What is a Feral Cat?

June 14, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

What is a Feral Cat?

You may have heard the term before but weren’t sure what it meant. Here are some facts about feral cats and how to recognize these felines.

Domestic cats have been around for centuries. They have been revered by rulers who worshiped their kind. To modern humans, they are treasured companions. But not all cats fit into this category.

Feral Cats

To put it plainly, a feral cat is one that has never been socialized into society with humans. In fact, they avoid humans if they can. Not having the social skills to deal with people, they act wild and untamed when people try to get close to them.

These cats, as you might have guessed, live on the street as strays. In fact, many strays have turned into feral cats as a result of many unfortunate circumstances. Here are a few:

1. Family moves away and leaves the animal behind

2. Unwanted new kittens

3. Cats that have run away

4. Cats that have gotten lost and never found their way back home

It’s to be understood that kittens, after a certain age, will shy away from humans if they are not properly introduced to people. Pet owners will not be able to socialize them to a home no matter how hard they try.

This can become even more of a lost cause when the cat joins in with an established cat group called a “colony.” It is a community of feral and stray cats that live together. Often they are drawn together in an area that has been good for acquiring food, water, and other needs.

The Problem with Feral Cats

Because these cats can’t be tamed, they may cause something of a problem for people. They are often found outside of businesses and on the streets. Coming in contact with people can lead to a less than happy confrontation.

The existence of feral cats is less than ideal. They spend their lives dodging cars, avoiding fights with other cats, trying to survive illness, and giving birth to more unwanted kittens. This has fueled a lot of talk about what to do with them. There are definite benefits to feral cat programs.

The biggest issue is the birth of more animals that will also not be socialized to living with people. A cat can give birth to as many as three litters a year. Living on the street for several years can result in ten or more litters in a short life span. Most feral cats don’t live long because of the rough conditions.

They may look sweet and innocent when you first meet them but animal instincts can kick in. Bites from cats are particularly dangerous to humans. Infections that are not taken care of can lead to a spread of disease.

How can you tell a feral cat from a lost one? Well, a feral cat will be quite skittish around areas where people dwell. A lost cat, on the other hand, will seek out human companionship as they try to get back to their home.

Feral cats are not sociable and interacting with them can be difficult or dangerous.


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