If you have ever heard the term feral cat and were not exactly sure what the difference was compared to a stray or wild cat, let us help clear it up.
Stray Cat vs a Feral Cat
Feral cats are wild cats that live outdoors and are not socialized to humans. They are the offspring of domesticated cats that have been abandoned, lost, or left to breed on their own. Feral cats are different from stray cats, which are domesticated cats that have become lost or abandoned and may still be socialized to humans.
Wild Cats vs Feral Cats
Feral cats are not the same as wild cats, which are a separate species of cat that has never been domesticated. Wild cats, such as the serval and ocelot, are generally not found in the same areas as feral cats, as they live in more remote locations such as forests and savannas.
How Feral Cats Live
Feral cats can be found in both urban and rural areas, and they often live in groups called colonies. These colonies can range in size from just a few cats to dozens of cats. Feral cats are often seen as a nuisance by many people, as they can cause damage to property, kill small animals, and spread disease. However, they are also known to be great hunters and can help keep rodent populations in check.
Feral cats are typically very skittish and wary of humans, as they have not been socialized to human contact. They will often avoid humans and may hiss or growl if approached. However, some feral cats may become accustomed to the presence of humans if they are regularly fed by them.
Feral cats are also known for their high reproductive rates. Female feral cats can become pregnant as early as four months of age, and can have multiple litters of kittens each year. This can lead to an overpopulation of feral cats in an area, which can cause a variety of problems.
Controlling the Feral Cat Population
There are many different opinions on how to deal with feral cat populations. Some people advocate for the trap-neuter-return (TNR) method, which involves trapping feral cats, having them spayed or neutered, and then returning them to their colony. This helps to control the feral cat population by preventing further breeding, while also allowing the cats to continue living in their familiar environment.
Others argue that feral cats are a threat to native wildlife and should be eliminated. This can involve euthanasia, but many animal rights organizations and individuals are strongly opposed to this approach.
Regardless of how feral cats are managed, it is important to remember that they are living creatures and deserve to be treated humanely. Feral cats can be difficult to approach and handle, and should not be treated as pets unless they have been properly socialized.
Organizations that Help Feral Cats
- Alley Cat Allies is dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of feral cats. They offer resources for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs, which help to control feral cat populations and improve their health and well-being. Their website also provides educational resources and advocacy tools for those who want to help feral cats in their communities.
- Best Friends Animal Society is a nationwide animal rescue organization that works to save the lives of cats and other animals in need. They offer resources and support for TNR programs, as well as adoption and fostering programs for feral cats and kittens. Their website also provides information on how to get involved in animal rescue and advocacy efforts.
- The Humane Society of the United States works to protect all animals, including feral cats, through advocacy, education, and rescue efforts. They offer resources for TNR programs, as well as information on how to care for feral cats and kittens. Their website also provides resources for those who want to get involved in animal rescue and advocacy.
- Neighborhood Cats is a nonprofit organization that focuses on reducing the number of feral cats through TNR programs. They offer educational resources and support for those who want to start or improve TNR programs in their communities. Their website also provides information on how to care for feral cats and kittens.
What to Do It You Encounter a Feral Cat
If you encounter a feral cat, it is best to avoid contact with it unless you have experience working with feral cats. If you are concerned about a feral cat population in your area, contact your local animal control or a local animal rescue organization to discuss your options.
In conclusion, feral cats are wild cats that live outdoors and are not socialized to humans. They are the offspring of domesticated cats that have been abandoned, lost, or left to breed on their own. Feral cats can be found in both urban and rural areas, and are known for their high reproductive rates. There are different opinions on how to deal with feral cat populations, but it is important to remember to treat these animals humanely and with respect.
Reviewed by: Tim Winter
Tim Winter has dedicated his writing and research efforts to animals and wildlife. He explores the globe and sees firsthand the negative impact humans have on the environment. Tim is dedicated to promoting responsible environmental stewardship. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications.