Cats who have spent their entire lives outside are generally referred to as Feral.
Feral cats generally have extremely low interactions with humans and are mostly born into the wild.
Most of us will encounter a feral cat at least once or twice a month particularly if you live within an urban area.
An interesting question that many of our readers have is whether a feral cat is able to be tamed and domesticated or not.
Also, if this is the case, could they then be brought into a happy home and find happiness in an environment completely opposite to what they used to?
Well we have some good news! Feral cats can indeed become domesticated and there are many instances of this happening frequently.
In order to facilitate that transition there are a number of things that those considering taking a feral cat must carefully understand and consider.
This is neither an easy or a slow process so those thinking about doing so must not take this decision lightly.
What to Do If You Find a Feral Cat
If you come across a feral cat who has wandered into your front garden or brushes against your leg on the way to the shops then there are some easy steps to take to ensure both the safety of yourself and also more importantly the cat.
As the cat is feral, naturally they have not had as much interaction with humans as the normal domesticated cats that spend their days cuddling up to their owners.
As a result of this, there may be a chance that they could hiss or at worst, attack you, although attacked by cats are extremely rare.
A very important point that we should raise is if a feral cat appears to be sick, please do not approach it.
The best course of action to take of the circumstances is to call a local vet who can come out and take a look for themselves.
The chance that a sick feral cat may have rabies could well be high and it simply is not worth the risk to yourself or any children in particular around you to disturb the cat which may in turn frighten them into defensively lashing out.
How to Tame a Feral Cat
There are a number of important factors that will play a part in determining whether you have the ability to tame a feral cat.
Also, just like humans, cats may well have had a difficult upbringing and had some bad experiences with humans before and therefore may be extra cautious and nervous which may not display on the outside.
The biggest advantage that you will have of taming a feral cat that will greatly increase your chances of gaining that trust and instant bonding is one thing that cats and humans are like both really enjoy. Food!
It is interesting to note that history suggests that the very first Wildcats that existed in the world were initially domesticated by receiving regular meals from humans.
Consistency is key, so if there is a feral cat that has a place in your heart then feeding them at a set time will greatly speed up the process of bonding.
A good place to start is just to drop some food near them and then retreat giving them plenty of space.
After a week or so, it is likely that they will begin to recognise you and you can start feeding them closer or even from your hand using a reassuring voice.
After a while, it should become clear that the cat is gaining your trust and you can slowly start to get closer keeping an eye on their reactions to make sure that they are comfortable that you do so.
You can then try reaching your hand out and see if the cat comes closer to you. If the cat retreats then don’t worry they just obviously need a bit more time!
Once you have achieved this level of trust, you can gently start to pet them and at some point in the future if they are comfortable, pick them up.
Safety and Other Considerations When Bringing Home a Feral Cat
Naturally, the next step that you may be considering in your head is that it’s time to open up your front door and allow them into the warmth of your happy home.
If you have other pets, it is not advisable to bring them inside straight away.
The first place to start would be to take them to the local vet where they can have their vaccinations and also have a full check up to make sure that they are not harbouring any disease that could be problematic for your other pets or children.
Once you have had a full check up from your vet and you’ve been given the green light then you can take your cat into your home and take them to a special quiet place where they can get used to their new surroundings.
It is definitely worth considering finishing the new special playing area with a cat tree or a scratching post which they will very much appreciate and perhaps some lovely warm and cosy cat bedding as well.
Also, don’t forget to make sure that they have a feeding bowl and plenty of water available for them to access whenever they require!
Apart from that you are all set and enjoy the precious time that we will spend with your new feline friend! Welcome to the family as they say!