Medical Problems Associated With Life In The Wild
Pet cats live longer than stray or feral cats due to good medical care and proper nutrition. Immunizations protect them against contagious diseases like Feline Leukemia, respiratory infections and rabies. Testing and isolation protocols, along with targeted vaccination, help prevent the spread of FIV . Parasite prevention protects them against heartworms, flea and tick-borne infections, and intestinal parasites. Good hygiene prevents ear mites and fungal infections. Feral and stray cats dont get good medical care and can suffer a wide variety of ailments.
“Lack of immunization, parasite control, adequate nutrition, and hygiene put feral cats at risk of many life-threatening problems.”
Lack of immunization, parasite control, adequate nutrition, and hygiene put feral cats at risk of many life-threatening problems. Plus, their lifestyle increases the risk even more. Feral cats live in close quarters that prompt the transmission of contagious disease and parasites. Lack of nutrition suppresses their immune systems, making them more vulnerable to a host of diseases. Random breeding and fighting with other cats exposes them to bacterial and viral infections such as FIV.
All of these problems shorten the lives of feral cats. They need help.
What Should I Do With A Sick Or Injured Stray/feral Cat
If you find an injured stray or feral cat and they’re approachable, please confine them and take them to a vet, if possible. If this is not possible, please get in contact with us on 0300 1234 999.
If taking a sick/injured stray cat to the vets and the cat just needs minimum care, you might be expected to take the cat away and fit a paper collar if needed.
Can A Feral Kitten Become A House Cat
In this section, I will explain if a feral cat can become a house cat. You may have been considering a new cat and wondered if it would be wise to rescue one of these cats instead. If so, keep reading.
Yes, a feral cat can become a house cat. But, in most cases, its quite difficult. This is because they are very fearful of us humans, so domesticating them will be very difficult.
You May Like: Evolve Wet Cat Food
If The Mother Doesn’t Return
Its important for their chances of survival to not take kittens away from their mother if they havent been weaned from her milk. Pre-weaned kittens without a mother are very difficult to care for and have a high mortality rate. They require frequent feedings of kitten milk replacer formula day and night, and many “fail to thrive” without the care of their mother, even with all necessary veterinary care and experienced foster volunteers.
Only bring the kittens to the shelter if, after watching for 4-6 hours, you are 100% certain the mother is not returning.
If the mother hasnt returned within 4-6 hours:
- You can care for the kitten in your home . If kittens are over six weeks old, be sure to post a found report on our website.
- If you are unable to care for the kittens yourself, please contact MCAS immediately for help. Call 503-988-7387.
- You can bring them in a carrier or box with a towel or blanket to MCAS. To keep them warm during transport, fill up a water bottle with warm water, wrap it in a towel, and place it next to the kittens.
- You can also bring stray kittens to our partners in the community who will accept them on behalf of MCAS:
- Oregon Humane Society in North Portland
Feral Cat Vs Stray Cat
You may have heard the terms feral and stray used interchangeably. Despite this, there are major distinctions and stray cats and feral cats vary greatly in their behavior and the way they approach humans. Stray cats are cats that have either been house pets at some point in time, and abandoned or lost, or have had enough interaction with people to be properly socialized and accustomed to humans.
Feral cats have either been separated from humans for so long that they have lost their ability to socialize with people, or they have never been exposed to humans. Feral cats are fearful of people and respond more like a wild animal than a domesticated one to human advances. Feral cats frequently live in large groups and socialize with each other.
Read Also: Is Blue Buffalo Good Cat Food
What Do I Do If I Find Young Kittens Who Have A Mother
Ask your neighbors and put up fliers to determine if this is a cat who has a home or if this is a stray cat. If this is a stray cat you want to catch the mother cat and her kittens. Kittens benefit from their mother’s milk and attention. Keep them together in a confined area with a box or other shelter inside this area where the mom cat can hide . The kittens will come out to see you and the mom cat will hide in the box/carrier. Handle the kittens daily to get them used to people and then put them back with mom. If you have them confined and you can’t touch the kittens because the mother cat is protecting them, then remove the kittens from her at 5 weeks of age and begin taming them. Read more about taming/socializing kittens.
The most important thing you can do is get the mother spayed so she doesnt get pregnant again. She can be spayed safely while still nursing her kittens and she can also get pregnant while nursing her kittens, so dont wait too long to have the surgery done.
