So a Stray Cat Has Adopted You — Now What?

Here’s how to determine if you’re dealing with a feral or stray cat and what steps to take if you’d like to welcome a stray cat into your home.

Two stray Calico kittens. Photography by Shutterstock.
Two stray Calico kittens. Photography by beeboys / Shutterstock.

Sometimes a cat shows up in your neighborhood or on your doorstep, and it’s obvious that the cat is feral. There’s no way you’re going to lure the cat inside or touch her, and the best you can do is feed her, and hopefully, implement some TNR. The large gray area with free-roaming cats, however, are stray cats. A stray cat may seem feral at first. But given time, you might get close to them and even tempt them inside. With time, they might make a wonderful house cat, companion, or pet for you or another good home.

So, if it seems that a stray cat might be adopting you, what are the next best steps to take? Here’s the story of my Karma, and what she showed me about how to open your arms, and home, to a stray cat.

1. Go slowly, and be open to any curves in the road

Trap-neuter-return improves the lives of feral cats and their relationship with the community. Photography ©Dovapi | Getty Images.
Are the cats in question feral or stray cats? Photography ©Dovapi | Getty Images.

Start by determining whether the cat is feral. I know this is easier said than done.

Here’s how it played out with Karma. I began feeding her outside. Initially, she would not come close to the house at all, so I set the food on the other side of the yard, as far from the house as possible. I fed her at regular times so that she got used to the routine. Then I started to move the food closer to the house.

Karma showed no reluctance to come closer, even though she would run away if I came outside while she was eating. I got to the point where the food was right inside the garage and she was still coming in and eating. But I did this over a period of several weeks and I didn’t rush it.

2. How to get a stray cat inside

One day, I had a hunch that I might get her in the door. I shut all the other cats inside the house, and left the front door opened to a small enclosed breezeway we have. She came in. Somehow, I was able to close the door behind her.

Did she freak? Yes, a little. But fortunately she was so hungry that she got her head temporarily stuck in a Dixie cup full of food that I had grabbed quickly. That enabled me to quickly get the other cats in the bedroom and shut that door. Then, I opened the house door. She dashed in, but again, I had a feeling she was a gentle cat — just scared.

Initially she hid in a tiny utility room close near the front door. I gave her some time. I was easily able to reach in and scratch her chin. She began purring. I knew she was definitely not feral … but she could have come close to that line.

Every journey with taming a stray cat will be a little different. You sometimes need to rely on your observations and your gut feeling. Does the cat seem friendly? Scared or truly wild? To me, Karma seemed scared, but not yet truly wild. She was close to feral, though, and I don’t think she would have survived long, had she turned feral or not been integrated into our household.

3. Once inside, isolate the stray cat until you can take necessary health care steps

If you succeed in getting your stray cat inside, don’t let her have any contact with your other cats (if any) until you’ve had her vaccinated, checked and tested for contagious diseases like feline leukemia. Wash your own hands if going between these cats in a multi-cat household.

4. If other cats share your home, introduce them to the stray cat slowly

Introduce a stray cat to your other cats, slowly. Photography ©Wanderer Lindsay | Getty Images.

Let the cats get to know your stray cat from either side of, or under a door. Eventually, I might put the new cat in a carrier, and let the other cats take their time checking her out. I might even put other cats in carriers, and let the new cat check the house out. I might introduce her to one cat at a time, if there are several in the household.

I use my intuition a lot, and this is no exception. If it feels as if it’s going really well, it may be a fast (and successful) introduction. If someone seems really bent out of shape, I’ll take my time and make sure that all the cats get some extra love during this time of transition.

5. Be ready for surprises with your new, formerly stray cat

We can never know the baggage that a rescued stray cat may carry, but it may manifest once we get to know these newcomers better. Be ready for surprises.

My cats are indoor cats, but several months after Karma’s successful integration to the household, she managed to escape outside. We almost did not get her back. Once outside, it was as if her personality changed. She became “distant,” seemed almost wild, and would not respond to us.

