While a feral kitten is saved when he is young enough, it is quite easy to socialize him and transform him into a wonderful family companion. However, because it can take some time, one shelter devised a method to make the procedure more faster and more enjoyable.
Staff at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) were talking about feral cats with a volunteer who was a skilled seamstress ten years ago. Feral kittens 4 months and younger can be socialized into pleasant, loving family members, but they require a lot of human contact, which can take a lot of time that shelter employees may not have. They wanted a method to multitask, so they came up with the idea for the “Kitten Bjorn.”
A Babybjörn is a sort of baby carrier that allows a mom to carry her infant about strapped to her body, and a Kitten Bjorn is similar. It’s simply a vest that staff and volunteers may wear with a little mesh pouch on the front for kittens to sit in while the person carrying them goes about their regular tasks.
According to Michael DeFina, communications and media relations officer at ARL Boston, “the concept was to create something that would allow the kittens to mingle, and be hands-free, therefore allowing staff and volunteers to multi-task (answering phones, conversing with customers etc.)”. the kitten is exposed to stimuli safely while being continually watched by someone wearing the vest,” says the designer of the vest. Only three were manufactured so far; more are on the way,” he said.
They have been in use for seven years already, and ARL hopes to continue using them for years to come by ordering additional vests from manufacturers. In fact, since ARL began utilizing these vests, the process of socializing feral kittens has sped up so rapidly that feral kittens are now ready for adoption in just 48 hours, and sometimes even sooner.
“Socialization may be completed in a short period of time, and the kitten’s purring is a sign of success,” DeFina added. It can take a few of days for a kitten to start purring, but in the seven years they’ve been in use, they’ve proven to be excellent for socializing kittens rapidly.