Sunday, October 16 is Feral Cat Day, aimed toward influencing big-hearted humans to help a community of felines that are misunderstood and sometimes mistreated.
If you’re not exactly sure what we’re talking about: feral cats, also known as community cats, are un-socialized felines and usually fearful of humans. They live in groups called colonies and share food and territory – much like a family. Most of these colonies originate from unneutered stray cats – which is what makes neutering incredibly important. Feral isn’t to be confused with “wild”, as the majority of these guys rely on some sort of human-based food source – be it a kind human who leaves food out or scraps they find, they don’t mainly survive on hunting like wild cats do. It’s also good to know that being feral is considered behavioral and not biological, meaning a cat can be born in the outdoors and, depending on their personality and how long they’ve been homeless, come around to being socialized and vice versa – a socialized pet can become a stray and, after surviving on their own for a bit, become fearful of humans.
What can you do for the cause? The first thing we suggest is talking with your local shelter or veterinarian about any Trap Neuter Release (TNR) options in your community – it’s the best, most humane approach to helping curb the number of cats on the streets. TNR is exactly what it sounds like: the cat is humanely trapped, taken to be neutered, then released where they were found to rejoin their colony without being able to contribute to its growth.
We’ve known quite a few people who feel good about leaving food and water out for their community cats – some have even been able to take their backyard cat in to be neutered, which is a major win for true cat lovers.
And just spreading the word helps, too! Making sure people understand and respect community cats is incredibly important – trust us… they may not ever thank you, but those feral felines will undoubtedly appreciate it.