Have you ever wondered where your kitten goes when you let her out? Perhaps they become a part of the stray cats we see in the park. Your cat is, however, not a stray cat because she comes back to you for tending. What do stray cats do all day? Do they hang out in the alley and hunt in gangs? Is it possible to adopt these cats?
Perhaps you have wondered if you should give a comfortable home to one of these cats. You most definitely do not want to abduct an outdoorsy cat from another owner or expose yourself to the extreme challenges of a stray cat’s ownership. This article will give you all the tiny details that will help you understand the lives of stray cats and the best way to take in a stray cat.
The life of stray cats
The University of Illinois conducted a two-year study on 42 free-roaming cats. They placed electronic trackers on the cats’ necks to observe their roaming behaviors. These cats roamed around 6300 acres of land in Champaign and Urbana. Each cat tended to stick on about 1000 acres of land individually. The collective piece of land covered urban and rural areas, with plantations of forests, human agriculture, and prairie.
One particular cat survived among more robust feral animals, coyotes, and foxes. It would navigate across stoplights and parking lights to scavenge for leftover food in bins and the streets. The researchers established that this cat liked to den at the local softball game event.
Most cats established their feeding zones within 300 meters of human settlement. This information means that no matter how wild the cats became, they maintained a level of dependency on humans. The researchers witnessed multiple stray cats try to chase out the pet cats away from their backyards. This is a dangerous living setup because most cats become the death of their fellow felines. Humans who adapted and tamed these invasive cats brought a balance to the surrounding environment.
What are the benefits of adopting a stray cat?
You are saving lives
A stray cat is a deserving candidate of a loving and affectionate home. It is apparent that cats will incline towards their wild instincts when they lack the protection of sensible humans. This behavior can undergo easy taming with proper scientific information and training. The stray will soon become accustomed to softer reactions and be a statistic of one cat saved from a brutal death in the wild.
Animals know when they are rescued. Apart from the defensive scratches and stabbing eye stares, you will gain attentive security and absolute loyalty. The bond between you and your rehomed cat will increase with time as you continue to give a loving settlement and transitional period.
Which cat would you trust more to get rid of rats in your antic? The stray cat has a trained impulse that smells and hears food from a long distance. Adopting a stray cat will keep unwanted rodents from your house and the backyard.
The process of taking in a stray cat
When we refer to stray cats, we tend to assume that all cats in the wild fall in that category. The truth is that wild cats could be either stray animals or feral.
Difference between stray cats and feral cats
- Feral cats are more fearful of humans because they have spent their whole life in the wild, whereas stray cats are slightly approachable.
- Stray cats can stay in colonies while feral cats prefer to roam alone.
- Feral cats keep their homes and feeding zones farther away from human settlements than stray cats. You will bump into a stray cat on the balcony of a restaurant and most likely never see a feral cat roaming the urban areas in the daytime.
- Stray cats are less aggressive than feral ones.
It is also vital to note another group – outdoor cats. These cats will be well-groomed, have soft calluses, and a probable tag with contacts of their owner. You should put out a notice for a found cat if you suspect that it merely missed its way home.
Can you adopt a feral cat?
The answer is both yes and no. Feral cats will require steady patience because of their ingrown roughness. It will only be worth it if you have the time and resources to cater to their transition. Alternatively, you can take in the feral kitten if you want the bets to be on your side. They are easier to tame before they are four months old.
What should you do about stray cats?
Getting the cat
- The priority should be the safety between you and the cat. You should not try to scoop up the cat as you would an indoor cat. Carry your gloves if you have a particular spot that gets frequent visits from stray cats.
- Try to lure in the cat with food by dangling meat across the car or the box carrier. Adding more food and water around the cat will make it comfortable enough for you to box it in or roll down the car window afterward — select food with a strong scent such as tuna.
- Do not make any sudden movements towards the cat because these animals are already fearful of humans. Getting yourself in close quarters also means that you are prone to scratches and bites. Cover yourself with long-sleeved attires in case of any accidents.
- You might not have to go out of your way to find a stray cat. Some like to sneak into your backyard and peep through the doors and windows. Leave the door open and place some food, two steps inside to lure it in.
- Do not encroach on the cat until you sense a more relaxed body demeanor. Every journey of taming a stray cat is different. Some cats will be gentler while others will be borderline feral.
