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How To Make A Feral Cat Friendly

What Is A Semi

Helping a Feral Kitten Become Friendly (Step by Step How-To!)

Commonly referred to as a social cat by some animal rescue experts, a semi-feral is a cat or kitten who has had some experience with humans in the past. Unlike feral cats, semi-feral cats are vocal and may make eye-contact with you, even if they dont allow you to touch them.

Social cats are not to be confused with socialized cats who are fully domesticated, and accustomed to being around, and being touched by humans. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to tame semi-feral and feral cats after 4 6 months of age, but it is not impossible.

Some Signs That The Cat Is Beginning To Accept And Enjoy The Situation:

  • It starts poking its head out of the cave to see what Im up to.
  • It starts hanging out outside the cave. It may be nervous and jittery and it may duck back in the cave from time to time, but it is obviously interested in me and what Im up to, even if it is a little nervous.
  • It gives me what I call the wink. It is usually sitting, watching me and when it sees me looking at it, both its eyes narrow just for a moment. Prolonged eye contact is said to be frightening to a cat, but I often initiate the wink as a way to try and communicate that I am friendly.

A cat that is happy, confident and feeling friendly will almost always stick its tail straight up in the air and will often rub its head or its whole body on objects in the room.

A cat that is nervous keeps looking around and also keeps its ears swiveling around. Its ears may also be held down close to its head and its eyes are usually open very wide. Its body and tail will be held close to the floor and it just seems tense and jumpy. If the cat runs out, grabs a mouthful of food and disappears back into the cave to eat, it is almost certainly nervous and I am moving too quickly for it. A video recording of the cat eating after the people are asleep for the night is a good way to find out how the cat looks when it is relaxed.

I really make sure I move slowly at this stage. It is important that they get in the habit of enjoying being touched.

  • One: Dont scare the cat
  • Two: Be nice to it!
  • Three: Dont rush.

Making The Perfect Space For Outdoor Cats

Providing an outdoor cat shelter is one way to help cats feel welcome.

So, you want to attract stray or feral cats, also known as community cats, to a specific spot. There are lots of reasons its beneficial to do this! Maybe youre the cats caregiver and want to keep them close by. Maybe you want to ensure the cats stay out of where they arent welcome, like a concerned neighbors yard.

To make it happen, youll have to think like a cat. By creating a welcoming space tailored to the needs and instincts of these independent kitties, youll create an environment thats rewarding for both cats and people. Plus, you can get creative and have fun!

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Transitioning A Stray Cat To Your Home

Before transitioning your stray cat into your care, you will want to make sure you have all the right cat supplies.

According to Delgado, if your new feline friend was previously a house cat, the transition indoors should be relatively easy.

If a cat is hanging out on your back porch, shes probably lived inside before and is socialized to interact with people. In this case, Delgado recommends earning the kittys trust with food and then providing necessities indoors. This includes a cat litter box, a place to snuggle up, and food and water. and a cozy environment will help the cat transition into this new life, she notes.

However, if the stray is a feral cat, this process will take a littleor a lotmore time. You have to gradually increase their comfort by associating your presence with something they really likeusually food, she says.

Delgado says, You absolutely dont want to trap these cats and bring them inside overnight right away. That can be frightening and stressful, as well as detrimental to your long-term goal of turning your stray into a house pet.

To start the process of bringing a feral cat inside, you can put out a cat bowl;full of wet food, and then sit near it while the cat eats, moving the bowl closer to you over time until you are able to pet or scratch the cat while he eats. It could also involve a similar process with cat treats. Whatever whets your new cats appetite should be your go-to.

Have A Dedicated Cat Room

Buy the Best Outdoor Cat House to Keep Feral Cats Safe

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.

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Bonding With A Feral Cat Part 2

Dont be surprised if the cat doesnt show up for food on this day- he is unsure of your intentions and is probably watching from a distance. The key is to be patient. Spend a few hours in the chosen area, doing your best to look non-threatening. This means that you should be still and quiet, even if you dont see the cat. Its also very important that you do not go looking for it at this point. All youll do is scare it.

After a few days of this routine, your feral friend should gain some confidence. If he does approach the food with you in the area, youre doing a great job! If and when the cat approaches, youll want to continue exactly as you were, almost as if you dont see him. This shows the cat that you arent a threat.

