If you’ve got a feral cat colony near you, you might notice that new kittens are added to the colony regularly. You might decide to tame some cats, either to keep yourself or to find new homes. Kittens are the easiest to tame, since they haven’t had as long to learn to distrust humans. But how do you know if it’s too late to tame a feral cat?
Feral kittens should be tamed before they are 4-6 months old. Taming them becomes much harder after this point, as they have learned from other cats in the colony to stay away from people. The younger a feral kitten is, the better the chances of successfully taming it.
Keep reading to find out more about how a feral cat’s age affects their socialization capabilities, how long it takes to tame them, and some tips for safely taming a feral kitten. Check out the list of the best organic cat treats on Amazon now!
Till What Age Can You Tame A Feral Cat/Kitten?
According to Alley Cat Allies, feral kittens are usually easy to tame before they are 16 weeks old. Because they are so young and impressionable, having comfortable, safe encounters with humans can help socialize the kitten.
Of course, the key is to make your interactions with these young kittens as positive as possible.
Feral kittens can still sometimes be tamed after they are older than 4 months old, depending on the cat. By the time they are over 6 months old, though, it can be really difficult to make them feel comfortable around humans.
Can An Older Feral Cat Be Tamed?
While older feral cats may eventually become more comfortable around humans, it’s unlikely that they will ever truly be friendly house companions.
This is especially true if the feral cat has had negative experiences with humans.
Feral cats survive by being skittish and cautious, so trying to tame an older feral cat goes against everything they know. The best bet is to modify your expectations and let the cat come to you if they decide to do so.
When Do Feral Kittens Come Out Of Hiding?
Each feral cat is different, but your kitten may try to hide for the first several weeks of being in your home. It’s okay if they are trying to hide–they are wild, remember!
Just be patient and give your cat the time they need to feel comfortable in their new home. By going slow and not pushing the kitten, they’ll grow accustomed to your presence more quickly.
How Long Does It Take To Tame A Feral Cat?
The length of time it takes to tame a feral cat depends on the cat’s age. If you brought a very young kitten into your home, it may only take a few weeks for them to grow comfortable with you and turn into a regular house cat.
If you brought the kitten inside when it was several months old, it’ll likely take longer.
The more time you spend in the room with the cat (just hanging out and letting them get used to your presence), the faster they’ll come around.
If you only check on the kitten once a day, it’ll take a long time for them to grow comfortable around you.
How to Tame A Feral Cat/Kitten?
If you decide to try to tame a feral kitten, here are a few steps to make things go as smoothly as possible.
- If you’re taming more than one cat, try to keep them in separate rooms/areas. If you keep a group of feral kittens together, they’ll rely on each other instead of learning to rely on you. Try to give each kitten their own space to hang out and be with you.
- Keep the cat in a safe, quiet, secure room. Don’t put your kitten in a room with lots of furniture or places to hide. If you do, your kitten may never come out to explore and see you.
- Put a covered crate or carrier in the room to give the kitten a safe space to relax. Since they won’t have furniture to hide behind, your kitten will need somewhere to go where they feel safe. Crates are a great choice because they offer the kitten safety while still allowing them to see and hear you.
- Use toys and food as socialization tools. Food and play are great ways to help a kitten open up and relax. Spending time with them doing something they enjoy is also a great way to give them positive experiences with humans. Trying to gently pet them while they’re eating, for example, makes them more likely to be okay with the encounter.
- Keep dangerous objects and chemicals away from your kittens. Of course, cleaning chemicals or toxic foods will injure or even kill your kitten. Even a reclining chair can be dangerous: the kitten may climb inside to hide, and the chair reclining with the kitten inside can kill them. Make sure their room is “babyproof.”
- Spend a lot of time in the room with the kitten. Over time, your presence in the room will feel more natural to the kitten. Try not to make things a big deal; just hang out and relax in the room for several hours a day. Once you’re able to play with the kitten, this time will go quickly!
- Most importantly: go slowly! Rushing your kitten won’t help you make progress. Refrain from trying to trap or catch them, trying to lure them out from their hiding places, or scolding them. Be as gentle and relaxed as possible; spend a lot of time just hanging out in the room with the kitten while reading a book. Ignoring the kitten is a great way to make them interested in you.
Taming a feral kitten is a great way to save the kitten’s life and add a precious pet to your home.
By going slowly, taking precautions, and keeping the cat’s best interest in mind, most young feral kittens can easily be tamed.
My name is Katie, and I have had different pets at home for as long as I can remember. While I can definitely say I love all animals in general, my heart belongs to cats and dogs. I know you are supposed to choose one or the other, but I could never really decide. I’ve also owned hamsters and fish when I was a kid, and they filled my childhood with very delightful memories.