Isolate the cat
You have to isolate the cat from other cats until you get the required vaccination and sterilization. Stray cats are vulnerable to diseases and infections from the outside world. Additionally, it is not wise to throw in a wild cat into the circle of a home cat. They may soon develop a tendency of picking fights or bullying.
Seek medical attention
The first stop after capturing and feeding the cat should be the veterinary or shelter. The staff will help you in affording the cat with the following services:
- Vaccination – It will fight common diseases such as leukemia.
- Neutering – This will tame the excessive wild tendency
- Grooming – This is a natural step to do at home. You will, however, give the cat a better chance of sterilization when the professional handles the process.
- Microchipping – This will protect your cat from straying off again or falling into the hands of a kind and willful rescuer who may deem it lost.
How to live with a stray cat
Be ready for surprises
- You never quite know the emotional and mental baggage that comes with a new roommate until you spend time together. Your former stray cat will reveal its layers with time. While your other cats may enjoy a big part of their day indoors, a stray cat will enjoy sneaking out all day or night and only coming back for some food or treat. These escapes may trigger wild tendencies that make them distant and rough.
- Another scenario would be a cat that does not know how to play. They will become the observer who watches other cats play or stare out the windows endlessly for days. It is almost as if these cats have to learn how to be carefree and relaxed.
- Other former stray cats will be bullies of the docile cats. They will pick fights with both you and other animals.
- Stray cats learn how to relieve themselves in the wild. They will need patience and constant training to adapt to the usage of a litter box.
Adopt nurturing habits
Studies show that people cannot resist the urge to pick up and cuddle furry pets. The best way to form a bond with a cat is to treat them like a newborn, despite their mannerisms. Cats do not know the human language, and you do not understand cat language. You will have to enact a love culture that is understandable with both you and the cat. The following decisions will help you break down the emotional and mental wall with your cat.
Cats have a slightly different love language than us. Staring at your cat in the eyes is a feline way of showing aggression. The cat way of showing love is blinking slowly while staring at the cat. You will receive a reciprocate blink if you are lucky. Try communicating this with the cat while your head is on the height level of the cat.
Do not hesitate to use the cats’ cuddly moments for extra hugs and touches. Stroking the cats back can make them friendly and sociable because they understand that you are not an enemy.
Cats have an almost opposite language of love from dogs. While dogs do not mind our invited hugs and touches, a cat will glare its fangs and claws when you invade their space. Older cats are especially more independent and will tend to cuddle into you when you leave them alone. Additionally, all animals, including humans, need a certain amount of time to adjust to the environment. They will explore your new home for threats and pure curiosity before settling in as a welcomed member.
Cats will communicate to you with body language. An unhappy cat will have flat ears, dilated pupils and a twitching tail. A relaxed body shows that the cat is approachable while the opposite means you should leave it alone.
Another sign that your cat wants space is that they will hide. A stray cat may begin by escaping to the outdoors to realign with their natural demeanor. Consider creating a little hideout in the house or the backyard. Helping them feel safe in the home will ultimately help them bond with you.
Keep a routine
Maintain a consistent habit of feeding and other activities such as bedtime or a stroll in the neighborhood. Stray cats may begin to look sick due to a growing mental distance. This 2011 study shows that cats trust owners who have a regular timetable for meals. This stable routine of activities will also ensure that they check in with you no matter their events of the day.
Cats are incredibly playful when you loosen them. The method of play will determine the speed at which they get comfortable with you. Cats will not respond well when you approach them with hands or body with the intent of playing. This direct approach will come off as an attack.
The correct way of introducing play is by using toys that act like prey. Cats prefer to be the predator and will have an ecstatic time prying at a dangling toy. It is vital to remember that cats have different personalities that will prefer different toys. Purchase all sorts of toys until you find the one that excites your cat.
Another primary instigator of play is catnip. This plant’s aroma relaxes the neural system of cats and makes them docile and playful for a particular duration. Be sure to regulate the use of catnip because an addicted stray cat is as disruptive as a newly adopted one.
Taking in a stray cat is possible when you adhere to the proven methods of adoption and taming. You will have an easier time coping with the associated challenges when you incorporate help from veterans. Cat experts will also give you behavioral advice that will manage the skittishness of a stray cat. Adopting a stray cat is a noble yet rare quest. Be sure that you have enough resources and time to cater to this new home addition before committing.