10 Facts You Should Know About Feral Cats

Here at TheCatSite.com, we have a special place in our hearts and on our website for these special, and often misunderstood, felines.

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.

Here is a list of 10 facts about feral cats that we need to get across to people. Read, learn and help educate others. Share this information with people around you, post it to your Facebook wall or your Pinterest board, and get the word out.

10 things everyone needs to know about feral cats –

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

Become a feral cat angel – help educate people about these special kitties!

Already a Friend of Ferals? Let us know in this thread about the things you do to help feral cats and get our Friend Of Ferals badge!

8 comments on “10 Facts You Should Know About Feral Cats

Lisa Hibbs September 1, 2020
I found a ferret cat under a car hood. I took her to the vet and they said she was 8 weeks old. That was a year and a half ago. Now we chase each other through the hose playing hide go seek. She runs and hinds from me and when I find her I take off running and she comes to find me. She is a treasure to have found. She doesn’t really like for me to hold her but I just can’t help myself. She always lays in my husbands lap with no problem but not mine. Maybe one of these days. Still love her anyway.
Judith Stevens August 2, 2020
I have a Ferrell cat that I am training now. After 2 yrs. she still won't sit in my lap and does not like to be picked up. I finally got her to stop biting me. She does like to get into things. She is super smart. She can open my dresser drawers and pulls my clothes out and then sits in it. She also can open the bottom kitchen cupboards. She likes to open them far enough so they slam shut. Every morning she brings me one of her toys and drops it there. She is so pretty, funny and smart, I can't get mad at her. She also talks a lot compared to domestic cats. I live alone and she is such a joy.
Doriocookie July 17, 2018
Last winter a little pregnant feral cat showed up on our doorstep. I have an indoor outdoor cat and I keep food both inside and out. Anyway, it was apparent that she had become quite enamored with my (neutered) male cat. She would show up on my porch on a daily basis and I would talk to her and feed her and basically tried to get her used to me. Hoping that she would recognize a safe place to give birth, i made a bed for her on my porch and in an abandoned truck on our property. She did give birth in the bed in the truck to 4 healthy babies! I had her spayed and the kittens were adopted out. Now she will come into the house as long as my cat is inside. In fact, she crys and crys if she can't see him or be around him. It is so sweet how my baby has adopted her. He is so patient with her loving advances when all he wants to do is play. So that is my story.
tarasgirl06 April 17, 2016
@butch3, providing food and safe shelter is wonderful -- thank you so much for caring.  It is also very important that feral cats be spayed/neutered.  You can visit Alley Cat Allies' website for the very best and most comprehensive information on feral cats, and also find references for free/low-cost spay/neuter in your location, or email Alley Cat Allies to see if they can direct you to a clinic that does this.  Your being able to feed them in a shed is very good, because you should then be able to entice them into humane traps and/or carriers using food.  Please visit alleycat.org to get all the information you need.  And THANK YOU again.
butch3 April 17, 2016
I love my little furry freinds and an hour ago I found the black feral in the shed having kittens so I gave her milk and food and closed the shed door so the other cats would not bother her. I hope this is the right thing its 2am and I'm going to bed. I'm at my aunts house who takes care of all the cats by feeding them. she does it for her husband but she does not really like them. I want to make sure the mom and babies are safe. What do I do
tarasgirl06 October 16, 2015
Thank you for this.  And thanks to the posters for their caring; RafiCat, you are so right.  That is why the ancient Egyptian and West Asian/North African societies loved and revered cats, and why in many societies in those areas, cats are still accorded great respect and love.  They should be respected, protected, and well cared for everywhere, whether feral, free-roaming, or homed.
raficat October 23, 2014
You should also point out that ferals are useful in keeping the rodent population down. They are a community resource.
carmie October 17, 2012
A new batch of feral kittens used to appear in a shed behind the building where I worked. One year, because one of them had a real inborn attraction to people, I caught all five and had them spayed and neutered. I am not sure if I should have just returned them to the shed. Sweetie, the people-oriented kitty, was easily domesticated with very few bumps in the road. Two of the others, PeeWee and Cairo, made slower progress. The other two were simply wild animals. I wish I had caged them up and taken them back to the shed, but I kept trying. Each one in turn made its escape and I never saw them again. I feel very guilty about that. I removed them from a source of shelter and food (people from the newspaper office fed them too) and forced them in an alien environment with no food or shelter. I found a good home for PeeWee. Sweetie died last year of cancer (only five years old). I still have Cairo (pronounced Kay-Row) who is still a work in progress. Like all the others, she had never been lifted off the ground, and it still panics her. She has found her purr, but she can snap back into that feral fight or flight mode in a flash when she is startled. I do think Sweetie, PeeWee, and even Cairo are better off, but I dearly wish I had taken the other two back to the shed when it became clear they were not adjusting.

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