When we were able to get her, thank goodness (we remained very calm and moved very slowly, so as not to set off more of her skittishness), we took her inside. Once inside, my husband held her up to the window (thinking that he was showing her that all was okay) and she shrank from the outside. Of course, she loves to look out windows now, but it was a strange experience. Be ready for these.

Kieran, another stray who adopted me, would not look out the windows for many months, and didn’t know how to play. It was as if he needed to learn to be a carefree cat. So be ready, and patient, when some of these surprises surface.

Rescue is a big calling. Whether you’re able to integrate a stray cat, or find him a home, or help a feral cat get through another winter — this is all good Karma. (Pun intended.)

What experience have you had with stray cats that have adopted you? What have you learned, and what have you done to make the process smooth? Share your stories in comments!

Thumbnail: Photography by beeboys / Shutterstock.

This article was originally published in 2015.

About the author

About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of a short story collection about people and place. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.

Read more about what to do when you find a stray cat:

55 thoughts on “So a Stray Cat Has Adopted You — Now What?”

  1. Leila H. Garcia

    He should have choice. He “escaped” outside because he wanted to go outside. We should respect them to allow them to maintain control over their life. I took in a deaf feral, possibly previously owned cat after feeding him in a colony I manage and TNRed for over a year and a half. He just wanted to “escape” when I held him against his will away from all he knew. So after consulting with some feral cat experts I let him go. He gradually made the transition into a pet cat over months on his own at his own pace when given the choice to do so. SPIRIT’S STORY is being featured on the website this month which should come out April 9th.

  2. We have been adopted by our Thomas a gentleman stray, he came into our lives as avery noisy cat, especially at night time, I heard a bad fight one night and next day seeked out the culprit, a grey tabby with damaged ear, I put some tuna down for him and he was very shy at first then ate the lot, started a routine of feeding him same time everyday, then moved the dish closer to the house. Could see he was in a bad way, and not able to get to near to him, we won his confidence it took many months. Finally were able to get him into cat carrier, warned the vet he was a stray, turned out to be the most gentlest creature, no hissing no scratching. He had a parasite in one ear with nasty cut, no disease. Vet gave him antibiotics and he has been neutered and had injections. Our Thomas a dear chap, never thought I would have a cat, he found us and has now taken over the house , he has his own chair and we spoil him rotten. We also had a female kitten join us one night while sitting in the garden, she was delightful and very active, the prettiest kitten, we took her to vet and local cat rescue. She has been adopted and in a lovely home now.

  3. Cheryl Redmond-Mosley

    A cat has adopted me. Mr. Peepers named so because he would peer around the corner of my house as I fed another stray Ms. Miu Miu and quickly understood we weren’t murderers and started riding the gravy train. I don’t know how they communicate to each other that there is food at my house. Perhaps they smell each others breath or something. LOL! Some of the strays we have fed have found homes in the neighborhood. They were acclimated to humans. Some would let us touch and brush them. Others, like no way, I’m here just to eat. Funny creatures….

  4. About three years ago, a healthy black cat with tattered ears showed up in my yard. The house and barn next door had been thoroughly abandoned, so the occasional wanderer was nothing new. He would watch me garden and enjoyed rolling in my catmint at dusk.

    I started feeding him and watching him closely. We developed a routine, and over the years he became a constant fixture, even sleeping on my porch and sunning himself in my driveway. I named him Al. Short for Albus Alexander Supertramp. I built him a house and he slept on comfy pillows out of the wind.

    This past January he disappeared. I searched for him everywhere, every day for two weeks. I was sure something got him. Then, one afternoon, he hobbled towards from me the woods, emaciated and wreaking of infection. He was hurt and in a very bad way. I thought if anything, I had to trap him and euthanize.

    I trapped him, got him all the veterinary care he needed and saved his life. I spent hours washing his face, he even let me groom him when he was ill. He is an older gentleman, about 9 years old and he is living a very comfortable life now, despite his weak back end and crooked tail. He hisses at me but I hope to pet him again one day. Its definitely a work in progress.

