How to Bring a Stray Cat Into the Home

By Nora Zavalczki

A stray cat is a feline that used to have an owner, but lives on the streets. Stray cats may have a difficult time adapting to living on the streets, especially if they have lived indoors for a long time, and they are looking to find a new home. The disadvantage of taking a stray cat in your home is that you don't know its training and medical history. However, adopting a stray cat can give you a great sense of accomplishment and you can train your new pet to be a part of your family.

Set up a safe room in your home and place in there a litter box, a bed and food and water bowls. Include some cat toys. This room provides a safe environment for the cat, because it may be stressed by the new situation. If you have other pets, keeping the stray cat in this room protects the other pets from possible parasites and contagious diseases the stray cat may have. If you don't have a room, get a large crate and place it in a silent area in your home, such as the basement.

Befriend the cat and be gentle when you pick it up, because the cat may scratch you. Wrap the cat carefully in a towel, which gives the cat a sense of comfort and also protects you.

Take the cat to the safe room and allow it to smell and get familiar with the new environment.

After it's had a bowel movement, collect a stool sample from the litter box to take to the veterinarian. The testing of the stool can establish if the pet has internal parasites.

Talk to a veterinarian and schedule a checkup for the stray cat. The veterinarian will check whether the cat has been vaccinated and can administer necessary vaccines. She will also establish if the cat is healthy and perform a physical checkup and blood tests.

Once you have learned from your vet that your cat is free of diseases and parasites, open the door of the safe room. Allow your cat to choose when it wants to explore the rest of the house.

Introduce the pet to the rest of the family or other pets gradually. Limit the amount of time the cat spends with other people or animals. Monitor the first interactions of the stray cat with small children and pets, and remove the the new cat back to the safe room for a time if problems arise.