Vicky Halls Cat Behaviour Counsellor

Q: I've noticed what looks like a feral cat or stray cat coming into our garden nearly every day. I love cats and have 5 of my own. He looks very lonely, should I start feeding him and encouraging him to come into the house?

A: NNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Sorry to shout but this could be a recipe for disaster. I think it's a lovely idea for him to have a good home but I'm not convinced it's yours. You have five cats already that, I presume, all get on well. This little cat may look all sweet and lonely but once he trusts you and gains strength he may attempt to take over the house and drive your other cats away, particularly if he is as you suspect a feral tom cat.

Speak to your local Cats Protection shelter and they may be able to offer you a humane trap (baited with food) where you can catch him for general health care and neutering. If he is unsuitable for re-homing as he is too wild then they will probably return him to your area. He will, however, be suspicious of your involvement in his capture and probably move on. Do make sure however that he isn't an owned cat before you take matters into your own hands.

It's always worth remembering that feral tomcats can carry dangerous viral diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and could potentially transmit it to one of your cats through fighting.

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Got a question? My Feline FAQs and Free Guides page answers some of the most commonly asked questions and gives you access to some great advice in my free cat behaviour guides.

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