Bringing a community cat home
I have had a few emails in the last few days from people wanting to bring community cats home. It's always nice to hear about people wanting to adopt a community cat, but there are a few things people should bear in mind.
First, people have been asking what to do if the cat is not used to being in a home. Is there a way to make sure the cat does not scratch? One woman's husband sweetly (but misguidedly) took the cat out for a walk in his arms and the cat dashed away. She said the cat seemed okay for the two days they were in. Here's the thing - it DOES take time. The cat has lived outdoors for its whole life. It's used to living outdoors. Let's not talk about cats alone. For example, if you have a person and you put them in a completely foreign situation, the person IS going to be uncomfortable. It's not unimaginable it could be the same for the cat.
Secondly, one person said the cat sometimes scratches and bites when they are playing and wanted to know what to do about it. It may be that the cat is defensive. It does not however necessarily mean the cat is abused which she wondered about. It may also be that the cat does not like being touched all that much. Not every cat is a lap cat. Some people are very physically affectionate for example, and like to hug others. Other people really don't like it. It has nothing to do with how much the person likes you - it's a question of different comfort zones and what different people (and cats) are comfortable with.
In the end, there is nothing to do about it. The cat may get over being in a strange home and become very affectionate. The cat may not ever like being stroked. Either way, what is needed is patience. There is no short cut. Some cats ARE traumatised and there is no short cut around it except a lot of tender loving care whereby the cat hopefully does learn to trust the people.
Thirdly, yes sedatives as one person asked, are an option if the vet thinks it necessary to calm the cat down. I think however that perhaps the most important question is this - is this being done for the person or for the cat? The cat may be perfectly happy being an outdoor community cat. In that case, should you bring a cat home to sedate it so it is quiet (which usually is more for the person) or should you pehaps let it live on the street where it is happy?