Discussing Feral Cats, What Makes Them Feral, How You Can Help Them, And The Holiday That Raises Awareness About Them
One of the greatest, yet underappreciated, dilemmas amongst the cat community is that of feral cats. While the exact numbers are difficult to determine, P.E.T.A. (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) reports that there are between 60 and 100 million homeless cats in the U.S. This is a shockingly high number considering there are only 94.2 million registered cats as pets in the U.S. That’s why October 16th is widely celebrated and recognized as National Feral Cat Day. This article will cover everything you need to know about feral cats, how you can help them, and the holiday that promotes them.
Feral Cats vs Stray Cats
It’s worth noting that there is a clear distinction between stray cats and feral cats. The main difference between the two is whether or not they have been socialized to humans, according to Alley Cat Allies. Stray cats are socialized, meaning they are accustomed to interacting with people. Feral cats on the other hand are not socialized with people and typically avoid interacting with people.
A feral cat can be defined as an outdoor cat that is unsocialized with people. They are usually fearful of people, do not like to be touched, and would not enjoy being kept indoors. Feral cats are born & raised outdoors and do not have positive relations with people. Most feral kittens (less than 4 months old) can be socialized, but most adult feral cats can not be socialized.
A stray cat can be defined as a cat that once lived indoors and was socialized to people at some point. But, they have either left/lost their home or been abandoned, and no longer have regular human contact. Stray cats are much more approachable than feral cats as they have had good relations with people. It is still recommend to keep your distance as they probably aren’t up-to-date on their shots or could be carrying fleas or ticks.
Why Have A Holiday About Feral Cats?
The goal of National Feral Cat day is to raise awareness about feral cat colonies and how to care for/prevent them. The Alley Cat Allies founded the holiday in 2001 and have been educating people about the feral cat crisis ever since. Typically speaking, feral cats didn’t end up feral by choice and they are still deserving of a good life regardless. While feral cats usually can’t be socialized and adopted, there are still other ways you can help them.
Being Part Of The Solution
One great way to help feral cats is to support or participate in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs. This entails trapping feral cats, bringing them to local volunteer veterinarians, having them neutered or spayed, and releasing them back into the wild. Alley Cat Allies organizes and supports several of these programs all across the country. To learn more about these programs and how to get involved, click here. These TNR programs give feral cats the opportunity to live their best lives on the streets, but prevent them from producing more kittens. More feral kittens means more feral cats.
Aside from T.N.R. programs, you can also help feral cats by spreading the word about them on social media! A simple post on social media about National Feral Cat Day can help educate people about the struggles that feral cats face and raise awareness on how to help them. Be sure to share this article too! For more information about feral cats and how to help them, click here. Every person can make a difference. You could be that person!
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