Stray cats have a tendency of coming near people’s houses and gardens. After all, they have been someone’s pets in the past, thus they are accustomed to human contact to some extent.
If a strange cat has started frequenting your surroundings and you want to know how to make this cat’s life more comfortable, here is a list of the steps you can make:
1. Stray Cats vs. Feral Cats
The first thing you should establish is if the cat is stray or feral.
Stray cats used to have owners in the past and they went through some basic human socialization. They became stray because their owners may have abandoned them, either by choice or by death, or the cat simply decided to wander away from them for some reason or the cat could simply get lost.
Feral cats have never had an owner. They were born in the wild and have never had any close human contact. There is almost no chance that a feral cat would ever get accustomed to a human company to an extent to live with them and to have close and warm relationships with humans.
Feral cats will always be afraid of you and will be hiding away. They will come to get food, but if you count on any closer relationship with them you set yourself up for disappointment.
2. Look for the Cat’s Owners
Before you start emotionally attaching yourself to a cat, you should first try to find her owners. Someone may desperately be looking for her so it’s important that you check first for her owners.
Look for the collars or ID tags. Brig the cat to the vet or shelter and scan for a microchip. If nothing helps, you can pin the posters in the local area with the image of the cat and your contact number.
3. Care for the Cat’s Immediate Needs
At the beginning, a stray cat may be weary and not be ready to live in your house straight away. The cat may spend a lot of time in your garden every day, but not there yet to trust you enough to live with you.
To gain her trust you will need to care for her basic needs in the same way as you would if it was your domestic cat.
Here are the things to provide her with:
Food and Water
Provide your stray cat with food and fresh water. You can buy special wet or dry cat food from a shop, or you simply can give her the remaining pieces of meat from your plate. Don’t forget about providing her with fresh water too.
To shelter your stray cat against elements, you can provide her with an outdoor cat house, which you can buy or build yourself. The outdoor cat house should guard the cat against rain and wind and keep it warm. The best outdoor cat house is the one with proper insulation (preferably straw) and which floors are lifted off the ground to prevent rooting and keeping more warmth.
If you have a well-covered porch you may also opt for a heated cat bed. This will not offer as much protection as an outdoor shelter, but still will provide a cozy and warm place for your stray to rest in.
Playing is a very important part of a cat’s life which can facilitate and speed up the bond with your stray cat. There are plenty of various and interactive cat toys on the market that you can start playing with your cat.
Playing not only stimulates the cat’s wellbeing and strengthens your bond with her, but also directs your attention on a cat which cats adore.
4. Take a Cat to the Vet
Cats that live outdoors may have various diseases that may be dangerous to your other pets and potentially to you too. Most commonly, stray cats will have fleas, ticks and mites but they also may carry on parasites and fatal diseases, for example, Toxoplasmosis.
Before you let the stray cat into the house, you should take all the precautions. The best thing is to take the cat to the vet. The vet will check up your stray cat for any potential illnesses and advise on vaccines she should take.
If a cat has not been spayed or neutered yet, it will be the best course of action that you fix them.
The vet will also be able to advise you on what food you should be giving to your stray cat and how you should handle the cat in general.