Why Adopt An Orphan Or Re-Domesticated Feral Kitten?

Photo of Karen Dell

Karen Dell

Senior Editor • Backyard Cat Enclosures

10 April 2019

Street cat

What is the difference between an orphaned and a re-domesticated feral kitten?
While an orphaned (or unwanted) kitten is one that was born to a domestic cat, a re-domestic feral kitten is a kitten whose mom (at the least) was a feral or stray cat. The kitten was, therefore, born in the wild and even the mother had little contact with humans — and probably didn’t trust them at all. These feral kittens, once rescued, would have to be tamed by a kitten foster carer who have experience in taming feral kittens.
Once the kittens have been tamed, however, they will form strong bonds with their humans; just like other domestic cats. Getting to that place may just take longer — especially depending on their age when they are rescued and given to the foster carers. Plus, you get to save a kitten’s life!

How are feral kittens re-domesticated?
In short — with lots of time and patience! The kitten’s carer will keep the kitten in a single room at first and will approach the kitten slowly but surely, building trust every day through giving food and love. A few treats also won’t go amiss.
The kitten will slowly but surely become used to humans and human contact, not to mention being inside a home. Of course, they will be given full range of the house once they are ready and will be able to play in their backyard enclosures soon enough!

What if I save my own kitten from the wild?
First of all, make sure when you find a litter of kittens that they really have been orphaned or left to fend for themselves. If they are in their nest and is clean and well-fed it means that their mother is just off hunting for food. Hang around a bit — but not too close — to see what happens and whether she returns.
If, however, the kittens are dirty, crying, and underfed, the mother is no longer present and you can rescue the kittens.
If you don’t know how to look after very young kittens — remember that they’re born deaf, blind, and can’t even urinate on their own at first — it’s best to take them to your closest shelter. Otherwise, contact your vet to have them have a look at the kittens to make sure which medical interventions they may need. For instance, even just fleas can be deadly for very young kittens.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t do this alone — accept the help that you need in the best interest of the kitten or kittens.

I think I want to become a kitten foster carer — how do I do that?
Congratulations! It is a very important job! Here are a couple of articles that will tell you all you need to know about becoming a kitten foster carer and what it entails.

Photo by Kalea Jerielle on Unsplash


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