Adopting the Unadoptable

Because feral cats are accustomed to the wild, they are often overlooked as a prime choice for a house cat. However, with proper precautions and lots of patience, feral cats can become part of your family. Elaine Hughes shares how to help your feral friend make this transition.

By Jill Elaine Hughes

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Feral or wild cats are a huge animal-control problem. Often regarded as a public nuisance, animal-control agencies frequently capture and euthanize these free-roaming animals. However, most are never successfully captured doomed to die young of disease, accidents, or bait for illegal dogfighting. Herds of feral cats also contribute to the growing spread of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV).

For many years, cat fanciers regarded these unfortunate animals as unadoptable, and recommended their humane capture and euthanasia. But now, a growing number of organizations can help cat lovers tame and adopt these animals into loving homes. And for truly unadoptable feral cats, these same organizations can help humanely contain and support feral populations while preventing the spread of disease.

**For the full article, pick up the August issue of CAT FANCY.**

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Reader Comments

Des    Los Angeles, CA

7/1/2009 12:01:26 AM

This Easter, my boyfriend and I adopted a 3 year-old feral cat that had been confined in a cage at a local animal hospital for two entire years! This cat was considered to be "unadoptable" as she attacked both people and other cats. We took a chance on her (as she instantly fell in love with me) and she's turned out to be the most behaved & affectionate cat anyone could ask for. She sleeps with us at night, is very vocal and intelligent, and plays with her toys as if she were still a little kitten. So please, take a chance on a feral cat.

Pam    Linden, VA

1/14/2008 6:39:18 PM

I have successfully socialized quite a few feral cats and kittens and feel passionately that they're well worth the effort.

lindsy    denver, CO

11/25/2007 9:22:31 PM

I agree that feral cats should be given a chance. My grandpa coaxed a seemingly unapproachable feline not long ago and now she lives comfortably with my grandpa and does not hiss or shy away from strangers. There is hope out there if we make the effort.

Kiff    Albuquerque, NM

3/2/2007 1:30:55 AM

Nope, no such thing as an "unadoptable" cat! 4 of my 6 cats are adopted ferals. They were all "older kittens", well past the "prime" age of 6-7 weeks for adoption. Yes, they've required major patience and effort to socialize, but they're the BEST! Man, you want PERSONALITY in a cat? Adopt a feral kitten or three!

The adult ferals in the colony are tougher prospects. Some of them might be adoptable, but I've chosen the trap/neuter/return approach instead. My "pet" cats are indoor-only, and the adult ferals would probably not be happy if they couldn't go outside.

I have a big, friendly boy in my office right now who wound up with an infected scrotum when I had him neutered. He's a stray, not a true feral, but he can't WAIT to get out of "jail"! I've had him inside for 2 weeks, and he's almost done with his antibiotics. He's been yowling constantly the entire time. I'd love to keep him, but he wouldn't like it. Just a couple more days, buddy - hang in there!

Anyone want a very large, very affectionate, very vocal indoor/outdoor black cat with gorgeous yellow-green eyes and a clipped left ear?!? A real cream puff and purrs like a locomotive!

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