Should You Take in Feral Cats as Pets?

Feral cats are animals that spend their life in colonies and are not domesticated. Feral cats may present a number of problems, ranging from numerous diseases to behavior problems, but if properly vaccinated and trained, they can be taken as pets.

Problems with Feral Cats

There are a number of problems with feral cats that you should know about before you decide to adopt one. Feral cats can carry various diseases and they are rarely vaccinated. Rabies, intestinal parasites or fungal skin infections (ringworm) can be transmitted to humans, so you need to be extra careful with feral cats. Contact with saliva, bites or scratches can be enough to transmit these zoonotic diseases. Feral cats may have a hostile behavior, because they are not used to living with humans and may be aggressive even when handled with care. A feral cat that has the rabies may not be controllable, and is extremely dangerous.

Feral Cats and Other Pets

Feral cats may also have diseases that can be dangerous for other pets:

Feral cats live 3 years on average, due to the numerous health hazards they are exposed to. A lot of these diseases can be dangerous for other pets, especially if they are young, senior or have a damaged immune system. Feral cats may also be very aggressive toward other animals, as they may feel threatened.

Should You Take Feral Cats as Pets?

If you find a feral cat and you would really like to adopt him, you need to make sure you and your other pets are safe, and do everything you need to integrate the feral cat into your family. You will have to:

  • Get the rabies vaccine, and administer it to the members of your family also.
  • Perform a full veterinary check and use gloves whenever you handle the cat prior to the vet check.
  • Get all the vaccinations given to pets.
  • Get training sessions; if need be, you can contact a feral cat organization that could offer tips and training.
  • Get your feral cat used to your other pets or family, first by keeping him isolated and allowing the feral cat to be around other pets or people only for a few minutes or hours.

If the feral cat is not able to adjust to domesticated life, even after several months of training and effort on your part, you may have no choice but leave the feral cat to get on with his wild life. Feral cats, especially if accustomed to wild life, may often run away from home. However, if you adopt a feral kitten, you have increased chances of domesticating him.

Most commonly, feral cat organizations catch the felines, vaccinate them and then release them in their environment.