A cat born and raised in the wild, or who has been abandoned or lost and turned to wild ways in order to survive, is considered a free—roaming or feral cat. While some feral cats tolerate a bit of human contact, most are too fearful and wild to be handled. Ferals often live in groups, called colonies, and take refuge wherever they can find food—rodents and other small animals and garbage. They will also try to seek out abandoned buildings or deserted cars—or even dig holes in the ground—to keep warm in winter months and cool during the summer heat. (ASPCA)
We believe that feral cats deserve care-taking just as much as the cats with whom we share our homes. Feral cats are often victims of abandonment, accidental loss and failure by owners to sterilise their pets.
It’s easy to confuse a feral cat with a stray cat. They don’t easily adapt, or may never adapt, to living as pets in close contact with people, but they still need our help. Many don’t survive – if they do, their lives aren’t easy without human caretakers.
Free-roaming cats can have an impact on wildlife, and it is important that this also be acknowledged as part of the dynamic of dealing with feral cats.
The SPCA endorses Trap-Neuter-Return, which helps improve the health and quality of life for feral cats and prevents more from being born into this dangerous and difficult existence.