  5. Sounds like he has chosen you…keep him inside…feed him well…get a litterbox…take him to a good vet for a check up get him neutered…and his vaccines and don’t let him go outside anymore…believe me he will adjust????

    1. Leila H. Garcia

      He should have choice. He “escaped” outside because he wanted to go outside. We should reslect them to allow them to maintain control over their life. I took in a deaf feral, possibly previously owned cat after feeding him in a colony I manage and TNRed for over a year and a half. He just wanted to “escape” when I held him against his will away from all he knew. So after consulting with some feral cat experts I let him go. He gradually made the transition into a pet cat over months on his own at his own pace when given the choice to do so. SPIRIT’S STORY is being featured on the website this month which should come out April 9th.

  6. Our beloved cat Smalley was a stray. I quickly realized that he wasn’t feral. He really knew how to charm humans to get food! He came into our life one fall bit by bit. I tried everything to find his human. We fed him and kept him going outdoors through that winter. He wouldn’t come in yet so we got him a little heated house. One cold night in the early spring we came back late from a formal event. It was snowing. Smalley came out of his house, stretched, and (finally) followed us into the house. He spent the night in the hallway. That became the routine for a while. He’d leave in the morning but come back for meals and spend the night. Fast forward. Vetted, neutered and chipped. Smalley has been a wonderful part of our family for the past two years. He’s an affectionate, active, happy house cat who loves to play and watch the squirrels through the window. He has enriched our lives immeasurably by adopting us!

  7. The story of Mika…

    It seems like a lifetime ago that were first made aware of a seemingly “stray” cat in our neighbourhood. Friends arrived for brunch on a sunny day in April and as we greeted them, they asked, “So, you now have a cat”. “Absolutely not” was our reply.

    They reported that they had spotted a tuxedo cat exiting our garage as they drove up; I thought it odd but never thought more about it. Over the next couple of weeks, my wife kept telling me about this cat “with a very pretty face” would show up on our deck, as well as our neighbours. Maggie started to leave food out for her; first, far from the house but gradually moving it closer to the back deck.

    After about five weeks, the cat felt it was safe enough to stay ten meters away while Maggie filled her food bowl. Eventually, she allowed Maggie to follow her after feeding and she discovered that the cat was living under a utility building on a neighbours property.

    Fast forward a couple of weeks, Maggie is sitting on the steps of out deck with a can of cat food and having a clash of wills with this cat; the cat meowing for food and Maggie saying, “come and get it”. Twenty minutes later, we had a cat move into our home.

    The next day, we took her to the vet and had her checked out. She weighted only 2 kg but otherwise healthy. Mika is now the princess of our household but still an “out of doors” cat.

    She gets really upset when we leave her alone for a few hours and constantly follows us from room to room but we believe it has something to due to abandonment issues.

    We believe that Mika was not feral, but rather abandoned but whatever the circumstance she became ours and that’s all that mayyers

  8. Stray or feral who was either pregnant or just had a litter was eating sunflower seeds I put out for the birds. Fed her and after several days of trying, tracked her down, found her litter, trapped her (she appeared to be about 6 mo. old), had her immunized and spayed. Gave the kittens who were over 8 weeks to a no kill shelter. Eventually got her to come in the house to eat. Been with us for almost three years. I can pet her but that is about it. Here is the kicker, she shows up every evening, stays all night and leaves in the morning. She has been doing this the entire time. Only missed one night in all this time. Haven’t been able to follow her to see where she goes. Not sure if she has a second home or hooks up with a colony. She loves us but is very frightened of others. There are cats that live in a drain pipe . I am thinking she might hang out there.

    1. Leila H. Garcia

      You have an “in- betweener”. Check this out at
      She likely still has a colony and or just enjoys being outside but she has the care and love of a home and famiky too. The best of both world. This is often the best case scenario for previously owned but abandoned, dumped, or otherwise turned stray cats with previous human exposure or even older or sick feral cats. Once they have made the outside their home for so long they will long to go outside for the rest of their life, because that became their home. They have some or a lot of wild in them and its not something that has to be seem as something bad. I think we should respect what each individual cat needs instead of choosing what is right for them. I think they know that better than us.

