This is Tuppence. She needed zero taming. Tuppence came from a feral cat colony where she was discovered with 3 siblings but no mother. The colony care-taker trapped Tuppence and her sister. In spite of being born into a colony of feral cats, Tuppence is one of those beings who was born to mingle and play.
This is Tonic (on the right), her mostly feral sister. Unlike Tuppence, Tonic was really scared of us. She shook in her bones when we held her. After 1 week she’s now fully tamed. As I write this she climbed into my mom’s lap and fell asleep.
A week after Tuppence and Tonic were trapped their brother was finally caught. This is Tonka. He’s super scared. He’s crying in distress as I write this. We just got him yesterday. He doesn’t hiss or claw but he’s pretty frantic to find hiding places where we can’t get to him. His sisters won’t allow him to stay in hiding.
Have you ever needed to tame a feral kitten and wondered how in heck to go about it? You are SO lucky, because today I’m going to share with you my “patented” method of kitten taming that works every single time! It’s called “The Relentless Approach”. If you follow my 2 easy steps you can tame a kitten in exactly as long as it takes for your kitten to become tame:
1. Create a Safe Kitten-Proof Environment.
Windows need to have secure screens. Make sure there’s nowhere a kitten can hide that you can’t get to them at but you don’t want a totally empty minimalist room either because that’s no fun for a kitten and will make them feel more exposed. Provide a cave-like place for them to sleep, eat, and do their business. A cage covered with a sheet is suitable.
2. Be Relentless.
Spend a lot of time in the kitten-proof room. Every few minutes pull your feral kitten out of hiding and say soothing things to it. It will NOT appreciate your overtures. Don’t freak it out. Speak softly and encouragingly. I promise them they’ll be playing string with me in a few days and having a blast. They never believe me. They won’t believe you either. They’ll hide. Every little while pull them out of hiding to let them know they can’t actually hide from you. Pet them, talk encouragingly to them. They’ll look at you like you’re a giant wild boar with bloody tusks. Don’t take it personally. Dangle toys on strings near their hiding places. Wear them down. Works every time. Eventually they give up and fall for the string. Eventually they relax a little when you hold them. They don’t want to, but they will because you will have worn down their will to fight against the love and fun.
It’s that simple.
The Feral Kitten Alumnae:
This is Geronimo, the first feral kitten we worked with through Forgotten Felines. He was already half tame by the time we got him. One of the volunteer coordinators had him for a while.
In no time at all he was king of my desk.
This is Sonar. He came to us hissing and spitting. He would shake violently when we held him. His secret name is Grover because his fur is blue-ish and had a quality to it that reminded me of the famous muppet Grover.
Sonar would never fall asleep in my lap but he was a lot of fun to play with and every morning would greet me vigorously with some purring, rubbing my face with his, and lounging on my chest.
This is Petra the Great. Petra came to us pretty young and small. She hissed a little but mostly just shook in fear at first. Then she became the most playful and fun kitten. Searching for comfort she would nurse on my neck, NOT comfortable. I finally got her to nurse on my thumb instead. Such a little baby.
Petra could do the most incredible moves while playing. I swear she did a triple lutz when in pursuit of a toy on a string more than once.
All of these kittens found good homes through Forgotten Felines and it was our honor to be part of that process. If you’re a local to Sonoma County, please consider donating either money or supplies (Purina kitten chow, clay litter, toys, or snuggly bedding) to them. They work exclusively with the feral cat colonies of our county monitoring the health of the feral grown cats (neutering, spaying, treating injuries and infections) and every year they catch all the kittens born in the colonies after they’ve weaned from their mamas and place them in foster homes like ours until they get all their shots and spaying and have been tamed, get adopted out. Some kittens are not tamable, those kittens are returned to the colonies where they were born and are watched after by the volunteers who spend time keeping an eye on them. It’s a great organization. They never kill an un-adoptable cat.