Taming Feral Cats Vs Stray Cats
Feral cats are different from stray cats. Stray cats are usually the product of a persons irresponsibility. Irresponsibility could be defined in two ways when it comes to strays:
- Dumping a cat to fend for itself
- Neglecting to spay and neuter their cats.
Stray cats can be timid but are often easily tamed. Feral cats are cats that were probably born to wild parents and are wild themselves. As feral cats generally have had no human interaction, and are very difficult to tame.
Other Tips And Tricks
When it comes to understanding and getting used to taking care of feral kittens, there are a few other concerns that should be taken into consideration. Here are a few things that you will want to remember when it comes to feral kittens.
- Always make sure that they see a vet, and get them dewormed and FVRCP vaccinated right away
- If you have any other parasites and the like, do make sure that theyre taken care of as needed
- Dont give a rabies vaccination until the kitten is about four or so months old
Making Feral Cats Feel Safe
While you may not have any luck with making a feral cat your pet or bringing them into your home, a feral animal will learn that youre not a threat to them. Once a feral cat is comfortable enough to eat with you around, you can try to desensitize them to human interaction. When your feral friend is around, speak to the kitty gently, as you avoid making eye contact. With feral cats, making eye contact can feel uncomfortable and even intimidating. So, while youre trying to encourage a friendship with feral cats, avoid eye contact to help ease the tension.
When your feral cats are around, make sure you move deliberately and slowly when performing tasks to show the feral cat that youre not a threat. This can be as simple as refilling their cat bowl or water dish, sitting close by a feral cat without trying to touch them, or sitting in silence and just watching as feral cats enjoy their meal.
You can also try sprinkling a little catnip around the room or area as a nice treat that can have a calming effect on a feral animal.
How Much Time Will It Really Take Each Day
When kittens arrive, give them a day to calm down and adjust to their new surroundings. During this time, cover the cage completely with a sheet or blanket to help them feel extra secure.
After the first day, uncover the front of the cage. A lot of time is needed, the more often you visit, the more accustomed to you they will get, and the more attention they will want!
Being with your kitten or kittens several hours a day is important.
How To Tame A Feral Kitten
Did you recently come across a feral kitten and thought of bringing it home? Well, if its a kitten, the good news is it can be tamed. However, the same cannot be said for fully adult feral cats. The entire process of feral kitten taming can take anywhere from a couple of days to some months.
This timeline can vary depending on the individual cats temperament, rescued state, and the litter they belonged to. If your feral kitten has been exposed to a traumatic situation before being rescued, it might take you longer to tame them. However, taming a feral kitten and teaching them love & trust could be a rewarding process.
So, make sure you do it the right way. To help you out, here is a quick rundown of the processes involved in taming a wild kitten.
Taming A Feral Cat Ages 12 Weeks And Under
A kitty may also not come back to their litter if they have been attacked in the area, are being tracked by a predator, or they may have died due to an attack by a dog or from being hit by a car. In these situations, you may end up having to care for the litter on your own. If theyre young enough and still relying on mom for food, then it will be possible to handle them. If youve been caring for them from afar and noticed the feral cat mother has not been back for two to three days, bring them inside. Place the kittens in a dark, quiet room, and contact your vet or a friend who has experience bottle feeding kittens. Place the kittens in a room or area in the home where your resident house pet cannot go. This will help the kittens to stay relaxed.
Let The Wild Cats Accustomed To You
The next how to tame a feral cat is approaching your cat little by little, dont rush! Talk in a soft voice so that they get familiar with your voice. Also, feed them some food at the same time and get a little closer day by day. After three days, if they still perform fear, do not attempt to touch them, giving them more time! It takes several days, and a few efforts for the feral cat can follow your rule. Supposing that your cat runs away, dont chase after her.
When your cat allows you to touch or strokes her, try to do this lovingly and gently, not with your hand but with your spatula. You can install a contact while keeping a safe distance so that the cat does not feel threatened.
Reach For The Good Stuff
There are about 100 different types of catnip, and not all cats are susceptible. But if your little guy likes it, youre in luck. Catnip can help to calm and embolden a shy, fearful, or anxious cat.
