Feral, stray, and pet cats are all members of the same species; they are all domestic cats. Often, feral cats are the descendants of unaltered cats who were abandoned outdoors and are fearful of humans because they have been fending for themselves from a young age and never had the opportunity to socialize and learn to trust people.
While they are often mistaken for stray cats, ferals have little or no contact with humans and cannot be tamed.
What makes a cat feral?
Cats learn what is normal at a very young age, during what is known as a ‘socialization period.’ Between the ages of two to six weeks, kittens can learn to enjoy human contact, forming a bond, and becoming great pets.
Feral cats are usually the offspring of stray, feral, or abandoned cats and have missed out on this early experience, making them likely to be wary of humans.
How can I care for a feral cat?
Despite their wild nature, feral cats still need a level of care. With many ferals living in colonies, the cat population can grow quickly. Neutering and returning the cats to their colony stop continual breeding.
While most ferals are resourceful when it comes to finding food, it is good to keep an eye on them. If you suspect a feral cat is sick or injured, they can be trapped and taken to the vet.
Feral cats, or those born wild, are equally protected in law as domestic cats and are more susceptible to disease. Simply removing feral cats isn’t a long-term solution – a new colony will often move in.
The best option is to neuter all of the feral cats within as short a time frame as possible, reducing the size of the colony and therefore keeping vermin levels down. If you’d like more information on feral neutering, please contact Mobivet Clinic, Pets Center, or Andys Vet in Kenya.
The risk associated with feral cats.
Areas that have a large wild animal or feral animal populations are more likely to harbor animals with the rabies virus. Rabies is most often transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, but any exposure to the saliva of an infected animal can lead to transmission.
Don’t approach any animal that appears hostile or disoriented, or is otherwise acting strangely, but also remember that an animal may be rabid for some time before it starts showing symptoms—meaning that any bite is cause to make an appointment with your doctor. All that said, don’t panic: with prompt attention after a bite, rabies is totally preventable with just a few shots in the arm.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that can be transmitted from cat to cat, as well as from an infected cat to dogs and humans. Symptoms of ringworm include circular spots of patchy hair loss because it’s not actually a worm—it’s a fungus. It isn’t necessary for the cat to have close contact with others to spread ringworm. The disease can be transmitted through contact with infected food dishes or bedding. Ringworm spores can remain active for up to one year, making this a difficult disease to eradicate once it’s established.
Feral cats are a threat to wildlife. It is estimated that free-roaming cats kill millions of birds and small mammals every year, including endangered species. Cats are not native wildlife and do not fit into the predator-prey ecosystem. Their hunting instincts exist no matter how well fed they are. They terrorize, maim, and kill countless native birds and other small wild animals.
These small animals die from repeated puncture wounds and from being crushed by cats’ jaws. Unfortunately, feral cats spend a great deal of time playing with their dying, convulsing prey, whose suffering is intense. Many of these animals are then left to die slowly when they stop struggling but remain alive.
The street, home, or office is no place for feral cats. If however, you do find yourself with a feral cat infestation, then the best thing you can do is contact us on 0759292158, 0103055943, 0742448334, 0756432285, or drop an email to to schedule an eradication plan.
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