We try to compile a list of helpful resources for those interested in our work and helping animals in general. We encourage you to look around and hopefully find something that is useful to you. If there are any particular things you can’t find here, feel free to drop us a line. We will be happy to see if we can help you locate the needed information.
Good To Know…
Litterbox problems are not as scary as they seem. It can be medical or behavioral. Either way, if kept in a non carpeted environment we can work together to tackle litterbox problems. Litterbox problems are the number one reason for owners to give up their pets. We believe litterbox problems are treatable and a cat does not deserve to die for a problem that can be solved.
Veterinary causes underlie many cat litterbox problems, particularly in household with older cats or those with access to the outdoors. Urinary tract infections are one of many common causes, where the cat develops an aversion to the box as a painful place to be. Other health problems can also cause cat litterbox mistakes.
Some cats just have a behavioral issue with litterboxes and some develop a issue with stress from changes in their environment. So the challenge is to tackle the problems and fix them.
Keep the cat in a small, uncarpeted room, with a clean cat litterbox, food bowl, and toys in opposite corners. Pick up all rugs from the floor, so the only soft place to choose to eliminate will be the cat litterbox. Visit the cat often, and clean the box regularly. I also recommend recording the times that the cat uses the box. Many cats stick to a regular routine, so once you’ve determined when the cat is likely to use the box, you can let the cat out during low-risk times to maintain the hierarchy, and put him back in the room with the cat litterbox during high risk periods. Repetition of successful use will increase the cat’s preference to the box.
Observe the Behavior. If the vet rules out a health problem, then start a brief observation period. During the observation period, try to concentrate on the things in the environment that may be important to the cat, like cat litterboxes, food bowls, favorite places, the routines of the other cats and people in the home, etc. Start a journal where you record as much information as you can about every cat litterbox mistake, then look for links. Does the cat always use the same room? Is it always on carpeting? Does it happen after meals, or at some other time of day? Are the other cats nearby? Did you have guests over? When you isolate the specific stimuli involved, it allows you greater control.
Break the Habit. Elimination sites are matters of preference, and when the cat gets into the routine of going to a certain location, you’ll need to prevent the behavior from recurring. Since the smell of declining urine is a signal for the cat to “reapply”, clean the accident site with a pet odor remover – perhaps multiple times to get past the cat’s sensitive nose. Block off the area while the product does its work. Remote deterrents, that work whether you are around or not, will keep the cat from returning to the area whenever you aren’t standing guard. Double-sided tape or an upside-down plastic carpet runner, pointy feet up, can keep your cat from standing in the same area. Make the Current cat litterbox More Appealing. While you are preventing bad habits, make good habits more appealing. The cat litterbox should be clean and have privacy. This simply means that the cat can see off a distance, so he won’t be ambushed in the box. Most cats prefer clumping, non-perfumed litter, but work with your individual foster to determine whether a box of a different size, shape, or litter would help.
General Stress Reduction. In some situations, it’s difficult to determine specific environmental triggers for a problem behavior. However, sometimes general stress reduction techniques will prove helpful, particularly in multi-cat homes. YOU are also an important resource, so give each cat as much attention as they could possibly want. Exercise can also help redirect cats energies. It can also help desensitize cats to each other, while they are praised for attacking a toy while the other cat watches. Routines are also very important in multi-cat homes, particularly when older cats are involved. Scheduled feeding, petting and exercise periods at the same time and location every day can further reduce stress that may be contributing to the cat litterbox problem.
Aggression / Biting
One way cats are misunderstood is through aggression. There is generally always a reason for the aggression, medical or frustration. The first step is to always take your cat to the vet to make sure there are no underlying healthy issues.
Step 1: One type of feline aggressive behavior is pain aggression, so it is important to ensure that the cat is healthy. Even if it is not in pain, certain medical conditions and even the medicines themselves can make the cat extra sensitive or irritable. So your cat needs a trip to the vet.
Step 2: Spay/Neutering. This might help lessen aggressive tendencies associated with hormones.
