A stray cat may be socialized enough to allow people to touch her, but she will become less socialized—or even feral—if she spends too much time without positive interaction with humans. Under the right circumstances, a stray cat can also become a pet cat once again.
Cats can carry rabies
Stray cats may come in contact with bats, raccoons and skunks which sometimes carry rabies. The rabies virus is in the saliva of a sick animal. Since cats “wash” themselves by putting saliva on their paws, then grooming their fur, cat scratches as well as cat bites may carry the rabies virus.
In general, stray cats are shy and not dangerous if they are left alone. But if you attempt to catch or handle them, or if you come into contact with contaminated areas, there are risks. A stray cat is a cat that has at one point or another had a home but it has found itself either abandoned or lost.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that cats are rarely a source of disease, and that it is unlikely for anyone to get sick from touching or owning a cat.
You may have a chance of taming or domesticating a feral kitten. However, it's not generally recommended to tame a feral cat — and it's usually not possible to tame an adult one. Feral cats aren't used to human contact, and they probably won't ever be as docile and friendly as a domesticated cat.
Studies show that cats have great memories. They remember important people even years after being around them and can recall details from their lives before being rescued.
Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling animals and anything where they live or roam. This includes: After touching or playing with your pet. After feeding your pet or handling pet food.
Hold out your hand and call it softly. Offer a can of tuna or cat food, a bowl of water and shelter, if possible. But don't force it. If the cat is feral and puts up a fight, you risk being scratched or bitten.
While it is possible that fleas and their eggs could be spread in an area by a stray cat (and then latch onto your pets), it is equally possible for fleas to spread from one pet to another at a dog park or through exposure to other animals – wild or domesticated.
Stray kittens can also carry various infectious diseases that can be transmitted to other cats in the household, such as feline leukemia virus, panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis and calicivirus. Overall, the risks from adopting stray kittens are low, but they are real.
There are actually a number of reasons. Cats meow as a way of greeting you, to demand attention, to ask for food, to be let inside or outside, to find a mate (for cats who are not fixed), or if they are elderly and suffering from mental confusion, such as a result of the cat version of Alzheimer's Disease.
Cat scratch disease is caused by a bacterium carried in the cat saliva. The bacteria are passed from an infected cat to a human after the cat licks an open wound or bites or scratches human skin hard enough to break the surface of the skin.
The rabies virus is spread through saliva. It is not spread through contact with urine, feces, or blood of an infected animal. You cannot get rabies by petting an animal. You may get rabies from a scratch if the animal, such as a cat, was licking its paw before it scratched you.
Do not pick up a stray cat. It's best not to risk it — cats who are unknown to you and your other pets may cause real harm.
Stray cats could look dirty and disheveled but feral cats could have a clean, well-kept coat. Many cats you find may have one of their ears cut or tipped. This is a universal sign that the animal has been spayed or neutered through a feral surgical clinic. This does not necessarily mean that the cat is feral, however.
Risks associated with cat scratches
These wounds can sometimes sting, bleed, and even become infected. Both feral and domesticated cats may also transmit certain viruses and bacteria when they scratch human skin. Some of the possible health complications include: cat-scratch fever (also called cat-scratch disease)
While you get infected with rabies when bitten by an infected dog or cat, it can be just as fatal when a rabid dog or cat with saliva-infested nails—say, one that has been licking its paws— scratches a human. Although it is highly unlikely to contract rabies from a scratch, it can still happen.
In addition to trusting you and wanting your attention, a cat sitting on your lap usually means that they like you! Lots of cats choose a favorite human. Cats have many ways of showing their affection, like purring, nudging you, and sitting in your lap. It's high praise coming from a cat.
If you want to play it 100% safe then you should throw out the food that your cat licked. While there are some infections that can be spread from you to your cat, like giardia, the risk is typically very low for most cats and most humans.
Yes, there is a chance that you might go blind if a cat licks your eye as a cat can transmit various diseases to your eyes. What is this? Many of the bacteria carried by household pets are innocuous, but a few can cause significant sickness, especially those who already have weakened immune systems.
Although cat saliva has antibacterial and wound-healing properties, it is a stretch to say that cats' tongues are clean. Cats explore the world with their mouths, so a cat's tongue is host to a range of bacteria, both good and bad.