Most cat lovers have been through a similar situation – they have had their hearts broken by a feral cat. The cat will eat the food and drink the water which you leave on your front porch, but will never let you touch or pet him. And let’s not forget the feral cat that has a litter of kittens under your porch, and she won’t let you touch the kitties, even though she may have been allowing you to pet her for months. There are a multitude of reasons why you might want or need to make that feral cat on your own. It would be in the best interests of both you and the feral cat. Feral is defined as an organism that was once domesticated and then changed to wild or untamed.
Most people believe that feral cats cannot be tamed, only the kittens can be. However, this is not entirely true. Just as all people are different, so too are all cats – and that includes feral cats. In fact, an awful lot of feral cats would love to be sheltered from the rain and snow, or the heat and cold. They are just so afraid of people that they cannot bring themselves to trust people enough to be tamed. However, statistics show that many feral cats have been domesticated and have lived to become happy, well-adjusted indoor cats.
How to tame a feral cat
First, you have to catch her and be able to pet her and pick her up. Here are some thoughts on how to do that. If you are starting with a feral cat that is afraid of you and never lets you get close to her:
- Food is the bait. Use food to get her to come close to your door. Stay away until she is comfortable coming close to your door and eating.
- At that point, start to show yourself to the cat, but don’t get too close, and make no moves toward her. Give her all the time she needs to get used to being in your presence, showing her that nothing bad will happen.
- Wearing gloves, begin trying to pet her. The gloves are important until you are able to get your feral cat to the veterinarian.
- Keep petting the feral cat until it allows you to pick it up and hold it or sit with it in your lap for some time.
Once you have accomplished #1-4, take some serious time to develop your relationship without attempting to take him or her inside. In the meantime, set up a space in your house that will be safe and confined. Be patient, as patience is one of the most important factors in taming a feral cat. Give your feral friend as much time as she needs to develop a trusting bond with you.
- Carry your feral friend inside, and when you are not with her, keep her in the safe, confined space you have created for her. Leave her food, water and a litter box in this space.
- Spend an enormous amount of time with her now that she is in the house.
- Once your feral friend is comfortable in the enclosed space and is consistently affectionate with you, let her out to explore your house.
Now you should have a friend whose lifespan has just doubled.Photo: Courtesy of Seabamirum via Flickr (CC by 2.0)