Feral cats are extremely common in towns. Sometimes, there are just as many feral cats around as there are squirrels. But, what if you have a feral cat that particularly likes to hang around your house? Perhaps you decide you want to try and domesticate this feral cat. Where do you start?
Keep reading to find out how to gain a feral cat’s trust with a fear-free method.
One word every feral cat understands in every country or language is food. Leave a bowl of kibble out for this kitty and some freshwater. Perhaps not on the porch or by the door, but in a place the cat can feel safe such as under a bush or in an old shed. Just be aware that leaving cat food out around your house can attract other feral cats and animals like raccoons and opossums. Stick with the kibble form and stay away from wet food as it doesn’t keep for long.
Once the feral cat has figured out that food and fresh water are available, start moving the dishes closer to the house or hang outside while the cat is around. Start talking to this kitty and give it a name. Over time, they will start to realize you are not a predator. Place the dishes on the patio and read a book while he or she comes to eat. You can also toss them a treat or two. Perhaps a catnip-filled toy—feral cats still like catnip, so that could be enjoyable!
After time, the feral cat will start coming closer and closer to you. It is important not to rush the process or you will end up taking 5 steps backward. Feral cats are considered prey animals and most of the time will run when they feel they are in danger. Keeping the atmosphere quiet is important. Keep your patience because it is going to take time and effort to gain a feral cat’s trust.
The cat will become more and more acquainted with you. They will start to come and sniff your foot or your hand. It is important not to make any sudden movements or the cat will run for cover. Do not try to pick the cat up, let them come to you. Hopefully, after time they will rub against your leg or hand – that’s when you’ve hit bingo. When a cat rubs their face on you, in a sense they are claiming you.
Spend at least a few minutes every day with your new feral cat friend.
When they become comfortable with pets and ear scratches, you can start to attempt to pick them up. Just be careful as their claws are probably equivalent to daggers and do not get bit.
Once you have a new friend (hopefully named), do your best to get your new cat into a carrier using lots of treats. From there, it’s off to the vet for a wellness check-up, preventative care, and a spay or neuter! Whether the cat will be in your home or outside. Here you can find a spay/neuter clinic near you.
If you are looking to keep this cat in your home and you have other cats in the house, it is important to keep them separate for a few weeks to ensure the new kitty is free of parasites and viruses and is up to date on vaccinations. Want to just help the feral cats in your area? Visit “Tips On Caring For Feral Cats” for more information.