Step 3: Avoid touching areas that trigger aggression when handling a cat that displays petting aggression. The back and belly are two areas that can be sensitive. Even if the cat seeks the attention, be aware of dilated pupils, flattened ears, or a rapidly swishing tail. These are signs of agitation, so when you notice them, stop petting the cat. Alternately, you can try to train the cat to better tolerate petting by stroking it briefly, then giving it a reward, such as a treat or favorite toy. The next time, stroke it for a bit longer, stopping before it becomes agitated and treating it. Eventually, the cat may learn to tolerate lengthy periods of attention.
Step 4: If the cat is becoming aggressive or fearful toward one or more people in the household, give that person control over something the cat wants, such as its food. Allowing the person toward whom the cat is being aggressive to control its feeding schedule teaches the cat that it must earn its reward from that person with good behavior. Bring the person into the same room so it is aware of the cat is person, but not close enough to be alarmed. Pet the cat and give it a treat. Allow the person to get a bit closer, giving the cat more treats if it does not react with fear. Let the person gradually get closer, until they can approach without the cat being afraid. This may take several visits.
Step 5: Playtime! Make sure to offer plenty of playtime, at least one hour a day. If you direct the feline’s attention and energy to hunting, then the cat will get out a lot of frustration as well as bond with you. It is great to give your cat shelves, cat treats, and activities to keep him occupied when you are away. A great toy that any cat will love is: “Da Bird”.
Step 6: Introduce new people and friends slowly to avoid territorial aggression. If the cat is new to the home, isolate the cat in one room first, letting him adjust to his new home and allowing existing pets to get used to his smell. Once the foster cat and family pets show no outward signs of aggression, it is safe to introduce the foster cat into more areas of the home. Maintain close supervision until you are sure all will go smoothly.
Tips & Warnings
- Many declawed cats are known to be aggressive. This is normally because they do not have a defense and cannot defend themselves. This is when they become prone to bite. When a declawed cat swats, people laugh or think it is cute. When a cat with claws swats people jump back. A cat that cannot use it’s natural ways of saying “leave me alone” is defenseless. If you have a declawed cat make sure it feels secure and you watch it’s warning signs when it is saying “Enough!”.
- Patience and consistency are keys in overcoming feline aggression.
- Never punish a cat for aggressive behavior, especially if it is fear-based. This will make the cat more fearful, and it will then exhibit even more aggression.
Mom And Babies
Kittens being raised by a mom is the best way for a kitten to survive and live a healthy life. We take in both social and feral moms. It is important to constantly monitor the new born kittens health as well as mom. Fallow the same guidelines for litter and health as the “Orphan Kittens” section describes. Weigh kittens twice a day unless mom is feral and does not let you handle them. If this is the case it is extremely important to monitor their growth visually.
Using a large crate with a feral mom is a must. Make the crate nice and comfortable. Litterbox, food, and bedding should all be a good distance apart. It is nice to offer a large tub in the crate for mom to hide in and have babies. When the mom and kittens arrive, give them a day to calm down and adjust to their new surroundings. During this time, cover the cage completely with a sheet or blanket to help them feel extra secure. Add safe toys (ones that cannot be chewed and swallowed by kittens) and you’re set! It is extremely important to pull babies from her as often as possible so they get used to human interaction. Mom may be protective of her young, so be careful. Use a glove or towel to remove kittens. Take kittens to a “kitten proof” location to socialize. Do not leave kittens unattended. If this upsets mom to much then do not pull kittens from her. Only pull kittens when they are eating gruel on their own. Then completely separate kittens from mom and continue to feed them gruel as their food source. It is important to make sure that the kittens are eating gruel properly first.
Social & Feral Mom Care
Water, Food: Clean water must be available at all times. Nursing mothers drink a lot! Use bowls that cannot tip. We want to keep the crate as warm and dry as possible.
Dry kibble should be available to Mom at all times. We also advise wet kitten canned food. Once you start weaning your kittens (at about four weeks) you can start introducing gruel kitten food. Food and water bowls should be cleaned daily.
Kittens who do not receive enough milk usually cry constantly and are either restless or extremely inactive. If mother does not appear to be taking care of her kittens then you will need to bottle feed the kittens. Refer to orphan kittens for caring instructions.
At about four weeks of age you’ll notice the kittens starting to become interested in Mom’s food. This is the time to introduce them to solid food.
