Thursday, July 25, 2024

How To Get A Feral Cat To Trust You

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What About If You Stop Feeding Them

#2 How to earn the trust of a stray or feral cat

Lots of times, people think that they can just up and stop feeding these cats, that theyll just magically go away. The problem is, if you feed them, they wont. Theyll actually create more problems.

In truth, here is what happens if you stop feeding feral cats:

  • Theyll continue to congregate
  • They may bring more with you
  • They will starve and die potentially

With this, youre essentially adding in a food source to their life that they may not be used to. The problem is, when you feed them, youre essentially the one taking care of them. Its like theyre your cats now, but they wont be living inside. If youre giving them food, water, shelter, and companions, youre basically building a home for these little guys. Lots of times, removing food, it can also cause them to still come in and bother you.

It doesnt make them move to a new place. Theyve identified your place as their home and place to get sustenance, that they may abandon their feral ways. It can be a huge problem, and it does attract the worst kinds of problems.

Now, what does this also attract? Male cats. Male cats can impregnate female cats, and this creates a problem, because of the following:

  • The female cats will be in heat
  • The male cats will reproduce with them
  • The female cat will be impregnated and will have babies
  • Youre now the proud caretaker of not just a female feral cat and her buddies, but also the male feral cat, and the kittens that were made

Let Your Cat Identify You Through Your Scent

In the beginning, its a good idea to establish a scent communication with your cat. By placing your scent in places where your cat rests or sleeps your new pet will identify you faster. You can accomplish this by simply placing one of your used clothing where your cat lays down. As cats communicate through scents, by doing this you are expressing to your new pet that you are part of its new territory and that its OK being close to you.

What To Do When A Stray Cat Adopts You

According to the ASPCA, there are tens of millions of feral and stray cats in the United States.

Many of these cats avoid people however, stray cats will sometimes yearn for human interaction .

In these cases, it seems as if stray cats decide to adopt an unsuspecting person as their new caretaker. Basically, these fuzzy interlopers can show up on your doorstep asking for cat food, shelter and attention.

So, what do you do if you happen to be the target? How do you make sure that your new stray cat neighbor stays happy and healthy under your care, especially if he wont come inside? And, if youre unable to care for the little guy, how do you find someone who can?

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Provide It With A Warm Safe Place

Let the cat in your house, especially if it is cold or raining. Give them a warm blanket or dry towel to lie on, and put it in a safe spot away from your other pets, and children. If the cat is wet and is tame enough for you to get close, use a towel to dry it. If the cat is scared or aggressive, avoid touching it until it settles in and feels calmer.

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Take Care Of Your Cats Basic Needs

How To Get Feral Kittens To Trust You

Be the food and water provider. Be the one that places the food and water bowl daily and let your cat see you while doing it. Talk softly inviting your cat to eat or drink. Stay close to the area you are feeding your cat but dont invade its space or make sudden movements while your cat is eating. Just be there, close to your cat but keeping some distance and doing your own thing.

This is what makes cats love you, the unconditional love. Make sure to feed your cat the same hours every day and keep its water bowl always filled with fresh and clean water at all times.

Cats love routines and if you place a nice bowl of tasty food every day at the same time, he or she will feel happy being with you. Also, make sure to keep the water bowl with fresh and clean water at all times. Your cat needs clean water to keep its urinary system healthy. These actions will make your cat respect you and trust you because you are taking good care of it.

Good management of the litter box. The litter box is one of the most important aspects of a cats life. Make sure to keep its litter box clean and odor free, with a proper dimension according to your cats size and with easy access. The litter box needs to be stable and located in a quiet place . If your cat is just getting used to your house and it doesnt like its litter box will end up doing its business somewhere else.

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What If Im Not Making Good Progress After 2

Some kittens will socialize very quickly. Others will take much more time and patience on your part. If you have more than one kitten from a litter, it is sometimes necessary to separate them.

This is difficult to do because our natural tendency is to want to keep them together. However, sibling kittens will bond with one another and what we want them to do is bond with a human. If the taming down process is not coming along within the first 2-3 weeks then it may be time to consider separating the kittens. If feral kittens are not progressing socially and are not separated, there is a chance that they will not tame down .

Remember that separation is temporary and the kittens can be reunited once they are socialized.Sometimes, feral kittens dont tame down.It is important to be realistic and understand that you kitten may be older than you first thought, or more feral.

