You are here

Foster Cat Journal: Day 4. A New Tool & Challenge.

You're supposed to use a “high value” food and only give it to the kitten when YOU are in the room and you provide the food. The problem is figuring out what is a high value food. Apparently, this flavor was not a big hit.

Candy plays hard to get. I play “eat your damn food!”

Tempation stage one.jpg

A hiss here or there, but not bad. Candy is willing to investigate the food, even if it means she needs to hiss at it as she does so. If I time it right, I will take the food away if she hisses and only bring it back if she is not hissing.

Candy is less fearful of the spoon, but it still takes effort to get her to come to me. She needs to be able to smell what's on the spoon and granted there's not much food on there to create much temptation. I end up bringing the spoon close, but moving it slowly away once she gets a good sniff or a tiny taste.

Licky lick_sm.jpg

Chicken baby food is a winner!

Mmm chicken_sm.jpg
Candy will definitely come towards me if I have baby food on the spoon. I worry that she's not getting enough nutrition so I do supplement the baby food with other canned or raw, yes raw food (she goes crazy for the raw!).

I was able to get Candy to put her paw on my (covered) leg today. She hissed when she touched me, but she did it. She didn't attack me. I just sat there quietly and sat still. I hope that being calm around her will keep her calm. Tough to do when I also feel tense that she might lunge at me, but so far, so good.

Uh oh_sm.jpg
How can this kitten look at me like that, then hiss? She is so cute, though, right? She's only inches away from me, but no. I do not pet her.

I gave Candy more challenges. First, I added a small scratching post to her crate. She was VERY interested to smell it and walk around it. Since my original brush was just too big, I took a toothbrush and taped it to a wooden spoon. I rubbed the bristles against the newspaper lining the crate and she responded well to the sound. She wanted to investigate, so I slowly brought the brush closer. I scratched it against the sisal on the post and she stretched, then began to climb up the post to get the toy. She also began to forget to hiss quite as much.

Cat Post First TIme_sm.jpg

The toothbrush doesn't bother her except for when I dared to brush HER with it. She let me brush her back, but she walked away from me as I did it. She hissed, but I did it a few different times with the same result. I didn't push her hard, but I did ask her to deal with a new stimulus and she did well. Sooner or later, she might come to like being brushed and it's a great way to get her to feel comfortable being touched...I hope.

I could go hard core on her and wrap her in a towel and force myself on her, but I want to see how she'll do if we take it a bit easy. I'm trying to balance getting this job done quickly, so I can take on more fosters, and getting it done well and having a better lasting result, which will take more time.

Candy's mood has shifted a bit. She's more relaxed and seems to be very interested in new toys and the scratching post. My goal is to get her to feel happy and safe, instead of frightened and depressed. It's important that I'm consistent, too. I've asked a lot from her the past two days, so I won't make any more changes for another day or so and see how she does.


Robin, I so agree with your approach to this kitten. You could try and rush, but the kitten would probably end up traumatised and forever afraid of people. What hope would you then have of finding her a successful "forever home"? Maybe you can't have any other kittens just now, but what you're doing for this one kitten is immensely valuable. I wish you great success. Feral kittens are so tricky to tame and there is no guarantee - but at least you are doing all you can to give her the best start.

Hi Robin,
This is incredibly fascinating. I love what you're doing; it sounds like the most humane way to allow her to live with humans in a home.... The towel idea sounds TERRIBLE, please keep on with this approach! I don't know anything about how to socialize a kitten though so I trust you... Good luck and I really admire your mission.
-Steph from Mpls

Look at that beautiful "M" on her forehead! She is sooo precious.
This is fascinating & educational for me - I am glad you are posting this "socialization" technique. I am sure it will come in useful for me in the future (and even with "new" kitties that are a bit shy).

Robin, I think you are making fantastic progress. Slow and steady is the way. Congratulations. She is utterly adorable!

Add new comment