What Is a Feral Cat?
A feral cat is a wild, un-neutered domestic cat (Felis silvestris) that lives outdoors, usually without human contact: it doesn’t let itself be touched or handled, and generally keeps to itself. These creatures are often dangerous and often attack small animals and humans, leaving a trail of blood behind them. If you have a stray cat or a feral cat in your neighborhood, you need to take care of it and keep it safe. In some cases, you may not even know that it’s not a cat. The following are tips for taking care of a feral cat.
feral cats that live outdoors should have their cat declawed on a regular basis. Declawing cats helps to eliminate the tendency to scratch at its claws which could lead to infections and other problems. Some cities and humane societies require that pets have their claws declawed, so keep your pet’s claws sharp all winter long.
To identify abandoned or feral cats, look for telltale signs such as damaged or broken claws, hairless ears, missing tail and underdeveloped legs. You can usually smell them because they typically will have either dirty or scabby hair. Look also for droppings, which may indicate that the animal has recently been outdoors. Cats abandoned in the streets are often hit by cars or caught on car doors, and their injuries can sometimes be severe.
It is important to socialize feral cats with people and other pets. Their best interests are best served by someone who understands their needs and who will take good care of them. Socializing them with other pets and getting them acquainted with the outside world and with people is a great way to develop their confidence and skills. This will make them more adoptable later on.
If you live in a city, then you can look for a local animal control center. Many cities have a program that allows you to spay (remove the reproductive organs of the female) or neuter (remove the testicles) strays that are in the city. If your city has no socialized stray cat program, then contact your local animal control officer or visit your nearest animal shelter. Sometimes they can give you information on socialized stray cats who are in foster homes or who were simply abandoned.
If you live in a rural area, there are several organizations that care for stray cats. One of these organizations is The National Animal Welfare League. They have a number of resources to help you find your best friend. Another organization that is similar to The National Animal Welfare League is the Alley Cat Alliance. Both of these organizations can give you valuable information on how to socialize and take care of your feral cat(s).