How to Relocate Feral Cats
For more detailed advice on relocation, see the Alley Cat Allies page under Resources/Caring for Feral Cats: Hands On. Scroll down to “Safe Relocation of Feral Cats.”
Relocation of ferals should be undertaken only if all other possibilities have been exhausted. Often, a neighbor will agree to take over the care of the cats. Take a weekend afternoon and ring doorbells. You could be surprised at how helpful people can be.
It is essential that the cats have a committed caretaker in their new location. If a caretaker is moving and wants to bring the cats along, it may be the best choice for the cats.
Relocation could also be the only resort if:
- The caretaker is leaving the area and no replacement feeder can be found, or
- The cats’ lives are in danger in their current location.
Two goals need to be achieved to relocate a cat successfully, that is, to ensure that the cat remains in its new location:
- The cat needs to learn where its new food source is.
- The cat needs to be introduced to, and accepted by, any resident cats, so that the newcomer won’t be driven away by the old-timers.
To achieve these goals, the relocated cat should be caged in its new yard, in an enclosure that’s big enough for it to stay out of reach of raccoons and other predators. All food should be removed from the cage at night, to reduce the incentive for raccoons to investigate the enclosure. Remember to provide protection from rain and cold!
The cat must be kept in the cage for two to four weeks, while it learns the sights and smells of the neighborhood and the neighboring animals become accustomed to the new inhabitant.