A feral cat, stray cat and house cats are all the same, their all felines from the same species. The only differences are how they interact with humans and sometimes, where they were born.
Feral Cats are just cats that were born in the wild and have had very little or no interaction with humans. For that reason, they are very scared of humans and will run from or hiss when they come into contact with one. Feral cats know how to survive in the wild and know how to hunt for food. Feral cats often cannot be tamed if brought inside as a housecat. However, kittens born to feral cats, if adopted into good homes at an early stage, can be taught to be social.
Stray Cats are cats that were once inside cats that someone released onto the street. These cats will usually come up to a human, especially if he or she has food, and are not afraid of humans unless they were abused by their former owners. Stray cats may not appear as well groomed as pet cats and they may have lost weight depending on how long they’ve been outdoors.
Pet Cats are cats that live indoors but are also allowed to play outside. These cats will appear well fed, well groomed, be of a healthy weight and will probably come up to humans for additional treats and / or food and attention. Pet cats may also have on collars and I.D. tags. According to the American Bird Conservacy, “an estimated 40 Million owned cats spend atleast some or all of their time outdoors.” For this reason, we advise pet cat owners to ALWAYS make sure that your pets are wearing the proper identification. On many occasions, pet cats are picked up and brought to local shelthers under the impression that they are homeless. Some local shelters have a 90 day euthanization policy and not knowingly put to sleep many cats that are actually someone’s pets.
If you think you’ve found a feral, stray or homeless cat or family of cats you can either call us and we’d be more than happy to pick them up and safely take them to a no-kill shelter where they’ll be cared for and or adopted out.
If you don’t want us to pick them up but just don’t want them on your property, the best thing to do is to make sure that you’re not leaving out any food and that all trash is put into tightly fitting trash cans at night. Limiting their food options may send them on their way to another area.
Feral cats will often eat whatever they can find since they’re left to fend for themselves. Their diet usually consists of small mammals such as mice voles and shrews, tiny amphibians such as lizards and frogs, and some will even eat bugs. Often feral cats will also find food in dumpsters behind restaurants, trash cans in yards or even different sorts of food that people leave out for them.
It’s important to remember that if you currently have and don’t want stray or feral cats on your property to pick up any pet food that has been left out for your pets. If a feral or stray cat has eaten pet food at your property, it’s likely that they’ll remember and come back for more tomorrow.
No. Feral cats are cats that have had little to no human exposure. They were more than likely born in the wild or were placed in the wild at a very young age forcing them to revert back to their native behavior of hunting and defending themselves against predators. For the most part, feral cats won’t even come near humans. They’ll either shy away in fear or hiss and run away from us if we come near. In trying to protect themselves, they’re more likely to attack humans because they don’t know what we’re capable of. Keeping and trying to tame a wild feral cat is a feat that most people would rather not accomplish.
Secondly, if you have other pets in your home, you should beware that feral cats can carry diseases and insects just like any other wild animals. Feral cats can have fleas and ticks, mites, rabies, heart worms, feline leukemia, and more, just to name a few.
If you do decide to keep a feral cat, it is best to immediately take the cat to a veterinarian to have the proper tests and vaccinations completed. Please also remember to be patient with the cat as it more than likely hasn’t been around humans for most of its life and will probably take a long time to get used to you, if it ever does.
Heron Wildlife Solutions takes all the proper precautions to carefully and safely remove any wild animals from your property. We do this by using humane traps to capture the animal. After the animal is caught, we will safely transport it to either a no-kill shelter or a release sight nearby where it was caught. If the animal is hurt, we will safely transport the animal to a rehabilitation center for injured or orphaned animals. Finally and if necessary, we will return to the property to exclude or close up any openings to your home that were being used as entry points by the captured wildlife.
Not all animals in the wild have diseases. However, they all are at a high risk of developing diseases more so than house pets. Feral and stray cats are at a disadvantage when it comes to carrying insects such as fleas, ticks and mites because they usually sleep outdoors and have had no flea or tick prevention treatment. Because they are at higher risks for carrying these insects, they are also at higher risks for diseases such as Lyme disease and heart worms that are spread through bites from infected fleas and ticks. These diseases can easily be spread to your pets by either transferring infected insects to your pets or by your pets being bitten or scratched by an infected feral cat. Feral cats are also at risk of carrying feline leukemia and feline AIDS.