For each of these steps, you must settle into your space before the cat arrives, and remain there until he leaves. Any movement can scare your new pal away for good. You should only move the bowl closer every few days if the most recent progress has been accepted. If the cat stops showing up, or is visibly afraid, slow the process down until he seems comfortable. Follow this pattern until the cat reaches 10 or so feet from your chosen sitting area.

If, at any point, you dont see your feline friend for a couple days, withholding food for up to 48 hours may leave him desperate enough to give you another chance. You shouldnt let him go hungry any longer, nor should you ever withhold water, as this may cause Fluffy to look elsewhere.

How To Build Feral

The following is an excerpt from the Petfinder Blog.

Our house came complete with feral cats when we moved in, and we have cared for them ever since.

Here is my husbands short video tour of our feral-cat houses, as well as our annual changing of the straw to prepare our feral colony for a cold Northeastern winter. After trapping, altering, vaccinating and returning feral cats to their place of origin, maintaining a healthy and safe colony is an important part of our relationship with neighborhood cats. Step-by-step plans and measurements for building these cat houses can be found here:;;

If youre interested in helping your neighborhood cats, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Feral cats often go unnoticed and uncared-for in neighborhoods and industrial areas, allowing them to increase wildly in numbers, which can lead to complaints and drastic actions. Practicing TNR and maintaining a well-cared-for colony will keep the cats as happy and healthy as possible. Ensuring they are not creating more cats will keep your neighborhood happy too.

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How To Get A Cat To Be Your Friend

This article was co-authored by Brian Bourquin, DVM. Brian Bourquin, better known as Dr. B to his clients, is a Veterinarian and the Owner of Boston Veterinary Clinic, a pet health care and veterinary clinic with three locations, South End/Bay Village, the Seaport, and Brookline, Massachusetts. Boston Veterinary Clinic specializes in primary veterinary care, including wellness and preventative care, sick and emergency care, soft-tissue surgery, dentistry. The clinic also provides specialty services in behavior, nutrition, and alternative pain management therapies using acupuncture, and therapeutic laser treatments. Boston Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA accredited hospital and Bostons first Fear Free Certified Clinic. Brian has over 19 years of veterinary experience and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.There are 9 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. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 106,924 times.

How Do I Tell The Difference When The Cats Are Outdoors

How to Socialise a Feral or Stray Cat! Tips To Help Turn a Feral Cat to Friendly Cat COMPETITION!

Since it is difficult to determine each cats socialization during a stressful event such as trapping, its a good idea to observe cats on their own outdoors using the guidelines below.

NOTE: There is a lot of variation on the Socialization Continuum. Cats may not fit solidly in either socialized-stray or unsocialized-feral categories. Learn more variations possible using our Socialization Continuum guide.


Will probably be dirty or disheveled

Will probably have a clean, well-kept coat.

A male with a big head and thick neck, muscular body, and/or scars from fighting is more likely to be feral, since these are traits associated with intact males . He may also have a spiky coat from high testosterone levels and less time spent grooming; may also have stud tailhair loss, greasiness, or bumps at the base of the tail due to hormones.

Will not have an eartip

Will likely have an eartip if neutered as part of a TNR program


A female who is pregnant or lactating is more likely to be feral, since only 2% of feral cats are neutered in the U.S.

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Easy Steps To Get A Feral Cat Into A Carrier

CAUTION: this process can be dangerous!! You can seriously injure both yourself and the animal in this process if you are not careful. Please consult a professional if you are unsure about any of the following steps.

Getting a stray into a carrier will be a lot easier than trying to get a feral cat in one, but it can be done. Youll need:

  • A cat carrier
  • A towel
  • To be calm and confident
  • With the blanket in two hands, calmly approach the cat from behind. As quickly as you can, place the blanket over its head, making sure their entire head and body are covered.;
  • Keeping your wits about you, firmly place your hands over the towel and the cats shoulders. As you scoop up the cat, make sure the blanket is folded underneath it.
  • As soon as you can, place the cat in the carrier with the blanket. Trust us, hell find his own way out of it.
  • Grab the towel and cover the carrier to help keep the cat calm.
  • Consider A Calming Remedy To Help Her With The Transition

    Just as a hot bath and a cup of herbal tea can take the edge off a stressful day, providing a soothing remedy like catnip, pheromone sprays, or calming supplements may do the same for your new cat.

    Alley Cat Allies;recommends:

    using non-pharmaceutical behavior modifiers like Feliway, Rescue Remedy, or Composure Soft Chews. These products can help calm and comfort cats using essential oils or extracts or by mimicking natural feline pheromones.

