Cat lovers are always on the lookout for cute and adorable cats to pet or even bring home. But, what if you come across one that has been roaming around in your neighborhood or on the streets? Should you adopt it? Is it a feral cat or a domesticated one? Or is it a semi-feral cat? How do you confirm if it is either of these and ideal for adoption? While feral cats aren’t one to be domesticated, you can surely try your luck with a semi-feral cat. But what exactly is a semi-feral cat? How would you tame one to live in your home as a pet?
Let us learn more about semi-feral cats.
Semi-Feral Cats: What Are They?
Semi-feral cats predominantly live in a state similar to that of a feral cat. However, they tend to differ from ferals, given the fact that they have some level of experience and contact with humans. This happens because they were born as domesticated felines & reverted to living in the wild due to certain unforeseen circumstances.
Alternatively, semi-feral cats might have grown in the wild, but with time, they have developed a level of comfort with the humans in their area via actions such as getting medical help, being fed, or similar interactions.
But, if you wish to tame them and bring them home as pets, how would you get on about it?
Here are a few steps you need to take in the process of domesticating semi-feral cats.
1. Allow The Semi-Feral Cat To Interact With You First:
Now, this advice might seem counterproductive when you are trying to socialize with a cat. However, this is the best thing you can do when trying to befriend a semi-feral cat. When you keep your distance, the feline’s curiosity will pique & it will try to interact with you using subtle signs.
Cats love to seek attention and pleasure. If they have been around people for quite some time, they will crave that attention. Make sure you wait for the semi-feral cat to interact or reach out. Once it does that, make sure you provide it with some positive interaction. This will show the cat that they can trust you.
2. Slowly Introduce It To Being Around Humans:
Keep in mind that the things we are used to might be new and frightening for semi-feral cats. So, it isn’t wise to try and familiarize them with other humans and things being used by us. The key is to take it slow and move one step at a time. Sounds such as music, human voices, closing/opening doors, vacuum cleaner, or even the air-conditioning unit can make them nervous and run away to the farthest possible place.
You can try and normalize things as the cat feeds. Speak to it softly & perform other daily tasks slowly to help desensitize it. This will confirm that you aren’t a threat to the cat in any manner.
3. Respect Their Space:
When you welcome a semi-feral cat into the house, things won’t become normal in a jiffy. You still need to let them acclimatize to the surroundings. The feline can understandably be nervous in the new place. Moreover, cats have an instinct to protect themselves by finding a safe place to hide in new locations.
So, you need to give them time when things become too overwhelming for them. It will also help prevent the feline from feeling like they are cornered. But, you also need to maintain a sense of communication. Being away from your new cat for a long time can cause it to let out its curiosity by destroying things inside your house.
Before you bring the semi-feral kitten home, make sure you kitty-proof your room. Make sure you remove anything fragile and potentially toxic to cats. Also, take care of wires that can be chewed on by the semi-feral cat. You can use the Funzon Cat Cord Protector and Sleeve Covers. These covers help insulate the cables from being chewed on by cats.
4. Opt For Calming Remedies To Aid The Transition:
Remember when you took a hot bath after coming back from the office. Wasn’t that relaxing? Similar remedies can work for your semi-feral cat as well. You can opt for soothing remedies such as pheromone sprays, catnip, or some calming supplements. However, before you give any of these remedies to your semi-feral cat, make sure you consult your veterinarian.
Here are some more herbal remedies that help your cat de-stress and relax while getting accustomed to the new home.
Effect On Cats
|Valerian||Helps the cat sleep better with euphoric effects|
|Catnip||Makes the cat calmer and more docile|
|Chamomile||Helps reduce stress and promotes relaxation|
|Hops||Great for liver health and helps calm the cat|
5. Be Patient:
Although semi-feral cats are easy to be tamed as compared to feral cats, the entire process can take anywhere between several months to one whole year. As per researchers, almost every cat has the potential to be domesticated. However, the timeline can vary depending on not just the cat but also the pet parent. The key is to be patient. Make sure you stick to the schedule established.
Respect your cat’s natural needs, and remember to interact with the cat on a daily basis. Think of it as taking care of a newborn baby. They need your attention, but you need to give them time to relax and rest as well. And while you are at it, make sure you slowly train them by using some treats and positive reinforcement.
Now that you know what a semi-feral cat is and the best ways to tame it, we hope you enjoy the process and learn new things about owning a pet. Don’t rush things and let the cat take its time to familiarize itself with the new setup. Make sure you consult your veterinarian as well to ensure the semi-feral cat is up to date with the vaccinations and is free of feline diseases.