Many people acquire their pet cat as a former feral cat. Transitioning a feral cat into a pet, no matter how friendly they are, requires care to prevent the spread of disease or other complications.
You will need a dedicated quarantine room for the cat to stay in until it has been established that it does not have any communicable diseases. In addition to keeping the cat in one place, you will need to practice great care to prevent transferring diseases throughout your home. You will want to wear gloves when handling the cat and transferring it into quarantine. Be sure to wear gloves for the remainder of the quarantine period. Disposable coveralls and shoe covers are also important. This will prevent you from transferring diseases on your clothes or shoes to the rest of your household. The cat will need to remain in quarantine until it is determined to be disease-free or if the vet determines it does not have any communicable illnesses. The main concern is ringworm since it is easily spread to you or other pets in the household.
Basic Medical Needs
The initial vet visit will give you invaluable information about the cat. This includes its current condition and any shots or procedures it needs. The vet will need to determine the sex and age of the cat. In the case of a female cat that is estimated to be older than four to six months, an ultrasound may be necessary to determine if she is pregnant. If a cat is pregnant or nursing, this significantly changes the type of care she can receive, such as oral ringworm medications.
Male cats and females that are not pregnant will need to receive their first round of shots, which are considered the "core vaccinations." One shot is a combination shot that protects the cat against herpes, distemper, and calicivirus. The cat will also need a rabies shot. They will need to be tested for parasites and will receive medication that can kill fleas and ear mites.
Additional Medical Care
Once the current state of the cat has been established, it will be important to have them spayed or neutered as soon as possible, so they don't come back home with a litter of kittens.
Some conditions that are common, especially in older cats are stomatitis, eye infections, and bad teeth. Cats may need tooth extractions, especially for stomatitis. Depending on the severity of the eye infection and whether the eye has ruptured, the cat may need the eye enucleated.
Turning a friendly feral cat into a pet can seem like a great idea, but it requires significant care to prevent transferring communicable diseases to you, your pets, or other members of your household.
Contact a local vet to learn more about pet shots.