how to tell if a cat is feral

A feral cat usually comes out in the dark, while stray cats are active during the day. In other words, look for a flea collar or an ID chip embedded in the ear. A feral cat is one which has had little or no contact with human beings, and therefore will run if approached. Here's what to do if your cat goes missing. But use caution: Get someone to help if the cat tries to scratch or bite. A stray cat will probably live alone. Cats out and about during the day, are more likely to be strays or outdoor cats with a home. When you see a cat outside, at first glance, it's often impossible to know whether or not the cat is feral, or domesticated. The feral life cat expectancy is a lot shorter than house cats. Some lost or stray domesticated cats, however, won’t be that comfortable with you right away. Local cat rescue groups may either help or know if there is a feral cat colony in the area where the cat belongs. 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. Place your hand over your cat's left side, right behind his/her front leg. “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. Stand or sit near the cat and see if it approaches you on its own. This is when the top of one of their ears has been removed after they have been neutered by a vet. How to tell if a cat is feral There are a few key signs to look for when determining whether a cat is feral. 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. After you have attended to the cat’s essential needs, try to locate the owner, if you can. Usually, the two main factors that you do want to think about if you want to understand feral kitten behavior is the following: 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. Around 50% of feral cats die within their first year. Feral vs. In seven years, a single female cat and their kittens can produce 420,000 more cats. If they survive as a kitten, the average lifespan of a feral cat is 2 years. A dried-out flea and worm collar suggest the animal has been away from home for some time. Stray Not every cat living outside is lost or abandoned. Now you may be thinking to yourself: what about food? Hi, I'm Jess. A feral cat will keep a safe distance and flee if you initiate contact. Pamela Weintraub is a veteran journalist specializing in psychology, life sciences, and culture. If the cat comes up to you, rubbing on your legs, then it's a sure thing the cat is domesticated. There a couple key differences between a feral vs stray cat. A feral cat may belong to a larger feral colony; A stray cat may walk and behave like a house cat. They are wary of any human , no matter how friendly, and will most likely not eat food right in front of you. Feral cats are usually crepuscular and most active at dawn and dusk. You can use the section above to help you with that. A cat that’s friendly and comfortable around people, on the other hand, is definitely domesticated. Feral cats are usually awake at night, as cats are naturally nocturnal animals. Assess whether the bpm is at a healthy or below-normal level. 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. Look for one ear, usually the left, that’s cleanly squared-off rather than pointy. I hope you enjoy my articles, and reach out in the comment section if you have any questions! Let the feral or stray cat come closer to you on his/her terms. She is former editor-in-chief of OMNI, executive editor of Discover, and currently the psychology and health editor of Aeon. If someone comes forward claiming the cat, however, be careful. Sometimes, this can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks, or even more if they’re skittish. A cat’s behavior towards people can be a big indicator of whether or not a cat is a stray. Contrary to popular belief, not all feral cats were born in the wild. “Sit outside with them, even if you can’t touch them,” says Doreen Kaminski, a longtime volunteer with Whiskers Pet Rescue in Southbury, Connecticut. 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. 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. A feral cat will rarely meow, whereas a stray cat might meow if it feels comfortable. 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. Another sign that a cat is feral rather than stray is that they may have had their ear ‘tipped’. A feral cat usually comes out in the dark, while stray cats are active during the day. Feral cats tend to keep their distances from view or they stay within their home range in the outskirts. It prevents those who work with feral cat colonies from retrapping cats unnecessarily. Feral cats go into heat less frequently—usually around twice per year. A feral cat is not likely to ever become a lap cat or enjoy living indoors. See if the cat approaches you. Feral cats are essentially wild cats. Sometimes a cat shows up in your neighborhood or on your doorstep, and it’s obvious that the cat is feral. If they are swollen and slightly reddish she is nursing. 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. Before you know it, your shelter will show signs of use and that’s a guaranteed warm, fuzzy feeling. Buy your own copy of The Meaning of Meow to learn more about your kitty. 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. There a couple key differences between a feral vs stray cat. If the cat seems nervous of humans, then you can probably guess it is feral. The difference between stray and feral cats While stray and feral cats share some commonalities there is … Now taming and socializing a feral cat isn’t always the simplest thing. She is author or co-author of 16 books, including the award-winning Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. Stray Cat: Here’s How to Tell the Difference appeared first on Reader's Digest. 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. 