You're actually off to a very good start.  
  - Keep holding and petting, whether they admit to liking it or not, and keep 
the feathery toys handy.  
  - Keep them in a very small space so you can easily get your hands on them.  
  - Add a little meat baby food to your repertoire, especially the chicken, 
turkey and ham flavors.  You want to follow up petting sessions with a really 
special treat.  I actually have them lick the baby food off my fingertips.  
Gets them even more accustomed to hands.
  - Also, whatever space you have them in, play music very softly and/or leave 
on a television set to a low volume.  Gets them more used to human voices.
  - Patience and persistence
  - Also, join the feral cat list at and read through the very 
extensive files section on taming.

Caroline Kaufmann <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
      .hmmessage P  {  margin:0px;  padding:0px  }  body.hmmessage  {  
FONT-SIZE: 10pt;  FONT-FAMILY:Tahoma  }    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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