What If I Find A Pregnant Cat
You can have the cat safely spayed while she is pregnant. If you decide to let her have the kittens before spaying her then be prepared to tame the kittens and spay/neuter them before finding them homes. Keep in mind that much of the year shelters and adoption programs are full and somehave a waiting list to accept kittens.
You May Like: Is Blue Buffalo Good Cat Food
More Than Just Babies Though
the problem is, even if you choose to sterilize the cats, and if they have been sterilized, this will still not fix the situation. The problem is, even if you dont have the baby issue, it creates this problem:
- They will stay in the same area and look for food
- They will stay where theyre abandoned
- New owners will find the new cat and will have to take care of it
For example, if you leave your home, a new owner takes it over, and they have the cat there, the cat that was fed in the past but now isnt will actually stay there, and they wont go away. Hunting will give them a chance to survive, but if human steps in, hey actually are sickly and ill as a result of this, so if you feed them, youve got the responsibility, and they often arent getting enough nutrients.
The cat will continue to roam around there, begging for food, and they usually will starve, and eventually die. So if you stop feeding, youre essentially closing the curtain on any chance that they have at living.
What Is A Feral Kitten
A feral kitten is a kitten born in the wild with no previous human contact. A kitten that is born on the street could be feral by 5 weeks of age. If the mother is fearful of humans, she will teach her kittens at an early age to be fearful. You could start out with the fiercest of kittens, but if they are young and you are patient and can spend the time, they will most likely tame down and become adoptable kittens.
Read Also: What Was Hp Lovecrafts Cats Name
What Happens When You Do Feed Them
Feeding feral cats is a huge controversy. You can look it up online, and see so many articles about why you shouldnt. This is a controversy, because hey, we think that these cats need food, so we should go feed them. Problem is, that actually can be a problem in some cases.
Feral cats can take care of themselves. Remember, they eat a lot of various critters including the following:
- Other animals they may like
The truth is, cats know how to hunt if theyre feral. They know how to not go hungry. If youve ever seen a cat that is a barn cat, they know how to catch rodents, to the point where they are controlling the population of the farm, and getting a meal. Sometimes, we may feel bad when we see the cats because we think theyre hungry when in truth, theyre totally fine. Lots of times, there are even local ordinances forbidding this, but lots of times, people will feed these cats anyways.
But here is the problem, youre starting to domesticate them. Here is exactly what happens when you feed them.
- Youre now the caretaker of them
- You have to be responsible
- Youre going to get a lot of other kitties to come forward
- The feeding stations will grow
- You also may attract the cops if youre doing this
So yes, it is a bit of a problem. While you may feel bad that theyre not even eating or something, at the end of the day, its best to watch out for this.
What Do I Need To Foster Feral Kittens
To start out the taming down process, your most important tool would be your cage and an appropriate place to keep it. A smaller cage is key, so that reaching in is easy for you. You dont want the kittens to be able to run away from you.
Setting up the cage in a quiet room is ideal. A bathroom, laundry room or an extra bedroom are good choices. Additionally, being able to leave a television on or a radio with soft music can be quite helpful to kittens that are getting used to voices and activity.
Set up your cage with a blanket, puppy pad or towel on the wire floor. These will need to be changed regularly! Place bedding in one corner of the cage and litter box in the other corner. Food and water towards the front of the cage. A large sheet to cover the cage and you should be set. The sheet will help the kitten to feel like he is more in a CAVE than a cage . . . this will become his safe spot.
Read Also: How To Draw A Cat Step By Step Realistic
What To Do If You Have This In Place
If youve already made the commitment and fed a cat, theyre essentially your responsibility. You have a couple of things that youre going to have to do, and they are as follows:
- Sterilize them
- Create a feeding station
If youve already been threatened by animal control, the best thing to do is to discreetly give them some food. You can do a few things, including the following:
- Move it to a discreet location
- Feed in the morning or the late afternoon
- Pick up the food once theyre done, or when the sun is down
- Feed the cats on either leaves or even some flour tortillas, because the tortillas will be bird food
- Make sure never to leave a mess, and instead keep it neat, discreet, and clean
- Keep the animal control in good rapport with you
With spaying and neutering, if you have a colony, you need to make sure that theyre all sterilized. This is a definite need, and youll want to prevent it if you have other mouths to feed.
Some use TNR, which is a trap, sterilize, and then release, and its a humane method of managing this. If you do this, you need to take responsibility, and you should definitely make sure that if you have a big enough colony, and never let it get overpopulated.
