If you have recently brought home a wild kitten or if you are thinking of adopting one that you have seen on the streets, it is important that you read our tips on how to tame a wild kitten.
Wild cats as the name suggests are wild animals. However, if you end up with a wild kitten you can tame it with a bit of love, care and a whole lot of patience.
Taming a wild adult cat on the other hand is rather difficult but you can apply the same methods and you may see success.
When taming a wild kitten you are actually getting it ready for adoption. You will be transforming an unfriendly and somewhat aggressive animal into a pleasant and adorable kitten that can grow up to be a wonderful companion.
It is important to know that it’s not going to be easy; it will require time depending on the how old the kitten is. It is easier to tame younger kitten.
It is difficult work for sure but your act of kindness will give a neglected animal a chance to find a loving home and care for its lifetime.
The right age to start taming a wild kitten
In order to get good results, start the taming process with wild kittens that are around 6 weeks or less. It will be more difficult and in some case almost impossible to tame wild kittens that are over this age.
The problem of wild kittens
The problem of wild kittens is a difficult one to solve because female wild cats can have up to 3 litters a year and they can get pregnant at just 16 weeks of age.
The numbers are mind blowing: just one female wild cat and its kittens can give birth to over 400,000 cats in a time frame of seven years.
Why taming a wild kitten is important?
A wild kitten on the streets will live its life in parking lots surviving on whatever they can find in trash cans. It will be exposed to wind, rain, dust and the dangers of living among speeding cars.
It will pick up diseases, infections and go through several pregnancies. As a result, a wild kitten growing into a cat tends to have a short lifespan of just a couple of years.
Wild kitten that are left on the streets will grow up to become wild cats that create problems for people such as loud fights, flea infestations and they can also pass on diseases that affect human beings, livestock and other wild animals.
Can an adult wild cat be tamed?
According to experts taming an adult wild cat is almost impossible as they avoid humans and even if adopted it is difficult to socialise them. Don’t pick up a wild cat on the street.
When approaching a wild cat you should behave with the same level of caution that you would show towards a wild animal such as a Raccoon for instance.
Difference between stray and wild
A stray cat (abandoned or lost) can be adopted and reintroduced to living in a home. They are often comfortable being with human beings. Wild cats on the other hand will try to avoid humans and physical contact.
Kitten from the street or shelter
If you are inexperienced in raising kittens or don’t want to put in the extra effort to tame a wild kitten, you should consider adopting a kitten from the shelter. You can still contribute to reducing the number of stray cats on the streets.
Adopting a kitten from the shelter can make things a bit easier as part of the time-consuming process of socializing would have already been done.
A kitten living in a shelter will not be as fearful of humans as a wild kitten on the street. If its your first time caring for a cat, then this route of adopting a kitten from the shelter will be much easier.
Is it possible to tame a wild kitten?
As mentioned earlier, you can tame a wild kitten if you start the socialization process before they reach 6 weeks of age.
A wild kitten that is rescued and socialised when its 4 to 5 weeks learns faster to eat on its own and becomes comfortable around humans over a few days or a couple of weeks.
Move to adoptive home fast
If you are planning to give up the wild kitten for adoption, make sure to do it immediately after they are socialised because some wild kittens that are over 6 weeks tend to bond with one person.
If they are sent to a new home they can become wild again and it will take a long time for them to bond with their new family members.
How long does it take to tame a wild kitten?
It can take up to 2 weeks to tame a wild kitten. The time required depends on the age of the kitten and its overall temperament. Even kitten from the same litter can have different temperaments.
The only way to see success is by remaining patient and not giving up.
How to protect yourself when approaching a wild kitten?
A wild kitten that is not used to being around people can cause you harm if you are not careful. Make sure to wear gloves and protective clothes to keep yourself safe.
In many cases to get control, you will have to pick up the wild kitten by grasping the fur on the back of its neck. Make sure to do it gently without pinching and once you have pulled the kitten up, support its back legs with your free hand.
Now that you have the background, let us see how to tame a wild kitten. What steps are involved?
