Taming a Feral Kitten with a Cell Phone
While we were out playing golf one day we came across a starving feral kitten at the furthest point from the clubhouse next to some farmer's fields. While it was not practical to try and rescue it at the time, I came back later that evening with the course's permission and some gloves and a cloth bag to attempt a rescue. With the kitten hiding under some bushes I crawled in and had it cornered but couldn't quite reach it. When it tried to move, it came close enough that i was able to grab it and put it into the cloth bag. I wouldn't have believed a kitten could make so much noise, but I'm sure she thought I was going to eat her.
All the way home she growled and hissed in the bag until I released her in a prepared room in the basement. She wouldn't allow us to get anywhere close to her and the one time I placed the food dish a little too close to her I was on the receiving end of a heathly scratch. This went on for a couple of days without any signs of her becoming even a little bit tame.
This ended when my daughter came by to visit and we used a technique that she had employed on another kitten that she had found near her work. Myself, my wife and daughter sat around in a circle without moving. My daughter downloaded and played a series of "happy cat sounds" while we remained quiet and motionless.
Within a few minutes we could see the kitten peering out from behind some furniture and it started slowly circling us while keeping a distance. This went on for about 15 minutes and it gradually got closer and closer until it began rubbing up against us. While it was not yet fully tame, that took about a week, it had gotten over its intense fear of us and has gone on to become one of the most affectionate cats we have ever owned. This may have happened as quickly as it did as she was obviously alone for some time.
When we took her to the Vet, he confirmed that she was 4 months old, based on her teeth, although she was barely the size of a two month old. He also told us that at that age they are usually very difficult to tame and was quite intrigued by the cell phone trick.
I'm posting this story in the hope that someone else may be able to use the same technique to tame a feral kitten. Too often they are dopped off at animal control only to be put down because they are feral. Their reactions to people are just based on their fear of us and I'm sure in many cases this could be overcome with this technique.
Will You Help Rescue Others? You'll LOVE Our Work! Before: scheduled for euthanasia at the pound. After: His new family has a huge backyard!