You should always make sure that you do other actions too, and they are:
Remember, youre the caretaker, so if you do feed them, remember that youre the one responsible for them.
Why Does It Matter
- Understanding the many degrees of socialization cats can exhibit will help you determine the best way to care for, help, and protect them. See our guide The Cat Socialization Continuum: A Guide to Interactions Between Cats and Humans for all the details.
- Stray cats can readjust to living with people and may be good candidates for adoption into indoor homes if people have the time and means to foster and adopt.
- Stray and feral cats can be difficult to tell apart, especially when they are trapped or frightened. Scared stray cats often need time to relax and show their level of socialization.
- Adult feral cats are not socialized to people, which means they cannot be adopted to indoor homes. As a result, they are likely to be killed if picked up by animal control or brought to shelters, so it is in their best interest to continue living outdoors.
- Trap-Neuter-Return saves feral cats lives, and benefits all community cats, regardless of their level of socialization. Cats who are part of TNR programs are humanely trapped, scanned for microchips, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped and microchipped . Stray cats who are thriving and dont have microchips indicating they are lost can be returned to their outdoor home or fostered and adopted.
Don’t Miss: 15 Year Old Cat In Human Years
How To Tell If A Cat Is Feral
Feral cats usually have small home ranges, and because they look identical to domestic, it can be tough to tell the difference between the two particularly if you are dealing with a scared pet that avoids human contact.
Be careful approaching a cat that you suspect is feral. As with all cats, feral cats are susceptible to certain diseases like rabies, toxoplasmosis, and parasites.
Many of these diseases can be transmitted to humans in fact, of all the people infected with rabies in the United States, 16 percent are believed to have been infected by feral cats.
The majority of cats you encounter in the daytime are more likely to be a domesticated, as they prefer to be nocturnal.
Domesticated cats will also be vocal, meowing or responding to your voice in some way. They are also more likely to make eye contact.
Have You Found A Stray Cat Or Litter Of Kittens Here Are Some Resources That May Help
Stray and Feral Kittens are an Epidemic: Between the months of March and September, every shelter in the region will be overrun with kittens, both orphaned litters and those with a mother. Many of these litters are either strays or ferals. Neither one has a legal owner however, the difference between a stray cat or a feral cat is that a stray cat is accustomed to people and a feral cat has lived in the wild and has been self-sufficient with little to no contact with people. For more information on caring for neonatal kittens,
Stray cats can often be socialized and then adopted. Feral cats generally cannot be easily socialized and adopted. However, kittens under four-months old can often be socialized and adopted even if born to feral cats.
Read Also: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wet Cat Food
Stray Vs Feral Cats: How To Spot The Difference
If you have ever uncovered an unknown kitty stalking the streets or gracing your garden, how would you react to it? On first impressions, it is an important step to figure out if this lone feline is a stray or a feral though they all hail from domestic cats, there are key differences in their feelings towards humans and the approaches to aid them.
In this article, Petplan take a look at the important difference between stray and feral felines, including physical and behavioural characteristics, which can help you to potentially decipher if a cat is in need of rescue…
How To Tell The Difference Between A Feral Stray And Outdoor Cat
If you see a cat wondering about on the street or in the backyard, what would you do? The first thing is to identify if it is a stray, outdoor cat, or a feral cat. Here are some signs that you can use to tell the differences.
Outdoor cats are cats that are owned by someone and go home regularly. Their coat should be neat, clean and well kept. They also normally have a collar. A stray is a cat that is lost or ran away from home so they normally have unkept or grungy coats compared to feral cats They should also be thinner since they dont know or arent used to hunting for themselves. Feral cats are used to being on their own so they are better to groom themselves. If you are able to get close to the cat, you can check if theyre footpads are calloused or soft Indoor cats or cats that are not outside often will have soft paw pads.
Outdoor cats would most likely be friendly and approachable, or it would come towards people to be pet. Feral cats normally would be very scared and will run away from people, and they can also be hostile if you approach it too quickly. Stray cats can be both scared and or approachable depending on the situation or the personality of the cat. All cats can be weary of people so take some time and observe their behaviour before you approach them.
Time of Day
Once you identify what type of cat you are dealing with, you can go ahead with the appropriate actions safely.
Dundas Euclid Animal Hospital
Read Also: Is Blue Buffalo Good Cat Food