Socializing Kittens

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We know that cats can live healthy, happy lives outdoors, and this is certainly true for kittens, too. Healthy kittens that are more than 8 weeks old or who weigh 2 pounds are completely fine to be released back into their colony after being trapped and neutered. But if you have the time and resources, it may be  possible to socialize or “tame” kittens up to 4 months old to be cuddly, friendly cats. It is a commitment, but all you need is a little skill, hard work, and lots of love!

If kittens have never met people, they will be frightened and show signs of fear and anxiety, like spitting, hissing, and running away. To become your best friend, they need to be taught that they can be comfortable around people. It’s so exciting to hear your formerly frightened kitten purr for the first time! Kittens 8 weeks or younger can be socialized by almost anyone. Kittens between 2 and 4 months might require more time and skill to make them feel comfortable near people. Learn how to determine a kitten’s age; you’ll need to know this for figuring out a kitten care regimen and also to decide if it’s better to return the kitten to her colony.

A few things to keep in mind before you get started:

Veterinary Care

  • Have a kitten wellness visit at the veterinarian. Get kittens FVRCP vaccinated and dewormed for parasites, if necessary. Rabies vaccinations cannot be given until a kitten is 4 months old.
  • Get immediate veterinary attention if kittens become lethargic, lose their appetite, or have persistent diarrhea.

Confinement

  • You’ll need a room that can be closed off to give you easy access, to keep the kittens away from other pets, and also to keep kittens from hiding in hard-to-reach spots (avoid rooms with furniture or vents that they can crawl into). The room also should have windows and not be too noisy.
  • Make kittens feel safe and at home with a little safe zone—such as a small box with blankets—inside the cage.

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