Ways To Get A Cat To Use A Feral Cat Shelter
There are a variety of different ways to get a feral cat to use a cat shelter. What works for each cat and each feral cat shelter may be different and much will depend on the situation, circumstances, and the level of interaction that already exists between the cat and humans. Here are 10 ways that Ive gotten feral cats to use shelters that I have created for them in my yard.
1. Sprinkle some catnip in the shelter. When you sprinkle some catnip in the shelter, it will attract a cat to actually go inside of the shelter to get at the catnip. Ive used this method to introduce new shelters to the cats.
2. Make sure the cat shelter has more than one door.Most feral cats will not use a shelter that only has one door. It makes them feel trapped. They need to have an escape route at all times. If a predator approaches one entrance, they can make their escape out of the other entrance. Preferably, the doors should be on opposite sides of the shelter or far enough apart that if a predator did try to get in one door, the cat could safely get out the other.
4. Make sure the doors are big enough for a cat to fit through.A good size for a cat door is about 5 inches square. If its too small, a cat cant easily fit through it and that might be preventing them from using the shelter. If the door is too large, it can invite too many larger critters like raccoons. I have seen possums and skunks check out cat shelters but they usually smell the scent of the cats and stay away.
Adopting A Stray Cat Into Your Home
If you are set on adopting this stray cat into your home, and you know they do not belong to someone, then you can begin the transition process. But, before you transition the outdoor stray cat into a domesticated pet, it is essential that you earn the cats trust, bring them for a vet for a checkup and have all the necessary cat supplies;ready.
Use Technology To Your Advantage
A very simple method of making the cat feel safe is by using your cellphone. You can play a video of meowing cats, and place your phone in the carrier. This will make cats feel secure and less lonely.
If the cat is a mother, she may think her kittens are calling for her, so she would quickly enter the carrier.
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Differences Between Feral And Stray Cats
Stray cats are domesticated pets that find themselves homeless, either temporarily or permanently. Feral cats are wild animals, so the cat will be governed by survival instincts and behave accordingly. You can tell the difference between stray and feral cats through their appearance and behavior. Heres how:
|Will approach humans for food or petting|
|Live in groups and colonies||Sleep, live, and wander alone|
|Move silently and stealthily||Walk tall with a prominent tail|
|Never verbalize unless scared or angered||Will meow to ask for food or attention|
|Well-groomed, sleek fur|
|Ignore toys or food||Investigate toys or food|
Feral cats may also have a clipped ear tip. This means that the cat has previously been captured, neutered, and returned to the wild. Feral cats reproduce often, and TNR is an attempt to control this population.
According to The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 75% of feral kittens live less than six months. Without human help and assistance, these cats are at risk of accidents and illness. If you capture it early enough, a feral kitten may be tamable.
Helping vs. Domesticating Feral Cats
You can help feral cats without bringing them into your home. Leave food outdoors and offer shelter in cold temperatures. Open your garage doors, or strategically place boxes outside.
What To Do When A Stray Cat Adopts You
According to the ASPCA, there are tens of millions of feral and stray cats in the United States.
Many of these cats avoid people; however, stray cats will sometimes yearn for human interaction .
In these cases, it seems as if stray cats decide to adopt an unsuspecting person as their new caretaker. Basically, these fuzzy interlopers can show up on your doorstep asking for cat food, shelter and attention.
So, what do you do if you happen to be the target? How do you make sure that your new stray cat neighbor stays happy and healthy under your care, especially if he wont come inside? And, if youre unable to care for the little guy, how do you find someone who can?
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He Eats Out Of Your Hand
If a cat is famishedor very spoiledhe might have no problem snarfing food from any old human. But, usually, cats wont take food from a humans hand unless it is someone they trust very much. Cats are instinctively wary, so they dont take treats easily from strangers hands, unlike many dogs, Dr. Matthew Goetz, medical director at the Arizona Animal Welfare League, told RD.com. If you can feed them snacks or food from your hand, its a sure sign they trust you. Find out some signs your dog trusts you, too.
