Want to adopt a street cat? Be prepared to face these challenges

By February 19 | See Comments

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Want to adopt a street cat? Be prepared to face these challenges

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You smiled at her and she mewed back. You gave her a bowl of milk, and then another. Now she wants to adopt you. Wait, wasn’t it the other way around? Cats are adorable creatures and with those liquid orbs gazing right into your eyes, it is impossible to resist their charms. But before we decide to bring home a street cat, there are a few things that we need to know.

Feral or stray

Feral cats are not familiar to human contact and don’t respond well to indoor life. They are afraid of people and survive better foraging and hunting food for themselves. Strays on the other hand were pets at some point of time in their lives and were either abandoned or got lost when they strayed outside their homes. For the same reason, strays are easier to tame. They can, if given enough love and attention, adapt beautifully to an indoor life and be excellent companions.

The trip to the vet

The first step to adopting strays is to get them checked by a veterinarian. They should be vaccinated, checked for all medical conditions and neutered, all as per the advice of the vet. For our safety and theirs, sick street cats should be treated before they are introduced to humans and pets. In the meanwhile, any contact with our wards should be followed by a thorough hand wash.

Have patience, lots of it

It is natural for stray cats to feel out of sorts and scared with the sudden change of environment. For the first couple of days they might simply gobble up their meals and run off to hide without so much as a “meow” in return! We should give them some space without trying to pet them if they don’t feel comfortable with human company yet. Slowly, they will get over their distrust and come to us by themselves which would be a rewarding feeling!If we have other pets, we should isolate our adopted cat from the rest. They should get familiarized with each others’ smells first. Then they can be introduced slowly to one another under supervision in a process that might take a few days!

Expect the unexpected

Even after all the precautions that we take, a stray cat might try to run away. Or giving us a pleasant surprise the very next day, she might climb onto our lap and purr. Other than that, we should be alert during the initial couple of days because we know nothing about the medical history of our new pet. We must understand from our vet whether there is any particular symptom that we should be watching out for.

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