How to Tame a Stray Cat: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Tame a Stray Cat: 14 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Tame a Stray Cat: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

Stray cats typically have little, if any, experience with humans. Many of them are born in the streets while others are abandoned or lost. Regardless of the origin, these cats typically fear human interaction and are more likely to scratch or bite than to sit on your lap. Because of fear, taming a stray cat can be difficult, but it is possible, as long as you have the time and patience.


Part 1 of 3: Taking a stray cat home

Tame a Feral Cat Step 1

Step 1. Prepare a room for the animal

He needs to stay indoors until he's more comfortable with you and the new home. Place a litter box, feed bowl, water bowl, and some toys in a small, quiet room away from people and other animals.

  • Close the windows and doors in the room to prevent the animal from escaping. Check the entire environment to see if there are no holes or cracks the cat could go through.
  • Remove objects that can be dropped by the cat on shelves and cabinets.
  • Set up some hiding places for the animal, such as cardboard boxes with holes in them.
  • During the first few days, do not use common cat litter. Give preference to earth, as it is an element more familiar to the cat.
  • Light the room with a dim light, as darkness will make the animal feel safer.
  • Spread some old clothes in the environment to get the animal used to the odor of humans.
  • The cat will need a few hours to get used to the environment.
Tame a Feral Cat Step 2

Step 2. Assemble a "trap" to place the cat in the carrier box

It is necessary to take the animal to the veterinarian for exams and vaccinations. The ideal is to take it in a transport box, but it is unlikely to enter it willingly.

  • Leave the box door open and put a blanket and some snacks to create a more cozy atmosphere.
  • Cover the box with a towel so the animal will consider it a safe hiding place.
Tame a Feral Cat Step 3

Step 3. Get the cat

Don't be surprised if the animal bucks when you try to get close. In some cases, trapping is the only way to catch the animal and take it home. An ideal trap is designed to not harm the animal and close the door when it steps on a panel at the bottom of the crate.

  • Lure the cat into the trap by putting a good amount of food into it.
  • The animal may be startled by the sound of the door closing, but it will not be hurt.
  • Contact an animal shelter to borrow a trap. If you can't, buy one online.
  • Line the trap with towels or blankets to make it more comfortable.
Tame a Feral Cat Step 4

Step 4. Feed the cat outdoors

It needs to be domesticated indoors, but fear of human interaction is a problem. Starting to feed your pet outdoors will make it start to trust you more. The fact that he knows you will feed him is a good start.

Feed him at the same times every day

Part 2 of 3: Handling a Stray Cat

Tame a Feral Cat Step 5

Step 1. Spend time with the cat without touching it

Start the interaction only when he is used to the environment and human interaction. Wear long clothing and gloves when approaching to avoid bites and scratches. Have a piece of cardboard with you to lift it in case the animal advances on you.

  • Visit the cat at the same time every day, as forming a routine will help him get used to the environment.
  • Knock before opening the door and enter slowly.
  • While cleaning the litter box, putting food in the bowl, and changing the water, talk to the cat in a calm and relaxing way.
  • Do not maintain eye contact with the cat as he may see this as a form of aggression. Avoid his gaze and lower your head.
  • As the animal becomes more comfortable with you, sit with it for an hour in the morning and evening. In addition to talking to him, you can sit and read a book or play with your cell phone.
  • Not try to touch the cat right away, or you might get bitten or scratched.
Tame a Feral Cat Step 6

Step 2. Play with the cat to make it more comfortable with the touch

Buy some light toys and let the cat play with them while you're in the room. To create a toy inexpensively, tie a piece of cloth to a string and tie it to a stick.

Don't let the cat play alone, as it can swallow the line and cause an intestinal blockage that requires veterinary care

Tame a Feral Cat Step 7

Step 3. Observe the cat's body language to gauge when it is ready for the next step of human interaction

Handling a stray cat can be dangerous as it may attack you out of fear. A cat that lunges at you and meows with its ears down is probably not ready to be handled by you.

  • The cat may also hiss if it doesn't want you to touch it.
  • An animal that sits quietly next to you is probably ready to be handled.
Tame a Feral Cat Step 8

Step 4. Get him used to your touch

As stray cats often fear human interaction, he needs to get used to your hand. Start by resting your hand on the ground and letting the animal get close to you in time. Allow him to touch you.

