Two feral cats are desperate to come in the house

A woman on the mumsnet.com website has befriended a couple of stray cats. She calls them feral cats but they might not be. She wants advice about it. She plans to let the cats come into and use her utility room by putting a cat flap in the door to that room. She is asking about how to arrange that and whether to put down a cat letter.

My answer on the mumsnet.com website is repeated below. I think the point that needs emphasising really is that once you get involved with caring for 2 stray, feral or wandering domestic cats you then become their caregiver and by your behaviour you have adopted them. 

You then have the responsibility to be their caregiver for the rest of their lives. Therefore, this particular moment in time for this woman is a very big one. It will change her life to a certain extent. It depends if she has a cat already.

Indeed, if she has a cat or cats already, adopting to strange cats might cause quite a big problem. She might be lucky but it is likely that the resident cat or cats with object quite strongly to the "invasion" of their home range by these two cats. This will cause quite a big complication for the lady in addition to caring for two cats at the same time.

Two feral cats are desperate to come in the house
Two feral cats are desperate to come in the house. She wants to care for them. Photo: mumsnet user: Swifey40.

Below is my answer to the question:

It is probably wise to check that they are genuinely not owned which means checking for a microchip. You can buy a microchip scanner on Amazon for about £30 which I think is better than going to a veterinarian to check because it would be difficult if they are genuinely feral cats.

However, if they are amenable to be placed in a cat carrier and taken to a vet, it might be useful because when checking for a microchip you can also ask the vet to check their health briefly for any obvious signs of injury or illness.

If they pass that test, once you let them into your utility room and feed them and look after them you will have two more cats for the life of the cats which is a big responsibility but it seems that it is one that you are prepared to take on.

I think you can train them to use the cat flap quite easily by leaving it open and putting food on the other side of it. And then after a while you close the cat flap and they will be motivated to get through it in the usual way.

As they are outdoor cats, I don't think you need to put down a litter tray at the moment. And if when you adopt them, they are indoor/outdoor cats, once again, you, strictly speaking, don't need to have a litter tray for them.

Although, it is said that a litter tray is useful in being able to check cat poop which allows you to diagnose some potential health problems as they develop. But that's a fairly minor advantage to set against the disadvantages of cat litter which are environmental and cost for example. Also, cat litter can be dangerous to cats because of the dust that they kick up and ingest.

Good luck and well done by the way for being so concerned about them. That's very good of you.

Postscript. I have an afterthought. If you have a cat or cats already the adoption of two new cat into your home of course will cause potential problems. Sometimes resident cat dislike this tremendously because strange cats are coming onto their territory, their home range. Just an afterthought which came to me a moment after I published my comment.

What would your answer be? I would be pleased to hear from you.

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