A feral cat, also known as a community cat, is a wild animal. Just like house rabbits and wild rabbits, feral cats may look like their domesticated relatives, but they have no interest in being inside and should be viewed as a wild animal.
Feral cats will keep a safe distance from humans, even if the human has been feeding them, and will not allow a human to touch them. Feral cats are rarely vocal in the wild, usually only calling out to their kittens, if they’re in danger, or if they need help.
If a cat is coming close to you, allowing you to pet it, and meows to you, it is more than likely a stray cat, a lost cat, or an indoor/outdoor cat.
Knowing the difference between a feral cat and a stray cat helps organizations like us use the correct protocols in helping the cat. Stray cats are captured, microchip scanned, and an owner is looked for. If no owner comes forward, a stray cat can be given his or her veterinary care and adopted to an indoor forever home. Feral cats are captured, given veterinary care, and then released back to their territory where they can continue being a wild animal.
TNR helps feral cat colonies by reducing the population, pinpointing where colonies are so we can better care for them, and decreasing diseases that feral cats can catch to protect the colonies. “An average cat has 1-8 kittens per litter and 2-3 litters per year. During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years”.
With TNR, we humanely trap feral cats, scan them for microchips to be sure, then get their veterinary care done. This consists of a spay or neuter, rabies shot, FVRCP shot, and ear tip. If the feral cat is ill or injured, we hold on to them and continue veterinary care until they are completely healthy. Once they are healthy and their veterinary care is done, they are released back to the environment they came from.
If you see a cat with an ear tip like the one to the left, that means the cat has already had veterinary care and does not need handled again. Ear tips allow TNRers to know if the cat needs veterinary care, and if it has an ear tip, we release it immediately.