How to Socialize Hissy Feral Kittens


Hey there. I’m Hannah from Kitten Lady. Today, I’m going to be talking about feral kitten socialization, and I’m going to give you some tips and tricks on how to take hissy, spitty kitties and transform them into loving, affectionate companion animals. Today I have two very special guests with me. These are two kittens that I am currently socializing, so they’re still a little bit semi-feral. They are learning kind of how to do the whole kitten thing. So this is Guppie. And this is Guppie’s brother, Bass. Whoo! So we’ll see how they do today, and they’re going to be our teachers. Say hello! Okay, so before I get started. I do just want to say safety is so important when you’re working with feral kittens. So please protect yourself when you’re first getting to know them. I recommend wearing gloves, long sleeves, anything that you can to make sure that you are not getting bitten or scratched. This is also important because it protects the kittens from having to be quarantined, so please take care of yourself, take care of the kittens, and just exercise caution. Okay, so while exercising caution, you do want to be touching them as much as possible. It’s really important that they receive consistent physical affection while you are socializing them. You can see that Bass here really does not like this at first, but I’ve just cocooned him in a blanket and I’m making sure that he’s receiving very frequent physical affection. I recommend keeping your feral kittens in a small space that’s somewhat open and somewhat confined but does not allow them to hide completely. It’s really going to help them to be able to see you, hear you, and kind of know what’s going on, so that they can become used to the idea that there are people around. It’s also going to help you easily access them so that you can be touching them frequently. One thing you can do with kittens who aren’t so sure about people is to hand feed them. This helps them associate something that they like, food, with something that they don’t like, humans. Here, you can see that Bass is opening up to the idea of eating food out of my hand and I’m able to further motivate him to be comfortable around people by speaking to him while I’m feeding him, petting him while I’m feeding him, and eventually these things become much less scary to him. So this one might sound crazy, but I promise that it works. This is the feral kitten wiggle. All you do is take the kitten put them in your arms, and gently wiggle them back and forth, side to side. I have seen this take very tense kittens and relax them almost to a state of falling asleep. If you add petting to this and just keep at it you might even get to hear them have their very first purr. Another really important thing is to expose the kittens to lots of different people. This is going to teach them that not only are you safe, but that humans in general are safe to be around. So I like to invite over lots of friends to take turns snuggling them. Here you can see that Guppie is doing quite a bit better at relaxing than his brother, Bass. Most importantly, just stick with it. Have the kittens with you as often as possible, giving them frequent, frequent exposure to human touch. Even when I’m just working on my computer at home, I always put one of the kittens in my lap or wrapped up in my shirt So that this can fast-track them for kitten socialization. Most importantly, don’t give up. Throughout the process there will be moments where the kitten still hiss at you and act like they’ve never seen you before. But with frequent affection and persistent positive associations with humans, you’ll find that the hissing will slowly subside, and the kittens will become trusting, loving companions. Thanks for watching and I hope that this helps. If you like this video, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, and also check out my website at kittenlady.org for more information on how to help kittens.

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