Although it is possible to to go down the path of adopting a stray cat, and many people do, there can be some major problems in the process. Most people that adopt stray cats already know a lot about cats, and their different temperaments, but if you are considering adopting a stray cat in your area, there are some important factors to take into account before you do.
In this article we will look at some of these major problems, so that you can decide if it is really worth adopting a stray cat, and so that you can make an informed decision, because it will be a big commitment.
Important matters to consider in relation to adopting a stray cat.
1. Is it a stray or feral cat?
One of the first things you need to be sure of is whether a cat is a stray, or a feral cat, and there is a big difference between the two. In addition, it is also not recommended to try, and adopt a feral cat, so let us look at the difference.
- A feral cat is the same as any other domestic cat, it is not a different species, it has just been born into the wild, developed hunting skills, and prefers to stay away from humans as much as possible, and often live in colonies.
- A stray cat is a cat that has lost his home, or owner due to the owner died or moved away, or someone who just didn’t want a cat anymore. Furthermore, it has been domesticated, and is used to human contact, but is now living in the wild.
- Depending on how long the stray cat has been in the wild, he could have resorted to being feral, and may even be part of a colony. That being said, most strays seem to want human contact, and will often be seen on front porches begging for scraps, and will even allow you to pet them or even pick them up.
- It is the stray cat that you may have developed a relationship with that we will be focusing on in this article today, because this is the type of cat you may be thinking of adopting as we did with Oscar our current cat. Once you have decided you want to adopt a stray cat there are several things you have to consider before going ahead with this, and the first thing is knowing if he is tame enough to allow you to hold him and put him in a cage.
2. Get the stray cat comfortable with being placed in a cat cage
- Putting a stray cat into a cage may take some time, because he will be suspicious of it if he has never been in one before, so introduce the cage to him over a period of time, even allow him to go inside of his own accord.
- The reason you need to get him inside a cage is, because one of the first things you need to do is to get him to a vet, and there are several reasons for this.
3. Have the cat checked out by a vet for diseases
- Firstly you need to have the cat checked out by a professional to ensure he has no diseases from being in the wild, and secondly so that you can insure he has the correct vaccinations, and preventive shots to protect him and you and your family.
- Vaccinations are extremely important for any cat, but especially for a cat that has spent some time in the wild, because they can have diseases that can not only effect you and your family, but also other cats that may be in your home too. Here are some of the more important ones that should be checked for.
4. Feline Leukemia
- Feline Leukemia can be a deadly disease that can spread from one cat to another just by sharing the same water bowl, and there is no cure, but vets do not often see cases of this disease in vaccinated populations of cats.
- Having said that, it is not just diseases that can spread to other cats, there are also diseases that cats can give to humans ( as mentioned below ) and some are not very pleasant to deal with.
- This is a condition that humans can contract from cats and although a healthy person may show no signs of this disease, it is a concern for pregnant women or those whose immune system is compromised.
- Toxoplasmosis comes from a parasite called toxoplasma, and those who do get it usually suffer from headaches, muscle pain, sore throat, fever and enlarged nymph nodes.
- This condition is found in cat feces, and for those with a compromised immune system may experience more severe symptoms, treatment usually consist of antibiotics.
6. Cat scratch fever
- This is also another condition that can be caught by humans, otherwise known as Bartonellosis, and cats can also spread this to other cats via licking, scratching, biting and even sneezing.
- Symptoms in cats are a high fever, pneumonia and even bronchitis, however, symptoms in humans can be fever, fatigue, headache and swollen nymph nodes.
- While treatment may not be necessary for a healthy person, someone with a compromised immune system may require antibiotics, this condition mostly feels like a mild case of flu.
- Another condition that cats can pass on to other cats is ringworm, but can also be transmitted to dogs and humans as well. Symptoms of ringworm are circular spots of hair loss, also ringworm is not actually a worm but rather a fungus.
- Cats do not have to be in close contact with others for them to transmit this condition either, as it can be contracted from infected food bowls or even bedding, and the spores of ringworm can remain active up to one year.
- This is a concerning condition, because once you have it, it can take a very long time to eradicate it from your home once it is established.
- Probably the most concerning disease that stray cats may have is rabies, and due to the high mortality rate of animals that have rabies, virtually 100%, is also concerning for humans, because they can catch it too.
- However, in humans if caught early rabies is completely treatable with shots, but it’s better to err on the side of caution where this condition is concerned.
- Rabies is passed on usually by a bite, but any contact with saliva can pass it on, also it can be difficult to tell if a stray has rabies as they may have it for months before showing any symptoms, so any bite should be treated immediately, and rabies shots are very important.
- Catching diseases, and conditions from cats, and strays passing conditions on to other cats, dogs and even humans is not the only concern when adopting a stray.
- The chances are a stray will have fleas, mites, lice or some other parasite, and once a home is invaded by these parasites, it is difficult to say the least to get rid of them entirely, plus it can be very uncomfortable for everyone in the home.
- Moreover, if a stray has been used to living alone, bringing him into a home with other pets, especially cats, can result in fighting, and territorial disputes within the home.
- If you have decided to adopt a stray cat, be prepared for all the above situations, and take precautions in every area, be sure to take your new friend to the vet, that is the very first thing to do.
- Speak to the vet, or an animal shelter to get the best advice on how to introduce him into the home without any stress or anxiety, make sure he gets all the shots he needs as well as a clean bill of health from the vet.
- Adopting a stray is a large commitment, and you have to be sure to take into account the stray, and the effect it may have on both you and your family, as well as discuss with a professional whether it will be the best thing for the cat.
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