Fostered a little guy that somebody had dumped .. he was a real problem to
pick up-he'd hiss and curl up just as you described.  He'd also run a whole
lot faster than me and could get under things!   LOL  


I just made it a point to pick him up as much as I could.  He was around my
cats and I think that helped a whole lot cause once he started playing with
them and watching what they did, he figured it was OK.  I fed him with the
big guys and just being around, figuring out that the strange noises (TV,
vacumn, etc.) were OK, making his way to the food dish and the litter box
and the toys-all those things clicked and within a couple of weeks he was
ready to go.  He got adopted the 2nd day I brought him to the shelter (I
made a deal to bring him there during the day and pick him up at night).


My only suggestion is to do what you're doing-handle each of them as much as
possible, let them be kittens and find their food bowls and litter boxes,
and I bet it will work out.


Christiane Biagi


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[mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Caroline Kaufmann
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:59 PM
Subject: OT: socializing barn kittens


My other issue is that is took in 3 female barn kittens last Sat.  We are
estimating they are about 8 wks (just got spayed on Mon and all weigh almost
3 lbs).  They were born in a barn in Indiana- mom was dropped off on this
man's farm and had her kittens in the barn.  I don't know too many details,
but after they were born, they started coming out of the barn a little so
they were noticed by the farmer and his daughter.  They were not taken into
the house as far as I know they stayed in the barn until they were caught
and brought to me.  So my contact at the adoption agency obviously wanted to
get them fix and out of the bitter bitter cold and wants to see if they can
be socialized enough to be adopted out.  If not, they will have to
re-released to the barn.  She doesn't have the time/resources to take on
this project right now and she was given my name and number as the newest
"kitten rehabber" on the block I guess.  But I'm a rehabber of sick kittens-
that's my forte!  And these babies are the healthiest lil piggies I've seen
in a loooooong time (aw the irony).  (By the by, 5 of the 7 kittens that I
have nursed through illnesses and fostered since Sept. have been adopted!
The remaining ones are Yoda- who shows badly b/c he thinks I'm his mommy and
he has no intention of going anywhere...and the little booger is growing on
me daily anyway; and Possum (aka "Possee"- my little struggling underweight
darling who's finally growing and moving around now that we've gone through
a whole thing of Nutrical!  He's not caught up to Yoda yet, even tho they
are the same age, but there's been improvement.  He isn't show-ready yet so
I haven't even tried to adopt him yet.).  
Anyway, I don't know what I am doing with these barn kittens!  Other than
just generally "forcing" myself on them, I am kind of at a loss.  They're
not really wild like feral cats or anything, they just would prefer it if
you didn't touch them.  They kind of go into this panic mode when I do pick
them up by the scruff where they will just curl up their body like a ball
and they just kind of go to their happy place-- like lapse into a trance and
don't engage.  So people who don't truly know cats think they are darling
little docile things you can just hold forever, but it's not so.  I know if
you put them on the ground, they would be off and under something and you'd
never find them again.  It's like they go into survival mode when you hold
them, so people think they are fun to hold, but really, these little things
are dying on the inside while you are doing it!  They never purr when I
scratch them or handle them.  They will hiss sometimes when they first see
me or I reach for them, but it's really baby hissing and I totally ignore
it.  Of course, they are scared of sounds and some toys I originally gave
them, but we are making headway now b/c they love the cat teasers with
feathers, so I can get them to engage, but only for the purpose of playing.

Other than forced holding of them, what can I do to work on getting them to
engage with people- and even like them?  I hold them together as a group all
wrapped up in a towel- I thought that would lessen the trauma by them all
having each other. Plus, the farmer's daughter (hee hee!) favored only one
of them and held only that one kitten- so it's more socialized and easier to
hold than the other two.  It's actually really sad to see the effect that
that favoritism had on these babies!  I just want to be doing all that I can
b/c if they can't be socialized, they will have to be released and I will
feel like it's partly my fault-- I feel like I can't fail here.   It would
be especially sad b/c these little things are cute cute!  They have those
big round "apple" heads and pudgy faces and huge round eyes and they have
medium fur that is really fluffy and poufy- very distinctive looking and I
know if they didn't have "people" issues right now, they would literally fly
off the shelves at adoption day!  They look little bear cubs
basically...insanely cute!
Suggestions very welcome at this point!


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