  9. Ok there’s this cat that I let in for the night cause it’s cooled outside and it’s winter. He went to run but as soon as I said here kitty he came to me. I think he wants out side but when I do he wants back in right away or want me out there with him but it’s to cooled to be put side and so I leve him in. I don’t know what he wants nore do I know what to do

    1. Hi Dawn- I’m encountering the same thing. My stray cries for me when I go inside. She’ll come inside for a few seconds but I don’t close the door b/c she freaks. I’m trying to do more each day. I had to keep her overnight in my small bathroom a few days b/c I had her fixed righted after she rejected her kittens (7 weeks). I have the kittens inside. She won’t go near them, even now. She sits on my lap & is only friendly with me. She doesn’t want stay inside & she’s it sure if she wants to stay outside (or so it seems). And I can’t leave my door open 24/7, especially b/c of flies & bees. And at night there are other feral cats. What was the outcome with your situation ?

      Katie & “LK” (little kitty)

  10. Hi , I have adopted two tabby cats. Never had a cat in all my 40 years but back in 2012 a feral tabby showed up on our porch one afternoon so starved you could literally see her bones. We tried to trap her so we could have her health checked at the vet. Fast forward to 2019. She has never tried to touch us or let us touch her but she likes to sit on the porch bench or on the porch in front of the door looking calmly inside. I adopted my two tabby cause I fell in love with (we named her Miss Sugar,) her but she runs away the second a human is inside whether I walk in front of the door inside, or she’s there waiting for lunch while I feed her and check the mail. We make sure we see her in the yard once a day so we know she’s all right. Since she is feral and we’ve never been able to trap her, I can’t adopt her but this feral cat inspired me to adopt two beautiful rescued cats from the local animal shelter. However she has joined the colony of feral cats my neighbor takes care of and she is able to find shelter in his garage or in the cat house in his backyard if she wants. The second he or a cat appears she runs still. This year when she sits looking in sometimes she meows back and forth calmly with my male tabby. She inspired me to want to adopt and I found him first. He is 5 years old as of today and she has to be older than that. She saved two other cats.

  11. Many years ago, I worked at a barn where there was a feral, very shy black cat with the most intense, beautiful jade green eyes. No one could come near him. We would put food out and in the morning it was gone, you might see him whisk out of sight, but that was it.
    I was there in the early mornings alone, so I put out the food and slowly managed to gain his confidence over a period of months. Finally, he got so he would come to me when I called. We had some rabies cases in the county, so I had to trap him and get him fixed and vaccinated, but he didn’t seem to hold it against me. Still, I was the only one who could get near him.
    When I left for another barn, I promised him I would take him with me as soon as I could (with the owner’s permission). I would stop by in the morning to see him several days a week. The owner said he would sit outside and wait for me, then finally go back in if I didn’t show.
    Finally I was able to take him home. He didn’t come out from behind the furnace for a month or so, but eventually, I was able to give him the run of the house and although he was always shy, he became fine with my husband and me and followed me all around the house, kneading (and drooling) on me every time I sat down. He even worked up the nerve to sleep on the bed with me.
    Sadly, he got cancer and died only 8 years later, but I loved my Shadow Man dearly and I think he had a very happy time with me, even if it was all too short.

    1. Hi Lousie, can you please tell me if I can trust barn to let my stray cat stay happy? Actually it’s been a month I have been feeding her and she loves me and trust me now. But problem is we’re moving out in 2 months and my husband doesn’t want to bring him in, as our other cat which he had since birth is not friendly with other cats.
      I want to make sure my friend gets fed and is safe and never has to worry about another meal. I don’t want anyone to kill her just because she is not trainable or sick or disabled. So I don’t know whom to trust to make sure they will love her no matter what.
      Also I don’t know how to find these barns in Arizona?

