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.


Colony of cats feeding. Wild cats living outdoors. A group of stray cats eating the dry cat food that their caregivers give them.

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 -

Stray cats on the streets of Cyprus

  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.

Many feral cats are eating outside

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

A group of multicoloured homeless stray cats sitting and waiting outside on the road in downtown Dubrovnik for volunteers to feed them. Surrounded by greenery on a sunny day in summer

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


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

Christina Ferguson January 2, 2023
I am on the verge o getting Evicted gor taking care of some Ferrel Kitties in my Community that I live. They keep making babies. Were not suppose to feed them or give them shelter. I will not let a Ferrel go hungry or freeze. I started A Petition yo fight this in the State OF Pennsylvania. I need help.
ihatecatstheyrboches1 June 2, 2022
you are wrong. this is shoot. i hate cats. they will never be cool. any of you that like cats are uneducated on how much focking around a cat does. You all should die
Dwennimmen March 28, 2022
Have loved, appreciated and shared life with cats over the years.. No longer have pets but we have a stray siamese, an apparent captured neutered released (clipped ear) that showed up 2 years ago. Began feeding it... Was nice at first but now 2 more cats started showing up, I'm assuming some colony has been formed and they are destroying the back yard with urine(smells) , feces, sleeping on patio furniture close to the house, leaving yellow grass patches etc. Hate to just stop feeding but it's getting to be a bit much. 😕
    ihatecatstheyrboches1 June 2, 2022
    you are wrong. this is shoot. i hate cats. they will never be cool. any of you that like cats are uneducated on how much focking around a cat does. You all should die
    Mary Smiley January 3, 2023
    You must begin a TNR program. First seek out a group that can educate you on how to Trap, (spay-neuter) Neuter & Return. Once you begin trapping and having them fixed you are on your way to solving your problems. Many cats are not feral, they are only homeless. So once you have a cat fixed it may be adoptable to a home. Stopping the process of kittens , and kittens having kittens is the only way to control and get your back yard back.. Cats can be great rodent deterrents and great pets but they do have to be controlled. Traps can be bought at most farm supply stores or on line. Make the investment, you'll be so glad you did.
Deborah December 19, 2021
I live in CT in the suberbs. We have large wooded areas near us. I wanted to make a cat shelter to help if needed. My husband insists there are NO feral or strays around here. He refuses to help me build one. How can I tell if there are any strays or feral cats if I don’t see them? I want to do the right thing. Thank you
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.
    Joyce Maxwell June 15, 2021
    How did you get her to stop biting you? I have a colony of feral cats that live in an overgrown blackberry area that has a creek running through the back of my yard. Deer that come eat fallen apples, and raccoons and nutria are also seen at times. I began feeding the mom who is a beautiful calico with 3 babies that are orange, black with white markings and a white with one black spot. The babies are a 1.5 years old and love to rub against me and love for me to scratch behind their ears and backs. the orange one reaches up but always has his claws out when he touches me. The little white one comes into my house and loves for me to rub her. I've picked her up a couple times but she sprints out of my arms. I was told if I could keep those two in my home in an area for 7 days, they would become tame. If you have any secrets to how to get them to keep their claws in please share. thank you Joyce Maxwell I have got to fine a place to get them neutered and spayed as they are getting older and the white one is already pregnant. Trying to protect them from the raccoon is a real task also.
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.
    CatWhisperer247 February 18, 2022
    I have two cats who bonded instantly that way. My house cat was so distraught after his 10 yr old cat buddy died of wet form FIP, that I brought in a beautiful cream tabby girl and had her spayed. I then introduced them to each other. They bonded instantly and became inseparable...love at first sight...altered cat style! Ps I wanted to post a pic but dint know how yet.
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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