How to socialize a feral kitten

Changing the behavior of a stray kitten to become more friendly and mild requires a set of steps and a little bit of patience.

Unsocialized or feral socialization is a learned behavior. kittens aren’t born liking humans, they become friendly to humans through early exposure. However, if they’re not exposed to humans from a young age that’s when kittens are feral and they grow up to be feral cats.

Steps to socialize a wild kitten

First steps to do with a unsocialized kitty

When you are working with a feral kitten for the first time, you have to put on gloves. Feral kittens are very scared when they’re cornered and if you corner them in a carrier, they will probably bite or scratch you. Don’t underestimate a kitten just because they are small, they can still hurt you.

Avoid putting them in a corner, and remember that as he is afraid, any movements or sounds are gonna be really scary to him so do things smoothly.

Put the kittycat into a playpen that can close for the first several days, in order to make sure he stays safe. This enclosure should be somewhere near where you spend a lot of time so that the kitten can get used to being in proximity to a human.

It is important that you don’t let them roam freely until they’re a little milder and are actually interested in and willing to approach you.

The socialization period of a kitten

Before starting to work with the kitten, make sure they’re at an age where they’re likely to warm up to you. The critical socialization period is between five and twelve weeks of age, that’s when kittens are weaning onto wet food they’re becoming less dependent on their cat mom, and biologically predisposed to accept the change and look for their next meal.

If you can swoop in when that window is still open and help these kittens associate humans and food that’s when the socialization works the best.

Make the kitten associate food with you

One crucial piece of advice is that you never have to free-feed your kitten. Free-feeding is when you give food freely and the kitten just eats whenever they want. From a kittens perspective, they think they’ve found food and they don’t need a human to give it to them.

Instead, feed the kitten with meals, and every time it’s Meal Time it’s socialization time. Every single time you work with them you’re pushing them to do a little bit more to become comfortable with humans.

So, the first only goal is to get him to eat in front of you.

While he is eating, talk to him the whole time you could so they get used to the sound of your voice. If you don’t know what to talk about read them a book or read them the news.

For the first meal don’t do anything other than just talking to the kitten let them get used to the idea now they’re in a human home. Remember that these cats might have never heard a human speak before, so this is really brave of them. this is a huge period of transition.

The goal is for him to understand that when he eats I’m here and nothing bad happens to him. Slowly he’s going to start to realize that you are not a bad person after all.

First steps to touch the untamed kitten

Don’t pick him up or do anything that’s going to make him uncomfortable, now it’s just about getting him slowly used to the idea of being touched. Do that by snagging at every single meal.

Encourage them to get a little more comfortable with different types of human contact. At first, He might grumble, but it’s all right as long as he’s still comfortable to eat, he is making progress.

Then, if the kitten is eating try something new each time. can Try hand-feeding him, which will increase his feelings of dependence on you as the caregiver, and show him that you’re someone he can trust.

Lifting an undomesticated kitten

Once he’s comfortable with hand-feeding and touching, start to slowly lift the kitten. Don’t do it all at once, go slowly and smoothly as long as he’ll still eat during this process, progress is being made.

Little by little, you’ll be able to lift him completely if the kitten is accepting touch. You can try to caress some of his favorite spots like the face, chest, and lower back. you might even hear his first purr.

Encourage time together with your kitten

All these steps take place over the course of several meals and several days. Once your kitten has become a bit milder, encourage as much time together as possible. Rub his cheeks, hold him, caress him frequently. At first, he might look at you like he’s not so sure. However, after a time he will really relax into it.

Once the kitten is warmed up to you, you can start to encourage playtime. Rattling a toy around might be scary to a feral kitten if they just arrived, but by now your kitten should be really interested in toys and should be a little more comfortable with the sounds and movements they make.

So, play gently and don’t make any loud noises when the kitten is first gaining the confidence to play. If the kitten ever gets shy or is hiding away from you, don’t just pull them out from where they are, you can encourage them to come out with a toy or with some gentle touch.

You want your kitten to know that you’re safe, you’re a source of fun and food.

Hopefully, you will succeed to get your kitten from being wild to mild, and if this article was helpful, share it with other cat lovers to help them to tame their little purr.