The first week I had my foster kittens, I kept them all in a pet playpen. In the second week I let them out to play and for a week now just let them have free roam of my garage (which I kitten-proofed). After doing some more reading on fostering, I found this is a mistake and can cause the still skittish kittens to become “indoor ferals”. There’s no incentive for them to socialize. There is always unlimited food and a place to hide if they don’t want to interact with humans.
This seemed to be true with five of my seven foster kittens! Bert and Abby Cadabby came around very quick, don’t run at all from me and and are super social and friendly. They seem to spend the most time together, and Bert is often too rough with the other kittens, or will keep diving on top of the playpen caving it in while they are in it. I found it’s best to keep Bert and Abby separate from the other kittens. Playtime when I am in the room they can all be together, but when I am not in the room, Bert and Abby go in a separate cage that I just got last week. This is a three tier cage with shelves and a hammock.
Within the playpen I have Ernie, Oscar, Clementine and the Countess. My little tortie is still running around the garage and I haven’t caught her yet! As soon as I do she is going in the playpen. I am sure the little Countess misses her because they are BFF! While the kittens are in the playpen, it’s so much easier to pet and interact with them. Ernie was hissing at me today but did let me pet him. Oscar is still friendly with me but a little skittish. Today I made great progress with Clementine!
Clementine kept letting me pet her, so I picked her up no problem. I then gave her a “toothbrush grooming” session, and just like with Oscar and the other, this worked like a charm! I got to check to see if Clementine really was a girl or if I guessed wrong and she is a boy. Clementine is definitely a girl!!! The poor little girl must of really gotten herself into something back on the farm, because she is dirty! She had black dirt on her little nose and on her bottom legs. She needs a nice warm bath. I haven’t bathed any of my fosters yet as I didn’t want it to be a traumatic experience for them, but I think they are ready now so that is on my kitten to do list!