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Home > Cats > How to Calm a Feral Cat: 5 Expert Tips & Tricks

How to Calm a Feral Cat: 5 Expert Tips & Tricks

feral cat with arched back

A feral cat is a wild cat that has either never been domesticated or that has been abandoned by their original owner and has reverted to a life of roaming. Feral cats can be very skittish around people, so it’s important to remember that they should only be handled with caution, if at all. They make great pets if they’re taken care of in the right way, though, and there are many organizations that work to help feral cats in need.

Do feral cats make good pets? Yes, though interacting with them might not be easy. Often, wild cats will not allow you to get close to them, much less touch them. A feral cat might even run away if you make eye contact with them! It takes time to calm a feral cat so that they become more social around you and other people. This article describes how to calm a feral cat that has never been around people.


The 5 Tips to Calm Down a Feral Cat

1. Let the Cat Take the Initiative

You will only scare the cat if you try to exert pressure on them. Give the cat some time to get used to you. You should talk to them in a calm and positive manner when they come close to you, using a soft voice to reassure them that you’re safe.

feral cat in the street
Image Credit: M Production, Shutterstock

2. Encourage Interaction With Treats and Toys

The feral cat should be rewarded with treats once they comes near you without running away. Be calm and keep your voice down as you approach the cat. By providing a tasty treat like a piece of chicken to the cat, you can earn the cat’s trust. If the cat is comfortable with you and wants to hang out with you, they will come closer to you at this point. You may be able to just sit next to the cat, or the cat could wander around nearby.

3. Get the Cat Used to Being Around People

Human conversation, music, sudden movement, doors opening, and closing, and other noises and disturbances can scare feral cats. It takes mindfulness and care to help a feral cat become accustomed to all the racket humans make. The best time to introduce a feral cat to human activities is during their mealtime.

Do some slow and deliberate tasks while the cat is busy eating to get them used to your movements and sounds. They will be motivated by the food so their stress tolerance will go up, but only slightly. Keeping calm and somewhat quiet will prevent the cat from taking off and never returning.

two feral cats
Image Credit: Joseph M. Arseneau, Shutterstock

4. Provide a Place for the Cat

Upon becoming familiar with your new pet, you should make them a cozy place to rest. There are a variety of ways in which you can arrange the space, from an open-air shed to a warm patio cat bed. All it takes is making sure that the space you create for the cat is welcoming and warm so that they can feel comfortable and safe.

5. Get to Know Your Cat

Once the cat has settled in their new space, spend some time with them. To protect yourself from scratches, cover up around the cat. Wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, gloves, and shoes. Spend time with your cat at the same time every day and don’t get too close. You should also avoid eye contact so they won’t feel threatened. Spend as much time with the cat as you can to get them used to you. Once they feel comfortable around you, you can start playing with them. Get your cat some cat toys like a toy mouse or stuffed animal and slowly introduce the toy so the cat knows it’s not a threat. Playing with the toy will make the cat happy to interact with you.


How Are Feral Cats and Socialized Cats Different?

Domestic cats that are socialized are comfortable around people. Feral cats are not domesticated because they have little to no contact with humans and are basically wild. Semi-feral cats are in-between domestic cats and feral cats. Semi-feral cats don’t like being touched, but they might make eye contact with you or vocalize.

The Signs of Aggressive or Scared Cats

One way to determine whether a cat is feeling aggressive or scared is to look at their body language. Aggressive cats will often have their backs arched and their tails held high, while scared cats may tuck their tails between their legs and lower their heads. Cats may also exhibit certain behaviors when they’re feeling aggressive or scared. Aggressive cats may hiss, spit, or growl, while scared cats may meow loudly or hide under furniture.

tabby feral cat walking in the street
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

When Does a Feral Cat Adjust?

There is no one answer to this question as feral cats vary in their ability or willingness to adjust to living within human society. Some may take weeks or months to get used to being around people and being handled, while others may never fully adapt and prefer to live on their own.

Factors such as how long the cat has been living as a feral, how many negative experiences they have had with humans, and their personality can all play a role in how well they adjust.

Can a Feral Cat Become a House Cat?

It is possible for a feral cat to become a house cat. Feral cats are typically unaccustomed to humans and can be fearful of them. However, through consistent positive interaction with people, feral cats can learn to trust humans and eventually become house cats.

Signs a Feral Cat Trusts You

The behavior of feral cats can vary greatly from one cat to the next. However, there are some general signs that a feral cat may be starting to trust you, such as coming closer when you offer them food or water or allowing you to pet them gently. In some cases, a feral cat may even allow you to pick them up, although this should not be attempted without knowing and being around the cat for a long time.

When Is It Too Late to Tame a Feral Cat?

The answer to this question depends on the individual situation. In some cases, it may be too late to tame a feral cat once they have become excessively fearful or aggressive, while in other cases it may be possible to bring the cat around with patience and consistent effort.



In conclusion, there are many ways to calm a feral cat. Offering them food and water, getting them used to your presence, and speaking softly to them can all help to ease their anxiety. If the cat is aggressive, it may be necessary to back off and try again later. By following these tips, you can help to make the feral cat feel more comfortable and reduce their stress levels.


Featured Image Credit: katamount, Shutterstock

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