Seven week old kitten Elizabeth started life living in a garden shed as a feral cat. Her mother, who is a stray feral cat, gave birth to just Elizabeth in a shed in Brent, London and had begun bringing her up as a feral kitten.
When our Animal Welfare Officers discovered little Elizabeth with her mum they knew it would be touch and go whether we could bring up this feral kitten into a happy, domesticated cat and find her a loving home.
At seven weeks old Elizabeth was just young enough to be socialised into a domesticated cat, as the cut off to tame and socialise feral kittens is usually at eight weeks.
If a kitten is any older than eight weeks then it can be unfair to domesticate them as the process would be very difficult and slow, and they will probably be anxious around humans all their life. A feral kitten is born into the wild with no human contact and will usually always have a fear of humans.
Our Animal Welfare Officers brought Elizabeth and her mum back to our Home straight away. Our vet team neutered and health checked the mum so our Officers could return her to where she was found, as a part of our Trap, Neuter and Return programme which helps control and contain the feral cat population in London.
Our cattery team immediately settled little Elizabeth into a cosy, warm kitten cabin where they could begin the process of socialising her. Domesticating a feral kitten can be a long and difficult process, which needs to be done by an experienced person as it requires a lot of patience and preservation.
Once settled into a cabin, Mayhew staff very fittingly named this special little kitten Elizabeth, as she was brought in the week of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.
Our Cat Welfare Coordinator, Georgina Disney, said: “The older a feral kitten is, the harder it can be to socialise them, and Elizabeth took just under a week to come forward for attention from our staff. At first when our team tried to approach Elizabeth she would run back into her bed, hiss and look terrified. We knew we would have to work hard for Elizabeth’s affection and be very patient.”
“We usually try to put the kittens on foster care for the socialisation, but unfortunately this isn’t always possible. We are currently looking for new foster carers, which we can train to socialise and domesticate kittens properly like Elizabeth.”
Since coming into our Home, Elizabeth has been doing really well and has begun to get used to humans. Though there is still a lot of work to be done, Elizabeth has started to come forward to our staff purring and giving out cat head butts for attention.
Our cattery team will continue to work on Elizabeth’s socialisation and, once she is ready, has been neutered and is a little bit older, we should be able to find her a quiet, loving forever home.
Throughout the year our Animal Welfare Officers neuter and health check hundreds of feral cats like Elizabeth’s mum in London, as a part of our Trap, Neuter, Return programme, which helps control and contain the cat population in London.
Our Animal Welfare Manager, Zoe Edwards, said: “It’s really important that we neuter and health check the feral cats, as this helps prevent breeding and the spread of diseases such as FIV and FeLV.”
“We re-release the neutered adult cats back into the area where we found them, providing it is safe and suitable for them. Like with Elizabeth, if we find litters of kittens under eight weeks old, then we will try to bring them back to The Mayhew where they can be socialised and found loving homes.”
We are currently looking for more dedicated foster carers who we can train to socialise and domesticate our feral kittens. To find out more about fostering a Mayhew animal and how to apply, click here.
If you are unable to foster but would still like to help, please consider making a donation today to help us domesticate more kittens like Elizabeth and continue with our Trap, Neuter and Return programme.
If you’re concerned about feral kittens or cats in your area then please contact our Animal Welfare Officers on 020 8962 8000 or email [email protected].
[donate text=”Donate to help kittens like Elizabeth” source=”Elizabeth feral kitten”]
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