        1. Chip her put a colar on her get her nutered. You may get annoying calls is this your cat I think I found her but then at least she won’t be killed you can let her live her life outdoors happily n still look after her

  12. Seven years ago a beautiful tuxedo kitten showed up out the blue on my front porch. He was young-about 4 or 5 months old. How or why he shiwed up, I’ll never know. Maybe it was because he saw me with my two other kitties and figured I was a kitty person. Maybe somone dumped him. Anyway, this sweet stray kitty wasn’t skittish or shy at all. He was curious and friendly. I started feeding him on my porch. I petted him, played with him, and loved on him. And yes, Felix, as I came to name him had chosen me as his human mommy. Of course I had him vetted and neutered, and seven years later he’s the king of the castle, and shares my abode with his baby sister, another kitty I adopted two years ago. He’s the most spoiled little brat, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  13. My Aunt has a cat name Stretch and he was a stray.
    In 2011, after my Pappy died, Auntie said that Stretch started to come around. She would go outside and feed him and would sit on her glider and watch him eat. She also told me that it took months until he began to trust her.
    One day my Grandma told Auntie to bring the “dog” (Grandma thought the cat was a dog) inside. My Aunt was reluctant because she didn’t know if he would spray in the house. But she did let him in and and he has been her cat ever since.
    She cleaned all his battle wounds from the other cats and gave him a name (she named him Stretch because every time he would get up, he would Stretch).
    Eight years later, he is still her cat and they live happily ever after in her house and watch Soap Operas and scary shows together. He is spoiled and loves his new family!!!
    Now he is engaged to my cat (her name is Baby) and they are getting married in January on New Years Day (We are just pretending that they are getting married. We are making “pretend” decorations and guest lists.) This is all for fun and we love him very much!!! He is the best cat that has ever walked into my Aunt’s life and she doesn’t regret adopting him from the Streets of Parkland, WA!!! :)

  14. Pingback: So a Stray Cat Has Adopted You — Now What? – Info Body

  15. Pingback: So a Stray Cat Has Adopted You — Now What? – Cute funny cat kitten pictures videos

  16. I’ve always been wary of cats since being a child. Both myself and my daughter are allergic to cat hair so when we saw this black and white cat popping up in our back garden and in our neighbours back garden, we naturally didn’t welcome her in with open arms.
    on easter Monday (with the next door neighbours away) we noticed her sat on our decking so my girlfriend decided to feed her a tin of tuna. she didn’t have a collar. she enjoyed the tuna and immediately seemed quite relaxed in our presence. she hung around on the decking for a bit, enjoyed the sunshine, had a sunbath and then went back over the fence to do what she does.

    5 weeks later and Fish (we christened her Fish because of her love for tuna) is 85% a part of our house hold. when I wake up at 4.45 am I see her asleep in our back garden sat next to the light under the bench. we feed her some cat food at 6.30ish and let her have a lie on the couch for a bit before we let her out and go to work (and school). when we get home, we see her sat next to the porch window looking in waiting for us. we feed her some more food and she then makes herself at home for the evening, lying on the window sill, the couch, the rug, even our Sky box! we’ve bought her some toys that she enjoys playing with and then at 9.30pm when its time for us to go upstairs, I take her to the backgarden, feed her some snacks and shut the door! it feels horrible leaving her outside for the night, however with our allegies and our house being heavily alarmed we can’t really take the step just yet!

    all our kids love her, my girlfriend loves seeing her and to be fair I love it when I see her on the back. she’s so friendly and chilled out (I think she might be quite old). Fish is awesome!

    1. Take antihistamines and also use Flonase if needed. I do that every day now (I have 5 cats). If worst comes to worst see an allergist. I couldn’t leave the cat outside especially not at night. She made your house her home.

