We may not see them all the time, but 'community cats' are in our midst. 'Community cats' is a term used by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to refer to all unowned cats living in the outdoors. They might include abandoned or lost cats, semi-feral, and feral cats.
Feral cats have had little to no contact with humans and are often thought of as wild animals. Taming a feral cat is not as simple as picking one up from the streets. However, if you are trying to learn how to tame a feral cat or considering taming a feral kitten, you've come to the right place for information.
What Is a Feral Cat?
Feral cats are cats born in the wild and have had barely little or no interaction with humans. There are also cats that got lost or ran away from their previous homes to live in the wild. Most of the time, feral cats avoid any form of human contact. For these cats, people are large predators in their environment, and they treat people as such. You will most likely get scratched or bitten if the cat feels like you're getting too close.
It is normal to feel heartbroken when you see a homeless cat in very cold weather or heavy traffic areas. Such sight can get you thinking about adopting a feral cat. However, it can be difficult to tame feral cats or even get them to be friendly.
How to Tame Feral Cats and Kittens?
Do not make contact with sick cats:
No matter how sad you feel and want to help or cats acting strangely, do not make contact with sick cats. You could easily be attacked and injured, and end up with an infection. If you come across such cats, you should call animal control. If you get bitten or scratched, go to a doctor as soon as possible for a checkup and treatment.
Keep reasonable expectations.
When it comes to taming a feral cat, people usually expect that
the cat would become a super-friendly pet at some point. However, that isn't
usually the case. A feral cat might form a bond with one person, and other
people if they are patient enough. Do not expect to make a lap cat out of a
feral cat. No matter how much love and care you show a feral cat, it might just
choose to stay away. If you're interested in a lap cat, you should adopt from a
Use food as a tool:
One sure way to win a feral cat's heart is through cat food. Many years ago, wild cats were first domesticated with food. A surefire approach to taming a feral cat is creating a routine around food. Try to ensure that you stick to a regular feeding plan. Feed the cat at the same time and place every day. Avoid making eye contact with the cat when you are around him/her; the cat might feel threatened. You can be around while the cat eats, but try to sit or stand quietly.
If the feeding routine is going well, you could speak to the feral cat in a calm, soothing voice. The hope is to earn the feral cat's trust. Once you sense that the cat is beginning to trust you, you can try placing the food closer to you. You could also try offering some treats to sweeten the deal.
Contact with responsive feral cats or kittens:
You should only try to touch a feral cat when you're confident enough that his/her daily reactions to you mean it won't resist. It's normal the feral cat backs away initially, but wait a couple of days before trying again. Don't make sudden movements. Allow the cat to sniff your fingers to get familiar with your scent before trying to stroke it. Once the cat appears to be comfortable with touch, you could try petting. It is only when you've been successful that you can attempt gently picking the feral cat. This may take weeks or months of effort and patience.
Go for a checkup:
Before taking a feral cat into your home, you must take him/her to the vet for a full checkup, vaccinations, and to be neutered or spayed. You will need the cat to trust you for you both to make the trip to the vet. This may require several tries, but don't give up on or skip this when you're trying to tame a feral cat.
Take the cat to a new home:
When you get the all-clear from the vet, the next step is taking
the cat to a new home. You should have a comfortable and quiet room prepared
for the cat. You could also install, safe places, like cat trees and towers, so
the cat could play, hide, and relax in his own space without too much
disturbance. You should also not forget to have a cat food bowl and a cat
litter box available for the cat. Lastly, you could have a scratching post
laced with catnip to keep the cat's claws away from your furniture.
If you have been following, then by now you know that while it is possible to tame a feral cat, it is not a walk in the park. We have also been able to describe the best way to tame a feral cat. If you decide to try taming a semi-feral cat through this process, you might have it much easier and faster because semi-feral cats are more social.
Also, the process described can be used to tame a wild kitten. However, when trying to tame kittens of wild cats, you will need to be more careful handling the fragile kittens, and you will need to be mindful of the mother.