A feral cat is one who has always been wild, usually born to a wild mother and frequently found around farms, although they can also be found in cities. Taming a feral cat is very different than taming a stray cat.
Usually a stray cat was a pet that got lost or was abandoned by its owner and is now living in the streets as a wild cat, but this cat remembers having been somebody’s pet, and so it is normally not difficult to tame them again. Sometimes when the family moves to a new home, an older cat will miss the old home and escape from its new home and get lost. These cats are very easily domesticated again.
If the cat became a stray at a very young age, it may take some time and effort before it trusts you, but after you have fed it and treated it kindly on a regular basis, it is very likely the cat will adopt you as its friend and your house as its permanent home.
With feral cats the process is more difficult. They are independent, are used to looking for their own food and don’t like to be kept indoors, which makes them feel trapped. They are not accustomed to being near humans, so their normal feral cat behaviour will be to reject your companionship. In order to domesticate a feral cat you need to think what you can offer the cat that could make him accept you as its companion. Even if you are willing to give it a lot of love and attention, the cat will need a lot more time to appreciate and accept it.
You will have a better chance domesticating a wild cat that lives in a city or around an inhabited farm, because this kind of cat is used to seeing people and from time to time being fed by them. When a cat has never had any contact with humans it is very difficult if not impossible to domesticate it, but a feral cat that is used to seeing people may eventually become your pet.
The catch is first to feed the cat in your back yard regularly, being careful not to feed rats instead of the cat you are interested in. With time and patience, gradually put the food closer and closer to the entrance of your house, but do it slowly, so as not to scare the cat. Little by little you can place the food closer to the house, and then just inside, at which point it may end up adopting your house as its home because cats are very territorial.
If you try to trap a feral cat and take it home, be prepared for the cat to hiss, bite and scratch, because it will be afraid of you, and want to defend itself. Take it to a veterinarian at once for a health check and to have it vaccinated and probably neutered. Wild animals can spread serious diseases to humans through an infected bite or scratch, so you need to be sure that the cat is healthy.
It’s a good idea to give it a safe place to stay, if possible a small place that’s easy to clean, like a spare bathroom. Your new pet will not be house trained and can have digestive problems at first because of the change in its diet. It is better to spend some time with your pet every day so it can adjust to your presence. Try to be with it for about half an hour after it has finished eating.
Unless there is a very good reason for adopting a feral cat, it is often kinder to let them live out their lives in the wild. But if you do want to discover for yourself how to tame and care for a feral cat, you will need a lot of love and patience before your efforts are rewarded.