How to Tame a Feral Cat or Kitten
With a little patience and time, a feral (or wild) cat can be tamed into a loving pet. Younger cats are more apt to adjust quickly: 6-to-8-week-old kittens typically take two to three weeks to adjust to a domestic environment.
* STEP 1: Enclose the cat or kitten in a small space at first - a bathroom or bed-room works best.
* STEP 2: Turn out the light if the cat is terrified; this often has a calming effect.
* STEP 3: Put a bed, a litter box, food and water in the room. If the cat is very young (6 to 12 weeks), put her in a large carrier with a grated door and small windows.
* STEP 4: Spend at least 2 to 3 hours a day with the animal. Just sitting quietly in the same room will allow the cat to learn that you are not a threat.
* STEP 5: Gently compel the cat to let you touch her. Carefully wrap a blanket around her if you have to, hold her on your lap and pet her. Stroke her coat and touch her ears, face and neck as you talk to her in soothing tones. Even if the animal doesn't seem to be enjoying the attention, she is. Hold the cat by the scruff of the neck if she attempts to leave. (The mother cat will do this to carry or train a kitten'it doesn't hurt, and it actually relaxes the animal.)
* STEP 6: Present special treats such as chicken or tuna, and leave them if the cat will not eat from your hand.
* STEP 7: Gradually allow the cat to roam about in more rooms.
* STEP 8: If the cat tries to run away from you repeatedly, enclose her in a smaller space and start again.
Tips & Warnings
* Don't get discouraged early on; young feral cats can become very affectionate pets. Younger cats are more apt to adjust quickly: 6- to 8-week-old kittens typically take two to three weeks to adjust to a domestic environment. An older cat that has been wild for a long time is difficult and sometimes impossible to tame, and may be better left outside. If you catch one, have the animal spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and then turn the cat loose where caught, or contact a professional.
* Handle feral cats with extreme caution. Use gloves and protective clothing as required. Cat bites and scratches can result in serious health problems.