What is the difference between a feral cat and a stray cat?
It is one of those questions we know we have but somehow chose to not get enough clarity on.
And there is a reason for that. Both feral cats and stray cats live outside the domesticated feline ecosystem.
More often than not, not by choice.
Adding to that, both feral and stray cats to a great extent exude a similar aura.
Both are homeless, mostly aggressive, and to a great extent ragged looking and unfortunately riddled with fleas and ticks.
So the logic behind choosing to assume that both feral cats and stray cats are the same seems apt but isn’t entirely on point.
So today let’s go ahead and gain some clarity into,
The Differences Between A Feral Cat And A Stray Cat?
What Are Stray Cats?
Stray cats are those that at some point in time have had homes.
Most of the cats that you see in shelters are stray cats.
And because they have already been a part of a domestic ecosystem you will find that these cats are comfortable with approaching humans.
They make come close to you, try to communicate with you, and if you are lucky maybe they will start rubbing themselves on your legs and palms.
Talking About Communication, check this post on how many sounds can cats make, and what do they mean?
Also, don’t forget to Subscribe and to Get your FREE Cat Behavior Training Guide!.
Stray cats are ones that are either lost, abandoned or released from their previous owners and homes.
If all of a sudden you find yourself getting regular visits from a friendly cat gawking at you from the door for food and love.
Congrats you just found a stray cat.
Now give it a forever home please :).
Stray cats if they are not approaching you, tend to lead solitary lives.
Maybe due to the development of domesticated tendencies and incapacity to express an overly aggressive behavior, they try not to infringe on other animal territories.
Stray cats again due to their domesticated history respond mostly very lovingly to treats and human calls.
And therefore can be caressed and caught relatively easily if you want to take them in.
So if tomorrow you find a friendly cat like this in your neighborhood check for a collar or please take it to a vet to check for a microchip.
There may very well be a family out there worried sick for their kitty.
And they will be dearly grateful to you if you help them find her.
What Are Feral Cats?
Feral Cats are quite different from stray cats.
Unlike stray cats, feral cats are the ones that have never or have spent very less time around domesticated environments.
They may have spent very less time around humans but that doesn’t mean they have spent their lives in solidarity like the stray cats.
Feral cats live in feline colonies and spend generations living together.
They live, hunt and procreate within these colonies and more often than not multiply rapidly in number within these colonies.
And because feral cats evolve in an environment like this they are generally pretty expressive of their wild tendencies.
Which is pretty easy to understand given the fact that they have to use them on a day to day basis.
Here is a fun fact.
The feral cats living in these large colonies contrary to what one might guess are very quiet.
The adult cats don’t even meow at each other to communicate.
They have evolved themselves to use non-verbal communication in their daily deeds and actions.
It’s safer that way. Come to think of it they are like “Batman”, aren’t they?
Batman is a great name for a black cat by the way.
Talking about black cat names, check out these 101 incredible names for black cats.
See I keep telling people cats and animals, in general, are smarter than most people.
Nobody believes me though.
If tomorrow you happen to adopt a feral cat, you will observe that she will bring the same tendency to meow less into your home.
A quiet one she will be.
Now, the big question that is bubbling in your mind is,
Can Feral Cats Or Stray Cats Be Domesticated?
And what is the difference between a feral cat and a stray cat in terms of domestication?
Let me put your question to whether feral cats can be domesticated or not with three answers :P.
These three cute devils are the reason I started this website in the first place.
Both feral cats and stray cats can become incredible pets provided the owner is really intelligent.
See you have to understand cats for what they are, we talked about how to properly communicate with cats in this post.
Don’t forget to Subscribe and to Get your FREE Cat Behavior Training Guide!.
We also talked in, how to train your cats to not scratch about how a cat’s residual wild tendencies need to be given alternate expression.
If you have that understanding in your mind hey even wild cats can be tamed.
Please don’t go around taming wild cats, just because I said so. :p
I am trying to portray a point here.
If you are truly intelligent to understand what a cat is, what kind of animal it is, how to train her and how to make her understand boundaries in a sensible non-violent way all cats can form great pets.
For The Special Ones,
While proper attention and elaborate knowledge can be used to turn feral cats and stray cats into great pets.
One may not necessarily have that kind of resources or time to do that.
Plus there are certain patterns that a cat may create within herself due to previous experiences which may make it hard to train her out of.
So cases such as these may make good pets but not great pets as per your requirement.
For example, a feral cat may turn up to your house every day for food and attention and that’s all she may want from you.
And that’s ok.
You can have a great relationship with an animal without them even being around all the time.
That is also a beautiful relationship, isn’t it?
How Big Cities Manage Stray And Feral Cats?
Now after understanding what is the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat you may wonder how is their evolution controlled in cities.
In the wilderness that happens through natural selection but what about cities.
We talked about this a little bit in our cat cafes to visit this weekend post.
Cities manage feral cat population by using a process termed TNR.
TNR stands for Trap, Neuter, And Release.
Feral cats are trapped, vaccinated, neutered, tagged and released back.
This ensures that they do not spread illness in the colony and do not reproduce uncontrollably.
Feral cats that are likely to be domesticated without much effort are put up at foster homes, adoption centers and even cat cafes for adoption.
Many cats find a forever home this way.
So if you find your locality having a large number of strays or ferals you can contact the local TNR centers.
They more often than not have a clear plan of action and resources that can be deployed which will work out great for you and the feline beauties as well.
I dearly hope you enjoyed reading this post on what is the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat, as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Comment the name of your cat below and also tell me how you adopted him or her. Is she a stray or feral>
Don’t leave this page without commenting.
I love you all and I will see you in the next one!