  17. We’ve recently been adopted, I think. There’s a cat that’s been on and off our property for at least a few days. Comes right to me when I call him, follows me around. I’ve pet him and he lets me pick him up for a short time. He has no collar though, is always in the same area when I find him, and has a tick on his neck that any owner would find right away. If he were declawed I would try to take the tick out but he’s not and I’m afraid of scaring him off. I’m going to buy cat food for him tomorrow and since he likes my garage I’m putting a box and old blanket in there. How long before I should bring him inside, if at all? He’s gotten into my enclosed porch and wasn’t afraid, just curious. But I do have a small dog. Introduce the same way as cats with one in a carrier?

    1. Hi there,

      We suggest getting this cat to the vet first thing! The vet should be able to lend more insight into any medical issues he might have, remove the tick, etc. A vet can also check to see if the cat is microchipped and if he does have an owner.

      This piece might help with the introduction!

  18. When I was living in Escondido CA, within a month I discovered that my apartment came with an added “perk”, that I came to call “Rent-A-Cat”. One day as I worked on my computer by the open front door, and orange tabby had slipped into my apartment while I wasn’t looking.

    He didn’t seem to be up to any mischief, so I decided to let him roam a while. He casually checked out my entire apartment, and then came & sat down beside my feet. When I had to leave for a while, I encouraged him to go back out. When I got back, there he was again, in front of my door. Once more he made himself at home, like he’d lived there the whole time.

    I’m a cat person anyway, so I let him hang out as he wished, feeding him like my own pet. I usually left my door open when I was there, so the cat used my place as his “home base”, for about a month. Then he just wasn’t there anymore. Within a week though, here came another cat, same routine.

    There turned out to be five cats in the complex who had their kind of “time share” system; cycling through various apartments in month-long increments regardless of the changing occupants, wherever they felt welcome. I don’t even know if any of them even came from any specific apartments; maybe they’d been constantly doing this for some time before I got there.

    It certainly was the only time I’ve found such an arrangement, but I thought it was a cool extra benefit of living there!

  19. This article helped me so much. We were adopted last month and its been nothing short of an amazing time with our new little kitty. ???? My question is, there’s a lot of feral and strays around our home. I’m already working with the shelter to get them fixed. How do you not give in and give all of them homes? My husband is scared one day he will come home from work and we will have all of the cats in the neighborhood.

    1. Tell him you are half cat and birthed a litter of kittens and these are now how his mutant cat children. 3days into fostering a family of kittens my husband declared they were all now our cats. It’s was so cute. He was just staring at them with so much emotion in his face, almost tearing up, and said “I…I just love them so much.” I thought he would be counting down the days till we could adopt them out but instead we now have 6 news furbabies for a total of 8.

  20. A lovely wee stray adopted us recently at our Spanish home. She comes into the house for food and is very tactile. However, we are going back to the UK for a couple of weeks. What do we do. I don’t want her to feel abandoned but can’t take her.

    1. Hi Helen,
      We suggest contacting local humane societies / no-kill shelters for the best advice. Thank you for caring for this kitty!

    2. Sounds like he has chosen you…keep him inside…feed him well…get a litterbox…take him to a good vet for a check up get him neutered…and his vaccines and don’t let him go outside anymore…believe me he will adjust????

    3. Perhaps you could board her with a vet or boarding facility for the 2 weeks you are gone or if you have a friend or neighbor you’re sure you trust to take care of her …pay them to care for her & feed her & keep her indoors…the boarding would probably be safer though….

  21. Help. I have a kitten outside i feed her alot shes maybe a yr old. I know she already had a liter of kittens. Some one took the kittens to shelter but left the mom back outside. now instead of 1 cat there are now 4 others Large cats have showed up and all trapping her and well ya know. I dont know where the new cats came from they just showed up one day. Im so afraid if i take the kitten in she will spray in the house until i can take her to a clinic to be fixed and find her a home. I do have a cat,
    I was going to put new cat in basement huge i may add, but afraid she will spray in the house. HELP. or do i just leave he outside till i can take her to clinic. Its still a week away. Ugh.

