Second Chance: The Truth About Socializing A Kitten & Updates!

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center (SCHS) and Thrift Shops have been serving San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose Counties since 1994. The shelter is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 11 to 5:30. Community veterinary services are available by appointment.

View shelter pets and services online:

Go here for more on Dr. Shari DePauw of Second Chance. Second Chance veterinary clinic is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Call (970) 626-9713 or email

Donate here.

Go here for more options from Second Chance.

There is a nasty rumor that you can’t train a cat. As we see cats grow and change in our care, we see just how intelligent, willing, and trainable cats can be. From the time they are tiny babies, we see unique personalities.

Kittens are fuzzy sponges who absorb both good and bad lessons at an incredible pace. Proper socialization teaches a kitten how to be a cat, how to have manners, how to communicate with other cats, and who her friends and enemies are. The age when kittens are most receptive is between two and seven weeks, but most kittens can be socialized up to four month, even if they are born to a feral mother.

Kittens’ first teachers are their mother and littermates. They learn by watching mom and patterning behaviors after her. Littermates teach each other how to play. Interactions with each other and with adult cats give kittens practice with the kitty language of meows, fluffed fur, and tail or body positions.

If there is only one kitten in a litter or if a kitten is separated early, they may have a difficult time learning to get along with other cats because they simply don’t speak the same language. For that reason, it’s ideal for kittens to stay with their mother and littermates as long as possible. Some people find that it’s actually easiest to adopt two kittens that are nearly the same age so the two can learn from each other.

Socializing a baby is based on the three T’s: Touching, Talking, and Timing.


Touching is one of the first sensations kittens feel when their mother grooms them, and petting mimics this wonderful safe experience. It teaches your kitten that contact with people is pleasant. Petting also places your scent on the kitten. This helps him associate your smell with feelings of well-being. Pet your kitten as often as possible and take time to sit with him or her for petting sessions each day, giving your undivided attention.

Talking to your kitten teaches him or her to listen and pay attention to your voice. During your petting sessions, use a soft, soothing voice so he associates affection with your tone of voice.

Timing helps the kitten know what’s right and wrong when you tell them at the right time. Use timing to catch her/him doing something right like using the litter box correctly. Offer a treat when she greets visitors with happy purrs. Celebrate with a favorite game when she plays nicely with other pets or people.

If you fill your kitten’s first weeks in a new home with positive experiences, it will shape his or her personality and behavior for their entire life.

Grasshopper is one of the first of what will be many kittens available for adoption in the coming weeks and months at Second Chance.

AND… To continue the Second Chance Highlights section, we want to share the following:

Dr. Shari DePauw’s Commitment and Compassion

As if we needed more proof that our veterinarian, Dr. Shari DePauw, is the best…

There were three dogs at the Ute Mountain Shelter when our team made the trip down to transfer some dogs to us. At that time the dogs had already been in that shelter 6-7 months. They had been trapped, brought to the shelter, and were considered to be feral. No one interacted with them or took them outside. They just sat in kennels that entire time.

A fellow rescuer who works in the Four Corners area had been trying to find placement for these dogs at other shelter and sanctuaries with no luck. It was decided the most humane thing was to euthanize them. When our clinic team arrived last month, Dr. Shari saw them, and the brown dog ate from her hand. Dr. Shari couldn’t bring herself to euthanize them after all.

Hansel & Gretel

She tried finding placement with some of her connections, but still no luck. So she decided to take them into foster and give them a chance. After a few weeks in Dr.Shari’s care, we’re hopeful that at least two of them will be available for adoption.

They’re named (for now) Mama Bear, Hansel, and Gretel. The two youngsters have been spayed/neutered, and are now at the shelter. Our staff and volunteers will continue to help them learn to trust.

Grand Opening of our Re-Imagined Telluride Shop

Second Chance is hiring at the Telluride Shop. Click here to see a job description. Email Lynda for more information or to apply.

And volunteers are needed.

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