1. Confining the kitten
Once you have picked up the wild kitten and brought it home, place it in a cage or a pet tent, preferably in a big room. Make sure that the cage or tent has everything the kitten needs – food, water, litter box and bedding.
No need to panic if you don’t have a cage or pet tent; you can place the kitten in small room such as the bathroom on a temporary basis. Don’t keep them in the bathroom for long as it will only isolate them and delay the socialisation process.
Make sure to place the cage or tent in a big room so that the kitten can observe their environment while feeling secure within the enclosed space.
Wild kittens when frightened will hiss and spit. They will try to escape given a chance. Since they are terrified they can also bite and scratch you in self defense. What you need to remember is that they don’t understand your good intentions and as far as they are concerned you are a predator that they need to get away from.
Keep visting the kitten frequently and make sure to keep talking. Don’t approach the kitten swiftly. Make sure to advance slowly without alarming the kitten.
2. Handling wild kitten
Assuming that you rescued a litter of kittens, go for the least aggressive kitten when its time to handle them.
Place a bath towel over the kitten when picking it up and if the kitten is calm, you can gently pet its head from the back. Don’t move your hand from the front as it can frighten the kitten.
If the kitten continues to remain calm, hold it by the nape of its neck, put the towel on your lap and place the kitten on it. You can also pet the kitten’s body while talking to it calmly in a soft and comforting voice. You can release the kitten after this. You will have to repeat this process with each of the kitten.
Once the handling part is done, you can reward them with a treat. Try to handle the kitten as often as you can to get them used to human touch and proximity.
Brushing the kitten
You can also brush the kitten and this action is similar to a mother cat grooming her kitten. This will help the kitten associate your presence and touch to parental affection.
Remove any fleas immediately using a flea comb or medication prescribed by your vet. Flea infestation can make kittens anaemic and susceptible to sickness. Brushing with a flea comb also helps the kitten to bond with you.
Friendly body language
Don’t stare at the kittens for long as cats consider prolonged eye contact to be an aggressive behaviour. Looking away occasionally and lowering your head will make you appear less aggressive to the kitten.
You can use cat teasers or wand toys to play with the kitten. Small objects if swallowed can be life threatening to the kitten, so make sure to remove anything that may be potentially dangerous.
If you are unable to talk to the kitten frequently, leave the radio on to help them get used to human voice.
3. Separate the litter if required
If you have several wild kitten, you may have to separate them from each other for at least two weeks to help them bond with you and the other members of your family. You may feel bad about separating the kitten from each other but remember that you are doing this for their good.
4. Use food to your advantage
You can use food to help with the socialisation process. You can offer them simple meat based baby food without seasoning, onion or garlic as a treat. You can give them at least two spoonfuls of the baby food.
You can get the process started by placing a little bit of baby food on their nose or mouth if they are reluctant to approach you. Gradually you can move the spoon of baby food nearer to you. This will motivate the kitten to approach you and when repeated the food will act as positive reinforcement and the kitten will be able to come near you without fear.
5. Getting to know others
Once you manage to get the wild kitten to stop biting and scratching, you should get them used to human contact by having members of your family handle them.
Socialising with other humans is essential. If they are limited to dealing only with the care giver they will end up bonding with one person. If you intend to give them up for adoption, it is very important that they are comfortable with human contact and interacting with multiple people and not just the caretaker.
6. Calming remedies
If training on its own is not helping the kitten to calm down, there are remedies that you can use such as catnip, pheromone sprays, calming supplements or herbal extracts. Your vet can also recommend prescription medicines that can help your nervous kitten.
7. Love and patience
Though you may be able to tame a wild kitten in a couple of weeks, it is also possible that it may require several months or even a whole year before they get really comfortable with you. It is possible to achieve results but the key is to be patient and consistent.
I hope that you find the tips on how to tame a wild kitten effective as you start working with your kitten. We also appreciate your kindness; the very fact that you have read this article indicates that you are either caring for a wild kitten or intend to at some point.