Feral vs Stray

Feral Cat Colony

Feral Cat Colony

Feral cats are the ‘wild’ offspring of domestic cats and are primarily the result of pet owners’ abandonment or failure to spay and neuter their animals, allowing them to breed uncontrolled. Feral cat ‘colonies’ can be found behind shopping areas or businesses, in alleys, parks, abandoned buildings, and rural areas. They are elusive and do not trust humans.

Many people assume their animals will survive when they move away and leave them behind. Contrary to popular belief, domestic animals do not automatically return to their “natural” instincts and cannot fend for themselves! Already, U.S. animal shelters are forced to kill an estimated 15 million homeless cats and dogs annually. The alternative to humane euthanasia for almost every stray is a violent end or slow, painful death. Many “throwaways” die mercilessly outdoors from starvation, disease, abuse — or as food to a predator.

A pair of breeding cats, which can have two or more litters per year, can exponentially produce 420,000 offspring over a seven-year period, And the overpopulation problem carries a hefty price tag. Statewide, more than $50 million (largely from taxes) is spent by animal control agencies and shelters for cat-related expenses.

Studies have proven that trapping-neutering-and releasing is the single most successful method of stabilizing and maintaining healthy feral cat colonies with the least possible cost to local governments and residents, while providing the best life for the animals themselves.

A stray cat is NOT a feral cat…A stray is a cat who has been abandoned or who has strayed from home and become lost…Stray cats can usually be re-socialized and adopted.

A feral cat is an un-socialized cat…Either he was born outside and never lived with humans, or he is a house cat who has strayed from home and over time has thrown off the effects of domestication and reverted to a wild state…They should not be taken to local shelters to be adopted…Feral kittens can be adopted if tamed and placed in homes…First they must be socialized in their first weeks of life…If they aren’t handled in time, they will remain feral and un-adoptable.

A beautiful tabby and white feral mother with babies; trapped and cared for. When her kittens were of age, she was spayed and returned (TNR) to her surroundings. Fortunately, neighbors said they would continue to feed her. Kittens adopted. Notice how she doesn’t look at you; a sure sign of mistrust. Adopting this type of cat in hopes of her personality changing and becoming a friendly family member is wishful thinking. I live with some who over the years I still cannot touch. No fun. You love them from afar and maintain health as best as possible with lysine – an immunity booster, etc.

TNR (trap-neuter-return)  — how to trap

About Bonny Blogger

Hello, I'm Bonnie, author of The Bonny Blog. I love to combine my photos with poetry or quotations. Hope you enjoy them. Thank you for visiting. ♥ˆ◡ˆ)
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4 Responses to Feral vs Stray

  1. Put It Together 4 U says:

    I reside in an apartment complex and am surrounded by feral cats who hide just out of reach on the other side of the surrounding fence. About 3 months ago, one of them found its way onto my back porch and was hiding under my grill meowing mercilessly. It was just a kitten and was being bullied/stalked by two larger feral cats. Long story short, after gaining its trust (which took a few days), I am now a proud furbaby owner of Whiskers!

    You can read his story here: http://www.gofundme.com/c5wgvc

    Thank you for taking the time to explain the differences. They are truly significant.

  2. Bonnie says:

    Lucky kitty. Glad you saved a life. Sorry to hear of Whiskers’ needed amputation. Did you get a 2nd opinion? Good luck! and Thank you for commenting. 🙂

  3. Michelle says:

    Oh this is interesting, I always used the terms feral and stray interchangeably! I knew feral meant a little more wild but I didn’t really know the difference.

  4. sandradalton says:

    WooHoo! Kudos on the lysine mention! No one ever mentions that. I should post about in on my feral cat blog.

    Great post! Thanks for explaining the differences. Most people don’t really even know that feral cats exist.

    When you say, “I live with some who over the years I still cannot touch. No fun.” Are they indoor or outdoor cats?

    I ask for several reasons.

    One, my best friend adopted a feral cat as an indoor cat and it was Hell for both of them at first but over the years they became close companions.

    As for my own, I didn’t go adopt them, they came to me. So there was no expectation of making pets of them, but they are all in different stages of taming and my most shy let me touch her once.

    One I couldn’t get near for 6 years, and then as soon as I could touch him it was like a switch flipped. He’s all lovey-dovey now.

    I won’t go into all of their stories here, but feral cats can become house cats and those that don’t go that far can become companions.

    However, I also know how upsetting it is when one you can’t get close to has an injury or gets sick and you feel helpless!

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