I've seen a few posts on moving a feral, but most of the situations are slightly different from mine. I have been feeding a feral male with an infected eye for about 3 years now. He may be 4 or 5 years old but hard to tell. I trapped him initially and had him fixed and vaccinated and then once again to deal with the eye (hard to heal without constant Rx). When I infrequently try to pet him, he shies but does not hiss. He will come in the house frequently when I prepare his food but darts out as I approach the door. He can still be aggressive with other cats. Due to my feeding him usually twice a day he's gotten comfortable, a little chunky, and has taken to often sleeping on my front porch (bed heater included). He often is home when I return from work. There are many nights when he is not on my porch so he must have another safe spot somewhere (or other cat to sleep with).

I'll possibly be moving in a year to a similar neighborhood, maybe even quieter, in a town 5 hours away. I would have to trap him, which is difficult. I do have an older neighbor that used to also feed him, but don't know how long he will be next door. I'm not sure which is worse - not knowing how he is faring if he's left, or risk him running away or getting hurt. Any advice would be appreciated.

1 Answer 1


If you have a year, that should be plenty of time to transition him from feral (which he clearly is no longer) to at least semi-domestic and reasonably comfortable indoors. Then, you can move him just like you would any other domestic cat with access to outdoors.

Start with feeding him inside - first outside close to the door, then just inside and gradually at a spot where it suits you. You can take your time and go as slow as he’ll be comfortable. If he’s watching you prep the food, that’s brilliant already. While I usually would warn against it (because it can lead to begging and stealing), consider “accidentally” dropping a treat of sorts when he’s there.

Next encourage him to come inside for a nap - aim for the season when you can easily leave the door or window open so that he can saunter in and out as he wants.

That should get you in a good starting position so that you can sort-of-catch him when you really move.

As for sleeping on your porch at night: Note that cats are often most active at night, he might as well be roaming around instead of sleeping elsewhere.

  • Thank you for the detailed and thoughtful advice. I do occasionally feed him inside right by the door and he's getting comfortable with that. Perhaps edging him in gradually will be key. By year end I'll assess and collaborate with the neighbor who I don't think will be moving anytime in the near future. He had been feeding him as well and may still be - hence his "chunkiness"! Much appreciated.
    – R. McClary
    Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 15:56

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