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Advice for stray cats - how to take over a household.

We're going to assume here that you're a stray cat, down on your luck, and have decided to give living with humans a try for a while. While there are those who would argue the point, here are the important things to know before you do.

First, pick out your house and target family. What are you looking for?

A nicely kept home and yard - but not sterile. Fanatical housekeepers don't like cat hair all over things - you wouldn't want to live there anyway. They'd be too uptight over the normal "accidents" that occur.

The family has no cats [but appears cat friendly, particularly if they have owned cats before], one cat, or three or more cats.
The reason for avoiding a family with two cats is this: humans are told that two cats is a perfect number. There will be a greater reluctance to add a third cat to a two cat household, however they will likely be willing to provide some food outdoors if you are in dire straits. A family with three or more cats has already overcome that reluctance and will see no great harm in taking in one more. If time is of the essence, seek out a family with 3 or more cats as you will have results much more quickly.

A family with one cat depends on your compatibility with the cat that already lives there. Try to find a house with a cat of opposite gender [though it will be neutered if the owners are responsible]

A family with no cats is a little tricky, and best attempted only by those with plenty of time. The non-cat owners who are likely to take you in are those who have lost a cat and are just waiting for the right one to come along.

Dogs and kids have to be taken into consideration, the former for your own safety, the latter is a matter of taste. A kid can be the best entry into the house - but they also pull tails and dress us up. Certain dog breeds can be brought under control - most of the big gentle dogs aren't as bad as they seem at first. A couple of swipes to the nose brings them in line pretty quickly. At all costs avoid obviously mean dogs, and if you are a queen expecting a litter, avoid any home with the smaller terriers [particularly Jack Russell terriers] as they can't tell kittens from rats.

Do your best to choose the best house possible. Use your judgement if something tells you a house is right - you might find you were right.

Once you've decided on a house:

Try to win over the most likely cat lover. This may be one of the children [try for girls first, as boys are unpredictable] or the woman of the house, with the least probability of being the man. This is the time for pitiful, hungry miaows, affectionate leg rubs and purrs, and anything cute you can think of.

Accept the inevitable vet visits. You will be taken in for shots and .. um... some rather personal surgery if you haven't had it already.