General Care: Be observant. Several times each day determine: are the kittens and Mom eating, do they appear healthy (eyes and nose clear, alert, etc.), are they using the litter box, do the stools look normal. Stools are a great source of information. Loose or watery stools give you clues to illness. Prompt medical treatment may prevent serious illness. Get to know each individual kitten so you will know when something may be wrong. Always keep the enviroment extremely clean. Kittens have a low immune system and can easily get sick. Change kitten bedding with clean, disinfected bedding at least once a day.
Exercise: Play with your kittens. Use kitty teasers and dangle toys. Also, keep toys in the area so kittens will be able to play when you are busy. Never use your hands as play toys and discourage kittens from biting and scratching. If they are playing inappropriately, redirect their play to toys. NEVER hit or spank a kitten. This just teaches them to fear human hands and can be cruel.
Most canine mothers have a strong maternal instinct and can do a great job of caring for their newborn puppies by themselves. They will know how to keep their newborn puppies warm and well fed, and how to help them with waste elimination and hygiene. However, if the mother dog rejects her pups or cannot product enough milk for them, or you are caring for an orphan, then the puppies will need your help in order to survive and thrive.
Healthy newborn puppies look vibrant and strong, and their gums are pink. A puppy’s eyes should open approximately 10 to 14 days after birth. A newborn puppy’s body weight may double or even triple during the first few weeks, and gaining 10 to 15% of their birth weight daily is considered healthy. The puppies should nurse with enthusiasm, and they often twitch while asleep.
Warning signs include failure to nurse, constant crying, weakness, difficulty breathing, poor weight gain, temperature drop, diarrhea, vomiting, listlessness, sneezing, coughing, and nasal discharge.
It’s also important to monitor hydration in newborn puppies. To do this, gently pinch the skin on the back of the neck into a “tent”. If a puppy is properly hydrated, the skin will go back into place immediately. If the pinched skin stays creased, the puppy is dehydrated and will need to be treated immediately.
Newborn puppies cannot regulate their own body temperature, so guard against chilling by in a warm, draft-free room. The puppies get their best heat from the mom dog. During the first week, a puppy’s normal temperature is between 95-98°F. The pup’s temperature increases gradually each day until four weeks of age, when it should be close to the normal temperature for an adult dog (100.5 to 102.5°F). A large crate lined with soft towels makes a nice bed for newborn puppies and their Mom.
A mother dog’s milk provides everything newborn puppies need nutritionally during their first four weeks of life. Nursing also provides newborn puppies with antibodies to help prevent infections. Usually, weaning will be completed by approximately 6 to 8 weeks of age. (refer to weaning section) As tempting as it is to hold and hug your adorable newborn puppies, it is best for them if you don’t do it more than a few times a day. And when you do, it should be for a very short time (a minute or two at most). Make sure not to upset the mom dog when handling.
Orphaned Puppies & Kittens
Orphaned kittens are very delicate and need constant care. Please monitor your Orphaned fosters carefully and report any decline in health immediately.
Care: Non Food Related
Very young need attention: If the kitten(s) do not have their eyes open, they are young and they should be held a minimum of three hours per day. Without this affection, young kittens will often die. Hold them SEVERAL HOURS A DAY and you should have success with the kitten.
Clear Urine: Urine should be clear, not with mucous, blood or yellow. If there is blood or mucous, contact us immediately. If the urine is yellow, the kitten is probably dehydrated.
Bathroom stimulation: Stimulation is required for the release of both stool & pee until 3-4 weeks of age. use rough material, not cotton, to resemble mom’s tongue. Use a warmed, wet wash cloth or a rough paper towel. Make sure the towel is wet. Slowly massage the genitals until the kitten has peed and pooped. The stool should be softly formed, not runny. If the stool is runny, it is likely you are overfeeding the kitten or it has a parasite. It is better to feed more often and give less food each time than to overfeed a kitten. Potty them before and after each feeding.
Keep warm and away from drafts: Young kittens do not keep a steady body heat. Keep out of drafts. Also, heating pads are essential. Put the pad on low and cover with a towel. The kitten will move off the pad when warm enough, so allow enough room in their ‘area’ for them to move off the pad.
Sucking on each other: If the kittens suck on each others genitals, separate them immediately. This can be painful to the kittens and can cause sores as well as protruded genitals (which will calm down when separated) Once they stop sucking, you can put the kittens back together. This can take several days.
