In most spay and release programs cats are returned to the same location they were found in.

I imagine that in some cases the original area is undesirable. In this case is it possible to release the feral cat in a new area, allowing it to remain feral?

If so what is required to keep the cat in the general area of release?

My basic line of thought is that, there are no outdoor cats in our neighborhood and I would be willing to provide food and shelter if a captured feral needed a new location.

2 Answers 2


Several references indicate rehoming feral cats is difficult and puts the cat(s) at risk. Rehoming should be a last choice. Once moved, they need to be kept contained for days to weeks until they identify with the new territory and will not try to return to the old territory.

This is one of the most concise references I found for rehoming ferals:

Relocating feral and outdoor cats is not as easy as physically placing them in their new outdoor home. Cats are very territorial, and if you simply place them in a new location, they will try to find their way back to where they came from, often times killing themselves in the process.

Fortunately, feral and outdoor cats can be acclimated to a new territory fairly easy and in a short amount of time.

  1. Place the cat in a large cage or kennel within the building they will be calling home. Give the cat a small towel lined carrier with the door held open with a small bungee cord, food and water, and a litter box. Clay litter is better than clumping in this environment, as clumping litter can get wet or in the water bowl, making a sticky mess that is more difficult to clean up. See diagram of rehoming cage set up here: rehoming cage set up

  2. Clean the litter box and give fresh food and water daily. This can easily be done by closing the cat inside the carrier (the one you have bungeed open) to keep the cat safe while you are tending to its needs.

  3. After 2-3 weeks, you can open the cage door. Food and water should be kept both inside and outside of the cage. Once the cats leave, they may never want to go back into the cage.

  4. After two more weeks, the cats should be comfortable in their new home and the cage and supplies can be taken away.

  5. Caring for your barn cat is as easy as providing fresh food and water daily. Some barn cat caregivers keep litter pans inside their barns, but often are rarely used. Never rely on outdoor cats to sustain themselves on rodents alone, they need a nutrient rich diet to sustain a healthy life. Source

Yes feral cats can be rehomed, but it is a long difficult process for the people and the cats.


  • Ferals are frequently used to keep horse barns and breweries around here free of rodents, and this is exactly how they do it.
    – Allison C
    Jul 18, 2019 at 13:00

If so what is required to keep the cat in the general area of release?

In general, it is food and shelter. If the cat can find everything it needs where it is released, it is unlikely to go very far. The new location also needs to have things that would not scare off the cats, such as other animals.

That said, if you were to put up a cat shelter and cat food, there is a good chance you would attract ferals from your neighborhood that are already there.

  • Just food and shelter isn't sufficient; they'll want to return to their "home" unless you confine them during the transitional period.
    – Allison C
    Jul 18, 2019 at 13:06

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