Should we adopt a feral kitten?

Several days ago, I posted a thread seeking advice on whether Mr. Skeptic and I should adopt another kitty. We’ve decided to go ahead and do it, and of course there’s an abundance of shelters in the area.

The kitten that sounds pretty good to us is a three-month-old female calico who is “shy but affectionate and cuddly.” Also, we fell in love with her picture.

As it turns out, though, she was born in the wild and is still a bit skittish. FWIW, here she would be an indoor only kitty. Dopers who have experience with/knowledge of this type of situation, please offer advice. Other dopers feel free to check out her pic and tell me how cute she is. :slight_smile:

We are going to meet her this afternoon to see how it goes. If all goes well, we could be bringing her home. Help!

We have a former feral cat. When we got him, he was Mr. Mystery, we never saw him. Now he’s cordial, coming and visiting in the same room with us once the kids are in bed. He’ll let me and my wife pet him.

He won’t be in the same room with our kids, they’re just too noisy for him, and he won’t let us pick him up. When my extended family visited for a weekend, he was so scared he hid under the bed for two day and nights.

He’s good companionship once we all agreed to the rules.

I say go for it, I have a feral cat living under the sink who has turned out to be a real sweety. No reason a young kitten can’t become a perfectly well adjusted cat, as far as cats go anyway. If she likes being petted and you can pick her up, I wouldn’t consider her feral really.

She is very cute by the way.

Our current cat, Agate, was a former feral cat. (The Humane Society caught her in a live trap.) The biggest adjustment she needed to make was the fact that food was constantly available: at first she would gobble up the food quickly, afraid that it would dissapear on her if she left anything in the bowl. (Once she realized that the food wasn’t going to go anywhere… whooo boy.)

That, and she didn’t quite get that we weren’t just big ugly looking cats: playing with us and using her claws was something that took time and patience to train her out of.

It may just be Agate, but she’s also very attached to her routine. She gets visibly upset if her routine is changed, or broken. Thankfully, her sense of time is developed enough that she understands the ‘five days: humans get up in morning, two days: humans sleep in, repeat’ routine.

checks link Awww. Such a cute kitty! She’s even got the same pissed off look Agate normally has!

<< Look! A distraction! >>

My family has raised several feral kittens with mixed results.

The kittens that were raised with constant attention in the house became the most friendly later on, not suprisingly. They love my parents and sleep with them every night. I can pet them as well, but other people rarely see them much less touch them. They hide from visitors.

As long as you are able to give the kitten lots of love and attention as well as a place where he can hide and feel safe, I would say go for it. These kittens are difficult to place and you could have a wonderful new addition to your family.

I volunteer in a project named Stray Cat, from the Dutch Animal Protection. Our core business is to catch feral kittens from the wild (well, the urban “wild”), separate them from their feral mothers, and raise them in foster homes where they get used to people, petting, the vacuum cleaner etc.

The kittens thus socialized differ in no way at all from kittens born in a friendly home. The kitten may be nervous or shy, but that may just be her character, a trait she’d also had if she hadn’t been feral.
Like other posters said: if she can be petted, she ain’t feral. Go ahead and adopt her. She looks cute.

My angle once found a young feral cat (IIRC it was a member of a feral colony somewhere on a building site in London) that was extremely ill and being a great cat-lover, picked her up and put her into his coat (something he says he doubts he would of ever of been able to do if it wasn’t for the fact the cat was at Death’s door) and brought her home with him. The cat made an almost complete recovery (though it did have a permanetly runny nose for the rest of it’s life) and became one of the most friendly and docile cats you’d ever meet, spending most of it’s time sitting on top of the radiator, though apparently it did have a fetish for worms and would bring them in while the family were eating spaghetti bologanese and consume them.

So long as she has been tested for FELV and FIV you should be ok.

I have six former ferals and you can see that the ones that were youngest when domesticated are most tame and the two adults are still very much their own selves and just about tolerate my presence because I feed them.


Yes, if the kitten is young, and you take it slow and give her plenty of love- she’ll be very affectionate and loving.

I have a two year old neutered male cat who was rescued from a feral mom and brought to my home as an 8 wk old kitten. For the first year or so, he was the most hyper cat I’ve ever known, literally bouncing off the walls on a daily basis. He exhibited no fear of anything or anyone, and still thinks the dogs are his to command. He’s settled down considerably, but remains an extremely outgoing, intelligent, feline and a wonderful and interesting pet.

My cat was probably a former feral, and she has mostly adjusted to her new life. She’ll never be fully socialized - I’m the only human she’ll really spend any time with, but she’s not at all agressive, and she’s really very sweet. She’s also been very tolerant of other animals, which is important. All in all, I’m glad I found her, overall.

Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement. We just got back from picking her up at the animal hospital. (They were holding some “overflow” from the shelter. Nice people.) She’s holed up in the family room right now; we let her out of her carrier in the living room rather than taking her straight to the master bathroom and she ran downstairs to the family room. :smack: The family room has three couches in it. Ask me if I’ve been able to catch her to put her in the bathroom. We may just let her stay in the family room for a while. :slight_smile:

Also, while we were there we fell in love with this little eight-week-old black and gray tabby male and brought him home too.

Our original cat, Ace, didn’t go ballistic, but he’s not the happiest camper. I have a feeling that the tabby kitten is going to drive him nuts; that kitten plays constantly. (He acclimated immediately, it seems. Apparently he thinks our house is just one big kitty playroom.)

Well, guess I’ll have to start a “help me name my kitty” thread.

When I came back from one of my first trips to England there was a kitty sitting on my doorstep as if that was where she belonged.

I opened the door and put my luggage in and let the dog out. The kitty was not so keen on the dog, but walked straight into the trailer and made herself at home.

Dog loved cats so we let her stay. Had that kitty until I moved to England the following spring.

There were tons of ferral cats in the woods behind the campground. I fed most of them and was able to tame most of them. There was a local charity that would catch the ferral cats and fix them and then try to find them homes.

Ferral cats to tend to make nice pets, imho.