Strays & Feral cats are not one in the same.
Many people believe that any outside cat they come across is considered a feral cat. This is far from the truth. You may hear the term “community cat” this term is used to define any cat who is unowned and lives outdoors. All community cats are not feral as stray cats also fall under this definition. Stray cats are socialized, accustomed to and enjoys the companionship to people or can be socialized then adopted into homes, whereas feral cats are not socialized and usually would do best continuing to live outdoors and/or in a feral cat colony. Stray cats are cats who have gotten lost, been dumped, owners moved and left the cat behind, and many other reasons who with slow introductions would do fine living in a home. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule but if your feral acclimated to indoor living then most likely it was a stray. Most feral cats will never become a lap cat or enjoy living indoors. Feral cats are usually born outside and have had little to no human interaction. Feral cats can have kittens who can be socialized at an early age and adopted into homes. Generally, a kitten under 12 weeks can be socialized and are not considered feral even if they have not had any or minimal human contact. The longer a kitten goes without socialization the more feral the kitten becomes.
Here are 5 ways you can help feral and stray cats:
- Spay & neuter your own pets
- Provide supportive care for a feral cat colony – including healthcare
- Donate to local rescues or TNR programs
- Volunteer with a rescue
- If you see an injured cat outdoors get it help
This info was compiled by Furry Friends volunteer Jenn Hutchman