Litter box usage: When starting to use a litter box, if the kittens poop outside the box, pick it up and place it into the box for training. Most kittens train themselves with a litter box with a little nudge from us. If you have the kittens in a large area, you may wish to provide more than one box so ‘accidents’ don’t happen.
Type of litter: Do not use clumping litter with kittens under 4 months. Litter can get into the eyes and cause infections. Kittens also tend to eat the litter when young. You may wish to start out with a small container for the litter box with sides that are only 2 inches high.
Keeping the kittens clean: While you are feeding the kittens, they will get food all over them, especially while you are weaning them. You need to clean them regularly to keep the food off them. They have sensitive skin and can get red, irritated skin if you leave KMR on their skin. A damp washcloth usually cleans them. You don’t want them to get too wet and therefore get cold.
Parasites: Remove all fleas. A citrus based shampoo is good, it doesn’t kill the fleas, but slows them down. This also takes the dirt off them. A metal flea comb works great, too. Fleas can cause anemia in a kitten which can kill the kittens. Intestinal parasites can also kill the kitten. If you suspect parasites, let us know. We will generally offer dewormer at the beginning anyways.
Care: Food Related
Feeding all kittens: Food should be warmed to room temperature prior to feeding any kitten under 4 months of age. This includes mother’s milk replacement. You should only put as much milk in the bottle that will be used at this feeding. After the feeding is over, throw out all remaining milk and clean the bottle and nipple. Re-using milk can cause bacteria in the kittens stomachs, which can make them stop eating. If kittens DO get a bacteria in the stomach (and stop eating), a dose of amoxicillian should fight the bacteria within 12 hours.
How much to feed and how often: 8cc per ounce of weight per day, do not overfeed. Feedings should be every 3-4 hours when the kittens are young and should be round the clock. The stool should be soft formed, not runny. If the stool is runny, it is likely you are overfeeding the kitten or it has a parasite. It is better to feed more often and give less food each time than to overfeed a kitten. Kittens should eat on it’s stomach. Do not put them on their backs and feed like a human baby. This can lead to the formula going into the air pipes which can cause pneumonia and can kill them. Kittens should suck the bottle, not be forced down the throat. If the kitten is sucking, the ears move and the mouth creates a suction around the bottle. This prevents the food from going down the air pipes which can cause pneumonia. If the milk comes out of the mouth or nose, the hole is too big and you need to replace the nipple with one with a smaller opening.
Weaning kittens: Weaning kittens can be frustrating, especially if they don’t want to give up the bottle and the special attention you are giving them. Start by mixing baby food (meats like chicken or turkey) or wet food mixed with KMR. You can also puree dry food in a blender and add with KMR. Kittens should start drinking water on their own at 4-5 weeks of age. Don’t get frustrated when they are only playing or walking in it. One day, you will see them drinking.
What to feed: Goats milk or KMR should be used on young kittens. Regular milk (whole, low-fat and non-fat) is not recommended. There are some home made remedies which work, too.
Single Kitten Syndrome
Single kittens tend to be biters. This can be helped by putting in a stuffed toy for the kitten to snuggle up to. You may also wish to find another single kitten to merge with this kitten. It is a health risk to merge them together for either kitten, but it can be really hard to break the habit of biting with a young kitten.
Fading Kitten Syndrome
If a kitten looks lethargic and is having trouble standing up or opening it’s eyes it is fading. This is the worse thing for a kitten. Immediately wrap up the kitten like a burrito in a heating pad set on low. Give it warmed sugar water in the mouth with a syringe. Immediately call a vet or contact a PKR representative so they can walk you though the process. The most important part of this stage is staying calm and concentrating on getting the kitten well.
If you find an over warmed kitten: If you find an over warmed kitten, cool it down before trying to feed the kitten. Put in cool water to lower the body temperature. Administer room temperature water into the mouth. Then, give the kitten room-temperature sugar water.
Some need to knows for weaning newborn puppies. Please contact us if there are any concerns with your foster’s health. Also to make sure to weigh your fosters TWICE day to make sure they are never loosing weight.
