If you have a feral cat showing up at your house wanting food, you may be considering taming it so you can keep it as a pet. This can be difficult to do, but it can be done. The processing of taming the cat can take a few weeks, however, so you should make sure you are dedicated to doing this. Follow the tips below to see if you can tame this wild cat into a loving family pet.
Contain the Cat
Because the cat is wild, never try to pick it up yourself. The best way is to set a trap cage. You can find traps at many animal shelters, or purchase one from a pet store.
The cage you use should have a food and water bowls attached to the door so you don't have to reach in to feed and water the cat. You also need to place a pan with litter in it inside the cage so make sure it is large enough.
You will need to entice the cat with food to get it to walk into the trap. Buy a few trays of tuna fish or soft cat food into trays and set them at the end of the trap. The cat will likely walk around the cage sniffing at the food, and then eventually walk into it so it can eat.
When the cat walks into the trap, you have to snap the door shut. How you do this depends on the type of trap you are using. This does involve you sitting around waiting for the cat to enter the trap, so this process can take several days. Once the cat is in the trap, it will go wild trying to get out. Cover it with a towel or a blanket to help calm it down.
For the first few days do not attempt to hold the cat. Leave it in the cage and sit the cage in a quiet area. Go to the cage often and talk to the cat quietly. Never make any quick movements, and do not touch the cat during this time. This can help the cat feel safe.
Handle the Cat
Once you see the cat stays calm for a few days, you can try to handle it. Open the cage, and gently place a towel over the cat and pick it up. Start petting cat very gently on the head, and then move your hand down to its tail. Do this for a few minutes and put the cat back into the cage. Continue removing it and handling it for a week or so or until you start to see the cat is completely comfortable with you.
Move the Cat
After a few weeks, move the cage to a room with a door you can close to let it roam. Place the cage in the room and open the door. Leave the litter box and food inside the cage, but leave the door open. The cat may want to return to the cage if it starts to feel threatened. At this point, it should be left to roam all it wants, with you going into the room to pet and play with the cat. Over time, slowly introduce the cat to other parts of your home and to other family members.
As soon as the cat is tamed a little, it should see a veterinarian (such as one from Mobile Veterinary Hospital Medical Care) for a checkup. Some veterinarians will come to your home, which will be easier since your cat is feral. The veterinarian can check the cat for fleas. They can also take stool samples to check for worms. They will do an overall checkup to make sure the cat is healthy. If the vet comes to your house, you will need to bring it into the office eventually for its shots.