While I cannot speak for any of you, I confess I have a huge heart of compassion for all animals. If you love cats, then you have probably noticed a few feral cats around your neighborhood.
Many cat lovers leave food or water outdoors for stray or feral cats in order to help them out. Some may bring the cats inside if they notice the cat is struggling, or simply to keep the cat safe. Is this a good idea?
Why Feral Cats Fear Us
According to pets.ca, feral cats are more challenging when it comes to domesticating them than kittens or cats who have lived with humans, simply because feral cats are wild.
Without proper socialization with humans, feral cats fear us. It could take quite some time for a feral cat to adjust to his new indoor environment than most other cats.
Some feral cats may adapt quite well; others may never become affectionate; some may remain timid their entire lives. Often, it depends on you…. your patience and dedication.
When you bring a feral cat into your home, have it examined by your veterinarian first. Many feral cats have fleas, ticks and/or other medical issues. You don’t want to bring those into your home.
Ask the vet to check for a microchip. Microchips can help reunite lost cats with their guardians. Feral’s ear is tipped to indicate it’s been spayed or neutered. If you don’t observ e this, discuss options available to get it done.
Check For Laws Prohibiting Care For Ferals
Check into any laws or city ordinances that might make it illegal to attend to feral cats. Recently, charges were brought against a couple in Augusta, Kansas, for feeding feral cats! It may sound crazy, but some cities have strict laws against feeding and/or taking in feral cats.
After your veterinarian examines the feral cat and you bring him home, confine him to one room for a few days. This gives him a chance to begin feeling comfortable with his surroundings.
Helping Ferals Become Comfortable Indoors
Put a litter box, food, water, toys, and cat bed with a blanket in it in one corner of the room. Leave something you have worn in the room that bears your scent. This helps the cat become accustomed to your scent.
Periodically, go into the room and sit there without approaching the cat. Observe his body language. Let him make the first move. Consider bringing a book into the room with you and read while the cat adjusts to your presence.
Bring in some treats and see if the cat will approach you to get some. If that fails, leave the treats in one area of the room that is non-threatening to him. Let the cat observe you as the one who provides his food. Once the cat begins to feel comfortable in the room, open the door and allow him to further explore the house. Cat-proof it first!
If you have any questions about taking in a feral cat, consult your veterinarian, the humane society, a local rescue, or animal shelter.
Have you added a feral cat to your family? Leave us a comment and let us know how it went, we’d love to hear from you!