Tips for adopting a stray cat

Have you become attached to a stray cat that visits your garden and have decided to adopt it? Whether it is for this reason or whether it has been another reason that has led you to make this decision, at ExpertoAnimal we want to congratulate you for the great step you are going to take best family pets.

Although we know that cats are born survivors, their quality of life will be significantly increased if they have a home to live in, care, affection and quality food. However, and especially if the feline is an adult, we must follow a series of steps to ensure that it adapts as best as possible to our home. Keep reading and discover our tips for adopting a stray cat.

Take him to the vet
If you have decided to adopt a stray cat, without a doubt, the first thing you should do is take it to a veterinarian. Whether it is a puppy or an adult, the cat should be examined by a specialist to find out if it has contracted any disease, has fleas, is injured or suffers from any other health problem.

Keep in mind that the feline has been exposed to all types of dangers, including fights between cats, eating spoiled food, poisoning by feline repellent products, blows caused by cars or other vehicles, etc. So he could have been infected with leukemia , distemper , suffered poisoning, had AIDS, and a long list of pathologies that only a veterinarian can identify and treat.

Also, remember that your new companion requires a series of mandatory vaccines that you must give him to keep his health in perfect condition, as well as identify him with a microchip to be able to find him if he ever gets lost. Finally, we recommend you sterilize it. Especially if the stray cat is an adult, he is used to looking for a mate during the mating season, if it is female, or responding to the call of a cat, if it is male. To do this, your cat will most likely escape frequently.

The carrier
Taking your stray cat to the vet will not be an easy task. To make it as comfortable as possible, you should get a carrier. Likewise, this utensil will also be very useful to take home, if you have not done so yet. Unless it is a puppy, an adult cat that has been living on the street will rarely let you hold it.

To select the appropriate carrier, it is best to go to the veterinarian and tell him the situation, he will know how to advise you. On the other hand, it is essential that the cat assumes the figure of the carrier as a positive element , and not a negative one. If we force our new feline to enter, he may associate it with negative stimuli and adopt an aggressive attitude every time he sees it.

Arm yourself with patience, stock up on cat food or treats, and use a soft, friendly voice to encourage your feline to come inside. You can also put a toy inside and leave some food to entertain him during the time he is in the carrier.

The arrival home
Preparing our home for the arrival of the new member is a crucial step in the adoption of any animal. Cats are much more independent animals than dogs, so it is recommended that your new feline has its own space in the home. In this sense, you have two options: give him an uninhabited room or let him explore freely and choose his corner. When something in his daily routine changes, the cat tends to hide and go through his own adaptation process. And, of course, adopting him and offering him a new home is a very big change for him. Hence the importance of having a corner or room for him alone.

The basic utensils that every cat should have at home are the following:

  • Food and water. Depending on the age and weight of your cat, you should select one type of food or another. Check out our article on proper feeding for cats and provide them with the diet they need. However, if your stray cat is an adult, during the first days it is advisable that you purchase wet food , with a much more appetizing smell that will quickly capture its attention and favor its adaptation to the new environment. Remember: food will be your great ally to gain their trust. Likewise, if you have selected the space that your new companion will occupy, place the bowls of water and food in it so that he can get closer and begin to get familiar. Otherwise, if you prefer him to explore and choose his corner, he leaves the food in a visible place; When you have decided which is his favorite space, place the bowls there.
  • Sandbox. Remember that cats are extremely neat animals, so you should not place their food and water bowls near the litter box. Even if they share a room, there should be some space between them.
  • Bed for sleeping. After a period of time living on the street, your cat will appreciate that you provide him with a comfortable, soft bed to sleep on. Leave her near the food and also away from the litter box.
  • Scratchers. Cats are animals that are characterized by having sharp nails, and they love to have them well cared for and prepared to defend themselves if they feel threatened. Therefore, getting a scraper is essential so that they can be filed and prevent it from causing damage to the furniture or to you.

Let your stray cat get used to its new home and don’t be surprised if the first few days it prefers not to leave its room or corner, it needs to find its stability and feel safe. Enter his space several times and share moments with him so that he gets to know you and begins to trust you, always without forcing him. If he won’t let you pet him, give him time.

Contact with nature
Especially if the cat you want to adopt is an adult, accustomed to living in constant contact with nature, hunting for its own food, interacting with other cats, etc. Therefore, you must adapt their new environment to meet that need and maintain their connection with nature.

Look for windows that connect to the outside and place boards so your cat can sit on them and watch the street. If your house has a patio, garden or terrace, decorate it with plants so that you can sniff them , explore and notice the change in your home a little less.

Cat trees are extremely useful, as they cover two basic needs for him and you, his new companion: filing his nails and climbing. On the street, your feline was used to having to climb trees and other structures to observe what is happening on the ground from a higher perspective or flee from the dangers that could threaten him.

Finally, to meet his need to hunt you must provide him with toys designed for that purpose. The cat is an animal with a highly developed hunting instinct to ensure its survival, so you will have to purchase hunting toys that also exercise it and help channel the energy accumulated during the day. In specialized stores for the sale of pet products and accessories, you will find a variety of toys that will satisfy this need, such as fake mice or canes with ropes and dolls at the end of it for you to play with. With this last type of toys, you will not only be able to keep your cat happy, but you will also strengthen your bond with him.

Respect their times
This advice is aimed at adult or elderly stray cats , since you can adapt the puppy cat to your rules without problem. Keep in mind that the stray feline is adapted to being the one who imposes its rules, schedules and routines, or to following other cats that are more authoritarian than it. Patience and respect is what he needs on your part to get used to his new habits and turn him into a house cat.

Especially if he has experienced dramatic situations, at first he may be distrustful of you and always be on the defensive. Therefore, it is essential that we treat it delicately, go little by little and not force it. Let him see how you provide him with food and water so that he associates your presence as something positive and essential to survive. Approach him with caution, small steps and a soft voice. As the days go by, he will become more and more receptive and you will be able to increase your approaches.

Respect their time and space. If he is the one who approaches you, let him caress you and lie down with you, once you have gained his trust and adaptation to the new home, you can begin to set rules. Of course, you should not confuse respect with fear. Do not appear fearful in front of him because then he will feel that you are afraid of him and will try to dominate you; He needs a loving, kind and delicate person but at the same time firm and authoritative.

Does the stray cat escape?
Your stray cat will most likely try to escape during the first few days in its new home. To avoid this, the first measure you should take is to keep the windows and doors closed . If you have a patio, garden or terrace, you should place a fence high enough so that it cannot be jumped over. Remember that it is highly positive that your new companion has the freedom to visit the yard, so denying him entry is not the solution, you should look for an alternative such as fencing.

As we mentioned in the first section, sterilization considerably mitigates the need to escape to reproduce, so do not rule out this option.

Have you already taken these measures and your cat continues to insist? So what you should do is educate your feline to take it for a walk for a while every day . Buy him a cat harness and leash and train him to listen to you during outings. We do not advise you to let him loose on the street, he may escape again.

Do not hesitate to consult our article on basic care for cats and start brushing their fur, taking care of their nails, etc., as soon as they have gotten used to their new home.

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