Savannah's Paw Tracks

Autobiography of a Former Shelter Cat

Is it ever too late to socialize a feral kitten?


Now isn’t that just the question among all of us interested in humane management of our abandoned community cat overpopulation?? Most expert feline trappers, and those who also try to socialize kittens say that 16 weeks aka 4 months is the cut off for ability to socialize a truly born feral kitten. That means the kitten’s mom has not been an indoor/pet cat and that the kittens have never been touched by a human hand.

Mom L and Dad P and I are not experts by any means. We just wanna share a quick story about the little introoder who is now occupying Mom L’s office; and a very noisy little introoder he is!!

Meet Pipsqueak. You will notice right away that he has a problem in his right eye. He was neutered by our partner at Contra Costa County Animal Services and returned to Mom L and Dad P and me, TKS and KK to recover him from his neuter. Right away we all knew that this kitten was not a feral kitten at all. He purred when Mom L first scritched his cheeks!!

Pip, as he is known to family and close friends, is about 16 to 18 weeks old. He has never known the touch of a human hand. He is part of a small, but growing colony my Paw It Forward effort, Project Delta View Cats, has taken on to try to contain colony growth in our beloved city of Pittsburg, CA.

There are seven kittens between ages of twelve weeks to sixteen to eighteen weeks old and a one year old adult male, two adult males of unknown age and one mom cat about two to three years old. But this little colony in the making will make another story.

Let’s get to our latest foster castle guest, Sir Pipsqueak. Here is the quick story of his GREAT CAPTURE!

We were trapping at three residents homes, all close together. That night we trapped Pip, his sibling Rocky and his uncle from last year’s litter, George. More about them later in another post.

Pipsqueak was neutered on a Wednesday, and by Friday of his surgery recovery, Mom L knew we had to foster him until we can learn more about his eye condition. Remember, Pip is at least sixteen weeks old, never touched by a human hand.

Here he is within eight hours of being brought inside into Mom L’s office for treatment and loving on him.

And now for his progress today.

Pip even has a new Pink Buddy, Squish!

Pipsqueak has a long road to becoming a happy indoor kitty, but he is on his way. Now our problem is what to do to get him adopted during COVID 19! Our animal shelter is closed to kitten intake and our Project Delta View Cats is totally about Trap, Neuter, Return aka TNR. So we do not have fosters not any path forward for adoption for this darling little mancat, Pipsqueak. We only fostered to observe and treat his eye. We never expected him to be such a love bug with a large purr motor. TNR is a very bittersweet endeavor.

We also do not know if Pipsqueak my need his eye removed, so there is the cost of that surgery to face as well and recovery from that. Please do sent you very bestest POTP to our sweet castle guest Pipsqueak.


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19 thoughts on “Is it ever too late to socialize a feral kitten?

  1. Pingback: Cat Colony Nipped! | Savannah's Paw Tracks

  2. spittythekitty on said:

    Aww, he is a little love! And he looks just like ME, which means he is very handsome indeed! We think your pawrents are the very best kind of Humans, Savvy! XOXO

  3. Hope it all works out for the best…Pipsqueak is so adorable, he should do well when he finds The Home!

  4. meowmeowmans on said:

    Pip is adorable. He must have learned somewhere that humans are sources of good things. Perhaps because he was born and raised in a managed colony. We have our paws crossed that he’ll find a loving forever castle.

  5. He is a handsome fellow and really likes being loved on. we hope he does well and gets to keep his eye. I bet if you did some sort of go fund me event for him you would get donations if they are needed. Purrs little guy

  6. 15andmeowing on said:

    He is such a cutie. I am so glad he was rescued. I am sure you will find a forever home for him soon. XO

  7. OMC! Pip is on the road to becoming a great cat!

  8. catladymac on said:

    We send all kinds of purrayers and POTP to Pip and all those so lovingly caring for him !

  9. pipsqueak….eye waz born N trapped feral N brought inta a foreverz at 7 weekz…eye still haz stuff ta werk out; but eye am doin LOTZ better and eye NOE ewe will two
    we all send de best best best of fishez two ewe az well az st francis’ blessings for health N happeez all wayz 🙂 ♥♥♥

    mackerull boomer junior butter feeld

    • thanks for the encouragement guys. We really need it. Mom L and Dad P cannot foster Pip for more than a couple weeks. He is living in Mom L’s office, which must be kept off from window open ‘cuz Pip really wants outside. So his litter and his dander are creating havoc with Mom L’s Interstitial Lung Disease. The options going forward are not positive.

