There is a very cute feral cat in our old home (it's next to our new one). Almost 2 weeks ago, I started feeding it every day. In the last few days, it started to rub me and even allowed me to pet it.

What I noticed:

  • Purring.
  • When I try to pet gently, it turns his head very quickly and sometimes raises its hand (I got a very little scratch :D).
  • No hissing, it follows me everywhere.

My question is: Since the cat is allowing me to pet it, is there a way that I can attract it to live/sleep in a better place? Also, how can I estimate its age? I want to get some blankets for it but am not sure how to let him understand that.

By the way, I'm 100% sure this is a feral cat, since in my community people don't care about pets that much.

Cat teeth


  • 2
    BTW, that's a calico cat. Because of genetics, calico cats are nearly always female. The rare exception would be a male with XXY, in which case it would be sterile.
    – mhwombat
    Jan 27, 2017 at 17:25
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    Some ferals have had good experiences with humans, some haven't. Some pet cats are cautious about who they will let touch them. "Normal" spans a very wide range either way. (Even with my feline experience, I was startled when an outdoor kitten walked right up and jumped onto my knee to bump my chin -- apparently it had very good experiences with humans.)
    – keshlam
    Jan 27, 2017 at 20:24

3 Answers 3


To your title: No, its not quite normal. Depends what kind of feral cat it is, really. Feral doesn't equal feral. Cats can be strays but they still have a past, f.e. this one maybe had some positive experiences in their formative months and therefore isn't completely opposed to human contact now. Plus, of course, you seem to be doing a good job :)

I would try not to pet them on your own accord, but offer your hand instead. They might rub against the hand and show you how they like to be petted, or they might get skittish which will tell you that 'hands' are a touchy (ha) subject still. To get a feral cat to associate hands with good things, you can try giving treats/food closer and closer to yourself until the food can be eaten out of the hand, the rest will come with time and patience.

Now to your other questions.

Since the cat is allowing me to pet him. Is there a way that I can attract it to live/sleep in a better place?

Yes and no. You can give them options, f.e. a box with styrofoam (insulation) inside and maybe hay for warmth. You can also somewhat move their feeding spot bit by bit and therefore establish a new place as 'safe' or good. But ultimately, they will go where they wish...

Also, how can I estimate it's age?

Usually this is done by checking th cats' teeth, but even that only gives a very rough estimate (kitten, youngling ~1, 1-4, 5-10ish, anything above). Are they castrated? If not, that should definitely be a thing on your to-do list. If they are, then the vet should definitely check for a chip/tattoo.

I want to get some blankets for it but not sure how to let him understand that.

Not sure I understand this question - just put down some blankets and maybe put some treats on top :) However, I would advise against using blankets outside, as they get damp very quickly. Styrofoam and Hay is a lot better, though the latter has to be changed every now and then as well.

  • Great info. I tried to take a photo for her teeth. What do you think about its age?
    – shadeed9
    Jan 27, 2017 at 14:00
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    Oh thats a kitten, that makes things easier (for it getting more accustomed to you, as well) :) Eyes are fully coloured, body looks normally developed - I'd say maybe 5-6 months-ish, could be a bit more (think 8 months) depending on how much food they got in them during growth spurts.
    – psycoatde
    Jan 27, 2017 at 14:19
  • I posted an update question with a video :) pets.stackexchange.com/questions/16390/…
    – shadeed9
    Feb 14, 2017 at 16:10

As with most living things, being consistent is the key to establishing the trusting relationship that will allow you to provide a better life for this young cat. I think all the above suggestions are good paths; choose what you can do consistently and the cat will come to expect and trust you, allowing the access you need. Be patient--trust takes time. And thank you for caring!


It depends on the feral's previous experience with humanity and their own personality. Some encounter a friendly human early on and decide we're mostly harmless. Some get chased and decide we're threatening. Some don't have enough exposure and are just aware that we're big enough to possibly consider them prey.

Also, it can behard to tell whether a cat is actually feral or just free-ranging but has humans somewhere.

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