If catnip does nothing for your cat, then fret not, there are other substances you can try. Alley Cat Allies, an advocacy group for the protection of felines, advises, Consider using non-pharmaceutical behavior modifiers like Feliway, Rescue Remedy, or Composure Soft Chews. These products can help calm and comfort cats using essential oils or extracts or by mimicking natural feline pheromones.
Once the cat becomes used to you, chances are they may not need these substances anymore. However, my primary caretaker still leaves behind a lot of catnip in my favorite spaces for the opposite reason now. I resent her prolonged absence, and catnip is always a great distraction!
Most times, semi-feral cats can be domesticated and live happy and healthy lives with their humans. This may take a few weeks, but more often it will take months, and even up to a year. Becky Robinson also estimates that an unfortunate 14% of cats simply cannot be tamed.
Because of this, when you embark on your adventure with your semi-feral cat, remember to be patient and to respect their space. Understand that socializing a semi-feral is a process, and it wont happen overnight. But with patience, respect, and lots of treats, your semi-feral can grow to love you, too!
How Long Does It Take To Tame Feral Kittens
Feral kittens are easier to tame than adults since they have enough time to be properly groomed and trained. On the other hand, the adults are far more aggressive since they have spent most of their lives living in the wild and adopting human life all of a sudden can be a bit too overwhelming for them and they might show destructive behavior only because they are concerned about their own safety.
For kittens, it may take about 2-6 weeks to tame them and a couple of more weeks to train and groom them once they have become familiar with the environment and the people around them. The whole process of taming mostly depends on the age and the time that they have spent in the wild living on their own. However, individual kittens vary from one another in case of nature and you can never be certain of the time it will take to tame them.
While some may take only a couple of days, for others, it may take months considering how aggressive they are. Either way, it is necessary for you to have enough tolerance and time to tame and groom them.
Can A Feral Cat Become A House Pet
You may have a chance of taming or domesticating a feral kitten. However, its not generally recommended to tame a feral cat and its usually not possible to tame an adult one. Feral cats arent used to human contact, and they probably wont ever be as docile and friendly as a domesticated cat.
A feral cat will probably never wish to move into your home, but they may eventually become confident enough to sleep in a less-confining space like a garage, shed or utility room with easy access as long are there arent humans around.
When You Shouldnt Bring A Feral Cat Into Your Home
Remember, youre bringing a wild animal into your home. Unless your cat is a semi-feral or simply been abandoned, it wont know how to adapt. If you have young children or other pets you need to think twice. You wont have the experience that staff in shelters have.
In this situation youre better off taking the cat to your nearest animal rescue centre. They will know how to handle it and have the necessary training. It can take months of hard work to win the trust of a feral cat and many refuse to be tamed.
A semi-feral or stray is a different story. It may still take weeks of careful handling, but you may have a loving and affectionate pet at the end of it. Youll soon know if your cat is a stray or feral by the way it reacts to you. A feral will be all teeth and claws! It will try and attack you in defense, seeing you as the enemy! A stray will soon settle in after a few days or weeks.
Part 2 Of 3:handling A Feral Cat
What To Do If You Find Older Kittens
Begin looking into spay/neuter options for the kittens immediately. Remember that cats can get pregnant as young as 5 months old so dont wait until they look like adult cats to have them spayed/neutered! FCCO spays and neuters cats as young as 2 months old, as do many other spay/neuter organizations. Even if you dont plan on keeping the kittens, get them spayed or neutered before finding them a new home.
The best option for kittens is to tame them, get them spayed/neutered, and find them forever homes where they are no longer living on the streets. Our Kitten Caboose program can help! Tame kittens brought to our clinic for spay/neuter services can be transferred to the Oregon Humane Society and adopted into homes.
If the kittens are friendly they were probably pets or the offspring of a pet or tame stray. Put up fliers in your neighborhood and call around to the shelters to see if anyone is looking for the kittens. If you suspect that the kittens were abandoned then you can consider getting a police report. Abandoning cats is illegal. They probably wont be able to do much to find out who abandoned the cat but it may help to have a record if more cats are abandoned in the same location.
