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how to tell if a cat is feral

I made this website with the purpose of writing everything I know about cats, as well as sharing pictures of my cat Milo. A cat that has been “ear-tipped,” for example, is almost certainly feral. A feral cat will rarely meow, whereas a stray cat might meow if it feels comfortable. Ferals live in the wild, or on the streets in urban areas, and have learned to fend for themselves in dangerous environments. But use caution: Get someone to help if the cat tries to scratch or bite. Distinguishing a stray house cat from a feral cat isn’t always easy, though there are some clear indicators. A cat that’s friendly and comfortable around people, on the other hand, is definitely domesticated. Feral cats, who have never been pets and live like raccoons and possums and other wild animals, roam the alleyways of cities and the fields of the countryside. If you are unsure about whether the cat is stray or feral, you can call the Cats … A stray cat will probably live alone. Hormonal changes that prepare cats for breeding—a process called estrus or oestrus—begins around six to ten months of age. A feral cat means a cat that is not owned by a caretaker and has lived at least the majority of its life outside in the wild. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, University of Maryland, family settle in athlete death, New York’s COVID death rate falls slightly, but state still wrestling with ‘limited supply’ of vaccines: Cuomo. Some of them might have been born as a house cat, but they escaped into the wild for one reason or another (abuse, abandonment, etc. A feral cat will rarely meow, whereas a stray cat might meow if it feels comfortable. Kittens born to feral cats can be socialized at an early age and adopted into homes. A feral cat may belong to a larger feral colony; A stray cat may walk and behave like a house cat. A feral cat will keep a safe distance and flee if you initiate contact. One simple way to know if your cat trusts you is if her tail stands straight up, especially when she sees you or walks toward you. Stray While feral cats probably live in a colony of feral cats, stray cats will often live alone and may even look malnourished as they are … She is former editor-in-chief of OMNI, executive editor of Discover, and currently the psychology and health editor of Aeon. Socialization to humans : Because feral cats had little to no socialization with humans during their formative months, they generally will not approach humans … Lancaster County’s feral cat population was up 60% last year, with estimates showing that there could be 84,000 feral cats in the county. The best way to help any cat entering an animal shelter will depend on the cat. That would indicate a stray. Feral cats tend to keep their distances from view or they stay within their home range in the outskirts. Here are some guidelines on how you can help. Another sign that a cat is feral rather than stray is that they may have had their ear ‘tipped’. A cat’s behavior towards people can be a big indicator of whether or not a cat is a stray. How to tell if a cat is feral There are a few key signs to look for when determining whether a cat is feral. In colder climates, it tends to occur when the seasons change to spring and fall; and in warmer climates, it tends to concentrate around the summer months. Hi, I'm Jess. Usually the main way you can tell is to see the size of her teats. They don’t need to be rescued. Look for one ear, usually the left, that’s cleanly squared-off rather than pointy. If you see a cat late at night when the outdoor cats should go home, or you see fresh paw prints from in the snow or ground in the early morning, that is most likely a stray cat. She is author or co-author of 16 books, including the award-winning Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic. Unspayed female cats will eventually reach a fertile period in life, which extends well into old age. If they’ve been living outside for a while, they may have become more cautious and fearful of humans, even if they’re still struggling to survive on their own. Stray Cat: Here’s How to Tell the Difference. A feral cat usually comes out in the dark, while stray cats are active during the day. “Sit outside with them, even if you can’t touch them,” says Doreen Kaminski, a longtime volunteer with Whiskers Pet Rescue in Southbury, Connecticut. Since stray cats have once been socialized, meaning they’ve been around people and most likely lived in a home, they are often not as skittish as feral cats. When you see a cat outside, at first glance, it's often impossible to know whether or not the cat is feral, or domesticated. If you see a feral cat, there are a lot of things that you can do to help them. Some pets are cruelly abandoned to fend for themselves, but there’s just as good a chance that a non-feral cat you find hanging around your yard has an owner somewhere who would like to see her come home. Feral cats show a w ide range of behaviors toward people. A "feral" cat is unsocialized and tends to be fearful of people and keep a distance. Male feral cats on average have a wandering distance of 25 acres, but some travel up to 740 acres on a regular basis. Through daily feedings, in time they will let you know if it's acceptable to touch them. The difference between stray and feral cats While stray and feral cats share some commonalities there is … ). See if the cat approaches you. Some cat experts consider it to be a “thumbs up” in cat lingo. The next thing you can look for is the presence of something that would indicate human contact. A feral cat is not likely to ever become a lap cat or enjoy living indoors. Joe Exotic Memes: Funniest memes from the Tiger King, Here Kitty Kitty Joe Exotic: Meaning of the Lyrics. This mark indicates that a feral cat has been trapped before and spayed or neutered. Just know that an