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Kittens Born To Feral Cats Can Still Be “Purr”-Fect Pets

There are many benefits of rescuing kittens born to feral cats

Feral cats may look cute and cuddly, but they are a lot different than a typical house cat.

While feral cats are considered wild animals and prefer to live their lives outdoors, their kittens can be rescued from the streets and put into loving homes.

Kitten in basketFeral cats have never been socialized to humans. In fact, feral cats are generally afraid of people and may even run away if approached, according to Megan Arroyo, a veterinary student at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Because feral cats live their entire lives independent from humans, they may not be spayed or neutered by a veterinarian. This can lead to an overpopulation of feral cats, as well as kittens being born in unsafe areas.

However, local animal shelters, veterinarians, and other programs may be able to help prevent the overpopulation of feral cats by giving kittens born to feral cats a good home.

“If you find a potentially feral cat with a litter of kittens, one of the best places to start is by contacting your local animal shelter or animal control,” Arroyo said. “They should be able to help you to decide the most appropriate action to take, which is often trapping the mom and the kittens so that the mom can be spayed and the kittens socialized and placed in homes.”

Feral Kittens being picked upA properly socialized kitten is exposed to humans and other species, such as dogs, between the ages of 2 to 7 weeks, Arroyo said. Once they are weaned from their mother, at around 4 to 6 weeks, kittens can socialize even more in a foster home or their permanent home.

“Socialization is basically what it sounds like—you want to expose the kitten to experiences you would like it to be comfortable with as an adult, such as gentle handling and petting,” Arroyo said. 

Socialization is beneficial because it gives kittens a better chance at finding a loving home that can provide veterinary care, which can help significantly increase the kitten’s lifespan, Arroyo said.  

Since adult feral cats prefer to live out their life in the wild, the mother feral cat will typically be re-released after she is spayed and her kittens are weaned.

“This allows her to live out her life where she is happiest, but keeps her from contributing to the feral cat population,” Arroyo said.

There are many benefits of rescuing kittens born to feral cats, but the biggest reward is knowing that you saved a life.

If you find a kitten by themselves, your first instinct may be to pick them up and take them home. This is not always the best solution. Read our post on What You Should Do If You Find A Kitten to find the best course of action for your situation.

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  • Addie Robbins

    We had several feral cats living on our property few years ago. My hubby tells me there are some kittens hiding out back. I saw a tiny tail sticking out of a concrete block. I grabbed it and found the tiniest nearly pure white kitten. Very small gave her kitty milk then kitten food. At first wasn’t sure she would make it,was very hot out and seemed weak and dehydrated. Gave some water at first then the milk in doll bottle every 2 hours and after couple of days seemed more lively. Still have that crazy cat and she only likes me but past year or two she has taken to my hubby. Well he does feed her.

  • Marie

    I have a former feral that would have ripped my face off in a heartbeat. But she was severely injured and allowed me to pick her up and take her to the vet. She is the most loving, drooling, purring baby now. She also gets along well with her five “siblings.”

  • Pamela Yates

    We have two sisters born in a field to a feral mom and they are now over 4 years old. They are gentle, beautiful and truly delightful cats in every way. They learned “house” living very quickly.

  • Cynthia Leman

    We have 3 feral cats in our home. 2 we trapped as kittens, one at 7 weeks and one at 10. It took several months to socialize them and now they are healthy, loving and great cats. The other we captured as an adult. She is very loving but could not be socialized to the rest of our cat family. She lives in her own apartment in the home. We also live trap feral cats and spay or neuter and release. We need to be responsible in not only adopting kittens, we NEED to catch and spay/neuter and release to control the population. It’s a simple process, contact your local feral organization and they will help you!

  • janet hanna

    my feral cat kitten doesn’t like to be petted and she;s really rather snooty at 10 lbs. I guess she takes after her Mother…
    any ideas to warm her up?

  • Jacki Gilbert

    I have first hand experience with a feral mother kitty. My good friend’s daughter belongs to an organization that finds feral pregnant females, brings these to a comfortable, secure place – usually someone’s home – keeps them fed, watered, and cared for until they deliver the litter.
    After that they spay the moms and release them back into the wild. THEN they find homes for the kitties.
    I’m the fortunate recipient of one of the offspring from a feral mommy cat thanks to my friend’s daughter.
    I also have a Chihuahua and let me tell you the minute Poppy (at 6 weeks old) came to my abode, she took over.
    No hiding under the bed and twitchiness from our Poppy our black and beautiful sweet kitty.
    Poppy seemed to know she was home, hit the water bottle immediately then took a stroll around to see where everything was. I showed her the litter box and showing her the kitty bathroom was all I needed to do she ‘got it’ and just letting her know where it was solved the problem.
    Poppy even sometimes plops into the Chihuahua’s bed and my Chi, of course has a fit and barks and barks – I mean that was the doggie’s bed not Miss Priss the kitty cat’s bed..
    Poppy didn’t care how much the doggie barked, after all she was a cat and as far as she was concerned, the boss.
    A kitty from a feral momma kitty isn’t feral. It’s just another adorable kitty cat.

  • Lorna Webster

    You are correct, if they are properly socialised you can’t even tell. My Cornelius (and his brother, who sadly passed a while back) had a feral mother and people often comment on how he is the friendliest, sweetest cat they ever met. Because I trained my cats well, they rarely bite (sometimes they get the love nibbles if they get over zealous, but it’s very rare as I don’t allow them to bit or nibble me). I think many people could benefit from setting boundaries for cats, like they do for dogs.

    Regardless, feral kittens can make great pets too!

  • Melody M Keller

    I have always had feral kittens. Often the mom runs off or gets in a fight with a male. They all learn when food time is and it is interesting to see who they pair up with to catnap. Sometimes the older ones become friends with the new ones and they snuggle together. It is so sweet to see this friendly adoption. I love cats and since I live in the country I rarely have to go to the shelter as cats come to me. However, I currently have to ferals from a shelter. They have found “friends” they learned the ropes from and are part of the gang.

  • Paula Burrell

    I have been doing this for years. Just brought in a pregnant female who is semi-feral so that i can socialize and adopt out her kittens. Then she will be spayed and returned to the outdoors

  • Jan Rader

    Even feral cats can be loving animals. One of my cats is predominantly feral. He was a trap-neuter-return cat at some point, but lived his early adult life as a feral. Then he joined my gang. He is still very skittish, and it’s a fun chore to give shots and flea meds, but he’s the loudest in the morning, and always wants to be near my feet or rubbing against me, purring away. I wouldn’t recommend this normally, but he’s acclimated quite well to living indoors.

  • rosemary ferraco

    We have a kitten that was born to a feral cat. A woman took them in and waited till they were ready to be given away. We have one of the female she is always biting and scratching us when we pick her up but she will fall asleep in my arms when I rub her paws but as soon as she wakes up and we go to pet her she starts attacking. She is 17 weeks old. We also have a 12 year old that she likes to run after and jump on her the cat is not happy about that. What can we do about the biting and scratching? She will be getting spayed next month. She also runs around crazy and starts panting and heavy breathing. Will she every calm down or is there anything we can or the vet give her?

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