You may find a cat living in the street who used to belong to somebody, but has been out on his own for a while and isn't exactly used to being a family, house cat--or you may just come across a feral cat that has pet-potential. Here are some steps you might try to make a "semi-feral cat" your pet.
Start by leaving food and water for the cat in your yard, on the porch or in your garage if there is access. The cat will need to eat regardless, whether living with you or remaining on her own.
Leave comfortable bedding for the cat, such as a towel or sheet. Comfort just may be the "deal breaker" for the cat to come back again--and again.
"Read" the cat when you can get close enough. You can often tell by the look in their eyes if they want to be close to humans; a distant look often means they are simply feral and want no part of humans. Also, notice if the cat brushes up against you; brushing can very well lead to curling up in your lap. Purring, of course, is for sure a positive, telltale sign.
Have patience. This is very important to keep in mind, because sometimes all it takes is a little time, and you don't want to rush or force it.
Tips & Warnings
- Leave out dry kibble rather than wet or canned food, which often attracts ants and spoils faster.
- Even if you can't get the cat to be your pet right away--do the cat, your neighborhood and the overall cat population a favor--and have her spayed or him neutered. It's healthier for the cat, and you will be doing your part to help control the cat overpopulation, which is getting increasingly out of control.
- Once the cat starts coming indoors, try to work on having him be strictly an indoor cat. Indoor cats tend to live longer because they are protected from various diseases, predators, cars and extreme weather.
- Don't just set the cat loose in your house before you are certain whether or not she wants to live inside and be your pet. Test her out gradually.
- Photo Credit Photo: spaynsave.org