Whether you call them street cats or strays, you have most likely seen a few cats roaming the streets and lacking a true home. It is estimated that there are about 30 to 40 million strays throughout the United States. To help get cats off the streets and into a loving home, rescue organizations all over the country round up these kitties and put them up for adoption. If you have recently adopted a former street cat, here’s a guide to what you can expect and how to help them adjust to their new life.

The Difference Between Feral Cats and Previously Owned Cats

On the streets you will find that there are two different types of cats: feral and previously owned. You will find that if you try to approach a feral cat, they will most likely runaway. Feral cat’s are terrified of people. Meanwhile a cat was previously owned will come up to you willingly and even seek attention. Even if a previous owned cat is acting shy, after you start putting food and water out, the cat will keep coming around and eventually let you touch them. Strays and feral cats are often considered the same things, but their behavior towards humans makes them quite different.

Medical Challenges

The first thing you should when taking a stray off the street is go to veterinarian office to have it medically assed. Even if the cat appears to be fine, you will want to check to see if the cat has any worms, fleas, or mites. Living on the streets can be rough! After that you will want to make sure that you cat is sterilized and up to date on all of their vaccines.

It’s also extremely important to check for parasites like like coccidia or giardia and diseases like feline leukemia and AIDS (FIV). These diseases can easily spread and be a dangerous threat to not only the cat’s life but to the other pets in your home.

Behavioral Adjustment Period

The first couple weeks with a new stray cat might be challenging. While they adjust to their new environment you may experience a few behavioral problems. This is not uncommon. Many of the behavioral issues can be easily solved. For example if you notice your cat is scratching up the furniture, consider buying a scratching post. Using the litter box is another issue that may pop up. To encourage your kitty to use the litter box, keep it clean and scoop at least twice a day. If you find that you cat is not taking to the litter, you may want to try out different brands and types.

No matter what behavioral issue you are experiencing, keep patient. It will take time for both you and your cat to adjust.