Socialising a semi-feral kitten. He is on my lap at last!

Here is a straightforward video (made on an iPhone 4s) showing Gabriel on my lap and letting me stroke him. He purrs. He is still nervous of being touched. He’ll forget I can be trusted and flinch sometimes if my hand is even slowly brought towards him to stroke him but, that said, this is progress…

He is becoming socialised to me. That does not mean he is socialised to anyone and everyone. It should be that way but it won’t. I have a feeling Gabriel will end up very trusting of me and totally relaxed around me but not with other people or perhaps with a small number of people.

He might well end up as one of those cats who run for cover when the door bell rings or someone else comes to the home.

His appearance has changed bit. He is more adult – unsurprisingly ๐Ÿ˜‰ . He’s growing up physically and mentally.

Soon after I videotaped this, he ran for cover when the postman came. He saw the postman through the window and heard him. The sound of outside activity spooks him.

This video indicates a step in the right direction but he has a way to go.

This is a bit of info about Gabriel’s history:

I can tell you about where he came from – a old lady’s garden who called three weeks prior to us actually starting to trap them. Despite asking for help she wouldn’t answer calls or messages. I suspect she wanted to keep them for a while but it meant that they were three weeks older when we got them. Their [stray cat] mum was a black 8 month old or so kitten (the rescue organisation)

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19 thoughts on “Socialising a semi-feral kitten. He is on my lap at last!”



    Let it be slow and steadily … and I am sure that you are in no hurry Michael.

    And at last/ as last wordings

    ADOPT HIM, he is yours <3

    Thank you Michael. And let me predict, If this time you will not adopt him, that will break your heart till your spirit ๐Ÿ™ I tell you that. Not forcing you to but I can see that ๐Ÿ™

    ADOPT HIM, don't think too much. Often, Deep thought weakens our goals.

  2. Well that didn’t take long did it! What a little darling bless him I love his markings almost spotted and his eyes are that grey/blue they seem to be when they are changing from Blue. I just love the way he has the confidence to nip you he trusts you Michael ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. “Gabriel will end up very trusting of me and totally relaxed around me but not with other people”

    I’m happy that you know that fostering a semi-feral is nearly impossible if the goal is to have them eventually adopted out.
    It’s not so much about your attachment to him as it is his to you, and only you.

    I was a little surprised that he was sent out to be fostered at all, because it is usually considered best for semi’s to be outright adopted if possible, so they can learn to bond with their adoptees and not have to go through the agony of starting all over with new people.

    A lot of people assume that a kit like Gabriel, who will be socialized with you, will automatically be socialized with all humans then. Ofcourse, that’s not true. Every other human who enters the picture starts anew. And, the same is true for other cats.

    No doubt that Cats Protection knows all of that and, guess what? You have become the chosen Papa to a beautiful baby boy!

  4. Wow, great progress for such a small amount of time. I know because I have socialized these babies. He is a good looking boy.

  5. You’ve worked a miracle already Michael, it’s not even a week since he came to you and already he is starting to trust you. I think he has adopted you as his surrogate mum,licking nibbling and snuggling up to you, I could see you were just sitting quietly and calmly, stroking him when appropriate and letting him move around as he wanted to so he didn’t feel restricted, I can’t get over the change in him is so short a time.

    1. Thanks Babz. I do keep still and use my hands sparingly because movements spook him. It is the wild cat response. They are very sharp at detecting movement as they are attuned to hunting by detecting movements.

      He is very nervous still but getting better. He shows signs of happiness too. He runs around the place for fun.

      1. Oh I loved near the end where he wanted to snuggle so bad but wasn’t quite sure of it. He’ll come around for sure, look how far he is already! Lucky you and Lucky him!

        1. Yes, you’re right Linda. He is sometimes torn between his insecurity and uncertainty and a desire to snuggle up and be loved. My love for him will win that battle. He has just joined me on my bed for the first time. He is getting used to the home.

    1. It was a good feeling.

      Today, in the afternoon,I was in a complete panic because I thought he had escaped my apartment. Although everything is locked down and there is almost a zero possibility of escaping I thought he had because there was absolutely no sign of them in the flat.

      Anyway, after much searching and gnashing of teeth I eventually found him hiding under furniture but in a position in which was very hard to to see him.

      I will have to redouble my efforts to make sure that there is absolutely no possibility at any time them to get out.

      I don’t know what I would do if I lost him like that. It would be devastating.

  6. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    What a lovely video! I see him giving you little licks and love bites, you must feel so good he is starting to trust you Michael. He does look a little bit jumpy, I wonder what happened to him, did he and his sister lose their mother?
    Our Jozef is half feral and although he is the most loving cat ever with us he won’t be friendly with any other person, he’s very protective of me though and sometimes sits on my foot if someone comes he doesn’t know.
    It’s looking very much as if your fostering days might be over already lol and you and Gabriel are to be a permanent team ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Yes…my fostering days may well come to a quick end. I think it is emotionally impossible to raise a semi-feral kitten and then give him up. I couldn’t bear it. You can tell his size by my hand which looks enormous but it isn’t. It is a standard sized hand.

      This is a bit of info about Gabrielโ€™s history – he has two siblings with other foster carers/adopters:

      I can tell you about where he came from โ€“ a old ladyโ€™s garden. Their [stray cat] mum was a black 8 month old or so kitten (the rescue organisation)

      He switches between accepting and really liking being close and touched to being jumpy and running off. This is a step on the journey.

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