That stray cat making eyes at you from behind the shed may be the perfect addition to your family. If you've already started giving her some grub at dinner time, you might have already put things in motion. Be mindful of risks, though, before kitty gets comfortable.
Stray cats can pick up many diseases from being outside, many of which can be transmitted to other pets in your household. Keep your stray kitty away from people and other pets in your home until he's been to the vet and treated and vaccinated for feline leukemia, feline distemper, rabies and other illnesses. Have the cat sterilized of fleas, lice and other mites, and have the cat wormed.
Aggression With Other Pets
Pets are like people; they don't always get along when forced to live together. When you introduce a new kitty to a household, whether it's come from outdoors or not, there's the potential for aggression, particularly with other cats. Following specific steps to gradually integrate the cat into the household -- including a gradual introduction of the cats using scent -- is important to keep peace among the animal population.
Stray cats aren't always litter-box trained; if they're in a new household, they may need coaxing before they use the facilities you provide. Houseplants, furniture and carpets are good candidates for kitty marking. Anxious scratching is a potential consequence of bringing in a cat from the cold; set up several scratching posts to give her options other than the couch.
The Great Escape
A stray cat, particularly one not used to being indoors, will probably try to make an escape again. Keeping your home secure and providing adequate play time and socialization will make certain your new family member is unable to escape her new home and happy enough not to try.
Catherine Lovering has written about business, tax, careers and pets since 2006. Lovering holds a B.A. (political science), LL.B. (law) and LL.L. (civil law).