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Q: How to Tame a Feral cat.

November 20, 2008 | By Bonnie M. | 10 answers | Expired: 1961 days ago

Bonnie  M.

A co'worker is distraught over a semi - feral cat she is feeding at our place of employment. It will timidly come to her but not let her touch it. It is cold where we live at night right now(in The 20's). She worries about this cat all the time. I gave her a Barnhouse I had and put a bolster pad inside . The cat is using it. I asked her what she wants to do,because we cannot keep it at work indefinately. She doesn't want to take it to our local shelter because she is afraid it will be euthanized since it is not social. I have had lots of dealings with stray cats that I have cared for, but have never dealt with a feral. She says her goal is to get it tame enough so her brother (who agrees to do this ) will foster it. What can I offer her as advise to move this process along and get this cat more social? Any suggestions would be helpful.

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Kelly
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Dec 04, 2008

Its not impossible to tame a feral cat but it does take patience. I have 2 feral cats that are now the biggest babies in the place.

If you have a kitty playpen/cage like they use in the shelters, I would trap the cat & transfer it to one. (You can usually borrow traps from the Humane Society or shelter). I usually cover the pen for a few days to give the cat time to decompress & get used to the routine, as well as the smells & noises while still feeling hidden. I talk to them in soothing tones while I feed them & clean the litter box, but for the first few days I keep it to a few minutes at a time & then I recover the cage & let them process everything. Eventually I'll use interactive toys, such as Da Bird, & try to get them involved in play. I'll also try to stroke them through the cage when they're cringing in the corner - just a couple of times to let them know what kind human touch is. During this entire time I speak in soft soothing tones.

Its very important to watch the body language of the cat & follow their lead. When they start looking stressed, back off & cover the cage so they can decompress & process the info. Don't push them or overwhelm them. It takes time but it can be done. Some cats give in with the first touch; others require lots of time & patience.

Your friend is right not to want to take the cat to the shelter. Feral cats are deemed unadoptable & no one tries to socialize them. They are just killed. This has been a problem that Alley Cat Allies has been battling for quite a while. Good luck & thanks for helping this poor kitty.

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mike z.
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Nov 21, 2008

feral cats and feral kittens are very different. kittens can have a chance. cats are almost if not completely impossible to "tame"

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Amy H.
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Nov 21, 2008

I agree that patence is the key. You will probually need to trap it so someone can take it hime to work with him on a day to day basis. It will take a while but it is worth it in the end. Even if you need has to stay outsidem you could provide a insulated dog house for him to stay in at someones house. Good luck

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Sue16
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Nov 21, 2008

Maybe you can try seeing if any veterinary clinics in the area would be willing to adopt this cat as their mascot kitty. Will your workplace be willing to adopt him/her? Kitty will then be everyone's. Keep feeding him and caring. He/She needs you. Thanks for caring.

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Missy M.
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Nov 21, 2008

Taming feral cats are difficult but not impossible. Your shelter would never have the time or the resouces to do it. But someone like yourself with time and patience can do it. It's all about trust.

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Cindy
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Nov 20, 2008

Good advice from Kate. I knew an elderly woman who took in a feral cat and was successful in making it her faithful companion. It was not real social, but was friendly toward her.

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Kate H.
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Nov 20, 2008

She could trap it and start taming it at her house. She could keep it in a small room, spare bedroom or bathroom and work with it everyday. The key is patience. When I was a vet tech at the shelter in FL I LOVED working with the Feral kittens and I had a success rate of almost 90% getting them adopted. I would carry them around all day with me and got them petted by all different people so they would get used to being touch. I had a saying that I would tell the babies all the time "the more you hiss the more your gonna get kissed". When you get an older cat and by this I mean in feral terms a cat around 4 months and up they take more time and patience then a kitten. I rescued a feral momma & kittens from under a ladies house in Savannah almost 2 years ago. I caught the babies first and they were about 4-5 months old, and I didn't catch momma until 2 months later. Happy to say that the babies came around very quickly and got adopted together ( Tipper & Scrapper )Sam the momma took a lot of work and took over 6 months of her getting used to being handled and petted. But I can say now she is one of the sweetest cats I own. You can see their pictures in my zoo. It can be done but it is a big commitment, if she really doesn't have the time and especially the patience for it then just trap her get her fixed and put her back. Hope this helps.

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Cheryl S.
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Nov 20, 2008

It can take a lot of time, and some I think it's just too late.I had one that lived outside for over 10 years, would let me feed him,but I wasn't able to touch him ever.

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Trent  B.
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Nov 20, 2008

Feral cats this age will always be feral. If you care for it though you should get it to trust you by feeding it by hand if possible and stroking it. After a while you should be able to get it into a carrier and to a vet (mostly to have it spayed or neutered). Maybe they can examine it??? They can still be good cats because they should be good at mousing but will also be a little sociable if you are feeding it. Good luck

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Sara L.
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Nov 20, 2008

When it comes to feral cats, it is extremely difficult to speed up socialization. Since, you have already given food and shelter and the cat is taking advantage, this is a positive step. These cats are timid and easily frightened as you have already encountered. If you want to get her off of the streets and into a foster home, the best way is to, in a humane way, trap the cat and transport right away. It would be best if she remained in the wild because that is what she knows. You may want to contact the Humane Society to inquire about a local feral cat rescue. The Humane Society can also offer great advice about the care of these cats.

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