Play is important in socializing feral kittens. It makes them forget their fears and allows the person to touch and interact with them.
This is a mini-breakthrough as far as I’m concerned. The power of prawns is the way to a feral kitten’s heart and then there is play. Play is a natural follow-up to providing great food to a feral cat as a way of enticing him out of his hiding den.
This evening, I spent about 25 minutes making noises with my hands like a mouse to trigger his inquisitiveness. Before that I had blocked up the areas around the sideboard in the living room through which my semi-feral cat made his way under the furniture. This meant that he had to hide under my desk which is adjacent to the back of my chair when I watch television.
This meant that Gabriel was nearer me as I watched television and as he peered up at me from under the desk, in his eyes I saw his innate desire to play combined with the domestic cat’s naturally inquisitive nature so here was my opportunity to tease him out from under my desk.
Having very, very gradually got him interested in the possibility that there was a mouse somewhere out there, I then introduced some string. String is a great homemade cat toy. We all know that. This video says everything that I need to say at this point.
Gabriel is still extremely cautious about making contact with me but during play I made sure that I occasionally touched him. Sometimes, he would hiss when I did this or back away and swat my fingers but I did touch him and so he did feel my touch. I made contact with him and I think this is important because it means he gets used to me. This is socialisation. This is about socialisation him to humans.
Gabriel was totally immersed in his play. It was a means for me to make contact with him physically and for him to forget his fear. The journey continues.