Monday, July 7, 2008

Unforseen Circumstances

(aka: Wild Kittens in my bathtub.)

This post was going to be about Beatrice, and her trips to see her Forever Mommy. It was also going to be an "OH ! nQ#$" post about how I think Barnaby (who may need a new name) looks pregnant.

However, as I came home from grocery shopping today, feeling very not well, I happened to spy the Wild Kittens and Little Grey Girl (and Bessie) hanging out in the stairwell.

I dropped the groceries and grabbed both kittens.

Ow. I bled profusely, but wrestled the babies into the bathtub (and shut the sliding door, to keep them from Beatrice.)

This was ... unexpected. I didn't expect to catch one let alone two with my bare hands. I certainly didn't manage to convince the kittens that humans aren't evil, but I figure getting them into my flat is the first step.

(Next step, move Beatrice into my bedroom, still separate from my housecats, and give the Wild Kittens the whole bathroom.)

So why am I typing when there's so much to be done? Because I need to calm down-- I'm all shakey. (Plus I desperately needed a bandaid, heh.)

Back out to the shops to get another litterbox, it looks like. I'm ... overwhelmed.

Also, there are now going to be vet bills galore, so feel free to click the wee "donate" button over on the left...

Pictures later.

Edit to Add: Vet appointment for the wild fuzzies at 5pm. Vet appointment for Beatrice (to get her shots, and such) at 8:20. This is *not* how I anticipated spending my day...

So now I need tips on socializing feral kittens...

2 comments:

lunza said...

Socializing wild kitties: I hope this makes some sense; I just wrote down everything I could think of at random.

A feral mama had five kittens on my patio, and they lived there for a couple of months. When the kittens were 5 1/2 weeks old or so, I captured one by accident when it ran into my cat carrier. Two weeks later, then mama got trapped by my apartment complex's maintenance man, and I talked them into letting me take her to get spayed. (She's five years old, and I am not trying to tame her; I let her go after she recovered from the surgery.) Then my neighbors helped me capture the other four. A friend is fostering three of them, and I took the other one to join the kitten I already had.

My friend and I use the same basic technique: Keep them in a small space like the bathroom for a week or so, or until they calm down and get used to you, whichever comes last. If they're very young kittens, they'll start getting used to you in a few days. If they're more than eight weeks, it'll be a slower process.

If they hiss and spit, hiss back, and don't take it seriously -- you can pick them up anyway by the scruff. They will soon like being petted and cuddled. Hissing at them establishes you as a mama figure. You shouldn't have to do it too often, although they'll still think of you as "human-dangerous" for a while when you walk into the bathroom.

They will get used to you more quickly if you feed them wet food off a spoon or off your finger.

Once they behave normally in the bathroom, you can start slowly expanding their space until they get used to it. Or, if there's not much space in your house, you can just let them out into it, but this will slow down their getting-used-to-you process. The first kitten I captured has now been with me about half his short life, and only now he's starting to get used to me petting him at random and not freaking out. His brother, the last one captured, is still a little shy. I have to take them to the vet every so often to get their kitten shots and so forth. They don't like it and come back a little less tame than they went.

Project Cat said...

@lunza:

Thank you for the advice and your experience. :) The baby I've been fostering was easy-- she was only 4 weeks old and took to me immediately. These two are about 10 weeks old (they're from the same litter) and I know (or, I hope) that they're young enough to tame, but old enough that it isn't going to be easy. Eek.