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I live with 2 cats in a quiet residential area in Tokyo. For the past few months, a stray cat keeps coming to our house and I've been feeding him everyday.

He spends most of a day in our backyard lately, and I'm willing to adopt him if he is okay. However, he seems to be afraid of humans and would never let me touch or even approach him. He always moves away no matter how slowly and gently I or my wife try, but keeps coming back and watching us and meows as if he actually wants to become a member of our family.

I also want to take him to a vet for inspection before welcoming him, but I'm not sure how it is possible. Are there any steps should I take? Should I induce him to come inside the house instead of trying to stroke him first? I don't want to do anything against his will, but definitely he is interested in us and depending on us (in terms of food and dwelling, at least). I consider using a trap to capture him as the last resort because it may scare him and deteriorate our relationship. Any advice in the situation like this?

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You may be able to entice the cat with food. Try to stay near the food dish while the cat is eating, but far enough so the cat will come and eat. Do not attempt to come closer to the cat while it is eating. Then, you can very slowly decrease the distance you are from the food dish over time.

Once you can get very close, you might be able to start trying to hand feed the cat. If the cat is okay with that, then you might try to pet it very slowly while it's being hand fed. If you are successful, try to slowly increase the amount of handling. However, since it is a feral cat, I would put high odds on the cat always being somewhat shy and easily spooked.

Of course this method will take a very long time, I would expect weeks at minimum, and so I might look into getting a trap anyways, in the case the cat becomes injured while you are attempting to tame it, and it becomes necessary to take it to the vet right away.

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Cats - like humans - have their own personality. Some love to cuddle and are very social, others don't like to be touched. This cat seems to be the latter.

You should be aware that not every cat needs to be inside a house and sleeping on a bed to be happy. You should not try to impose your idea of a "perfect cat life" on him. You can adopt him and care for him while still giving him the freedom to come and leave whenever he wants.

You should also be aware that male cats are less social than female cats. We have a lot of questions on this side of cat brothers chasing away their sisters or a new male cat being aggressive towards other cats living in the same household. All your cats will need a long time and a gradual introduction towards each other.


That said, the best way to catch him to be examined by a vet might not be to grab him and push him into a transport box, but to let him walk into the box himself.

If you already have a suitable transport box, simply put it into your backyard near the place where he likes to be. Let him get acquainted with it on his own terms and in his own time. To aid your efforts, you can put little morsels of foot inside to lure him in the transport box. Let him move freely in and out the box for several days before you try to trap him inside, or he'll avoid going inside after the first attempt.

If you want to touch him, use the same strategy. Sit calmly in your backyard and let him come to you. You can lure him with food, but you should give him time to trust you instead of pushing the matter.

First put a bit of food near you and let him eat it without interacting with him or looking at him. Then you can offer the food in your hand. Let him sniff you and eat the food from your hand without trying to touch him, or you might scare him away. Take the next step (light touches to the front or side of his chest, where he can see you and can move away) only several days after he willingly approaches you.

You should not look him directly into his eyes, because in cat language this is a warning signal. Do the "lazy eye blink" instead to communicate that you are no danger to him. You can verbally greet him with his name to show him that you are aware of and accept his presence (as opposed to sneaking up to him or chasing him away).

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