  10. Pipsqueak is a cutie and we sure hope all works out, he deserves it. We brought ferals Simon & Seal in and they were about 7 months old. It took a year but they made it to happy indoor kitties.

    • We know that Pipsqueak will become a wonderful indoor kitty who loves to follow his humans everywhere and have a chat with them. Our problem is that we cannot foster for more than two weeks. Mom L has Interstitial Lung Disease from mold exposure during a rental where we lived 5 years ago. She has scared lungs from that, and she is allergic to cats and the litter etc. Her office is the only place we can house a foster kitty. Brian, would you ask your Dad Terry if he would share Pip on your other blog? We could really use some help here. Purrs, Savvy and Mom L

  11. mistletoeandhitch on said:

    Our Maeve was supposed to be feral. And it’s true, she’s not the cuddliest kitty in the house, but when she comes for pets, or as she’s learning about play, we feel so honored by her trust. Thanks so much for the work you do.

  12. ATCAD on said:

    Healing purrs and POTP for Pipsqueak and we sure do hope you can find a home for him. Arty Mouse was 6 months old when she came to live with us and had never been petted before not for lack of trying on the Mom’s part. See Mom trys to bribe the barn cats that live at Grandma’s house if they will let her pet them she will feed them bacon and eggs, Arty Mouse’s brother took the bribe but Arty refused. Mom feed her anyway cause she was so small. When Mom was ready to bring Arty home the boys wanted to adopt her brother instead because he allowed petting and they didn’t want a cat you couldn’t pet but he totally freaked when Mom brought him in the house. On the other hand when Mom pounced on Arty she was more than happy to come inside and she decided if the price of being warm and dry was being petted she could deal with it.

  13. Feral card truly shredded. Have seen feral cards being shredded by much older cats – I am watching the Tinykitten project from Vancouver Canada.

    Shelly Roche and her team have been raising awareness for ferals world wide. Some never come around to human touch (one of the most well-known examples was Grandpa Mason, who still had to live with Shelly, as he had to get medication for terminal kidney disease).
    But a lot of them do, some a year or even more after their return.
    They caught Stella this spring, who had evaded the trap for so long. She is at least 5 years old. She had her final litter of kittens (sadly, she had to have a c-section. Her much used uterus was too weak to push out the kittens. The three survivors were brought up at Tinykitten’s Headquarter in Langley – which is near Vancouver – and Stella and her last remaining kitten were adopted just a few days ago). Stella who was all hiss and growl at first turned into a lovebug.

    And her roommate Sahara (also a new mom), still at TK, who was sooo shy at first now demands pets! Sahara is thought to be at least two.

    And my own cat was 7 months old when she was caught by the rescue, very shy, and lies now next to me on the couch (touching my lap, not at the other end of the sofa!) – Kessy allows belly rubs and loves to purr. She even allows pets from friends.

    So yes, older kittens and adults can be socialized.

  14. Even though he hadn’t been touched by humans, I think Pipsqueak wasn’t 100% feral because he grew up as part of a colony, and used to at least seeing humans as friendly beings who help kitties. That’s different from kittens who are raised to see humans as a threat. So maybe he was just 90% feral, if that makes any sense.

    • Summer and your human Miss Janiss are absolutely correct. There are 4-5 households that look after this colony of 11 cats/kittens. Mom Cat didn’t have to teach her kids to fear humans. Nonetheless, we cannot continue to foster Pip more than a couple weeks given he lives in Mom L’s office and she has interstitial lung disease and is allergic to cats and the litter. Not a good going forward path. And then there is the possibility/probability he will lose sight in his right eye, even need an Enucleation . The cost is beyond what we can do. Please ask your human if you can share Pip’s story on one of your social media platforms. Purrs

  15. What an adorable little mancat! We are all sending him our furry bestest POTP and purray some wonderful (and lucky) Human will hear his call and give him a furrever home.

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