Nesting Box: You will need to have a nest box for the puppy(s). Since the infants often soil their container, a small cardboard box that can readily be replaced to keep the babies in work well. Pick up a few and replace them as need be. Just be sure nothing toxic was stored in them. Be sure the sides are tall enough so that the puppy can not fall out. Line the box with clean bathroom hand towels, diapers discarded underclothes, etc. Be sure that there are no threads or holes in the material for the puppy to get tangled in. To maintain temperature, keep a heating pad set at its lowest setting under one side of the box. Wrap the pad with sufficient bath towels so that the inside of the box stays at about 90 degrees Fahrenheit but no higher. Puppies housed at that temperature will themselves be a few degrees warmer – more so if more than one are huddled together. With only one side of the box heated the puppy will be able to crawl away from the heat source if it gets too warm. Place the box in a draft free location. As the baby matures the temperature in the box can be gradually lowered.
Singletons: Single orphans can become more aggressive and bite on objects more often. Offer them a stuffed animal to cuddle with and spend more time with them then normal. As soon as they are vaccinated make sure to introduce your singleton to other pets in order to prevent developing animal aggression in the future.
Food Care: Use a Esbilac formula – it is not cheap, but is the best and the others will fall short. Formula is only good for 12 to 24 hours after you make it and only if it is kept cold.
Scrub and boil the bottles and nipples EVERY DAY – without fail. Do not leave formula in the bottles out of the refrigerator longer than you are using them. Ideally you should have a separate bottle and nipple for each pup. The small size human baby bottles re usually good for larger pups since the veterinary ones are really small and the nipples don’t fit into most pups mouths well. Warm formula prior to using it. Either by holding under hot water or in a microwave for few seconds at a time. If you microwave, shake REALLY well to avoid hot spots that can burn the pup’s mouth. 10 day old pups still need to be fed every 4 hours and possibly more frequently if they seem hungry before four hours is up.
Weaning: Offer high quality dry puppy food and small dish of water somewhere between 4 and 5 weeks of age. They will mostly walk in it and make a mess, but it will eventually dawn on them that this is food. Weaning will happen somewhere 5-7 weeks of age. Don’t rush this and make sure you have seen a pup both eat and drink before you stop giving the bottle.
Stimulating: Every pup needs to be stimulated to pee and poop at each feeding. Normal puppy stools are yellowish brown with a jam-like consistency. After every feeding, gently massage the anus and urinary orifice with a cotton ball or Kleenex moistened with warm water until they urinate and defecate. Be very gentle when you do this and don’t worry if no urine or stool is produced after every feeding. By the time the pup is three weeks old it should be able to go without your help. If a pup has not pooped in a day, your pup is constipated. Please contact us so we can make an appointment with a vet. If the pup doesn’t pee with each feeding, feed it formula more often and if this doesn’t fix the problem right away, notify us so we can see if the pup is dehydrated.
Puppy Baths! Puppies need to be kept clean. This means lots of baths (remember the mom would have licked the pups all the time to keep them clean). Use a gentle, puppy shampoo, like Halo Herbal Shampoo. Don’t get water in the ears or soap in the eyes. Use warm water. Dry well and warm the pups up very quickly. During their first 2 week of life it is best to just clean puppies with a damp pledget of cotton. Younger puppies should get only partial baths. Do one section of them at a time with a soft, wet hand towel. Check the underside and hind end of all puppies carefully for fleas when you groom them. Fleas can quickly get out of control. If you find any, pick them off with tweezers and drop them into some isopropyl alcohol or vodka. At the same time, throw away their nest box and put all reusable bedding through a hot air cycle in your drier. Don’t be surprised if you are washing the pups more than once daily.
Medical: At 6 weeks of age puppies are ready to be vaccinated since they won’t have any maternal antibodies from nursing. Be really careful not to expose them to any dog diseases until they are fully vaccinated. Let us know when your puppies are ready for a vaccine appointment.
If a puppy seems lethargic or not quite right, get it to a vet RIGHT AWAY. These guys do not have the reserve to hang on until the morning or the end of a work day, etc. Bottle fed pups have a poor survival rate, but this is usually because folks don’t feed them correctly and don’t see vet care ASAP. Remember that they are infants and lack the benefit of their mother. Their care is hard, but they can and will survive if handled correctly.