    1. Hi Kim,
      We suggest calling the clinic and explaining this specific situation for the best answer. Here’s some info on TNR and feral cats that might help as well:

      1. Hi everyone, just wanted to ask a question after reading this article that either the author or anyone else can chime in on. Why are cat owners so vigilant about the need for cats to stay inside the house, and panic when they get out? Is it the fear that they will die, or get hurt? Or is it a more underlying reason such as an overbearing need to have control over another’s life and having authority over every aspect of its life? I ask, because I have always been a dog owner and allowing dogs to run outside unsupervised would be irresponsible to the public and other animals. Recently I have had two stray kittens that have chosen to live in my house, which did take a few weeks to allow them to make that choice on their own. I built a door that allows them to come and go as they please, and surprisingly they stay home pretty much the entire day. But the point I’m trying to make here, is that they make that choice-not me. Keeping them in my house forcefully would make me feel very selfish and really fulfilling their existence for my benefit and not theirs.
        Just because we are humans, and have the ability to pretty much do and have control over any and everything in this world, doesnt entitle us or give us superiority to do so over another living creature, which when we think about it-is really what we all really are.
        I’m hoping I did not offend anyone, but just hoping to gain some understanding surrounding this topic.

  22. There’s a kitten that comes to my porch all the time and my daughter feeds it. It doesn’t seem scared and follows us when I’m going to work or she’s going to school. It even has tried to come in the house when my daughter comes from school. We don’t have any pets in the house so what is my next step? Do I allow the cat in or try to call the local animal shelter first?

      1. I have that same problem she came in she followed me from the across the street parking, she wasn’t shy at all 1 can of tuna was all it took. When I was taking the trash out she wandered in. So I took her up to my are (I have an entire floor to myself) but she ran in the closet and started crying. So when I went back to continue taking out trash she ran out. Should I leave her outside or try to goat her into coming back in? Markus

  23. Happy New Year & thanks for being here !!
    In early December I was adopted by a stray cat. It was the Saturday of ” Snowstorm Diego” & it was just starting to snow. I was checking my mail box & a wet, muddy, long-haired white cat was under foot, yelling to be taken out of the snow, so I did.
    She was hungry and scared, but it was obvious that she’d around people before. I’ve taken her to the local shelter for an exam & shots & worming. They think that she’s about 7 & has leukemia. Since the deworming she’s a new cat, of course. You can’t feel ribs anymore and she even acts like she wants to play some… until… she wants to scratch & bite the heck out of me ! She is very affectionate one minute & hostile the next. I let her have her space and don’t really push her, I hope.
    Finally, can you tell me how to deal with a cat like her ?
    BTW.. her name is Diego ) Thanks !!

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for taking this kitty in! Here are some articles that might help —

  24. I recently had to move home after 6 years, during this time there I have seen so many stray cats in my back garden, 4 kittens who I was able to bring home and hand rear,- their mothers sadly were virtually kittens themselves who didn’t manage to feed them – luckily I was able to keep the 4 alive and are all doing very well today, despite the house move. In the meantime, 2 strays I was able to get close to eventually and for whom I built an outside shelter for also moved with me, which was a challenge as neither had ever been in a carrier or out of their domain, but delighted I took them too. I have read up on how to keep them safe, which has meant they have been in my large conservatory, with their own familiar cat houses, blankets etc for 10 days, but I want to get them to be able to wander around the new large garden. If anyone knows the best method to do this, ensuring they won’t be freaked out or try to bolt over the gate, fence etc, I would love to hear how. I did open the doors the other day for over an hour during daylight, but neither of them ventured outside. I have tried to get a collar on them, but this is not an option as they were so distressed. I want them to be safe and secure, especially as my new garden is now next to a quiet road, but cars nonetheless nearby. Thanks

    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for caring about these cats! We suggest you contact a local humane or rescue society for advice best tailored to your situation.

