Most feral cats are the descendants of domesticated cats who were abandoned or lost, and who have learned to fend for themselves without much human contact. Feral cats are not a new phenomenon, though. Cats have been living alongside humans for 10,000 years and it is unclear when some of them became domesticated. Feral cats are not a risk to humans, especially if we can neuter them to control populations.

Feral cats are domestic cats, not wild animals, and we have a responsibility, as cat lovers and human beings, to try and help them. They may not be pets, but they are not pests either. Even if you’re not actively involved in rescue efforts or feral cat management, you can still help by educating people around you about feral cats, and promoting awareness for their needs.

Why are there feral cats? Where do they come from? Feral cats are the offspring of lost or abandoned pet cats or other feral cats that is the result of pet owners’ abandonment or failure to spay and neuter their animals, allowing them to breed uncontrolled.

What is the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat?

A stray cat is a pet cat that is lost or abandoned. Stray cats are accustomed to contact with people and are tame.

A feral cat is the “wild” offspring of domestic cats or other feral cats. A feral cat is a cat that lives outdoors and has had little or no human contact. They do not allow themselves to be handled or touched by humans, and will run away if they are able. They typically remain hidden from humans, although some feral cats become more comfortable with people who regularly feed them. Even with long term attempts at socialisation, feral cats usually remain fearful and avoidant of humans.

10 things everyone needs to know about feral cats –

  • Feral cats are domestic cats that were born and raised with little or no contact with people.
  • Feral cats are not stray cats. Strays are homeless pet cats, while Feral’s were born in the wild, and were never socialised to humans.
  • Some feral cats can be tamed (socialised to humans) but this takes time and effort and is more suitable for kittens then adult cats.
  • Feral cats often live in colonies, forming groups around food sources.
  • Killing feral cats does not lower their numbers. New feral cats will soon take up their place.
  • The only humane way of controlling the feral cat population is by TNR – Trapping, Neutering and Returning them to where they were trapped.
  • If you feed feral cats, you have to TNR, to prevent overpopulation.
  • Feral cats can have happy healthy lives outdoors. Humans can help by TNR’ing feral cats.
  • Studies show that feral cats pose no public health risk.
  • You can also help feral cats by providing shelter during the cold season and water during the dry season.

Help by educating people about these special kitties!