Socializing Feral Animals
Why socialize kittens? Most feral kittens who have come from the outdoors just need a little time and care in order to become a indoor happy kitty. Our goal is to save the feral kitten and socialize them to become an indoor social kitten rather than putting them back outdoors where there are more dangers. An indoor cat will live much longer and will be much safer. We have a suggested step by step process for socializing kittens. We suggest that feral kittens be socialized in a crate. They will live in this crate through out their entire socializing process. If possible, place the crate at a hip/eye level location. Cats like to be higher. It will help them feel more safe if they are at the same level you are so that you are not cowering over them when walking into the room. Opening a window during the day for fresh are can also be refreshing for your cooped up outdoor kittens. If socializing in a bathroom, you can also keep them in a crate or if the bathroom is small set up towels and blankets in the tub and floor. Make sure not to put any bulky cat beds that they can hide under. Feral kittens can easily become social and loving indoor cats in around just 2 weeks! They can even sometimes become more loving and socialable than your average indoor kitten. This is because the feral kitten has received an over abundance of human attention and love during it’s most important stages of growing. Socialized kittens can become very laid back and affection adults that are okay with being held however you’d like and extremely dependent on human attention.
- Large Crate for your ferals to live in at first. You want to make sure it is large enough for the kittens to have room to walk around and play for exercise. Single kitten 36″L X 24″W X 27″H, Litter of 2-4 kittens 42″L X 28″W X 31″H, Litter of 4-7 kittens 48″L X 30″W X 33″H.
- Yummy treats! Some suggested types: Wellness Jerky, Halo Live-A-Little Healthsome Treats, PetNaturals Calming Treats, GNC Calming Treats/Gel, and Pounce Moist/Crunchy Treats (not the healthiest, but for the picky eaters).
- Smaller litterbox that won’t take up a lot of room in the crate so the kittens can play. It is easiest to use litter that does not have a lot of dust. So tight clumping litter would be ideal.
- Hanging toys, such as strings with a ball at the end or feathers. Hang these toys from the roof of the crate so they dangle in the crate. This will get your feral kitten excited to play when you are away.
Step by Step
Try to think about socializing feral kittens in steps. It helps keep track if you have made progress or if you need to try something different. The amount of time, of course, will vary case by case. Generally kittens who are 3 months and younger will take a shorter period of time with each step. Make sure not to move onto the next step until you are sure you have completed the current step.
Step 1: “Oh no the monster is coming!” – (Day 1 and 2) – spend time around crate and talk to them. At first they will just stare at you and will hiss every time you move. Keep them in the crate at all times so that getting out of the crate means getting to spend time with you. Once they seem to continue doing what they normally do when they can’t see you (play, eat) then you have completed this step.
Step 2: Burrito Time! – (Day 2-6) – hold them in a towel or blanket, like a burrito, for half an hour one or two times a day and continually pet them. You will probably only be able to pet the ears and head. You want to pet them gentle where they can’t see your hand. You want them to forget that it is you and think of a litter mate grooming them. Once they start to relax and fall asleep you have started to win their trust! If a feral cat falls asleep while be petted, believe it or not that is a big step. It is very common for them to act the same when you put them back in the crate. (like hissing or striking) They are back in their “safety” zone with their siblings so they get back into their previous feral mode. So once they have fell asleep in your towel you have completed this step.
Step 3: The Purring Challenge – (Day 7-10) – continue to hold them in the blanket or towel. But start to pet them where you notice they respond best. (Rubbing the ears and running my fingers from the head to the back works best) This is a good time to start showing your hand so they know it is you that is making them feel good. At this point you have to be determined to get a purr out of them. Sometimes you have pet for a good amount of time before hearing a purr. Your number one goal at this point is to get them to purr. After you break that wall and they are purring in the blanket you want to make sure that every time you hold them you get them to purr. So once they are purring pretty quickly in the blanket when being petted you have completed this step.
