How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Go Feral?

When a cat has been abandoned, it becomes interesting to note their behavior. A lot of experts have spent time analyzing the behavior of a cat and how it responds to humans. In general, a question that does pop up involves the change in behavior by asking, how long does it take for a cat to go feral?

A domestic cat does not go feral after it has been domesticated with human contact. Only kittens that have never spent time around humans will go feral. Otherwise, this type of transition does not take place as abandoned cats learn to fend for themselves without fearing humans.

This is a key detail to remember when asking “How long does it take for a cat to go feral?” because it is not a simple switch that is turned on/off.

Cats are smart animals and they will continue to adapt to humans.

Key factors include:

  • Exposure to Humans
  • Age of the Cat
  • Environment

It’s important to note a cat’s exposure to humans when it comes to its living environment. Anyone asking “How long does it take for a cat to go feral?” has to start here as a way to learn more about a cat’s perspective in situations such as these.

A lot of cats will take the time to get used to humans and being around them. This is even stray cats that are found in heavily populated areas.

This article will dive deeper into the query “How long does it take for a cat to go feral?” as a way to see what factors impact how a cat behaves around humans.

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Reasons Why Domestic Cats Don’t Become Feral

1. Used to Humans

The average domestic cat will get used to being domesticated.

This isn’t going to change by being abandoned or left outdoors. Instead, the cat is always going to remember the feeling of being around humans and will be used to the idea of them in their vicinity.

A lot of cats that are abandoned will often look to go near humans as a way to rekindle what they had before.

This is normal behavior and it is one of the reasons why a domestic cat doesn’t turn feral all of a sudden. Even if years go by, the domestic cat is not going to be the same as a traditional feral cat.

How long does it take for a cat to go feral

2. Learn to Make Adjustments

Another factor to account for when asking “How long does it take for a cat to go feral?” is a cat’s behavior after being abandoned.

Let’s assume the cat has been left outdoors and now has to fend for itself.

Some cats will struggle doing this while others are just going to adjust. They will begin to hunt for themselves and will learn how to adapt to their surroundings as they would in the wild.

However, they will not change their inner perspective of the world around them and that includes humans.

The average cat will adjust even if it has been abandoned. This doesn’t involve becoming feral as they will still look for humans if given the opportunity to do so.

In fact, a lot of cats don’t mind going to another human.

This is something that makes a difference when comparing feral cats and domestic cats to each other even in the same living situation.

How long does it take for a cat to go feral

3. Impacted By Developmental Years

Most cats are going to learn behaviors at a young age.

This is why kittens need to be handled with care to domesticate them. Once they learn this perspective, it is going to be a part of who they are for the rest of their lives.

This is why domestic cats don’t turn feral.

Kittens will often get used to humans within months and this will last for the rest of their lives.

When asking “How long does it take for a cat to go feral?” you will want to account for this.

The only way a cat is going to become feral is if it doesn’t get domesticated. This can happen if a kitten is born from a domestic cat and then is immediately abandoned.

Related Questions

1. Can House Cats Become Feral?

House cats do not become feral once they have been domesticated. They will be used to human contact and presence, which changes their perspective of all humans around them.

2. What Causes A Cat To Go Feral?

The most common way a cat goes feral is by being abandoned at a young age or being born in an environment that is devoid of humans. Otherwise, it is rare for a domesticated cat to be separated from humans and then turn feral.

Final Thoughts

“How long does it take for a cat to go feral?”

It is uncommon for a cat to go feral even if it has been abandoned in the wild.

Most cats will adjust and hunt for themselves but will still remain close to humans. This is a part of their perspective as that will not change even if their living arrangements do.

Here is more on cats – cats that jump from heights, imprinting by cats, owners that struggle with new cats, guidance on how to demat a cat.