Having the desire to save a stray cat and provide it with a healthy environment is very noble. Given the fact that a cat’s life expectancy is drastically reduced the more time it spends living outside, it is best for the cat if you adopt it when it is still young. However, there are some things you should know before adopting a stray cat.
Namely, animal adoption is not for everyone. There are a few things to know and some decisions you need to make before deciding to adopt a stray cat. So, let’s take a look.
The difference between stray and feral cats
Before we dive into all the necessary steps and things you should know before adopting a stray cat, we will discuss the main differences between stray and feral cats. Feral cats, stray cats, and pet cats are all considered to be domesticated animals. However, they will behave differently when they come in close contact with humans. Basically, pet cats are more used to human presence than their stray or feral relatives.
Stray cats were first domesticated, socialized, and used to interacting with humans. When a pet cat is thrown out on the street, it is forced to become a stray cat. Although stray cats can be adopted because they are not dangerous to humans, sometimes it happens that stray cats become feral during their time spent living in a dangerous environment.
On the other hand, feral cats have had little to no experience tolerating humans and living with them. You can spot a feral cat by its pronounced fear of interaction with humans. Also, they are capable of living outside entirely independently. Adult feral cats have a challenging time adjusting to life with humans, whereas kittens can be taken in and raised as house cats.
Stray cats are more likely to approach you in the street than feral cats.
How to figure out if the cat is stray or feral
The easiest way to figure out if you are dealing with a stray or a feral cat is to look at what they are instinctively inclined to do when you come near them. Feral cats will try to run away or hide rather than approach you or keep still like stray cats mostly do. There are other behavioral differences, as well. Feral cats are active at night, while the cats you see during the day are strays.
Also, it is not unusual to see feral cats living in ‘cat colonies’. On the other hand, stray cats live alone, which is why they may look slightly underfed since they are not that well adapted to living alone in the outdoors.
Things you should know before adopting a stray cat
Now that you know the difference between a stray and feral cat, the time has come to take a look at what you might expect when you adopt a stray cat.
What are stray cats like?
Stray cats can be shy, defensive, and even fearful when interacting with humans at first. However, this does not mean they will stay like this forever. With a boatload of gentleness and patience, even the most distrustful kitty will learn to trust you once some time has passed.
Keep in mind that it is perfectly normal for adopted stray cats to be careful and even slightly defensive when they move into your place. You have to understand that you are taking them into an environment they have never seen before and that they know nothing about.
A cat might become slightly defensive when it is afraid.
In cases when the cat has gone through a traumatic experience in the past, they might even become extremely anxious and, in turn, destructive. But, we implore you to arm yourself with patience and understanding. A few cuts your cat may inflict will heal soon enough. By contrast, earning the trust of your adopted kitty is priceless.
Also, there are many ways to reduce the stress-levels your cat might be experiencing at the moment. For example, an anti-anxiety cat bed will help the cat release the stress and anxiety it might be feeling in the face of new circumstances that may seem unfamiliar and threatening.
There are many accessories that can improve your cat’s mood.
Adopting a stray cat – is it safe?
Adopting a stray cat is safe when you are patient, considerate, and understanding of the cat’s feelings and behavior.
The safest way to adopt a cat is to go to an animal shelter where they have already been cleaned and cared for. If you have fallen in love with a cat that lives on the street and you want to give it the loving home it deserves, you still need to be cautious, no matter how friendly the cat behaves. The cat might become fearful and defensive when you try to take her with you. For this reason, be sure to borrow or buy a cat transporter to lure the cat inside safely.
Take the cat to the vet before you adopt her
Also, before you adopt a stray cat, you should schedule an appointment with a vet. Be sure to consult your veterinarian about the cat’s general health and wellbeing and what your cat’s individual needs may be.
The importance of having a regular and detailed checkup with a vet cannot be stressed enough. An experienced vet will be able to not only spot any health issues but give you all kinds of useful advice such as how you should approach the resocialization of your new furry friend. The vet might suggest spaying or neutering the cat to keep it from running away and getting him/herself into danger by doing so because of the urges they feel.
All in all, these are a few things you should know before adopting a stray cat. Essentially, you need to be patient, sensitive, and caring, and soon enough, the cat will return the love you had given her.