Step 4: Finally Getting Adjusted – (Day 10-12) – the next step is to get them comfortable with you with out being constrained. So you need to concentrate on one at a time for this. Ignore the other litter mate’s reactions while working with one. So while they are in the crate start to reach in the crate (as far as you can get in) and start petting their bodies close to the bottom and then work your way up to their heads. They will probably hiss or cringe at first. But your goal is to get a purr out of them. Once you get a purr then you can figure out what their favorite treat is. Sometimes you have to try different treats but you want to make sure they really like it. (fishy smelling things or soft chews are good) Give them a treat on the crate floor next to where they are after you are finished petting. Then try to see if they will eat the treat from the tip of your fingers. This is a waiting game. Just keep your hand out and tempt the kitten with it eats the treat out of your hand. When they are comfortable with that then make a trail of treats from their location to outside the crate. Do this back and fourth for a couple days until they will eat the treat off your fingers at the edge of the crate. This is a HUGE step because after you break this wall they will be willing to come up to you when you open the crate. Even possibly come up to you while purring! You know that you have completed this step when you open the crate and some of the kittens walk right up to you purring. This should help any super shy kitties in the litter. Shy kitty will most likely start to purr after the other litter mates break their fears. Remember that kittens can feed off each others fears and feelings.
Step 5: Ready to Explore the World – (Day 13-15) – see if they will sit down in your lap with treats. And do whatever you think is best when they are walking around outside the crate to make them feel comfortable. Played with your foster kitties with feather toys and continuously pet them. When you can approach them easier and they come up to you happily with no problems, then you can take away the crate and give them more space in the room. Before taking away the crate you can leave the crate open as it was and let them have the extra space for the day. This makes it a little easier because they still have the option to go back in the crate, their “safe zone” if it is to much to take in for them.
Step 6: Find Me a Forever Home! – From then on! Now you can just spend a lot of time holding them and playing with them. After a few days of seeming social with you and others in your home you can start giving them more space in your home and introduce them to your family pets. They are now ready for adoption!
Important Things to Remember
Remember that socializing feral kittens takes time, planned steps, and patience. Socializing very aggressive or frightened feral kittens can be very discouraging. If you ever get frustrated make sure to remember to take a step back and take a deep breathe. Re-gather yourself and motivate yourself again. When you have a positive attitude and a calm approach it will do wonders! Cats can feel when you are frustrated or disappointed. You can act nice and cheery with them but they will always feel your real frustration. Always socialize when you are in a good mood and have a good attitude. This will speed up your socializing process and you will see vast improvement. Sometimes it is easy to feel like your feral kittens hate you and they will never be social. But that is not true! They are just scared.
Put yourself in their paws: Think of being taken from your “home” by these large monsters and being put in a scary, stressful environment. These large monsters are constantly picking you up off your four paws and trying to handle you. But boy their head scratching does feel good. But you still are startled by their touch. You start to feel a little better inside and you don’t feel like sneezing all the time. Over time you learn to trust them and see that they aren’t monsters at all. They are just very large momma cats who offer very tasty food and cool objects to hunt. And they offer the best grooming!
What is a feral puppy?
A feral dog is the offspring of domestic dogs (strays) that may have been abandoned. Like feral cats, they live on the edges of human society, scavenging for food, finding shelter where they can, mating, and raising completely unsocialized feral puppies.
With time and care a feral puppy can easily become a social and wonderful family pet. Make sure to never loose your patience and stay calm while socializing. Your attitude while socializing will make a huge difference on how your puppy reacts to you.
Steps for socializing your feral foster:
- When you bring a feral puppy home, keep it contained in a crate around a high traffic area. A kitchen is ideal. The smaller space helps the dog feel safe, and the location allows the dog to get used to people coming in and out.
- Keep the leash attached to him at all times. Bring the dog to the center of the room and lay on the floor to pet and talk to him. He’ll be more responsive if you avoid direct eye contact and are down on the floor below his eye level.
- Clip the leash to your belt and have the dog go with you wherever you are in the house. This forces socialization and teaches her that you are the leader of her new pack. Touch, stroke and talk to the dog while it is leashed.
- Allow your wild dog to play in an enclosed yard with a well-socialized dog while on a long leash. Dogs naturally follow other dogs. Sit in the yard and repeatedly call the socialized dog to you and the feral dog will follow. Don’t be discouraged if it takes months for the dog to let you touch him off the leash.
- Continue with all steps. The more you work with him, the faster she will begin to emerge as a loving dog.
Tips & Warnings
- A huge bonus when taming a feral dog is already having a confident dog in your house. A happy, normal dog will be as much a teacher to your wild dog as you are.
