What many consider as domestic cats is an animal adopted from a pet store or a local shelter. Before being taken by their new owner, those cats had received direct treatment from their caretakers. This means they have become accustomed to humans, often friendly to them.
Then, there are feral cats. Unlike the previous ones, these kinds of cats live in the wild and haven’t experienced any mean of contact with humans before. Most of them are become frightened at the sight of humans, making them difficult to be adopted and even be touched. The case does not always occur to cats that live in wildlife from the birth. Sometimes, cats that had been taken as pets might be lost and turn into feral cats. To our surprise, the number of people who bring feral cats to their home is not a few either.
Should you find an adorable or a sick feral cat, you may instantly want to be an owner. The question is how to tame a feral cat that hisses or runs away in the first place upon the human’s attempt to approach her. Here are some tips you can follow to bring the cat into your own home.
1. Things to consider first
Before making a companion out of the feral cat, take account of your capability beforehand. Taming a feral cat demands much time. It could take weeks or months to acclimatize the cat to your family and environment. You also need to spend more hours per day to treat a feral cat. Furthermore, bringing cats to the veterinarian can cost a lot of money and you may have to do it in the future. You should have enough determination and stable financial condition; otherwise, it would be better for the cat to wander in the wilds instead of your home.
2. Know the type of your feral cat
Feral cats do have sort of criteria that differentiate them from others. Knowing this can aid you in deciding your next step on how to take care of them. Basically, they fall into three categories: total feral, semi-feral and converted feral.
As what it’s called, the total feral signifies cats that have not yet experienced any contact with humans. In addition, they may have received some, but in unpleasant ways. As the result, they usually hide or keep their distance away from human and watch from there; even though you are serving some tasty food for them.
Semi-feral cats are slightly different from total feral. They had experienced some positive experiences with humans that, at least, change their perception. Taming a semi-feral can be easier than total feral. Yet, it all returns to cats’ initial traits. It may take a great patience to give a single pat to a shy cat rather than a calm cat. Converted feral describes former domestic cats that for some reasons live independently without contact from any human for a relatively long time. They are the easiest cats you can turn into a new pet. It comes with the condition that they were treated kindly and weren’t abandoned.
3. Prepare a personal room
Since you will ‘forcefully’ bring a feral cat into your home, the cat would frantically look for the way out once she is placed there. Therefore, it is best for you to provide an empty room without a single access to the outside. Close the window and the door. Even cracks or holes could become an exit route for them. The exclusive cat room should not contain any object that she could break.
You should not set the room with the main lamp. The excess bright it gives can make the cat uncomfortable. Instead, leave her in the darkness with the faint light from a night light or the window. If you haven’t had a litter box, supply a natural potting soil for the first couples of day. Teach her how to excrete in the right place. Locate the sample of her urine or feces on the litter spot. She will notice the smell and become accustomed to doing her business there.
To maintain the image of a safe environment, it is necessary to give a hiding place for the feral cat. A pet carrier or a cardboard box would make a good choice. Be sure the place is warm by covering it with enough blanket. Henceforth, it would take a few time for the cat to adapt to the new environment. You can put your clothes during this process to get her used to human scent.
4. Take the cat inside your home
There are at least two methods to bring feral cats into your home: by trapping them inside the animal humane trap or by only feeding them. Each has its own privilege, but the result would still be the same. While you can instantly take the feral cat home by using the trap, serving food outside repeatedly would gradually make them acknowledge you. Thus, you can easily tame them and eventually earn their will to enter the room you have prepared before.
The animal humane trap consists of a mechanism that can shut the door automatically once a cat enters. You can borrow it from the local shelter. In order to persuade the cat into the trap, you have to put a palatable food that strikes its liking. Put some blanket inside and cover the trap with a sheet. They will disguise the trap and make it less irritating to the cat.
Regardless of much time it takes, you could gain cats’ affection by feeding them around the same time each day. Once you serve them food for the first time, they will regard you as a promising source of food and often come at the exact time every day.
Each cat has a distinct reaction to the food you give. The total feral cats are the hardest cats ever be tamed. You might even think to let them as an outdoor cat or barn cat. You have to maintain your distance on the first feeding since feral cats despise the idea of making contact with humans. Slowly begin to be near the food for the next feeding sessions. As the time goes, the cat would subside their fear towards you as long as you don’t show any sign of aggression. The same method can be applied to semi and converted feral but consumes a relatively shorter time than the total feral.
5. Handle the cat properly
After bringing the cat to your home, you need to undergo several processes in order to make her fully tame. Firstly, make the feral cat notice your arrival by making a faint noise so she would not surprise and become frightened. Only clean the room and replace the food and water in the first few days.
Should the cat stays calm when you present, attempt to interact without giving any direct contact. Playing cat toys with the cat can also boost her comfort toward you. Do it frequently at the same time every day. During the session, you have to avoid the prolonged eye and physical contact. Perceive the cat’s willingness to interact with you by watching her bodily reaction.
Once you ready to make further interaction, use gloves and try to touch her. If she begins to hiss with the ears lie flat against her head, you should immediately stop. The cat would scratch you if you persist to put your hand on her. On the other hand, if she remains calm despite the slight movement in her body, it is safe for giving her a stroke. Upon the first successful contact, you still have to treat the cat gently until a few time. Afterward, the cat will eventually approach you and pet her head on your leg or hand.