  • Resist the temptation to pet him as he tries to figure out if you're a threat.
  • Keep your hand away from the cat for a while. As he becomes more comfortable with her, bring her closer to him.
  • The cat must initiate contact, otherwise it may attack you.
Tame a Feral Cat Step 9

Step 5. Pet the cat

This is the moment of truth: will the animal accept the affection or will it attack you? Rest your hand on the floor and place a toy next to it. When the cat approaches and sniffs your hand, slowly lift it up and keep it at eye level.

  • Keep your hand in front of the cat's eyes for a while and start stroking it.
  • Keep an eye on his body language. A tense cat with dilated pupils and flattened ears is probably scared and not enjoying the petting. Stop and give him room.
  • Caress it briefly at first. Ideally, stop before he informs you that it's enough.
Tame a Feral Cat Step 10

Step 6. Pick up the cat and put him on your lap as soon as he is comfortable with the petting

Remember that this is a wild animal and wrap it in a towel before picking it up to avoid getting scratched or bitten.

  • Turn the cat over so that it has its back to you. Grasp it by the skin at the base of the neck, as close to the ears as possible, being careful not to squeeze it too tightly.
  • Lift the animal and carefully support it in your lap. If he allows it, pet him and talk to him using a relaxing voice.
  • As much as cats are carried around the back of their necks by mothers, don't be surprised if they don't like you doing it. Watch the signs the cat gives to find out whether or not he likes this.
  • Never approach a stray cat from the front.
Tame a Feral Cat Step 11

Step 7. Brush the cat to get him used to human contact and keep his fur healthy

Use a soft cat brush or a fine comb to remove fleas.

  • You can find combs and brushes at pet stores.
  • Flea infestations on stray animals can be dangerous and cause potentially fatal anemia. In addition to using a fine-tooth comb, the cat will need to be medicated.

Part 3 of 3: Finding out if you can domesticate a stray cat

Tame a Feral Cat Step 12

Step 1. Analyze how wild the cat is

Street cats are either totally wild (no human contact or only negative contact), partially wild (some positive human contact), or abandoned (which ends up becoming partially wild after human contact in a house). Totally wild cats are the hardest to socialize while stray cats are the easiest.

  • Partially wild cats turn to humans for food but do not seek further interactions. This minimal level of interaction teaches them a little about the human world.
  • Some partially wild cats are known as "domesticated stray cats".
Tame a Feral Cat Step 13

Step 2. Try to identify the approximate age of the cat to get an idea of ​​the difficulty of domestication

Cats less than 10 weeks old are usually easily domesticated. Domestication of older stray cats is often more difficult or, in some cases, impossible.

  • Never remove a stray puppy from its mother's company until it is weaned (approximately four weeks old).
  • When you see a kitten with its mother, collect both at the same time and keep them together until weaning takes place. Contact an animal shelter to sterilize the mother and return her to her colony.
Tame a Feral Cat Step 14

Step 3. Determine your actual ability to tame a stray cat

This is a complicated process and no guarantee of success. In addition to the challenge, domestication can be time-consuming: while kittens can be domesticated in two months, adult cats may need a year or more.

  • You will need to spend several hours a day for several months to get your cat used to your new home and socialize. Be honest with yourself and see if you are really capable of this kind of daily commitment.
  • Veterinary care is often expensive. Analyze your financial conditions to pay for the pet's care.


  • Only try to tame a cat if you plan to keep it.
  • Don't be discouraged by a failure. Not all cats can be tamed.
  • A domesticated cat may prefer to be alone in the house. Give him room.
  • Stray cats are usually not candidates for adoption as they tend to cling to the person who domesticated them.
  • If you feel comfortable, pet the animal carefully.


  • Don't forget that the stray cat is a wild animal that can scratch or bite you. Consult a veterinarian or zoonoses control center if you are uncomfortable with handling a wild animal.
  • Stray cats are susceptible to many problems, including exposure to the elements (such as wind and rain), infections and attacks from other animals. The mortality of stray chicks is almost 50%.

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