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Member since: Tue Aug 7, 2012, 07:37 AM
Number of posts: 1,522

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Photographer, chef, gardener, lover of the bizarre, liberal socialist democrat, humorist. Did I mention lover of the bizarre??

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First things first ... Try to spend some time in the room with them.

1. Since they are feral you will need to get them to trust you. Even if it is only 10 minutes at a time, go into the bathroom, have a seat and let them "investigate" you. Rinse and repeat several times a day. Even hourly if you have the time. They will start to warm up to you and not view you as such a threat. Let them walk around your feet. Once they start doing that attempt, to just touch them. Maybe little pats etc. When they do not mind your hand then try for picking them up and placing them on your lap. Get that far and you're golden. If you get that far go to step 2

2, Determine their age.
If you can hold them with out being shredded, pick one up and swaddle it in a towel, if necessary, with it's little head sticking out.
Gently get a finger into it's mouth and feel for teeth. You can get a fairly good estimate on their age.
Reference this link on 4 week old kittens
Scroll down and go to week 5
There is also guidelines on weaning at that age.

3. Get them to eat on their own.
Now as far as the bottles, at 4 to 5 weeks old, Mama would already be cutting them back.
Here's a trick to get them to start on the soft food.
It can get messy but it can really get them in to the swing of things.
See if they try to suckle your finger. Smear a tiny bit of the wet food onto your finger tip. Just a wee bit that they can lick or suckle.
Usually after 3 or 4 tastes, if they are really hungry you will find they will then eat tiny bits off you fingers.

As I was typing this I decided to make a little video as I have 7 kittens under my care. 2 of them are 6 weeks old that I bottle fed since they were 1 week old orphans. They were weaned 2 weeks ago.
The other 5 are 4 weeks old but their mama has been with them and I didn't have to bottle feed them. She did all the work but she is now spending less time feeding them. They are ripe and ready for weaning so I am helping. I was getting ready to do this today and so it is perfect timing to record the process.

Here is the video demonstrating the messy weaning trick.

It won't be an easy task with a feral but think about it, if you can't do it with the wet food you are not going to be able to do it with a bottle. Even if you can't hold them, be sure to leave food and water out. They very well may surprise you.

Good luck.

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