Categories: socialisation

Traumatic road accident domesticates wild feral cat

I was told the vague but interesting story of a genuinely wild feral cat who was involved in a traffic accident. He suffered a bruised spine and broken legs. He was paralysed for a while but remarkably he recovered under the care of a cat loving volunteer to whom he became attached.

Sweet looking feral cat. This image is here to illustrate the page and the cat is not connected to the story. Photo in public domain.

His personality changed as if he had restarted his life. It was like a brain reset. It is believed that the rush of stress hormones that the body produces after a traumatic accident, which places the cat near to death, can scramble the brain sufficiently to allow it to go through the socialisation process afresh.

This process bucks the mantra that once a feral cat always a feral cat. I hadn’t heard about it before but to be honest, even when a cat is born feral and is not socialised during those precious early weeks of life it is possible to turn the cat into a loving domestic companion.

Many people have done it and there is an impressive lady in Australia, Yvette Harper, who has domesticated over 700 feral cats.

I interviewed her on the phone and recorded the conversation. It was a really nice chat. She deserves a lot of recognition because she has, in her particular way, improved the lives of hundreds of cats. I would doubt if anyone has done more to socialise feral cats.

I would encourage you to listen to her story if you are interested in feral cats and rehabilitating them to the domestic way of life. The link to the article is below:

Wow! Yvette has socialized over 700 feral cats (audio interview)

Dr Desmond Morris makes an interesting point about feral cats. He writes in Cat World that because domestication has involved an increase in their breeding rate, feral cats ‘quickly become overpopulated’. The domestic cat’s wild cat ancestor breeds far more slowly. Feral cats have retained the domestic cats impressive breeding rate and it is a real problem as it is behind the ‘feral cat problem’ which tests the administrations of so many cities across America.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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