Hi Efurryone! It’s me, Cookie! It is time to continue telling you about Mama Rose and Her Babies. When we last left off, Mommy had been able to pick up and hold all six bebbeh kittehs, and was able to learn the gender of four. Two of the bebbehs were too squirmy to hold and also check their gender.
Christine (Mommy’s good friend and advisor in PAWS) reminded Mommy about using positive reinforcement with the magical elixir, food of the Gods, Gerber’s Chick-hen Bebbeh Food:
(Turkey flavor will also do. Just read the label to make sure there are no onions!) So, each time Mommy picked up a bebbeh kitteh and held him or her, Mommy dipped her finger in bebbeh food, and let the bebbeh kitteh lick it off her finger. The bebbehs loved the bebbeh food!!! They began to associate getting held with getting bebbeh food.
Eventually, Mommy was able to figure out that this little one is a boy, so she named him Sky.
It is therapeutic to start out taming feral kittehs by keeping them in a cage. However, you must move them into a larger space at some point in order to continue working with them. The next step was getting the kittehs to trust Mommy and Daddy enough to come to them. When Mommy reached into a cage to pick up a kitteh, it did not serve this purpose.
Luckily, we have a foster kitteh room (AKA The Mohawk and Clyde Shrine) that is perfect for this. Once our current fosters had been adopted into great homes, Mommy and Daddy moved the feral bebbehs into the foster room. After a few days, the bebbehs became comfortable in the room, so Mommy and Daddy started to “make the bebbehs work for their bebbeh food”.
This meant that Mommy or Daddy would start out by bringing a finger covered in bebbeh food to the kitteh to lick. The next taste, Mommy or Daddy would put a finger just out of the kitteh’s reach, forcing the kitteh to work up the courage to come a little bit closer. Mommy and Daddy kept this up until the kitteh was very close to them.
Before the bebbeh realized what was happening, they were touching Mommy or Daddy!
Once the bebbehs became comfortable approaching Mommy and Daddy for bebbeh food, The Kitten Whisperer (Daddy) got to work teaching the bebbehs how to play with toys.
Daddy chose to use toys that let the still-timid bebbehs keep their distance. For example, he started by using the orange boa toy on a stick. Daddy waved the toy around, and the bebbeh kittehs had fun playing with the boa. The three bravest kittehs were Woody, Marigold, and Rusty.
Mommy taught the kittehs how to play with the trackball toy. Again, that is Rusty, Marigold, and Woody having a high old time whapping the little ball in the track.
After several days of this, with all the baby food as rewards, and the fun games, some of the bebbehs began to trust Mommy and Daddy. This is Rusty, Woody, Hunter, and Marigold with Daddy’s legs.
Sky and his brother Sunny (Mommy was finally able to determine his gender) were still much more timid than their siblings. They both still hissed a lot, at Mommy and Daddy as well as at their siblings. Woody and Hunter got big hiss from Mr. Airplane Ears, Sky.
Sunny and Sky both still flattened their ears a lot. Sunny spent most playtimes cooped up in his pink Man Kitten Tent.
Mommy had read that not all feral kittehs from the same litter will tame at the same rate. She read that she should continue to work with the shyer bebbehs, and to be patient as they took their time getting used to people.
Next time: How to give a pill to a feral kitteh! You don’t want to miss this one! Complete with video!