  25. My cat Snuggles was formerly s stray cat in another neighborhood that I did business in s few times a week. I started to notice this swrrt ginger boy ewho apparently was being fed”people food” do I started feeding him cat food and leaving cans of food with the building janitor to feed to him on the days I wasn’t there. My friend named him Snuggles and he would react to my calling his name when I arrived. After a couple of weeks he was letting me gently pet him. I started to fall in love with him. After seeing him get attacked by two cats and seeing how scared he was and having seen him sick and curled up in a ball the decision to take him home was made. I needed him to have real toys to play with and not plastic bags Many people sacid he would have died if I didn’t take him. So I showed up with a carrier and he softly gave a few cry’s. The next day I already had arranged to have him neutered and vaccinated. This was over 4 years ago and I have never regretted for a minute becoming Snuggles “hooman.” He looks out the window but always avoids the front door. My shy and gentle boy now lowly purrs on a regular basis. ????

  26. Our elderly princess, Chert, was a former stray. We don’t know how long she was on the streets, but she had been spayed before and was quick to take over my apartment when I started feeding her inside it. We just listened to what we wanted, gave her space, cheek ribbons and food. It was a very smooth transition as she clearly wanted to be a house cat once more. The first few months after we got her, she was distant and elusive when she would get out or be let out, but over time became more comfortable and would come beg for pets when I was out gardening.

  27. haha, my cat was a feral cat…he lived for 2 years on the streets and i took him home. for a couple of weeks we locked him at home with us, then we opened our garden and let him out…he can go for days at a time and he always comes back home, it just takes time

  28. I was lucky to meet a stray neighborhood cat we nicknamed Polly since she is a polydactyl gooden long hair tabby. She has been visiting for about 12 years, and we estimate she was about 1 or 2 when she first came around. We put out dry food for her when she stopped by, and she loved to sit with us and be petted. She was only afraid of adult men, and would run if they came near. We tried to keep her overnight in the garage one cold night, because she went in and wouldn’t leave (just kept peeking under the door). Overnight she tore the curtains off the back door, chewed on the garage door rubber in an effort to escape. I had my late cat’s litter box, cat tree, new water and food out there but she just wanted out of there.
    She still comes to visit but scoots out of the garage if I try to close the door. She never liked to be picked up, but would climb into a seated lap. Last summer it looked like someone gave her a puppy cut haircut to get the mats off. The summers before I would try to brush them ou or pick out the burrs, sometimes she lost big patches of hair which I think got pulled out. She’s always thin and won’t eat dry food here but her teeth look like they have been cleaned at some point.
    Now we have a new cat visiting (all black shorthair) we feed and it keeps its distance but is coming closer and started “talking” to us. Not sure if it is male or female. Can’t get close enough to see in the dark.

  29. No, what she did was save a life. This is why there are thousands upon thousands of strays. People get tired of taking care of their cat and throw it outside to fend for itself thinking it’s ok for a cat to live on it’s own outside. They are starving,freezing, getting hit by cars, being abused by sickos and many other horrid things. Thank you for taking the time to save a cats life

    1. Leila H. Garcia

      He should have choice. He “escaped” outside because he wanted to go outside. We should reslect them to allow them to maintain control over their life. I took in a deaf feral, possibly previously owned cat after feeding him in a colony I manage and TNRed for over a year and a half. He just wanted to “escape” when I held him against his will away from all he knew. So after consulting with some feral cat experts I let him go. He gradually made the transition into a pet cat over months on his own at his own pace when given the choice to do so. SPIRIT’S STORY is being featured on the website this month which should come out April 9th.

    2. Leila H. Garcia

      Agreed he should not be held hostage…He should have choice.
      He “escaped” outside because he wanted to go outside. We should respect them to allow them to maintain control over their life. I took in a deaf feral, possibly previously owned cat after feeding him in a colony I manage and TNRed for over a year and a half. He just wanted to “escape” when I held him against his will away from all he knew. So after consulting with some feral cat experts I let him go. He gradually made the transition into a pet cat over months on his own at his own pace when given the choice to do so. SPIRIT’S STORY is being featured on the website this month which should come out April 9th.

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