Are Feral Cats Safe?

There are so many wild cats in this world that need a home. Many people are afraid of them because they are very suspicious by nature and can become aggressive if threatened or cornered. And who can blame them? Most of them have never had homes (which is the definition of a feral cat, one that has had no human contact) and have not been treated very well by the humans they have come into contact with. I have had many cats over the years. I currently have 26 cats, most of them wild. I am now at the point where I can pet most of them and they crave my attention and touch. I won’t say this has been easy. It takes a lot of patience to get a feral cat to trust and accept you. But it’s one of the most rewarding things when they do. So yes, feral cats are safe to keep. It just takes some time and caution at first.

The first question about the cat’s safety is if it has diseases that you fear contracting. The good news is that many diseases that cats get are not harmful to you. However, some, like rabies, are, so be careful. This can sometimes be simple if you can get the cat into a Havahart-type trap. It’s long and narrow and you put food at the end. There is a metal plate that the cat steps on near the food and it closes the door. It’s very humane and from there your vet will have their own way of taking the cat out and sedating it for a check-up.

However, there are many cats that will not fall for this. They are not stupid and they know somehow that this is a trap. If this is the case, you’ll need to be prepared to win the cat over until you can get it into a carrier or some other “trap.” This is where patience, patience, patience comes in. You feed the cat every day at a certain time (or twice a day) and go. Don’t try to touch or interact with them for a few weeks. Then you can try keeping a distance while they eat and watch them out of the corner of your eye. Then try to get a little closer and crouch close to them (but not too close). This process must proceed slowly and can take months. Eventually, you hope to get to the point where they allow you to stand just a foot or two away from them. The main thing is to act natural around them, not like you’re waiting to jump up and grab them! As you can see, it can be a long process, but if you have a love for animals like me, it’s worth the effort.

Let’s get back to the topic of security. During this whole process you have to be careful. You don’t want to be bitten before you’ve had a chance to get a good physical and a few tests from a vet. If the cat is behaving normally (not counting hissing and growling) and has no obvious signs of injury, that’s a great start. Just be on the lookout for anything unusual, like excessive drooling or lethargic behavior. Once you get to the point where they allow you to pet them, be careful until you can take them to the vet. In general, I have had very few of my savages that were sick and had to be put to sleep. So don’t think that a feral cat is automatically sick or sick, but use common sense and be careful. When the day comes when they rub up against your leg and want to cuddle up in your lap, you’ll feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. You took a helpless, homeless cat that never had a human to take care of it, and turned it into a friendly and loving feline.

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