Feral: Another Word for Free-Roaming
Sunday, October 16 is Feral Cat Day, intended to influence the big-hearted humans out there to help a community of felines that are misunderstood and sometimes mistreated.
What is a feral cat? Feral cats, sometimes referred to as community cats, are felines that are un-socialized and typically fearful of humans. They live in groups called colonies and share food and territory – sort of like a family. Most colonies originate from unneutered stray cats, which is why spaying and neutering is of the utmost importance. Feral doesn’t mean “wild”, as the majority of these guys rely on some sort of human-based food source – be it a kind neighbor who leaves food out for them or scraps they find, they don’t survive primarily on hunting like wild cats do. Feral is also considered behavioral and not biological, meaning a cat can be born in the outdoors and come around to being socialized (depending on their personality and how long they’ve been on the streets) and vice versa – a socialized pet can become a stray and, after surviving on their own for a bit, become fearful of humans.
What can you do for the cause? Talk to your local shelter or veterinarian about any Trap Neuter Release (TNR) options in your community, as it’s the best, most humane approach to helping curb the number of cats on the streets. TNR is exactly what it sounds like: the cat is humanely trapped, taken to a facility to be neutered, then released to the same area they were found to rejoin their colony without the ability to contribute to its growth.
We know plenty of people in our lives that get a lot of satisfaction out of leaving food and water out for their community cats – some have even been able to be the ones to take the cat in to be neutered, which is a major win for true cat lovers.
Lastly, spreading the word helps, too! Making sure people understand community cats and don’t mistreat them is incredibly important – trust us… they may not be able to thank you, but those feral felines will undoubtedly appreciate it.