Signs a Feral Cat Trusts You: 11 Steps For Building a Special Bond

Signs a Feral Cat Trusts You

Building trust with a feral cat can be a rewarding and heartwarming experience. Feral cats are often misunderstood and shy creatures, but with patience, kindness, and a little understanding, you can earn their trust. Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and it’s no different when it comes to our feline friends. In this article, we’ll explore the signs that indicate a feral cat trusts you and the steps you can take to nurture this unique bond.

Signs a Feral Cat Trusts You

  1. Approaching without fear or aggression

One of the first signs that a feral cat is beginning to trust you is when they approach you without displaying fear or aggression. Feral cats are naturally cautious, and it may take time for them to feel comfortable enough to come closer. When they do, it’s a positive indication that they see you as a non-threatening presence.

  1. Relaxed body language

Feral cats often have tense body language, but as trust develops, you’ll notice a change in their posture. A cat that trusts you will appear more relaxed, with their tail held upright, ears forward, and their body not crouched defensively. They might even roll onto their back, exposing their belly – a sign of vulnerability and trust.

  1. Purring and vocalizations

Cats use purring as a means of communication, and when a feral cat starts to purr in your presence, it’s a clear sign of trust and contentment. Additionally, they may begin to make soft, friendly vocalizations when you interact with them, such as chirps or meows.

  1. Slow blinks and eye contact

Cats are known for their slow blinks, often referred to as “cat kisses.” When a feral cat blinks slowly at you, it’s a sign of affection and trust. They are communicating that they feel safe in your presence. Making eye contact with a feral cat without them reacting with fear is another strong indicator of their growing trust.

  1. Allowing physical contact

Perhaps one of the most significant milestones in building trust with a feral cat is when they allow you to pet them. Initially, they may only tolerate brief touches, but as trust deepens, they may lean into your hand, purring and seeking more affection. It’s important to go at their pace and not force physical contact, as this could set back the progress you’ve made.

  1. Bringing them food and shelter

Providing food and shelter for a feral cat demonstrates your commitment and care. When a feral cat begins to associate you with regular meals and a safe place to rest, they are more likely to trust you. This gesture shows that you are a reliable source of comfort and nourishment in their world.

  1. Staying nearby

Feral cats may start to linger in your vicinity, even when there’s no immediate benefit, such as food. They may choose to rest nearby or observe your activities from a distance. This behavior is a strong indication that they feel safe and comfortable in your presence.

Building Trust: 11 Steps To Help You Build Trust With a Feral Cat

Building trust with a feral cat is a gradual process that requires patience, respect, and a gentle approach. Here are some steps to help you build trust with a feral cat:

  1. Respect Their Space: Feral cats are often fearful of humans. Start by giving the cat plenty of space and avoid sudden movements or loud noises that can scare them away. Let them observe you from a distance initially.
  2. Provide Food and Water: Begin by placing food and fresh water in a quiet, safe location where the cat frequents. Consistency is key; try to feed them at the same time every day. Over time, the cat will associate your presence with a source of nourishment.
  3. Use Tempting Treats: Gradually introduce more enticing food treats to help build a positive association with your presence. Sit quietly nearby while they eat, but don’t try to approach or touch them at this stage.
  4. Create a Safe Shelter: Offering a shelter, such as a cat house or a cozy box with blankets, can provide a feral cat with a safe place to rest. This shelter should be located in an area where you want to establish trust.
  5. Maintain a Routine: Feral cats thrive on routine. Stick to a consistent feeding schedule and make your presence part of their daily routine. This predictability can help reduce their fear.
  6. Gradual Approach: Slowly decrease the distance between you and the cat over time. Sit quietly nearby while they eat or rest. Let them approach you on their terms. Avoid reaching out to touch them until they show signs of comfort.
  7. Respect Body Language: Pay attention to the cat’s body language. If they appear relaxed, approachable, and curious, you can attempt to offer your hand for a gentle sniff. Always move slowly and avoid sudden gestures.
  8. Use Soft Speech: Talk to the cat in a soft, soothing voice. Avoid shouting or sudden loud noises, which can startle them. Your voice can become a source of comfort and familiarity.
  9. Earn Their Trust Gradually: Building trust with a feral cat takes time, and progress may be slow. Be patient and understand that they may have had negative experiences with humans in the past. Building trust is about showing them that you’re not a threat.
  10. Consider Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR): If the feral cat is not already spayed or neutered, consider arranging for a TNR program through a local animal rescue organization. This not only helps control the feral cat population but can also improve their health and behavior.
  11. Consult with Experts: If you’re struggling to build trust or have concerns about the cat’s health, consider seeking advice from local animal welfare organizations or feral cat experts. They can provide guidance and resources.

Remember that every feral cat is unique, and the time it takes to build trust can vary greatly. Some feral cats may never become fully socialized, but with patience and care, you can improve their quality of life and help them feel safer in your presence. Building trust with a feral cat is a rewarding journey that can result in a strong and lasting bond.


Earning the trust of a feral cat is a gratifying experience that requires time, patience, and respect for their boundaries. The signs that a feral cat trusts you may be subtle, but they are significant steps toward building a strong and lasting bond. Remember that every cat is unique, and trust will develop at its own pace. With care and understanding, you can provide a feral cat with a loving and safe environment, enriching both of your lives in the process.

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