Taking care of kittens may become wearying as much bringing feral cats to a new home. It takes patience and most of your time to interact with cats that begin to experience the moment of their lives. What makes it more challenging is when you have to deal with kittens that are scared of humans. They are likely to hide at the sight of your presence or hiss terrifyingly when you try to make contact. Even though you can signify cats’ reluctance to humans with the period of their living in the wild, you may find it hard to tame some kittens than those wild cats.
Kittens’ fear of humans are motivated by several reasons. They might have undergone some nasty experience with human, their mother taught them to perceive humans as a threat or it is simply because of their initial traits. However, you can tame even the most stubborn kittens. The process is relatively long though. It generally takes two to six weeks, but the fearful kittens may demand more than that. Thus, it all depends on your determination and devotion. Regardless of the consuming time, if you are prepared, you can learn the steps below to tame a kitten that is scared of humans.
1. Deciding the time to tame
It is better to leave the kitten under its mother’s supervision until the age of four or six weeks where the mother completely weans its offspring. However, if for some reason the kitten is abandoned by its mother, you may take her place instead.
Take a note that the earlier you introduce kittens to humans, the easier you could tame them. Assuming kittens haven’t had contacted humans before, these little animals may quickly accept people at the time they are fully weaned until the age of eight weeks. During this period, they still learn new things but can determine how dangerous those things are at the same time. Humans are no exception.
While kittens see you as a big threatening creature, it is crucial for you to dull that perception. They still can tolerate humans at the age of 8-12 weeks, albeit a bit longer. After kittens’ ages reach over 12 weeks, they have already hit adolescence and it would need more of your patience to make them fully acknowledge you.
2. Create a safe room
Since the issue rotates around how to tame a kitten that scared of humans, the best option is to confront the kitten with the source of its fear. Despite that, the straight attempt of urging the kitten would not yield the result you want, but rather the contrary. The main idea of taming kittens is to conduct every approach in a gradual way. After all, the kitten is the one that decides its first moment to interact with you.
The first thing you have to do is making the kitten ‘indirectly’ accustomed to humans. To do this, you should take the kitten to an enclosed room specifically prepared for her. This room is intended to separate the kitten from any unwanted contact with humans (especially children) and other animals, including her own mother. You can also use a cat cage, but cover most of the area with a sheet so she feels safe.
Always supply the room with bedding, food, fresh water and a litter box. Bedding should be composed of a blanket that keeps the kitten warm. You are suggested to feed a small portion of food, frequently. Giving the food in full bowl might leave the kitten overweight. Besides that, if the kitten couldn’t savor all the meal at once, the food (also the water) may later become hazardous after being left long, out in the open. Added to that, you should also keep the litter box clean on a regular basis.
The room you provide should not store any furniture that can be used as a ‘massive’ hiding place. Your kitten still needs a place to hide, but she is supposed to observe the human who enters the room. The kitten could only gaze the darkness or your feet if she buries herself beneath a bed or sofa. Give her a relatively small spot instead like a cardboard box with one small opening or the pot of a large leaves plant.
3. Make the kitten acknowledge you
There is no saying that kitten can become friendly to humans right off the bat. Even the most willing cat you found on the street may had received some pleasant interaction with humans before.
Kittens have to go through several processes to become finally tame and less scared of humans. The first approach you can do is making your presence less intimidating. Only come to the room to change her food and water and to clean the litter box. Visit the kitten frequently and communicate without attempting any physical contact or aggressive behavior. Do it for the first two days. Let the kitten associate your common habit with a mean of no harm and she may gradually trust you.
4. Start the first contact
On the third day, check whether the kitten stays calm and shows no aggressive response against you. If the kitten does so, stroke gently its head. Conduct this from behind since she may still not tolerate you to touch her. Once the kitten remains calm, put her onto your lap covered with a towel and continue stroking her whole body while you’re communicating with her. These activities would make her recall the same sensation its mother gave when licking her. Do the first contact only in a short time and repeat it on the next sessions.
From this moment, you are able to brush and play with her. Learn some grooming tips as it would benefit her and avoid you from upsetting her in the process. Give her some cat toys when you are present and bring these objects with you once you leave to prevent the kitten from swallowing them. Also, make sure the toys do not contain any substance that is dangerous for a young kitten, catnip included.
5. Introduce the kitten to your family members
After the kitten has completely trusted you, it is the time to introduce the rest of your family to her. Do this slowly and tell your family to not immediately touch her. Toss a treat instead and let the kitten approach it. Sit still and do not try to make any contact. The kitten would eventually become calm and perceive your family as non-threat.
Be careful when inviting children though. Instruct them to stay quiet and make less movement while coming near the kitten. You may equip them with gloves as a precaution. You will ruin all the previous effort if any menacing behavior occurs straight before the kitten. Even so, it is better to start introducing your family when the kitten is still young.
6. Serve your kitten a treat
Treats in between meals is a good option to boost the taming process. You can give it when you are playing with the kitten or as a reward when she performs positive activities. It would encourage the little cat to play with you and begin to pass her fear over you.
Take a note that you should provide a healthy treat for your kitten. There are numerous cat treats out there that offer sufficient nutrient. You can also supply her home treats, like small pieces of cooked or boiled chicken meat that store essential protein for cats.