How to help a new kitten

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JohnD
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How to help a new kitten

Post by JohnD » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:15 am

Hi
We live beside a busy road in the countryside. A few years ago we unwittingly ended up caring for a feral cat whom we started feeding. The cat won’t come into the house but after much patience and frustration , we can now stroke him and he is alot more relaxed around us. Every now and then he will go through a phase that he will run from us and he is constantly jumpy and on the alert. We have a garage at the side of the house and during the winter he will sleep in there, there’s a hole beside the garage so he can come and go as he pleases. Just over a year ago, we found him in the garage crying in pain, we contacted a vet who told us that he had been hit by a car and had broken his hip. She took him away to her surgery and operated on him, at the same time she neutered him. Today he is mobile, despite his leg being out of alignment but he is happy.

The problem we have now is that we would like to adopt a male kitten. I suggested to my wife that we need to leave him in the house for some months so he can adjust to his environment before we allow him outside. She, on the other hand, would like the kitten to run free, sleep in the garage with the other cat so they can develop a bond. My concern is that the kitten could either run off or run out in front of a car, as our garden is very open to the busy road outside. I’m happy to leave him in the house as he’s developing, and let him out every now and then to introduce him to the other cat, all the time standing over him to make sure he doesn’t run out in the road.

Has anyone any recommendations as to how we should approach this situation?

Thanks for any advice

John

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Mollycat
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Re: How to help a new kitten

Post by Mollycat » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:26 am

My first thought is that you run the risk of your adopted stray leaving when the kitten grows up and starts to establish a territory, or that the established cat tries to drive the youngster out. This could go very badly wrong for you, that's another possibility. Or that one or the other in a fight and chase ends up on the road.

That said, some general advice about kittens and roads - a youngster taken from its mother at 3 months old is still very teachable and you can take advantage of this while their brain is still programmed to learn. Going out with a kitten and giving guidance, encouraging them to explore in safe directions and discouraging unsafe directions can really help reduce the risks from roads, unless there is a strong attraction to the other side, for example better hunting grounds. The only time I did this I had geography on my side, our side of the road had long gardens full of trees and shrubs, while the other side of the very busy road the houses faced straight onto the road. I would take kitten out and whenever she ventured that way I would shout MISHA NO and she very quickly learned to keep away. I would certainly favour letting kittens out as early as possible and teaching them rather than keeping them indoors until they are older when they stop listening to people and letting them make their own mistakes.

JohnD
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Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:40 am

Re: How to help a new kitten

Post by JohnD » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:18 am

Thanks for getting back so quickly, i'll definitely take into consideration your suggestions. Thank you.

booktigger
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Re: How to help a new kitten

Post by booktigger » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:06 pm

Yes, you would definitely need to keep him indoors for quite a while, bear in mind a 3 month old kitten is the equivalent of a child, you wouldn't let a young child outdoors to figure things out. And depending on the socialising they've had, you could actually bring out feral tendencies.

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