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The Feral Cat Conundrum: Questions and Solutions Part 1.

 by zack on 19 Jun 2013 |
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Feral cats and kittens are an interesting dilemma. They capture our hearts and imaginations, and just leaving feral felines, even particularly unsociable ones, to the elements doesn’t sit well in the cat lover’s conscience.

So what to do? Can you tame a feral cat? Let’s take a deeper look into this question, and some possible solutions to the feral cat conundrum.

What are Feral Cats?

First off, a feral cat is not domesticated. They don’t like people. They're distrustful of them, and will hiss and spit at their approach. Or just look to avoid human contact entirely.

Feral cats shouldn’t be confused with stray cats. Strays are domesticated cats that have been abandoned, or have run away. These may still be skittish, but ultimately they are much more open to human contact than their feral cousins.

Taming Feral Cats

As a rule, taming feral cats is very difficult, if not impossible. This isn’t always the best solution. However, there have been recorded cases of successful domestications.  

It is a long process that takes plenty of pet know-how, and even more patience. However, if you’re willing to take on the odds then you should follow this basic procedure:
  • Leave out some food, and give them plenty of space. Cat’s respond to food and it usually is the number one builder of trust.  
  • Be patient. This bond you’re trying to build may take weeks, months, or years to manifest.
  • Never approach the cat. Let it come to you. It has to be the one to take the initiative. Just speak sweetly and leave the food bowl out, then go back to your house.
  • Set a routine with feeding, and stick to it. Cats are creatures of habit. If they know food is coming at regular intervals, they’ll make sure to be on time. Also make a signal noise to indicate feeding time. You could whistle, call out “dinner time!” or something to that effect.
  • After some time has passed, a few months perhaps, try sitting outside while they eat. It might not work at first, or at all, but this is the logical next step. Just don’t look at the cat while you’re outside with it. It’ll feel threatened.
  • Eventually, if the cat accepts your presence during meals, it may want to check you out. Don’t try to pet it, or even move toward it. Resist the urge to pet. Leave your hand dangling, and it might start rubbing against that. Just be patient and allow the cat to take the initiative.
  • Take things slow, and in due course, you may make a friend out of the feral feline. Always be wary of bites and scratches, and remember to move in a patient and sequential manner.

If this intricate animal whispering process doesn’t sound ideal, then you will have to look for other options. Join us again tomorrow for part 2 of this post, and we’ll examine these other options together.
 

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