When we get kittens in, often times they are sick and underweight, making us think they are younger than they actually are. Sick kittens are usually easier to handle, and in some cases the better they feel the more feral they become.

A plan needs to be in place if the kittens dont tame down . . .Return to their Colony?Relocation?

Good rules of thumb Dont try to push it if they are too old.Dont overwhelm a foster with too many kittens at once.Insist that guidelines be followed.

What Can You Do To Help Manage Feral Cats

  • Financially support volunteer efforts and TNR programs. Call local humane societies and rescue organizations to find out where to donate funds.
  • Stay safe. Remember that feral cats are afraid of people and may lash out in self defense. Never approach or corner a feral cat. Allow him to come to you. Leave trapping to the professionals. Incorrect trapping can injure you AND the cat.
  • Feed responsibly. If you feed a feral cat, you may be helping one kitty, but contributing to the overall feral cat problem. To avoid inviting feral cats to your house, feed your own pets indoors.
  • Put up a no vacancy sign. Close openings in garages, sheds and under porches where feral cats may seek shelter.
  • Appeal to their senses. Cats have a very keen sense of smell. Use commercial or natural odor repellants to discourage visits to your garden or flower beds. Place motion activated lights or noise traps that will deter jumping on cars and fences.
  • Report feral or stray cats to the authorities that can help them.
  • Its discouraging to feel that we have to discourage cats. But feral cats can be a problem for people and other cats. Rather than contribute to the problem, there are ways to help manage it.

    Contributors: Lynn Buzhardt, DVM

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    What To Do If You Do Feed Them

    If you do feed feral cats, lots of times, this attracts trouble. There are a few things that happen with this too, and they are as follows:

    • They can have nutrient-deficient food
    • They can have unflavorful food
    • They may become unhealthy

    If youre going to feed, you should always give them something that they tend to eat, and that can be anything that involves this:

    • No preservatives
    • Nothing with grain as an ingredient
    • Meat, fish, or other protein ingredients
    • Nothing raw since there may be bacteria in them

    If you do choose to give them food, they will come back. You should never give a cat microwavable food since that can be a problem.

    Top Tips To Win The Trust Of A Feral Cat:

    What to do when your kitten is scared of you | Gaining the trust of feral kittens
    • Move slowly and avoid sudden movements
    • Speak quietly and calmly, never shout or argue near the cat
    • Sit or lie on the floor
    • Try dangling a wing-on-a-string near the cat, inviting him to play but keeping your hands out of harms way
    • Scatter treats around you, so the cat associates your presence with good things
    • Provide regular meals, sit near the cat as he eats and talk soothingly
    • Wait for the cat to come to you
    • Never chase the cat, forcibly restrain him, or pick him up unless the cat is totally happy and relaxed

    Given time, the feral cat may understand you are their caregiver and learn to trust. But you also have to accept that you now own a cat that hides each time you enter the room and lashes out when you try to stroke her.

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    How To Train Your Feral Cat To Use A Litter Box

    A feral cat wont have any experience with litter, so you need to use soil to start with. Even a semi-feral will have got used to digging earth outside. Make sure you add several inches of soil in the box, giving your cat plenty of room to dig. Gradually add cat litter to the soil, getting him or her used to it. Over the coming days youll be adding more litter and less soil until your feral is using pure cat litter.

    A stray or semi-feral cat will be much easier to train to use a litter box, however, with time and patience you will be rewarded. As a quick note, avoid scented litter. You may like it, but your cat wont, and may avoid using the litter tray!

    Determine If The Cat Is A Stray

    Try to determine if the cat is lost or abandoned, and not simply a neighbors indoor-outdoor cat.

    • Talk to neighbors to see if they know anything about the cat.
    • Post notices on online social or neighborhood networks such as Facebook or Nextdoor.
    • Post messages on online pet rescue groups or message boards such as the Missing Pet Network.
    • Place signs around the neighborhood asking if the cat belongs to anyone.
    • Contact local shelters to file a Found Cat Report.
    • Contact the shelter in the county where the cat was found, as well as neighboring counties if they are close by.

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    How The Problem Of Feral Cats Multiplies

    First, what is a feral cat? According to Margaret R. Slater, DVM, PhD, senior director of epidemiology, animal health services with the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals , a feral cat is any cat who is too poorly socialized to be handled … and who cannot be placed into a typical pet home.

