How do I win the trust of a stray cat I feed?

by Sandy
(Pearland, TX)

This cat and several other cats appeared last year after hurricane Harvey. I think the others had other people take them in.


The one that I feed is not really friendly and hisses at me every time. He is waiting on me in the morning outside and at his evening meal.

Sometimes he even slaps at me but never has used his claws. I have never screamed or slapped at him.

What can I do to gain his trust?

He will let me pet him on the back while he is eating, but that is the only time I am allowed to do so. Any suggestions?

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Get a trap
by: Sally F.

Rosalyn,

Truly feral cats are afraid of humans, so it sounds like you have an in-between kitty that is difficult to manage. By in-between, I mean a stray that is not quite feral but not tame enough to be compliant.

If she's feisty enough, I would treat a cat like that just like I'd treat a feral. To get a feral cat to the vet, you usually have to trap them.

Your kitty, however, let's you pet her, which means you can get close enough to throw a blanket over her and scoop her up in it, then place her in a carrier (maybe). If that doesn't work, you'll want to use a trap. Good luck!

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Stray cat care
by: Anonymous

I place food & water out & let the kitties see U care, did this for the neighborhood stray cat Shadow who is Outdoors Indoor kitty & part of the family, give others kitties to other families

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Time and patience
by: Kurt (Admin)

It takes a lot of time and patience. If you're able to get close enough to touch him, and he let's you, you're almost there. Going from "almost there" to truly winning a cat's trust, though, can take months or even longer.

Keep feeding him. Sit near him. Play with him. Some of the best cat toys for bonding with a cat are the wand type (like the Cat Charmer by Cat Dancer or Da Bird). Eventually, he may even start eating treats out of your hand. Quite a few of our readers have taken in cats that at first seemed impossible. Slow and steady. :)

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Ferral cats
by: Rosalyn Brown

I have had over 18yrs. 9 rescues. I have 5 left as 1, my daughter took and lost 3 to cancer. It is so hard to treat two of my cats with flea meds and one has a red belly that she licks all the time. How I ever managed to get her to my vet was a miracle. Vet gave her an injection and it went away, when it came back vet gave me some pills to add to her food but told me if it comes back, I would have to bring her in. I bought over the counter a spray but cannot even get near her ! She has been with me 8yrs. She lets me pet her but never pick her up. HELP !

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