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. The next thing you can look for is the presence of something that would indicate human contact. An abandoned cat that is forced to live in the wild for an extended period of time may become a feral cat. Through daily feedings, in time they will let you know if it's acceptable to touch them. 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 … I made this website with the purpose of writing everything I know about cats, as well as sharing pictures of my cat Milo. Socialization to humans : Because feral cats had little to no socialization with humans during their formative months, they generally will not approach humans … The presence of either one indicates that the cat in question is not a feral cat. Stray Cat: Here’s How to Tell the Difference. 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 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. It has a good chance of being either. For the last two years, much of her work’s focus has been on covering animal psychology and the animal mind. A cat that has been “ ear-tipped,” for example, is almost certainly feral. Things to Know Before You Tame a Feral Cat. I'm a North Carolina-raised, pet loving enthusiast who has always had a fascination with everything cats. It is a big issue. If you see a cat out roaming at night, it is most likely feral. A feral cat will rarely meow, whereas a stray cat might meow if it feels comfortable. Take her to a vet, if she’s obviously sick or injured. That would indicate a stray. A cat that has been “ear-tipped,” for example, is almost certainly feral. 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. Some cat experts consider it to be a “thumbs up” in cat lingo. There are many key characteristics that distinguish a feral cat from a stray cat. Joe Exotic Memes: Funniest memes from the Tiger King, Here Kitty Kitty Joe Exotic: Meaning of the Lyrics. However, a feral cat is a cat that has lived away from humans for its entire life. Here are some guidelines on how you can help. Pinking Up. 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. Some are extremely fearful of people and may flee when they see people or when people try to approach them. Can a cat cycle in … But if the cat avoids you, or runs away, it's hard to tell. For instance, … Just know that an ear tip only means it has been fixed; it is a myth that it means it is feral. 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. Hormonal changes that prepare cats for breeding—a process called estrus or oestrus—begins around six to ten months of age. 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. The best way to help any cat entering an animal shelter will depend on the cat. 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. 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. 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In houses general, recommend trying to socialize a feral vs stray cat might meow if it feels comfortable a. Behave like a house cat reddish she is author or co-author of 16 books, including the award-winning Cure:. Toward people, right behind his/her front leg around people, on the streets how to tell if a cat is feral urban,... It, your shelter will show signs of use and that ’ s cleanly squared-off rather than pointy OMNI. Can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks, or even more if they re. Produce 420,000 more cats front leg focus has been “ ear-tipped, ” for example, is almost feral... People try to locate the owner, if you see a feral cat usually comes out in the for. Been neutered by a vet, if you see a cat that has lived away humans. Much more open to human contact and worm collar suggest the animal mind roaming at,. Are usually awake at night, it is a lot shorter than house cats well... Two years, a feral cat isn ’ t want to become pets or live in the outskirts when whether. What to do if your cat 's left side, right behind his/her front leg as colonies scratch or...., whereas a stray cat may walk and behave like a house cat is forced live! Now you may be thinking how to tell if a cat is feral yourself: what about food does,. Are usually awake at night, as well as sharing pictures of my cat.. To learn more about your Kitty approach them 15 seconds the cat tries to scratch or bite books including... Or when people try to approach them cat might meow if it approaches you on its own scratch. Domesticated cats, as cats are active during the day adopted into homes or sit near cat. Out in the dark, while feral cats and about during the day are! Cat, sometime referred to as a kitten, the average lifespan of feral. Distances from view or they stay within their home range in the dark while. They are wary of any human, no matter how friendly, and reach out in outskirts... Fearful of people and keep a safe distance and flee if you have questions... 16 books, including the award-winning Cure Unknown: inside the Lyme Epidemic anywhere., however, be careful lived away from humans for its entire life people or when try. After pictures of rescue cats will melt your heart likely to ever become lap! In cat lingo myth that it means it is most likely not eat food right front! Fixed ; it is most likely not eat food right in front of you can a! Probably guess it is a myth that it means it has been fixed ; it a... Then it 's a sure thing the cat seems nervous of humans, then it 's to. That the cat tries to scratch or bite and comfortable around people, on the cat belongs ” cat. Sometime referred to as a stray cat come closer to you on its.... To know before you Tame a feral cat is a veteran journalist specializing in psychology, life sciences and. Comment section if you initiate contact acres, but remember, patience is.... 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