Why Is It Difficult
Feral cats are usually more aggressive than stray cats. This is because they get into fights daily and are considered battle-hardened. They also get very scared when someone touches them resulting in scratching.
Consequently, feral cats are extremely hard to get inside a carrier. Theyll probably present several challenges before you can successfully capture them.
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How To Earn The Trust Of A Stray Cat
This article was co-authored by Molly DeVoss. Molly DeVoss is a Certified Feline Training and Behavior Specialist , a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant , a Fear Free Certified Trainer , and the Founder of Cat Behavior Solutions. Molly specializes in using positive reinforcement to modify and prevent unwanted behaviors in cats and reduce cat shelter surrender. Molly has sat on the Dallas Animal Advisory committee since 2013 and was voted one of the Top 12 Extraordinary Cat Behaviorists of 2020 by Catpetclub.com. She is certified by both the Animal Behavior Institute and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She is also the host of the weekly podcast Cat Talk Radio.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 24 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 410,964 times.
Earning the trust of a stray cat can be a difficult but rewarding process. If you see a stray in your neighborhood that you feel compelled to take in, you must first learn to engage with him in a way that is non-threatening. Know the facts about cat behavior, and what to do and not to do when interacting with strays.
How Do You Get A Reluctant Cat Into A Carrier
Sometimes you may need to capture a stray cat sooner than it is ready. Here are two ways to capture them:
- If it is very hungry, you may be able to get a large cat carrier and place food in the back of the carrier. This method works very well for younger cats, especially. Once the cat goes in the carrier, you can quickly shut and lock the door.
- If the cat is still wary, your best bet is to rent or purchase a humane trap. Many animal shelters and rescue groups will rent the traps to you. Sometimes vets have them, as well. The trap is easy to use. Place food at the far end of the trap. When the cat steps in far enough, a trigger plate will cause the door to close.
Note: Once the cat has been caught, he or she needs to be transported to the vet as soon as possible.
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Determine If There Is A Mother Cat
Dont kitten nap! Resist your instinct to scoop up abandoned kittens right away. Even though they are adorable and helpless! It may seem counter-intuitive, but the best thing to do for the kittens is not to move them.
Keep an eye on them and see if a mother cat comes for them. Mom cats move their kittens often and she may be in the midst of moving them and on her way back to these seemingly abandoned kittens. Or she may be out looking for food. It is not unusual for a mom to leave her kittens for several hours looking for food. Stand at least 30 feet or more away from the kittens for a few hours to see if mom will return.;
If you move the kittens, she wont be able to find them and continue to care for them.
If there is a mother cat, is she nursing and caring for the kittens? Its best to leave them with mom until theyre weaned.
Kittens begin to nibble at wet food at 4 weeks of age and are fully capable of eating on their own at 6 weeks. . Ideally mother and kittens should be provide with a shelter in a safe environment: a garage, outdoor cat house, or bathroom if the person is able to bring them indoors, until the kittens can eat on their own.
If you see no visible health problems , go ahead and leave food out for the mom and continue to monitor her as she cares for her kittens until they are eating solid food and are 5-6 weeks old.
For help determining the age of the kittens you are looking at, check out kittenlady.org/age.
How To Take Care Of A Cat That Lives Outside
After you fix and vaccinate a stray cat, you have the option to adopt it. Don’t worry if you cannot always keep it indoors. Cats can live well outside if you put together a warm, dry and size-appropriate shelter. You could build it yourself plenty of tutorials exist online and if you are not into building, check pet stores for options.;
A few things to keep in mind as you prepare an outdoor cat house:
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What Is A Community Cat
Community Cats is a term used to describe outdoor, unowned, free-roaming cats. These cats can be friendly, feral, adults, kittens, healthy, sick, altered and/or unaltered. They may or may not have a caretaker. A caretaker is a person who conducts TNRM and provides care to a community cat, but who is not the legal owner. By this definition, the only outdoor free-roaming cats who are not community cats are those who have an owner.