    According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, there are between 60 million and 100 million feral cats in the U.S. They are usually the offspring of cats who were lost or abandoned by their owners, and they grow up not socialized to humans.

    Because a female cat can become pregnant as young as 16 weeks of age and go on to have two or three litters a year, the feral cat population — and the problems associated with it — grows and perpetuates. In seven years, a single female cat and their kittens can produce 420,000 more cats.

    Ways You Can Help Stray And Feral Cats

    How to get a feral cat to trust you

    From little to big, there are many ways to help stray and feral cats. Here are some, beginning with one you can do at home:

    As part of living in a civilized society, it is our obligation to look after those who are weak, sick, or powerless, says Slater. Our responsibility includes our domestic animals, whom we took from the wild and made dependent on us.

    Linda P. Case, MS, adjunct assistant professor, University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine author, Canine and Feline Behavior and Training: A Complete Guide to Understanding Our Two Best Friends.

    Margaret R. Slater, DVM, PhD, senior director of epidemiology, animal health services, ASPCA, Urbana, Ill author, Community Approaches to Feral Cats: Problems, Alternatives & Recommendations.

    Humane Society of the United States: Feral Cats: Frequently Asked Questions and Testimonials Describing the Advantages of Trap-Neuter-Return for Feral Cats.

    Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Kanab Utah: Caring for Feral Cats.

    Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project, Seattle: Feeding Stray Cats? Youre Not Alone.

    ASPCA: Feral Cats FAQ.

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    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.

    What Is A Stray Cat

    The word stray refers to friendly cats who are social with humans and dont have a home. They are either lost or have been abandoned outdoors. Sadly, cats do get lost and far too many cats are purposely abandoned outdoors when someone moves away or simply decides they dont want to care for the cat anymore.

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    Place A Paper Collar Around The Cats Neck

    While some stray cats tend to stick around for a few days at a time, others might come and go. Its worth putting a paper collar around the cats neck to see if you can locate its owner.

    All you need to do is:

    • Print out the collar
    • Put your contact number in the allocated space
    • Place the collar around the cats neck. Make sure there is at least two fingers space between the neck and the collar
    • If after a few days you havent heard anything, it is safe to assume the cat is a stray or lost

    Feral Cats Have Difficult Lives

    How to start earning a semi feral cats trust

    A feral cat is defined as a cat who is too poorly socialized to be handled. It cannot be placed in a home environment.

    Feral cats are usually born to abandoned cats, and thus grow up without close contact with humans, making it difficult for them to be socialized.

    A female cat can become pregnant as young as 16 weeks of age. This can happen at least 3 times a year, so the feral cat population will grow very fast. A female cat will thus face an endless cycle of pregnancy.

    Another hurdle feral cats face is the threat of contracting infectious diseases as a result of eating from trash cans. They also endure extreme or harsh weather conditions such as rain, snow, and heat.

    Stray cats also face eradication by humans. Some agencies and humans try to kill the feral cat population using methods such as poison, cruel traps, and gassing.

    Although feral cats live outdoors and exhibit wild behavior, they are not completely independent. They still rely on human-based food for sustenance. They feed on dumpsters or may rely on a caretaker who regularly deeds them.

    Most feral colonies were once unneutered or abandoned stray cats.

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    Can A Stray Cat Be A Feral Cat

    Stray cats can become feral after living outside for a while, without any kitty to human interaction. Feral kitties are fearful and wont let you pet them or come near them. If the cat is not shy and they greet you without hesitation, it might also be someones outdoor or lost pet .

    Because animal shelters in most major metropolitan areas constantly run at capacity. You may call a local shelter only to find that they have no room. They might be willing to take the cat for a day or two, but then they might put the animal down if no one claims or adopts it.

    Release It Into A Colony

    If outside is the only option, there are established feral cat colonies where spayed or neutered cats live and volunteers feed and take care of them. Although the situation is not always ideal and can be controversial, there are valid reasons for these colonies. Well-maintained colonies pose very few problems for the area.

    It has also been shown that removing feral cats from an area doesnt actually fix the problem, as new strays and feral cats will just move in. So maintaining a healthy feral cat community can actually be better for the environment and the cats.

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