Desensitizing A Feral Cat To Life Around Humans
Keep in mind, feral cats do not trust humans and do not make good house pets. They have a much rougher life than that of a house cat and are used to hunting and scavenging for food, so even just leaving a bowl of food out for feral cats will be a game changer for them. Of course, if they have not had much, if any contact with humans, then they will do their best to hide from you if they see you or hear you. By spending more time around these cats, they can learn to tolerate humans, but they wont come around eager to see you like pet cats will.
Should You Try And Tame A Feral Cat
Taming a feral cat is not easy. Results are never guaranteed either: Just how tame the cat will turn out to be differs from case to case. The process itself requires time and effort from a dedicated human. Whats more, trapping and confinement necessary for taming a feral are stressful for the cat. In many cases, the cat will never be entirely comfortable around people.
Theres also a good alternative to taming: The cat can continue to live life as a feral. After all, feral cats can live happy and long lives if they have a dedicated human caring for their needs
- Spaying and neutering
How To Handle Them
The first thing youll want to make sure is that youre very careful with handling them. You should NEVER pick up a feral cat by hand. Thats because youre protecting yourself from diseases, especially if they are rabid, and it also protects the kitten too. If a kitten bites a human they may have to be euthanized. So youll definitely, for the sake of the cat themselves, use a humane trap to get them.
Now, you can do the following with a kitten in order to help tame and humanize it.
- Make sure that if you trap them, you get all of the kittens and the mother cat if possible.
- Use TNR in order to trap all of them so that they can get neutered and release, and prevent the colony from growing.
- When looking for the feral kittens, make sure to get them within the quiet, unseen spots, since thats where the mom keeps them.
- You should wait for them at about 4-6 weeks since they can be taken by the mom at that point.
Now at this point, if you do capture them, they tend to need to be neutered immediately. But what age can you do this at? Well, there are a couple of factors that you can consider.
Can Feral Kittens And Cats Be Tamed
Feral kittens can usually be tamed if they are rescued young enough AND they are socialized properly. Feral kittens should begin their socialization as young as possible . When rescuing feral kittens outdoors, its ideal to rescue them at 4-5 weeks of age. At this age, they can usually be taught quickly how to eat on their own and socialize fairly quickly . In general, the younger the kittens are when first socialized, the better the chances are that they will not be fearful of people and will transfer their trust to multiple people. These kittens typically become wonderful, loving pets.
Feral kittens should be placed in adoptive homes soon after socialization, if possible, because some feral kittens, especially those captured at an older age, tend to bond with one person. Kittens who are rescued at over 6 weeks of age who have had little or no physical or social contact with humans may not be completely domesticated, although some younger ones may be fully socialized with patience. Sometimes older feral kittens or young feral adults who have become tame and loving with one person can revert to a wild state when placed in a new home. It can take months for these kittens and cats to bond with the new caretaker.
Contact Your Local Vet
Having got your feral or stray kitty home, you must take it to a veterinary clinic. The first thing theyll do is check for a microchip. If its a lost pet theyll be able to reunite the cat with its owner.
Youll also need to get the cat neutered, and treated for fleas, as well as worming. If you decide to keep it you should also get the cat microchipped. This makes you responsible for its actions! Though, should your feral cat inflict damage on humans or pets you may face repercussions.
Your vet will also do a health check for any obvious signs of disease. Again, if you plan on keeping the cat youll need to pay for treatment.
Invite The Cat Inside
Now that the cat is starting to get comfortable with you and the normal sounds associated with human life, you can invite it into your space. You might just leave the door open for a while after interacting with the cat when you go back inside. Or you could start leaving food or water just inside your door to slowly get the cat used to the idea of coming inside your home.
Do Feral Cats Pose Health Risks To You Or Your Pets
Its difficult for humans to catch diseases from feral cats since they dont often come in physical contact. However, because feral cats can carry diseases, worms and fleas, it is possible for them to pass infections on to your domesticated pets.
