A feral cat is a domestic cat that has returned to the wild. It is distinguished from a stray cat, which is a pet cat that has been lost or abandoned, while feral cats are born in the wild. The offspring of a stray cat can be considered feral if born in the wild.
In many parts of the world, feral cats are descendants of domestic cats that were left behind by travelers. Cats introduced into areas in which they are not indigenous often cause harm to local environments by preying on local species. This is particularly true on islands where feral cats have sometimes had a substantial and deleterious effect on the local fauna. Cats have been blamed for the extinction of 33 species.
To the untrained eye, feral cats may look like the same domesticated cats you’d have as family pets, however they are starkly different.
Check out these interesting tidbits about feral cats:
- Feral cats, unlike their domesticate counterparts, are not socialized with humans, although they do share the same species (felis catus).
- They have been known to live outdoors for more than 10,000 years in all sorts of landscapes and environments.
- They live in outdoor groups called colonies.
- They are no less healthy than outdoor pet cats, despite their lack of human care.