When feral kittens are rescued at a young age, making the transition from being wild to being a family pet is completely possible.
While this process takes some time, this shelter came up with a plan to speed up the process - and also make it more fun!
About ten years ago, at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), a volunteer - and also a seamstress - recognized the importance of finding a more efficient way to help young kittens get accustomed.
Feral cats around 4 months and younger have the best potential for becoming loving family members. All that is necessary for this is exposure to humans! To make this transition process most efficient, shelter staff needed a way to do many things at once. And so the "Kitten Bjorn" idea was born.
What is a Kitten Bjorn you ask?
A Babybjorn is a baby carrier that lets parents carry their baby while still doing other things. The Kitten Bjorn works the same way!
Staff at the shelter wear a vest that has a little mesh pouch in the front for kittens to rest in. Kittens are able to get comfortable with humans while experiencing the world as it moves around them.
“The idea was to have something that allow the kittens to socialize, and be hands-free, thus allowing staff and volunteers to multi-task (answering phones, talking with clients etc.),” Michael DeFina, communications and media relations officer at ARL Boston, explained to The Dodo.
“The design allows the kitten to be flooded with stimuli in a safe way while being constantly monitored by whoever is wearing the vest. Three were made and we are looking to make more.”
For the last 7 years, ARL has been using these vests - and they have every intention of continuing to do so! The vests have successfully sped up the process of socialization for feral cats. The kittens are now ready for adoption in just two days.
“Turnaround for socialization can be fairly quick, with the sign of success being when the kitten begins to purr,” DeFina said.
“Sometimes a kitten will begin purring after just an hour, sometimes it takes a couple of days, but during the seven years of their use, they have shown to be effective in trying to quickly socialize kittens.”
Helping socialization for kittens is a good thing on its own, but this vest idea has helped in another way as well. By getting kittens ready for adoption quickly, more kittens can come in to be rescued and adopted. This means more lives saved!
Source: The Dodo