Should You Try Taking in a Stray Cat?
If you are thinking about taking in a stray cat, there are several things you should keep in mind. First of all, you must determine if the cat is stray or feral. A stray cat is a cat that is lost or separated from its owner, or it has been given up by its owner. A stray cat is socialized to human companionship. A feral cat is a cat that lives outdoors in a colony of feral cats. These cats will hide from humans and avoid human contact. These cats cannot be domesticated. (You should never try to pick up a feral cat.)
Taking in a stray cat is a big decision. It’s not as easy as simply opening your door and your heart to the new cat. Here are a few things to consider.
- Since the cat has been living outdoors, it most likely has fleas, ticks and other pests that they’ve picked up while roaming in the wild.
- The cat may be overdue for worming medication and vaccinations.
- If the stray is a tom cat, you will want to have him neutered before bringing him into your home or allowing him to continue roaming your property.
- If the cat has been living outdoors for some time, it may be necessary to re-introduce him to life as a pet. You will need to teach him to use the litter box, and not to scratch with his claws.
- If you are taking in a stray cat, start with a trip to the vet.
- You will also have to socialize the cat with any other cats, pets or people in the home.
A stray cat is a cat that has been socialized to people at some point in their life, but has left or lost their domestic home – and human contact. While living outdoors, a stray cat is more likely to live alone than in a colony of other cats. In many cases, a stray cat can become a pet cat once again. Stray cats that are re-introduced to a home environment after living outdoors may require a period of time to re-acclimate. They may be frightened and wary after spending time outside away from humans, but they can re-adjust to living with humans and can be adopted as companions.
On the other hand, a feral cat is a cat who has never had any contact with humans – or their contact with humans has diminished over time. A feral cat is most likely to live in a colony of cats. A feral cat is fearful of people and survives on its own outdoors. It is very unlikely that a feral cat will ever become domesticated, and it cannot be adopted. However, kittens born to feral cats can be socialized at an early age and adopted into homes.
If you are thinking about taking in a stray cat, the first step is to trap it. Evaluate the cat’s behavior to determine if it is a stray or if it is a feral cat. A feral cat cannot be touched, even by a caretaker. He will likely move as far back in the cage as possible and will appear tense. When trapped, a feral cat will likely ignore all people, toys, and possibly even food.
If you determine that the cat is feral, you should contact a local organization for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). They will spay or neuter the cat, vaccinate it, and return it to its outdoor home. To learn more about this process, go to What Is a Feral Cat?
If the cat is a stray, you should start with a visit to your veterinarian. First, have the cat scanned for a microchip. It could be that he has a family that is looking for him and wants him to come home. If you can’t find the owner, you may choose to adopt the cat. Have the veterinarian give him any necessary treatments or vaccinations before bringing him into your home. If you already have a cat or other pets, the new cat will have to be acclimated to the home. To learn more about this, go to How to Acclimate a Cat to a New Home.
For more information about adopting stray cats, go to How to Turn a Stray Cat into a Pet.
To learn more about stray cats, read the article Surprise Visitors: What to Do With a Stray Cat.