This with the latest cat news story in the UK. The title to the post could equally have been, “how to remove a stray cat from your home”. I say that because the homeowners lacked the skills and knowledge to deal with this cat properly and I regret to say that their behaviour caused problems that wouldn’t have otherwise existed. This story really is about human behaviour more than cat behaviour but as usual the online newspapers don’t understand that.
Bruce Gough, 74, a retired aerospace engineer and his wife, a retired nurse, Eileen, 77, were watching television when a cat suddenly appeared in their home. I’m not sure who has decided that the cat was a feral cat. The cat might not have been. The cat was more likely to have been a timeshare cat or a stray cat, meaning a domesticated cat living outside quite a lot of the time. The cat was obviously searching for some food. A lot of outdoor/indoor cats wander into other people’s home hoping to find some food put down for the cat living there. Incidentally, the cat is a calico cat and she looks domesticated.
When Bruce got up, the cat raced off into a spare bedroom where she hid under a bed. This is normal behaviour for a cat in a strange place. Bruce tried to coax the cat out and failed. Obviously the cat was scared and perhaps had no obvious exit from under the bed because Bruce was in the way.
“I tried to coax it out but it wouldn’t budge, so I got a broom to ease it out. But when I went to pick it up, it just flew at me and sank its teeth and claws into my forearm.”
We are told that then Bruce then tried to pick up the cat (grab the cat perhaps) which I’m sure he realises in hindsight was a silly thing to do. No one should ever try to do that with any strange cat that wanders into their house. An unknown cat will naturally be, at least potentially, fearful of you and react in a defensively hostile way if you try and pick her up. Mr Gough was scratched and bitten. He was bleeding quite badly apparently and had to get a tetanus jab. The newspapers say he was viciously attacked. This is ignorant reporting I am afraid. The cat was simply scared and protecting herself.
Then the terrified cat urinated and defecated in the home, which now stinks in one room, they say. This is normal behaviour as well for a frightened cat. It is clear that things got out of hand and although initially the cat was relaxed when she entered the home looking for food she became more and more fearful as the environment became more hostile due to Mr Gough’s behaviour. You can imagine the scene: an ever more distraught Mr Gough chasing and harassing an ever more distraught wandering cat. The answer would have been to stop what you are doing and let things calm down.
The Gough’s telephoned the RSPCA and asked for their assistance in removing the cat. The RSPCA refused to help because they stated correctly that they are an animal welfare charity and their work is dealing with animals were are suffering or in distress or danger. I’m sure they said that in this instance it was simply a matter of letting the cat vacate the home of his own accord. Although arguably the cat was in distress and in danger from Mr Gough trying to get rid of him!
As it happens, rather than being patient and ensuring that there was an easy exit to the home with perhaps an enticement outside the home such as some food, eventually a neighbour intervened who removed the cat whilst being protected with motorcycle leathers. Another relatively easy way to remove a stray cat from the home is to ensure a door to the outside is wide open and then persistently but reasonably gently encourage the cat to move towards the exit by holding something large such as a large cushion of blanket behind the cat. The cat will move away from the object you are holding towards the exit while the cushion will protect you.
The moral of the story is clear. This is almost certainly not a feral cat but a domesticated cat looking for some food (genuine feral cats steer clear of homes). All you have to do is be patient and allow the cat to exit the property by the same route through which he entered whilst using encouragements or inducements but not force in any shape or form. The worst thing to do is to do what Mr Gough did and try and force the cat to leave the property.