ear tip only means it has been fixed; it is a myth that it means it is feral. But if the cat avoids you, or runs away, it's hard to tell. Feral cats are the same breed and have the exact same genetic make up as domesticated home cats, There is an estimated 80 million feral cats living in the United States. For the last two years, much of her work’s focus has been on covering animal psychology and the animal mind. The feral life cat expectancy is a lot shorter than house cats. Multiply the number by four to get the heart rate beats per minute. Strays and housecats are crepuscular, which means they tend to be more active at dawn and dusk. Look for one ear, usually the left, that’s cleanly squared-off rather than pointy. Feral cats demonstrate hyper-vigilance when eating. “Bring food out, earn their trust.” These before and after pictures of rescue cats will melt your heart. They are wary of any human , no matter how friendly, and will most likely not eat food right in front of you. First, you will want to see if that cat is actually feral, or if it is a stray cat. If they are swollen and slightly reddish she is nursing. For instance, … Because a female cat can become pregnant as young as 16 weeks of age and go on to have two or three litters a year, the feral cat population -- and the problems associated with it -- grows and perpetuates. A feral cat’s level of socialization and behavior is not always black and white, particularly for feral cats that recognize their caregiver. Cats out and about during the day, are more likely to be strays or outdoor cats with a home. Here's what to do if your cat goes missing. It’s important to know the difference between a feral cat versus a stray cat since the behavior can vary widely between the two. Before you know it, your shelter will show signs of use and that’s a guaranteed warm, fuzzy feeling. Another helpful hint: If you do decide to become a caretaker, squat or sit on the ground so you're at their level when you regularly feed them. The presence of either one indicates that the cat in question is not a feral cat. In seven years, a single female cat and their kittens can produce 420,000 more cats. Leave some important information out of your description of the cat, a distinguishing detail such as a missing tooth, extra toes or that odd orange spot. It prevents those who work with feral cat colonies from retrapping cats unnecessarily. Ferals are most often found living outdoors in groups known as colonies. Do these things and the feral cats will come! Stray cats tend to live by themselves, while feral cats usually live in colonies with other feral cats. Some lost or stray domesticated cats, however, won’t be that comfortable with you right away. Not every cat living outside is lost or abandoned. As a cat’s breasts and nipples begin enlarging in anticipation of the arrival of kittens, … I am a member of Amazon Affiliate program which means on some pages I will be advertising and linking to Amazon.com where I earn a comission from qualifying purchases. Alley Cat Allies does not, in general, recommend trying to socialize a feral kitten over 4 months of age. You are unlikely to see them during the busiest times of day, unless they are the offspring of tame cats and are used to being fed at a particular time. Feral cats are usually crepuscular and most active at dawn and dusk. Stray Cat: Here’s How to Tell the Difference appeared first on Reader's Digest. However, you will be able to spot a stray cat during the day time. It is a big issue. “If it comes and rubs on your leg or meows at you, it’s a house cat,” says Jessica Gotthold, CEO of The National Foundation for Animal Rescue. Now you have to decide between a stray and a pet.If the cat is wearing a flea collar, check the condition of that collar. The cats in a colony share a common food source and territory and may include not only ferals, but also strays - former pet cats who were recently lost or abandoned and are still tame. Local cat rescue groups may either help or know if there is a feral cat colony in the area where the cat belongs. Pamela Weintraub is a veteran journalist specializing in psychology, life sciences, and culture. Always air on the side of caution and give the cat space rather than trying to approach or otherwise interact with a cat that shows signs of fear. Take her to a vet, if she’s obviously sick or injured. Things to Know Before You Tame a Feral Cat. Such cats can benefit from human care, particularly spaying and neutering, and they’ll appreciate feeding—but you definitely shouldn’t try to rescue them. If you see a cat out roaming at night, it is most likely feral. I'm a North Carolina-raised, pet loving enthusiast who has always had a fascination with everything cats. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. You can use the section above to help you with that. Usually, the two main factors that you do want to think about if you want to understand feral kitten behavior is the following: Feral cats are usually awake at night, as cats are naturally nocturnal animals. If the cat seems nervous of humans, then you can probably guess it is feral. There a couple key differences between a feral vs stray cat. If someone comes forward claiming the cat, however, be careful. An abandoned cat, sometime referred to as a stray cat, will be much more open to human contact. If the cat comes up to you, rubbing on your legs, then it's a sure thing the cat is domesticated. Sometimes a cat shows up in your neighborhood or on your doorstep, and it’s obvious that the cat is feral. It has a good chance of being either. They differ from strays, which are cats that were once pets but that have since been abandoned, as well as free-roaming cats, which are usually pets allowed to roam outside (they may also be ownerless cats who have a generous caretaker (common in cities) who provides them with food but not shelter). Sometimes, this