Bert and Ernie: A Feral Kitten’s Path to Fearless Playfulness

adventure Bert Brothers Cuddles Emilie Fear Feral Kitten Hisses Love patience Playfulness Rescued Socializing Transformation Trust

Posted October 25, 2023 by: Admin #Animals

A previously aloof feral kitten, who had shunned human interaction for two weeks indoors, finally decided to place trust in a newfound connection.


sweet kitten tabby

Emilie Rackovan, an animal rescuer based in Milwaukee, was alerted to the presence of two feral kittens residing in someone’s backyard. These kittens were cautious, elusive, and desperately in need of assistance.

Upon her arrival, Emilie set up several humane traps and successfully captured the first kitten without any difficulties. However, the second, smaller brother proved to be more challenging to capture.

Due to his lighter weight, the trap door failed to close. To address this, Emilie ingeniously fashioned a drop trap using a dog leash.


feral kittens backyard

After a long and tiring day, both kittens were safely secured within a carrier. Up to this point, they had never experienced any human contact. Their eyes were wide with fear, resembling saucers, and their hearts raced.


Emilie expressed her optimism, saying, “They may not know it yet, but they’ve just earned a ticket to a better life.”

feral kitten rescued

Upon their arrival at their foster home, the two feline siblings, named Bert and Ernie, bore the weight of uncertainty.


Terrified, they sought refuge in the corners of their nursery pen, their eyes darting around in search of an escape route. When Emilie offered them treats, they responded by swatting with fully extended claws.

Bert, in particular, was exceptionally frightened, hissing and spitting with unsheathed claws, his back arched, and his hindquarters pressed against the pen. Emilie left the cat treat that Bert had fiercely bitten into and allowed him more time to decompress.

tabby kitten scared

While Ernie began to show interest in human touch and started to come around, Bert remained steadfast in his defiance, refusing to let his guard down. Recognizing Ernie’s progress, Emilie decided to focus on one-on-one socialization with Bert.


Bert initially cowered at the sight of humans, lurching at them with aggression even during mealtime. After several days of intense socialization, Emilie noticed a change in Bert’s demeanor. She remarked, “He began to relax and accepted treats from my hand.”

hissy kitten tabby

After two weeks of being in foster care, Bert finally felt comfortable enough to accept a treat from his foster mom and extend trustingly in front of her. He began to melt under the touch of human hands, and the fear in his eyes gradually dissipated.


Emilie discovered that Bert loved to play, which quickly became the key to his heart. She threw a ball in his direction, and Bert mirrored the action by playfully kicking it back. He eagerly chased and pounced on a birdie (wand toy) with remarkable precision. With every new toy, his personality flourished.

kitten head tilt

A few days after discovering the joy of play, Bert began seeking affection. He would tilt his head thoughtfully as he approached Emilie for pets and then slump against her hand, melting like butter in the sun.

Bert no longer hesitated to request belly rubs and head scratches, often rolling onto his side and nuzzling his head against his caregivers.


kitten head scrtiches

Reflecting on the process of socializing Bert, Emilie admitted it had been a tiring, frustrating, and occasionally disheartening journey. Nevertheless, the reward of gaining Bert’s trust was immeasurable. Bert and Ernie thrived in their foster care environment and relished the company of humans and other cats.

Ernie became Emilie’s constant companion, while Bert found a mentor in Lua, the resident cat, who helped him hone his feline skills and overcome his fear.

“He’s learning so much from my cats, including how to be less afraid.”


sweet tabby kittens

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