Taming feral cats – a step-by-step guide


If you want to learn how to socialise a very timid cat (aka tame a feral cat scaredy cat), you’ve come to the right place.

Yes, many adult cats who haven’t had a lot of contact with humans can be socialised. It just takes time, patience and love.

They may always tend to be timid with strangers, but they can and do form close bonds with patient people.

What you’ll learn here

We explain how to help them learn to trust humans – from bringing them home to getting them adopted, from coping with vet visits to managing fear-based aggression (which is exceedingly rare).

We also have a complete toolkit to help you find a lost cat.

Some of the topics

and lots more!

What sort of cats are we talking about?

Timid cats may variously be called ‘feral cats’ (avoid using this label in Australia; since the Federal government announced its non-scientific ‘war on cats’, this word has become a death sentence), ‘stray cats’, ‘street cats’, ‘community cats’, ‘colony cats’, ‘homeless cats’ or ‘rough sleeping cats’. With much affection, and deep respect, for these amazing and courageous beings, we use the term ‘scaredy cats’.

These are usually cats who have lived near and around humans, but not in their homes. Being physically touched by a human may be new and frightening to them.

We’re not meaning cats who have lived in the back of beyond for many generations and are completely self-sufficient.

Don’t mention the F word!

In Australia, the term ‘feral’ is often used to describe any cat who isn’t immediately comfortable with people. The word is increasingly being used to demonise community cats, resulting in gross cruelty (including by governments) and tragic consequences.

Nothing good happens to a cat who has been given the label ‘feral’.

We only use the F word on this website, as it’s what people will often search for.
Shy cats are often called feral, with tragic consequences
You can help reduce the persecution. Refer to homeless cats as stray cats or community cats and never use the F word against them. For cats who live several kilometres from any human residence, we use the term wild cat.

Why help them?

Cats who are frightened of people are usually given the F label by pounds and shelters. Once a cat has been given that label, they will almost always be killed, immediately, legally and without a second chance at life.

By fostering one of these cats, you may literally be saving their life. You are giving them an opportunity to find a safe and loving home of their own. So give yourself a pat on the back, life saver!

If you desex and socialise a homeless cat who’s hanging around your home, you’ll also be saving their life.

Added bonus!

These cats are usually incredibly gentle, moreso than ‘tame’ cats. Another wonderful attribute is that they usually have perfect cat manners and integrate beautifully with your other cats – even divas!


Socialising cats  We are grateful to the moderators and members of the Feral Cats online group, from whom we have learned a great deal. This group is free for anyone to join and receive ongoing support. We highly recommend it.

Finding lost cats  We are also grateful to the Missing Animal Response Network, Cats in the Bag and the Missing Cat Assistance Group whose knowledge has enabled us to learn about lost cat behaviour. As a result, we have recovered many lost timid cats, and some confident ones.

The Missing Cat Assistance Group is free for anyone to join and learn from.

Website design We thank Kairos Web Services for creating this website.


❤ We hope you enjoy the special journey you’re embarking on. Thank you for your compassion and care. ❤

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