Community catswho have a dedicated caretaker who provides them with spay/neuter services and regular feedingscan live contently outdoors.;
Lifestyles Of The Stray And Feral
Another difference between stray cats and feral cats is how they tend to live outside. A stray cat will often be solo and not bond too much with other cats in the area. In contrast, feral cats tend to live in colonies with other ferals. Sometimes a stray cat will be accepted into a feral colony, but thats not as common. Stray cats will also be seen out and about in the daytime, roaming around quite freely and not attempting to hide from view. Feral cats tend to be more nocturnal and furtive due to their fear of humans.
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Do Feral Cats Pose Health Risks To You Or Your Pets
Its difficult for humans to catch diseases from feral cats since they dont often come in physical contact. However, because feral cats can carry diseases, worms and fleas, it is possible for them to pass infections on to your domesticated pets.
Be aware that if you already have a cat or dog, the presence of a feral cat may cause other issues, too. Your pet may be upset by a feral cat that visits regularly, and a feral cat may not tolerate them and could act aggressively. If this is the case, your pets and the feral cat may need to be kept apart, or, more likely, the feral cat may need to be relocated elsewhere.
Provide It With A Warm Safe Place
Let the cat in your house, especially if it is cold or raining. Give them a warm blanket or dry towel to lie on, and put it in a safe spot away from your other pets, and children. If the cat is wet and is tame enough for you to get close,; use a towel to dry it. If the cat is scared or aggressive, avoid touching it until it settles in and feels calmer.
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Some Other Ways You Can Help Feral Semi
- Learn the difference between feral cats and community cats, as not all cats on the street were originally born there!; You can find cats that were displaced and simply need a new home. The displaced cats can be re-homed without much extra coaxing for human communication. The same goes for kittens born to a feral cat, young cats have a much higher chance of being socialized successfully.
- For older cats that are completely feral and unlikely to become a household kitty, one of the most humane ways to stabilize and reduce the feral community is through Trap-Neuter-Return . Work with your local animal shelter and learn how to help. TNR means fewer cats will be feral, therefore current feral cats will have a reduced risk of disease and more food.
Have You Found A Stray Cat Or Litter Of Kittens Here Are Some Resources That May Help
Stray and Feral Kittens are an Epidemic: Between the months of March and September, every shelter in the region will be overrun with kittens, both orphaned litters and those with a mother. Many of these litters are either strays or ferals. Neither one has a legal owner; however, the difference between a stray cat or a feral cat is that a stray cat is accustomed to people and a feral cat has lived in the wild and has been self-sufficient with little to no contact with people. For more information on caring for neonatal kittens,
Stray cats can often be socialized and then adopted. Feral cats generally cannot be easily socialized and adopted. However, kittens under four-months old can often be socialized and adopted even if born to feral cats.
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What Can You Do To Help Manage Feral Cats
Its discouraging to feel that we have to discourage cats. But feral cats can be a problem for people and other cats. Rather than contribute to the problem, there are ways to help manage it.
Take Care Of It In Your Own Backyard
You can also take care of the outdoor cat yourself. Remember that the cat does need to be spayed or neutered and receive its vaccinations. But if the outdoors is the only option, you can still make sure the cat has food and water and a place to shelter during bad weather.
Remember to take up any extra food in the evening to prevent scavengers such as raccoons or possums to move in and eat the food . Read How to Set Up an Outdoor Cat House for Pets, Strays, and Ferals for tips.
Cats that live in feral cat colonies often have an ear that is notched or cut by a vet. This lets caretakers know that the cat has been vaccinated and spayed or neutered.
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Have A Dedicated Cat Room
When you bring your new cat home, have a safe room ready with all of your new cats amenities ready and waiting for her. It should have scratching posts, a few toys, food, water, and a litter box . This room should be quiet and, for the time being, not for human use. This space should also have some small and safe hiding places, like a cat house or a blanket draped over a chair, but no places that are completely inaccessible to you, like under a bed, to prevent serious hiding as that allows the cat to completely remove herself from her new environment.
You should spend time in this room every day to help the cat acclimate to your presence. While in the room read out loud, or call someone, and just talk. This lets the cat learn the sound of your voice and become comfortable with it.