- Make no moves toward your dog when he’s off the leash. He’ll instinctively run from you.
- As a game, periodically sit or lay on the ground, avoiding eye contact, and throw pieces of cheese close to you, allowing her to approach you.
- Consider a basic obedience class. The “sit”, “stay” and “come” commands help a wild dog stop being nervous and focus instead on the rules you’re teaching.
- Have the dog sleep in your room or on your bed once you can approach it with out it running.
- Avoid backing the dog into corners. He may bite if scared.
- If the dog gets off the leash inside and hides under something, approach by laying flat on the ground, avoiding eye contact and reaching slowly to reattach the leash.
High Quality Food
Why is high quality food so important?
Our rescue believes in providing what is best to our rescue pets to help them live the long lives they where meant to. Most low quality foods or puppy chows are only meat by products and corn meal, some of the two most harmful ingredients in pet food.
Brands like Halo, Nature’s Variety and Natural Balance offer meats that are human quality. It is a matter of feeding an animal diseased meat that has been deemed not fit for human consumption and sometimes is barely meat at all (meat by products) versus feeding an animal good quality meat. Animal food should just say Chicken in the ingredients, not Chicken by product.
Why is good quality food important? Well it makes a huge different in your pets lifespan. Feeding an animal good quality food allows them to live out their long healthy lives they where meant to. Plus it decreases future health problems such as organ failure, obesity, arthritis, and tumors.
Brands like Halo are still available at common stores like Petco. And there is also coupons on their site for their food!
Read this article on what’s in low quality food to get a better idea.
It is easy to pick out a high quality food from a pet store. Just simply look at the ingredients. If the ingredients state that there is “by product” or “corn meal” then it is not high quality. Look for fruits, veggies, and of course make sure chicken or turkey is the first ingredient.
A few favorite great brands and where they can be purchased:
- Halo Chicken Kibble/Canned (Petco only)
- Halo Turkey Kibble/Canned (Petco only)
- Wellness Chicken Kibble/Canned (Petco or Petsmart)
- Nature’s Variety Chicken Pairie Kibble (Petco or Tomlinson’s)
- Nature’s Variety Kibble (Petco or Tomlinson’s)
- Orjen Kibble (Tomlison’s)
- Blue Buffalo Kibble/Canned (Petsmart, Petco, or Tomlinson’s)
- Nutro Naturals Chicken Canned (Petco, Petsmart, or Tomlinson’s)
- Diamond Chicken Kibble/Canned (Petco or Tomlinson’s)
- Innova Chicken Canned (Petco, Petsmart or Tomlinson’s)
A few favorite approved treats where they can be purchased:
- Halo “Live A Little” Dried Chicken (Petco only)
- Halo Pumpkin Chews (Petco only)
- Ask Tomlinson’s Pet Store for suggested natural treats. They have a lot of selection!
Need To Find A Home?
We currently do not accept pets from the public into our regular foster program. We primarily concentrate on “last chance” animals at risk at our local shelters.
In Central Texas, The Austin Animal Center offers information and resources on how to find homes for stray animals. Here is great website to read about finding homes for Pets.
You can also read about a PAAS program in place locally to help re-homing pets.
We do currently offer a “Foster Until Adoption” Program for people who have found a stray animal they need to find a home for or need to rehome an animal they have rescued. This is up to the discretion of our intake team. All people part of the “Foster Until Adoption” program must be screened as a usual foster. We also have some requirements on medical and training. If approved, the owner of the animal would foster the animal themselves until the animal is adopted. The advantage of this is they will have full access to our adoption events, they will be on our website, and all adopters will be properly screened before placing the animal in their home. The owner is volunteering with us during this process. So they do have to feed a high quality, approved food the animals, make the vet appointments scheduled, and follow our fostering and adoption process. Here is a link to information about fostering.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you and your rescued animal would like to be considered for the “Foster Until Adoption” Program. Please also email if you need assistance in other ways such as food and supplies for your pet.
Some Of Our Friends
Everybody needs friends right? Us Too. These are a few of the companies and organizations that support what we do and help us in ways that most of our followers will never see. If you have a chance to work with them, please do. And, heaven forbid, if we have managed to leave someone off this list please let us know and we will fix that right up!