    Alley Car Allies

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    Animal Rescue Experts Typically Classify Stray Cats Into Three Categories: Socialized Semi

    Socialized cats are fully domesticated and comfortable around humans, while feral cats have had little to no human contact and are basically wild animals.

    Semi-feral cats fall somewhere in between. They tend to avoid being touched, but may vocalize when around humans or even make eye contact.

    Although it is a slow, difficult process, taming a semi-feral cat;is;possible. These 6 steps will help you turn that frightened neighborhood kitty into a new furry friend!

    The Problem With Relocation And Eradication

    Frugal and Homemade Winter House for Stray Cats

    Some people advocate relocating or putting down feral cats instead. Relocation may sound like a humane solution, but it is ultimately ineffective due to the vacuum effect. Feral cats gather where there are resources: food, water, and shelter. When an existing colony is relocated , before long a new flock of feral cats will discover the same resources and move in to fill the vacuum.

    Relocation is unappealing for other reasons. Because cats are very territorial, a relocated cat may try to find its way home, suffering accident or death on the way. The relocation area may already have an established colony or it may lack food, water, or shelter. Unless a colonys life is in danger, most experts agree that relocation is almost always a bad solution.


    Most people are not willing to support eradication, either. With a TNR effort, people will give their time, money, and resources, says Slater, author of Community Approaches to Feral Cats. But if youre catching and euthanizing cats, in most cases you just wont get volunteers to do that.

    She also sees TNR as a teaching tool. It gets people to think about how we can prevent cats from ending up on the street and how we can manage cat populations.

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    How Is A Feral Cat Different From A Stray Cat

    The biggest difference between stray cats and feral cats comes down to their level of socialization to human beings. A stray cat has been abandoned by or separated from its owners; they may now be living outside on their own, but because they had a home once, theyre used to interacting with humans.

    Like stray cats, feral cats also live outdoors on their own, but the key difference is that they have never been socialized to humans and are therefore probably the offspring of other stray or feral cats. This lack of human socialization can make feral cats wild and unapproachable.

    Feral and stray cats typically behave differently when humans are near.

    Feral cats:

    • Can appear frightened or hesitant around humans
    • Will likely take a protective stance, staying low to the ground and crouching
    • Often exhibit little to no eye contact, purring or meowing around humans

    Stray cats:

    • Might be friendly or curious around humans
    • Likely to behave like a house cat, meowing and making eye contact around humans

    Both strays and feral cats can be loners or part of a colony, and they will hunt or take food wherever they can whether its from garbage cans or your pets outdoor feeding station.

    What To Do If You Find Kittens

    If you find kittens who are alone, determine if the mother has actually abandoned them. She could be looking for food or just hiding nearby. The only way to determine this is to wait. Leave the kittens alone and observe from a distance or a hidden spot. Often she will return within a few hours. Be patient. Kittens that are being cared for will seem healthy and content.

    Removing kittens when there is a mother to care for them may actually decrease their chances of survival. Kittens that have to be bottle fed are at a much higher risk of not surviving. As the kittens get older, the mother will spend less time with them. To determine the age of a kitten, visit Alley Cats Allies kitten progression page. If it appears the mother has truly abandoned them or something has happened to her, the kittens are in danger, or they seem to be in distress, then they need intervention. Depending on their age, you may decided to provide care for them until they are old enough to be adopted, or they may be old enough to find them homes. If they are older than 4 months, they are good candidates for Trap-Neuter-Return.For more information about caring and finding homes for kittens, see

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    Move Closer And Talk To The Cat

    While you may feel silly doing it, talking to the cat is important. Talk to the animal quietly and calmly, without approaching. You may want to do this while sitting at a distance from the cat or while he or she is eating.

    As the cat realizes that you are not a threat, it will get more comfortable with you being closerso try to take fewer steps back with each feeding.

    Earning Your Stray Cats Trust

    How To Make A Feral Cat /Dog Shelter

    Some stray cats will be friendly right off the bat, but with others, it may take time and patience to establish trust. If a cat is not comfortable with humans, they will mostly scratch or bite if you attempt to handle them. Go slow and always allow the cat a way to leave the situation so that they don’t feel cornered, says Gouge.

    You need to have time, and you need have patience. The cat will come to you when hes ready. If you try to force it, he will run, Fernandez says.

    The main way into your new feline friends heart is through his stomach. Food is critical, Phillips says. Start approaching the cat slowly, over several days or even weeks. Eventually, youll be able to get pretty close without scaring him off.

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