Stray cats can be turned into pets. Feral cats, on the other hand, cannot be tamed. The good news is that it’s possible for the kittens of a feral cat to be domesticated. However, it’s of utmost importance to wait for the right time to take them from their mother. And now you may be wondering: how often do feral cats move their kittens?
In total, feral cats tend to frequently move their kittens. They relocate their litter of babies each time they wish to protect them from humans, animals, predators, and the elements. In some instances, feral cats will move their kittens to where they have better access to food and water.
Knowing how often a feral cat moves its kittens is a must, especially if you plan to welcome its little ones into your home. By having an idea of where they are, you can take them at the right moment and save them from being feral like their mom. Springing into action either too early or too late can keep you from attaining success.
Read on if you want the question “how often do feral cats move their kittens?” and other pressing ones answered. Below, you will learn how you can turn the kittens of a feral cat from undomesticated to adorable and trained.
Reasons Why Feral Cats Relocate Their Litter
House cats, despite being less likely to be attacked or killed by wild predators, still worry about their kittens. This is especially true for those that are nervous either due to lack of experience or the presence of threats, or both. Just imagine what it feels like for feral cats whose babies are always exposed to things or situations that can endanger them.
This is why it’s not unlikely for feral cats to move their little ones constantly. If they deem that their babies are in some form of danger, they will relocate them ASAP. There’s no standard number of movements for them.
Here are some of the most common reasons why feral cats move their youngsters…
- There’s lots of noise, light and activities present.
- It’s easy for predators, animals and humans to come across them.
- The kittens are getting bigger, and the available space is getting smaller.
- There is not enough warmth, or it’s too hot.
- The kittens are not protected enough from the elements.
- It’s dirty and smelly, and the litter does not like it.
- Having access to food and water is becoming more of a challenge.
- The moms feel like they could recuperate better from pregnancy elsewhere.
There are numerous reasons why it’s not unlikely for a feral cat to take its babies somewhere else many times. And this can make it difficult to keep track of where they are so that you can swoop in as soon as the kittens can survive without their mothers and are already susceptible to being trained as pets.
When Should I Tame the Kittens of a Feral Cat?
The best time to adopt the kittens of a feral cat and train them is between four weeks and eight weeks, which is their natural weaning period. There are various biological and circumstantial factors why the kittens are more predisposed to being socialized when they are ready to stop breastfeeding.
Kittens, whether the little ones of feral, stray or house cats, turn to sources of nourishment besides the breast milk of their mothers when they are four weeks to eight weeks old.
While they may keep on sucking at the breasts of their moms, kittens at this age are old enough to obtain nutrients and energy from other food sources. It’s also exactly during this time when the youngsters of a stray cat can be tamed, preparing them for the life inside your home and in your loving arms, too.
The following are some of the reasons that make the weaning period the perfect time to tame kittens…
- The breasts of the feral mother cat are no longer producing enough breast milk to accommodate the nutritional needs of its rapidly growing and developing litter of babies.
- Because the kittens are not getting enough milk from the teats of their purring mother, they are more than willing to obtain sustenance from other sources, such as little preys that their mother brings them.
- The growing teeth and sharpening claws of its babies encourage the mom to teach its little ones to hunt and enjoy other food sources so that they don’t have to breastfeed and wreak havoc on her sore and achy teats.
- Since they are about to try to survive on their own, the youngsters of a feral cat become more susceptible to learning skills and behaviors essential for their survival even without their mother around.
It’s exactly because of the fact that the kittens are ready to learn just about anything and everything necessary for them to survive why it’s a good idea to adopt and train them between four weeks and eight weeks of age.
Removing them from their feral mother cat can keep them from fully developing the strong fight or flight instinct of their parent. This is especially true since there is no need for them to be feral given that they are provided with the food, shelter and protection they require to grow up into healthy and happy full-grown felines.
Taming the Kittens of a Feral Cat
Once the little ones of a feral cat are already in their natural weaning period, it’s time for you to spring into action. After all, it won’t take long before their mother leaves them to survive on their own. But just because the kittens are ready to turn their backs on breast milk and look for food doesn’t mean that they will surely live.
The good news is that socializing the kittens of a feral cat to turn them from uncontrollable to lovable isn’t that difficult. For the most part, it’s just like taming the youngsters of a stray or house cat.
Here are some of the steps you may take to tame a feral cat’s kittens…
- Before anything else, be very patient. It’s true that some feral kittens can be tamed in two weeks. As a matter of fact, some may feel comfortable being handled by humans within just a day. However, some may take several months to become accustomed to their new life.
- Take the kittens to the vet for a couple of reasons. First, it’s to have them neutered (if they are males) or spayed (if they are females). This can help reduce inappropriate behaviors in male cats and prevent heat cycles and the accompanying erratic behaviors in female cats. In animal shelters, neutering and spaying are commonly performed at eight weeks of age to sterilize the kittens before they get adopted. Second, it’s to get them vaccinated and dewormed, too, by the vet.
- Place the kittens in a dog pen with proper ventilation. It’s a good idea to cover the dog pen, except for the front section, to make the kittens feel more safe and secure.
- Litter boxes, toys, water, food — all of these essentials to make the little ones feel happy and at home should be provided. Make sure that they have clean water to drink at any given time. Provide them small meals six times a day, although some veterinarians prefer free-feeding, which means providing the feral kittens unlimited food on a 24/7 basis. At four months to six months of age, they can be tapered off to meal eating.
- Wrap a towel around a kitten, leaving the head poking out. Place the kitten on your lap and gently stroke its head like you would the kitten of a house cat. You may talk to it softly and slowly to keep it from getting startled. Repeat these steps with each kitten as many times as you can in a day.
Again, be patient. By throwing a dash of persistence and consistency, it won’t take long before the kittens of a feral cat become some of the most loving furry pals on the face of the planet!
Just Before You Tame Feral Kittens
Refrain from adopting the kittens of a feral mother cat if they are too young. Otherwise, it’s very unlikely for them to survive. Wait until they are four weeks to eight weeks of age before you try to tame them. To be able to spring into action, you should keep an eye on the kittens as they’re growing up, as their mom may relocate them often.
Do feral cats abandon their kittens? If the kittens are sick, feral cats may abandon them. However, there are times that kittens may seem abandoned, but their feral mother cats simply died due to a sickness or being hit by a car. Orphaned kittens are more likely to survive than abandoned kittens as they are not sick.
Will feral cats reject kittens touched by humans? Feral mother cats will not reject and abandon their kittens if humans touch them. However, it is very much possible for them to relocate their little ones in order to keep the same thing from happening once again as humans are perceived by feral mother cats as threats.
Photo credit: ©canva.com
The Pet Rescue is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We also participate in other affiliate programs which compensate us for referring traffic.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of The Pet Rescue.