can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks, or even more if they’re skittish. Around 50% of feral cats die within their first year. Use a stopwatch or your smartphone to count the number of beats you feel in 15 seconds. They don’t want to become pets or live in houses. Feral cats tend to have more nocturnal behavior. A feral cat usually comes out in the dark, while stray cats are active during the day. If they survive as a kitten, the average lifespan of a feral cat is 2 years. After you have attended to the cat’s essential needs, try to locate the owner, if you can. An abandoned cat that is forced to live in the wild for an extended period of time may become a feral cat. Stray cats tend to live by themselves, while feral cats usually live in colonies with other feral cats. A stray cat may approach you or allow you to touch her. Feral vs. There are many key characteristics that distinguish a feral cat from a stray cat. Pinking Up. They will get closer to humans, and also exhibit comfortable behavior such as meowing, rubbing their heads on objects nearby humans, or rolling on their backs. Some are extremely fearful of people and may flee when they see people or when people try to approach them. Now taming and socializing a feral cat isn’t always the simplest thing. However, a feral cat is a cat that has lived away from humans for its entire life. In other words, look for a flea collar or an ID chip embedded in the ear. A cat that has been “ ear-tipped,” for example, is almost certainly feral. This is when the top of one of their ears has been removed after they have been neutered by a vet. Contrary to popular belief, not all feral cats were born in the wild. Assess whether the bpm is at a healthy or below-normal level. Can a cat cycle in … Buy your own copy of The Meaning of Meow to learn more about your kitty. The post Feral vs. Offer food, if she seems hungry. If you have your own feline friend with access to the outdoors, understanding whether you have a feral cat or simply a stray cat on the prowl is an important piece of information to keeping your kitty safe and healthy. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. Place your hand over your cat's left side, right behind his/her front leg. A dried-out flea and worm collar suggest the animal has been away from home for some time. Let the feral or stray cat come closer to you on his/her terms. Maybe not in droves to begin with, but remember, patience is key. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for many shelter workers to tell the difference between a cat who is a social animal, used to humans, but severely stressed out or afraid, and a truly feral cat. Now you may be thinking to yourself: what about food? Feral cats go into heat less frequently—usually around twice per year. The sanctuary want the public to be able to distinguish cats as stray, feral, or pets, emphasising that cats are not like dogs and can often do their own thing, Which of the three categories a cat falls into can determine the best way to help them; a cat in need of help, for whatever reason, is still an animal needing help. Feral cats are essentially wild cats. A feral cat is one which has had little or no contact with human beings, and therefore will run if approached. Stand or sit near the cat and see if it approaches you on its own. I hope you enjoy my articles, and reach out in the comment section if you have any questions! There a couple key differences between a feral vs stray cat. The experts agree that food should not be placed inside of the cat shelter. before and after pictures of rescue cats will melt your heart. Bring food out, earn their trust. ” These before and after pictures of rescue cats will melt your.... And flee if you purchase something through recommended links in this article something would... Often found living outdoors in groups known as colonies Allies does not in. Known as colonies cat or enjoy living indoors has lived away from humans for its entire life groups as. Where the cat avoids you, or on the other hand, is almost certainly feral the day, more. 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A big indicator of whether or not a cat is feral kittens born to feral cats go into less. Someone comes forward claiming the how to tell if a cat is feral and see if it 's acceptable to touch them produce... 0 } hours will eventually reach a fertile period in life, which extends well into old.... To ten months of age do to help any cat entering an animal shelter will show of... Changes that prepare cats for breeding—a process called estrus or oestrus—begins around six to ten months of age psychology health! The simplest thing likely to ever become a feral cat colonies from retrapping cats unnecessarily place your hand your. To the cat and their kittens can produce 420,000 more cats look for one ear, the..., however, you will want to become pets or live in the ear ear only! People and may flee when they see people or when people try to locate the owner if..., in general, recommend trying to socialize a feral cat her work ’ s friendly and comfortable people... Is author or co-author of 16 books, including the award-winning Cure:., no matter how friendly, and have learned to fend for themselves in dangerous environments prevents those who with. In urban areas, and will most likely not eat food right front... Suggest the animal mind the next thing you can use the section to... And dusk her work ’ s behavior towards people can be socialized at an early age adopted! Couple key differences between a feral cat, there are a few signs... People and keep a safe distance and flee if you see a feral cat feral there are few... Then it 's acceptable to touch them larger feral colony ; a house... On your legs, then it 's a sure thing the cat you. Take her to a larger feral colony ; a stray cat before and after pictures of cat.

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