Chickadee was not a model student on day one…
We launched our Kitten Charm School program in 2020 to better help scared and hissy kittens that came into our Kitten Foster Program (KFP). Charm School proved that a little love and understanding can go a long way towards helping these vulnerable shelter animals turn into loving house cats. We’ve since trained dozens of foster homes to give these kittens the early TLC that they required. Of the 154 kittens that the Kitten Foster Program has taken in so far this year, 42 have enrolled in Charm School, and we aim to graduate all of them!
…public speaking and holding terrified her…
Before Kitten Charm School, many scared or undersocialized kittens would often grow into nervous, young cats before they found a home that understood their quirks enough to love them for who they were. The Charm School program reduced the time that these kittens waited to be adopted after they became available from 3-4 months to 2-3 weeks. What sparked such a big change?
…but a few days later, Chickie realized school was cool!
The socialization window for cats–that is the time when they are able to learn that humans are nice and good–is between 2 and 14 weeks. So when we get in kittens that are small but fierce it’s crucial that we place them in foster homes that have the training, resources, and support to help the kittens feel safe and get them to stop being scared of or aggressive towards people. Because we had so many fosters trained to intervene in the kittens’ behavior from the second they entered foster care, we were able to socialize the kittens more effectively while they were much younger. They grew up understanding that people give treats and snuggles and that those are all good things!
Lilith wasn’t a fan…
Kitten Charm School provides fosters with that training along with a ton of cat behavior resources, and a support network that they can go to if they have a question, need some help, or if their kitten is behaving in a way that they don’t expect.
…but the classes were surprisingly enjoyable….
Socializing scared kittens is a lot of fun and incredibly rewarding. There’s nothing like the moment when you finally get them to click into a melting puddle of kitten cuddle! You can easily socialize kittens while you watch TV or relax in the evenings, and you can even do it if you work a full-time job and are gone from the house all day. All you need is a little bit of time, some patience, and a lot of love.
…she graduated to “loving humans and napping on shoulders”.
Did you know that the only difference between a feral cat and a friendly affectionate house cat is that the house cat was around people when it was a kitten? If you’d like to help our kittens out, you can sign up to be a kitten foster parent here, and be sure to mention you’re interested in Kitten Charm School!