Many people don’t want a cat who was found as a stray. Former strays are passed over at shelters in favor of kittens relinquished due to allergies, cats given away for shedding, and more. Strays are sometimes perceived as less desirable because they come with no history, are rarely purebreds, are generally drab colors like black and brown, and may have scars, bumps, and notches in their ears from scrapping with other cats.
However, a cat who was a stray yesterday could be your new best friend tomorrow. Here are five reasons why.
1. They’ve seen a little of everything.
Don’t care for shy cats who hide under the bed when guests come over? Adopt a big, formerly stray tom cat. Compared to life on the streets, greeting visitors is an easy task, and most former strays take to it with aplomb. Or what about getting along with dogs? Former strays tend to show a dog his place (which is slightly below yours, yet still beneath the cat, in Kitty’s opinion) once and then ignore or play with him after that.
2. They have stories to tell.
That notch in his right ear? Maybe it’s the time another Tom tried to steal his favorite Queen, and he put a stop to that with a cuff to that big tabby’s head, but not before he got a nasty nip to the ear. And the kink in her tail looks like she might have survived being run over by a car. Former strays may not be able to tell you their stories verbally, but I’m willing to bet you can use your imagination to fill in the blanks– it’s more fun than knowing for sure.
3. Survival skills.
If a kitten born and raised indoors gets outside, she’ll have no idea what to do. A former stray, on the other hand, might end up back in the shelter (and you’ll have some ‘splainin’ to do if you signed a contract regarding keeping him indoors), but he’s likely to survive the trip. Former strays know how to avoid cars, predators, and other dangers. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have lived long enough to be adopted.
Okay, I’m anthropomorphizing here, but former strays do often display behaviors that could be described as the emotion of gratitude. Where cats who’ve had easy lives may nip and hide, strays are more likely to sit and purr for hours on the nearest lap. Indoor life is such a pleasant change that, after the initial period of adjustment, most former strays are happy to be fat, affectionate best friends for life. Many of my friends who own former strays describe them as “half cat, half dog.”
5. A pest-free house.
An adult stray knows how to find food, and that’s not a skill that just disappears overnight. If you adopt a former stray, you’ll be getting a lean (or pudgy), mean, mouse and spider-killing machine. Even if they no longer need to hunt to eat, former strays remember the fun of the chase and take care to keep their homes pest-free. All they ask in return is food, a soft bed, and some praise when they drop half-eaten rodent carcasses at your feet. Yes, it’s gross, but it’s a token of a cat’s highest esteem. Show some appreciation before you throw the disgusting thing in the trash.