Bring them home and settle them in

Bring your feral cat home and set them up in their sanctuary space
When your feral cat scaredy cat arrives, it’s best to have their taming crate or room already set up for them, if possible.

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Before opening the carrier door, make sure all doors, windows, vents, chimneys and other escape points in the house are closed – completely closed – and that no-one will come in, or go out of, the house. Also close the door to their room, even if they’re going into a crate.

Your cat is out of their previous territory and will be very frightened. They’ll be looking for any available exit.

If a cat can get their head through a gap, they can get their body through it – a tiny five centimetres is all many cats need.

Once they’re out of your house, they’re very hard to find. All the trouble you’ve gone to rescue them, pay for their vetwork and hopefully save their life, could be for nought. Finding them will take a lot of your time.

Have a hiding spot ready

One of the most important things to do when they arrive is to make sure they have a place to hide in their crate or room. This reduces cats’ stress levels. A carrier covered with a towel, igloo or cardboard box all work. They are essential to start off with. If using a carrier or cardboard box, place a soft cushion or folded towel in it.

Transfer from carrier

Put their carrier in the crate, open the carrier door and let them take their time coming out. Unless you need the carrier straight away, don’t force them out.

If you do need the carrier, point it towards their hiding place. Gently tip it and remove the towel/sheet covering the carrier. If you have to, lift the top off the carrier a little to encourage them. They should move to their hiding space in the crate or room.

Depending on how frightened they are, they may not come out of the hiding space while you’re present and may wait until you’ve gone to bed, when they feel safer.

Check crate doors and exit points

Before leaving your cat to settle, double check that all latches on all crate doors are closed. Make sure windows and any other exit points (doors, chimneys, vents) are closed. Even though they’re in a crate, it is possible for them to squeeze through the wire, if determined enough. Watch some cats do this.

Yup, we really want to hammer this message home. We have spent more time than we’d like searching for timid cats who have got out of their foster homes, all over our fine city. It’s time consuming, stressful and takes us away from helping (and cuddling!) other cats.

‘Trap nose’

If your cat was caught in a trap, they may have a small wound on the bridge of their nose. (When the trap door closes on them, they usually throw themselves against the door, trying to get out, injuring their nose). This will usually heal on its own fairly quickly.


Samson’s wounds
Samson was left in a council-provided trap overnight, with no-one monitoring the trap to cover it when he was trapped. His ‘trap nose’ was more severe than usual.

His wounds healed fairly quickly, with the help of some colloidal silver dripped onto his nose from the top of the trap.