Cats are one of the most adorable and adored animals in the world, yet it is not uncommon to hear that these lovely animals have been dumped in the street or dropped at an animal shelter. There are a lot of reasons why someone would choose to do this, but that shouldn’t matter. Instead, we are going to teach you what to know about stray cats so that you can make a better decision when you come across one in your neighborhood.
Determine if it’s a stray or feral cat
The first thing you want to do is distinguish between a stray and a feral cat. Stray cats are those that previously had a home and either got lost or were dumped by their owner. They are a bit skittish at first but will usually be friendly and approachable, so you might even get immediately attached to it and it to you. Street cats are a bit more apprehensive to humans, but they are more likely to run away from you than to attack you. If you happen to have some treats, they may even cozy up to you for a while to get it.
That’s what to know about stray cats, while feral ones are the opposite because they probably never shared a home with a human. In fact, most feral cats have been bred in the wild for generations with little or no human contact. Because of this lack of socialization with humans, feral cats are essentially wild cats and are more likely to attack, especially when they feel threatened. It is not advised to try taking in a feral cat, even by experts. The best you can do for them is to take care of them outside your home as street cats but not into the home. They are perfectly happy living outside anyway, so don’t feel guilty about it.
Decide what you want to do with it
It is important for you to be able to determine what you’re dealing with first so that you can make an informed decision about what to do next. The question comes down to whether or not you want to take it in. If the cat is pregnant, then that’s a whole other story. It’s not a simple task taking care of a pregnant stray cat. You can visit ourfitpets.com to learn how to care for a pregnant stray cat if you’re interested.
Should you choose to adopt a stray cat
If you got overwhelmed by the cuteness of one in your neighborhood and decided to take it in, there are a few things to do before you can claim to have a new cat. The best first step is to verify if the previous owner is still looking for it.
You should start by asking around to find out if anyone has lost their cat or knows the owner. Lost and found templates can also be found online from which you can print found posters and spread around the community in case the owner is still searching. There are also some websites that reunite pet owners with their lost pets, and this is probably the easiest way compared to the rest. When all these fails, try taking it to a vet who will scan it for a microchip. The one that recently strayed may have had a microchip installed, which will show who the owner is from the database. It may be a lot of work, especially when you consider that cats roam over huge areas, but it will be worth it if you can reunite a pet with its owner.
At this point, you have either not found the owner, or they are unwilling to take it back for whatever reason. The first thing you should do is to take it to the vet even before taking it home to find out if it needs to be fixed and/or vaccinated. Stray cats are likely to have rabies, ringworm, feline leukemia and other infectious diseases, so you definitely don’t want to spread these diseases to your other pets or even humans. Most street cats may already have been vaccinated, and this should save you some of the cost, but it’s still best to have a vet confirm this.
When you finally take the cat home, do not expect it to be immediately attached to you, or start playing with your other pets. Remember that it may not fully trust you just yet, and, in addition, it is in a new environment. If you have another pet, start by introducing them slowly to each other until they are both comfortable. As for yourself, do not rush the relationship either. You should also purchase a few items for your new pet, such as a litter box, toys, catnip, and cat-scratchers. Since you’re dealing with a stray cat you know nothing about, it’s best to buy a few varieties of the toys.
Dropping off at an animal shelter
A lot of us would love to take in more cats and kittens but cannot for different reasons, but you don’t have to be as irresponsible as the person who abandoned it either. So, if you really can’t take in a stray cat, then the most humane thing to do would be to find an animal shelter for it. For your own safety, though, what to know about them is that they may attack if they feel threatened.
When a cat doesn’t know you, and you suddenly put it in your car, it might strike out of fear. Therefore, you should be really careful when handling it and never force it to do anything at first. Once you have established a relationship with it and determined it doesn’t have an owner, only then should you take it to a shelter. You will need to answer a few questions at the center, but these are only to help the staff know how to deal with it and find it a new owner.
What to remember when dealing with stray cats
PETA states that one of the most common reasons people give for willingly surrendering their cat at an animal shelter is because of behavioral problems. This means that you should understand if a stray cat does not act the way you expect it to. All of them are different just as no two humans are the same, so don’t get into it, expecting the cat of your dreams. Moreover, understand that adopting a stray cat is honorable, but you will ultimately be responsible for the animal and shouldn’t take it lightly and dump the cat thereafter.