kind of special made-for-kitties milk. I guess it has no lactose.

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  • AnzekayAnzekay Registered User regular
    Ah, that's perfectly fine then!

    9Xnmvna.jpg
  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    Aaaand since I have one here's another photo just for the dawws.
    525477_10150703522167819_785552818_9629960_776881570_n.jpg

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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    Probably just too freaked out to be playing yet, but that is still great!. Means he is doing things other than being terrified in your presence. I bet a few more days of respectful distance and he will be curious enough to sniff your fingers.

    Izuela.png
  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    Yeah, hopefully! I did get a bit bold and try putting a gloved hand around the corner with some food in it, but he was like "Hey fuck off with that". I dropped the food and left and he ate it in my absence though. I would gauge his position currently as "Okay sure, you're giving me food, but that doesn't mean you're not a fuckin' jerk. Asshole."

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  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    He reminds me of my kitteh so much D: D:
    Socute.

    I'm glad to hear you're making some progress!

  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    Okay, took him to the vet. He did not like it. Shat himself in fact. Also he bit my finger super hard, good thing I was wearing thick gardening gloves or he'd have taken the damn thing off.

    It turns out he is a dude, and roughly 5 months old. He looks like this when he's in a basket.

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    Vet nurse lady was a little pessimistic about me taking him on. She did say that if we gave up on him and took him to a shelter or whatever they'd do a "behavioural analysis" and then put him down because nobody is going to adopt the guy the way he freaks out if anyone gets close.
    I'm still going to keep trying, it's a lot of work but it's worth giving him more of a chance, I don't want him to get dead. I at least set up an elaborate cattraption to prevent him getting all the way behind the washing machine this time (hopefully that's working).

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  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    Well, if you had him neutered, he might calm down some, but since you didn't post a picture of him in a cone I'm guessing you didn't get it done.

    Also am I an asshole if I think that cat-under-microscope look is fantastic?

    SS post
    mts wrote: »
    heres how i see it being a total win situation for you
    1. stay with your wife while she dog sits. this wins husband points since she knows its out of your comfort zone
    2. have sex all over her friends house so that the next time you see her friend look at you condescendingly, you can wink back knowing you did the freaky deaky where she eats her cheerios.
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    The EEEEYYYYEEEESSSSS. :shock: (<-Cat is basically making this expression)

    You're doing a good thing. Stick with it. My grandmother adopted a kitten from a litter that a stray cat decided to spawn under her back porch. It took quite a while, but he eventually got comfortable with her, and tolerated a few other people who visited the house frequently. Still found himself a fraidy-hole and disappeared every time I came to visit because I was only there to visit every couple months or so (which I thought was terribly unfair because he was OK with my cousins, who lived closer and thus got to come over more often). Anyway, what I'm saying is, don't have the expectation he's ever going to reach a point where he'll hop into the lap of every new random stranger, but there's no reason he couldn't get companionable with you and any other regular inhabitants of the house given some time.

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  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    Yeah, they said neutering might calm him down slightly, and gave me a quote on it. I may still go do it.
    Also, my cattraption to keep him out from behind the machine is working, but he's not even going down the side like I thought he would now. Dude favours the sink.

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  • LaCabraLaCabra Registered User regular
    Also here's him being too scared to get out of his basket when he got home.
    522071_10150705597267819_785552818_9638202_1871499597_n.jpg
    This is basically just a caturday thread now.

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  • EgoEgo Registered User regular
    Awww. Was he looking at someone in that basket picture, out of curiosity?

    He sounds like he has the attitude of one of the cats I adopted (the cat pooped in the sink. Seriously. And apparently cat poop is like acid, so even if I hadn't been grossed out by the idea that cat poop was once in my sink, I was stuck replacing it.) Give it time, he's got a good shot of coming around. Jack (my cat) went from hissing at me the first time I looked at him and trying to bite me to sprinting when I call his name and perching on my shoulder if I'll let him.

    He also follows me to the bathroom and jumps onto my shoulder if I'm having a pee.

    Thanks for giving a cat a chance. I know there are way too many stray cats for adoption to ever really be a solution, but if you're looking for a pet, strays are the way to go.

    Erik
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Uee Citizen Record #2051 Über Star CitizenRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I'm hanging on your every word, and I'm rooting for you guys.

    EDIT: Also, anyone wanna see cat pictures while we wait the next update?

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  • DecomposeyDecomposey Registered User regular
    I wouldn't worry about him crapping on the way to the Vet. One of my cats, a very domesticated not stray I've had for years will ALWAYS shit in his carrier when he goes to the Vet. And he actually likes the Vet! All these new people who will pet him like he deserves. I think its just something about a car ride cats just do not like.

    Keep at it on this little guy, you are doing a good thing.

    Before following any advice, opinions, or thoughts I may have expressed in the above post, I feel I should warn you: I found Keven Costners "Waterworld" to be a very entertaining film.
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    You want to have him neutered if you want him to be a house-cat. Tom-cats are not good pets, they spray and they are restless wanderers. If he is 5 months old, don't delay. Some cat charities will neuter him for free.

  • MadpandaMadpanda Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    what did the vet quote you for neutering?


    Some places will give a lower rate for strays. I don't know what its like in other areas but from what I've heard its usually under $100 for neuter/rabies/microchip.

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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    LaCabra wrote: »
    Dude favours the sink.
    He might be a percher, as in he prefers to stay off the ground if possible. If you have an old computer chair, stool, ottoman or other padded furniture you don't give a crap about that's small enough to fit in the room, put that in there with him. Plus it means he is also not so intent on hiding anymore. Don't give up yet. 5 months is still youngish and easier to train than an adult. If you follow the steps in that article, feed small amounts several times a day, I think you can get him to the point where he is eating while you are in the room making noise within a few days. Alternate sweet-talking with not-paying-any-attention-to-you games when you spend time with him. And don't forget to avoid the steady gaze thing. If you catch him peeking at you give him a quick glance and a slow we're cool wink.

    Izuela.png
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