Feral cats are cats that spend most of their lives outside without having any contact with humans. Because of this, feral cats are often not as affectionate or sociable as other cats that like humans more easily. Domesticating a feral cat is not an impossible endeavor, but it does take time and effort, and plenty of risks. With enough commitment you can get yourself a feral baby to raise!
Who the Feral Cats are
Feral cats are fairly distinguishable from domesticated cats, but they can also be easily mistaken for stray cats. Like stray cats, they are found living in the streets, but the key difference is their exposure to humans.
To put it simply, feral cats:
- Rarely approach humans
- Are likely to be scared or hesitant around humans
- Are prone to switching to survival mode by staying low to the ground and crouching
- Barely have eye contact with humans
- Do not purr or meow around humans
On the other hand, stray cats:
- Often approach humans
- Are likely friendly or curious with humans
- Might make eye contact with humans
- Might purr or meow around humans
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Risks of Domesticating a Feral Cat
Taming a feral cat does not come without a warning label. Keep in mind that these creatures are potential carriers of worms, fleas, and other potentially zoonotic diseases. Even if any disease they might have does not affect you or any humans in your household, you could potentially be exposing other pets to health risks if you have any. In addition to this, feral cats might pose a real threat to others, including you. They cannot promise you that they will get along with you or any other humans or furry babies in your home. They are not to be trusted.
Tips for Domesticating a Feral Cat
If you desperately want to adopt a feral baby and wish to ignore the risks, make sure you understand that it takes more effort to tame a feral cat and make them feel part of your family.
- Give them space. Create a small space in a corner of a room for them to turn to when they don’t feel like socializing. All cats, and most especially feral cats, need personal space for themselves.
- Feed them outdoors. This can help them gain your trust more easily as you ease them into domestic life. Make sure to feed them at the same time every day to establish a routine. A routine minimizes the possibility of cat anxiety.
- Play with them. Spend enough quality time with them to gain their trust. Use lightweight cat toys while you are in the room with them.
- Do not rush to pet them. Put your hand on the floor and wait for them to come to you. Never make the first move, as they will anticipate danger and attack you.
- Be financially ready for the vet. Veterinary care for a feral cat may be expensive. Make sure that you are financially stable to take care of them. If you need any further assistance, check our guide for more details on pet insurance.
Domesticating a feral cat is not always the best idea. Feral cats know how to survive on their own, as they have learned to live on their own. Meanwhile, there are plenty of domesticated felines in shelters in desperate need of a home that you might want to consider looking into instead. If you are looking for a feline baby that will give you love and attention and (potentially) fewer worries, consider adopting a cat from a shelter or a rescue instead.
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