Saturday, March 15, 2014

Socialising Kittens

There is so much pleasure to be had in turning hissy frightened kittens into purry confident kittens. Also watching them flourish with a little love and care. You dont have to give a lot to reap this reward. There is also the fact that by fostering these sweet little things means that you are saving their lives and giving them a great start to finding their new home. My first foster was Miss Bella. I scoured the internet for hep after she was defecating inappropriately! Poor little girl, looking back now, I feel it shows the trauma she was feeling She was a stray, separated from her mother and siblings and sadly almost didn't make the cut at the shelter. Such a beautiful girl and now has a home of her own. Next were the Fab 4. who came to the shelter with their Mum and 2 other siblings. When I met the fab 4 they were all huddled together. So this is what I have learnt so far!
Limit them to one room. Give the foster a good 24 hours before starting any socialisation (other than stroking it, if you are able to without force). Make sure they have the basic necessities, warmth, plenty of food and water, clean litter trays (1 per 2 kittens), warm comfy bedding - preferably something partially covered in (I used a box on its side at first) as this seems to make them feel more secure. Just sit in with them and talk gently, so they get used to you and eventually realise you are no threat. It took Bella less than a day. And the fab 4 about 3 or 4 days to show trust. Some will have a "light  bulb moment, where 1 minute they will be hissy and then suddenly they realise that stroking and chin rubs really are the bomb!
With the fab 4 I noticed after a couple of days that they didn't feel the need to all sleep together. This was the first sign they they were feeling safe. You will also notice after a few days that they dont run and hide when you enter the room.
The shelter prefers me to only give them the food they provide plus water. In the beginning I like to add cooked chicken to their diet which I feed by hand, and a little yoghurt, again fed by hand and kitten milk watered down. I find these get them used to me quicker and gets them eating. Bella was always a good eater and slept a lot, so her weight went on quickly. The fab 4 werent such great eaters at the start. But once you get their tummies used to food, they soon find their appetite. The baby of the litter took about a week to start playing. She used to sit on the sidelines and watch the other 3 rough and tumble. Now she is one of the ones climbing my legs and I have to be careful as she will just launch herself at me from the vanity and land on my back! Such a change in her.
It's a good idea to have scales so you can weight the babies and make sure they are putting on weight. I have had the fab 4  for 2 .5 weeks now and the baby has gone from 600+grams to 870grams and one of the bigger kittens from 840  grams to over 1100. Once they get to about a kilo they should start getting a layer of fat so that you don't just feel fur and bones!


Teresa Abajo said...

Your kittens are so cute! It must feel wonderful to know that you've helped change their lives.

Sara Chessa said...

I love your kittens! They are wonderful.