Be aware that if you already have a cat or dog, the presence of a feral cat may cause other issues, too. Your pet may be upset by a feral cat that visits regularly, and a feral cat may not tolerate them and could act aggressively. If this is the case, your pets and the feral cat may need to be kept apart, or, more likely, the feral cat may need to be relocated elsewhere.
Pay Attention To Their Body Language
Cats are incredibly expressive and will let people know when they are dissatisfied with how they are acting.
When trying to tame a feral cat it is very easy to get overly excited and want to push the cat beyond their comfort zone, but this can backfire.
Not only can this result in the cat becoming terrified and leaving the location, but it can also cause them to lash out due to fear.
Just like with a tame cat, feral cats will show how they are feeling by using their ears, their tails, and even their voices.
People who want to try to tame a feral cat need to read up on understanding cat body language so that they are sure they will be able to understand what the cat is trying to say to them.
Separating Kittens From One Another
It is necessary that you keep your feral kittens separate for a couple of weeks until they finally start interacting with you or the rest of the humans in the house. It is natural for you to feel bad while doing this because no one in their right mind would want to separate these beautiful creatures from each other. But it is essential to give them a chance to bond with their owners.
Also, you should know that you can always reunite them once they have accustomed themselves with the rest of the people in the house. You should especially do this with the ones which are above 8 weeks old since they need more time to get in terms with humans. You can also bring your friends over or ask your roommates to take turns and play with them so that you are not left with all of them alone for the rest of the day.
How Are The Kittens With Other People
Well initially they would hide but George soon began to enjoy the admiring words he was receiving and is now Mr Sociable!In a nut shell, taming a kitten is not for the faint hearted, however anyone with a certain amount of time, patience and perseverance can do it. So go for it and good luck!Please note that the time frame described in this story is applicable only to my kittens. This can vary from kitten to kitten. I understand from HAWS, that the older the cat is at adoption the longer the taming process is.GOOD LUCK!To adopt feral kittens please use our online application form.
Taming Feral Kittens: Is It Possible
Taming feral kittens is never an easy task since they have never been in contact with humans. It is especially difficult to tame the ones that are adult. These animals are prone to their wild lifestyle and are extremely scared and frightened when encountered by a human. However, it is possible to tame them if you are willing to make the commitment.
Does It Matter
Yes, it certainly does! Its honestly the surefire way to help prevent a cat from dying. Out in the wild, there are various aspects, such as the following;
- Enemies that eat the cats
- A lack of food
- Other humans that dont particularly like cats
Socialized cats are ones that can be up for adoption. You want to give these little guys a good home. Its hard out there, especially since many dont understand. If youve been feeding a feral cat and the cat ends up having kittens, youre in charge of that. Sometimes yes, they do get abandoned, which is kind of a very bad thing. Its important to understand that all cats are different and you have to understand why its important to socialize a feral kitten.
What Is A Semi
Commonly referred to as a social cat by some animal rescue experts, a semi-feral is a cat or kitten who has had some experience with humans in the past. Unlike feral cats, semi-feral cats are vocal and may make eye-contact with you, even if they dont allow you to touch them.
Social cats are not to be confused with socialized cats who are fully domesticated, and accustomed to being around, and being touched by humans. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to tame semi-feral and feral cats after 4 6 months of age, but it is not impossible.
So Can You Tame A Feral Cat Or Is It An Impossible Task
As youve discovered, many feral cats are often strays whove either been abandoned by their owner or got lost. These can be easily tamed once given a loving home. Some can be reunited with their previous owners if theyre microchipped and simply got lost. Others though, will need rehoming.
If your cat is a semi-feral, it will have had some interaction with humans in the past. Youll find with a bit of love and patience shell soon settle in and become a loving pet. However, as youve seen by reading this post, true ferals can be very hard to tame. Theyve had no contact with humans and are wild animals.
Youll need a lot of patience and you wont be able to put a timeframe on how long it will take to socialise your cat. However, many do eventually become tame and settle into a loving home.
If youve enjoyed reading this post please share. Also if youve had any experience with feral cats or would like to ask a question, please comment below.
Wishing you a purrfect day:)Kathy