Sunday, October 16, 2011

Socializing a Traumatized Feral Kitten


Socializing a feral kitten that was traumatized at a young age is not easy because feral cats are terrified of humans.  If the trauma was due to human actions then the feral kitten will be hard to handle and socializing them may be impossible.  Even with these tough obstacles I took on the challenge to tame a traumatized feral kitten.

About The Feral Kitten "Charlie"

Charlie the feral kitten came into my life when his mother brought him to my old shed. The queen cat had been injured and I trapped for medical care.  Charlie was trapped for medical care and bottle feedings.  Charlie was traumatized when we took him away from his mother, the trauma escalated when we took him to the veterinarian for the flesh wound on his paw.

Charlie was admitted to the animal clinic for the wound to his paw.  He needed urgent care and was treated at the clinic for 21 days.   The feral kitten survived his flesh wound and infection however he was a traumatized and was all wound up from the medication, anxiety and pain that he had endured. .
Trapped Charlie is anxious and afraid


The attending veterinarian suggested that I turn him loose and watch him at the cat colony, but I thought it was not wise since he would always have problems with his foot. 

A cat that limps would not do well living outdoors.  I was determined to socialize this kitten.  Of course it would be difficult and I would have to stop my life to work with him for several hours every day, but I thought it was well worth the effort.  Since Charlie was handicapped.

 My husband said he would help and my one neighbor said she would feed the colony cats and so I started the socialization program with Charlie the traumatized kitten.  

Week One
  

This week I am concentrating on bonding with Charlie and to achieve this goal I am spending 8 hours a day with him.  Charlie is in the new cat room and I have a chair in there, a light and a book.  

As expected there is not much interaction going on.  Charlie is staring at me from the cat cube and when I get three feet from the house he hisses and spits at me, so I backed off because it is clear that Charlie is terrified of me. 

Week one was uneventful as the time was used for Charlie to get accustomed to my scent and to grow dependent upon me for food and water.

Week two

Charlie stared at me for a good week and then on the 14th day of his socialization we had a break through. I was read a book in the morning, ate my lunch in the cat room and gave Charlie some food too. After lunch I sat in the chair next to the  cat window seat and closed my eyes.  

I fell asleep and I suppose Charlie took a leap of faith because when I awoke Charlie was sitting on my chest staring at me.   When the feral kitten realized I was awake he turned quickly, leaped from the chair and ran to hide in his cat cube. 


This is a huge accomplishment because it indicates that Charlie wants to learn more about me.  He is letting down his guard and is taking steps to becoming a socialized feral kitten.  

 Presently Charlie has no stress.  He can learn about me and bond with me at his own speed.  I am taking baby steps with this traumatized feral kitten.


Tips: 

  • To help calm Charlie so that he did not feel anxious or excess stress I sprayed his bed with feliway behavior modifier.


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