Cats – or particularly, house cats – are usually small fury, feisty felines known to be entirely domesticated by their humans for companionship. Although thousands roam in your town looking for food and shelter.
There are three types of house cats: Pets, strays, and Feral cats. Stray cats or “community cat,” are free to roam as they wish. Some of these cats are friendly towards humans while feral cats typically fear us. I have a once Feral cat that I am still trying to get her to let other humans besides myself touch or hold her.
She is terrified of other people but loves me unconditionally. That did not come easy, however. If you do have cats that roam your area, do them a favor and invest in one of the best cat shelters so they can have comfort and protection.
- Animal Shelters Near Me: Top Animal Shelters in the United States
- Pet Stores That Sell Puppies Near Me: How To Find The Best Places?
- Cats for Adoption Near Me: Find Adoptable Cats Near You
In my blog today I am going to discuss stray cats and feral cats. There are many details we humans do not consider or understand concerning how to handle both types of cats. So, let’s take a look at each and see what we can learn together.
- 1 Simple Cat Facts
- 2 Classifying Each Type of Cat
- 3 A Cats Diet
- 4 An In-depth Look at Community Cats
- 5 What is a Community Cat?
- 6 A Stray or Feral Cat? How To Tell The Difference
- 7 What is a Feral Cat?
- 8 What is a Stray Cat?
- 9 Can Feral Cats be Tamed?
- 10 So, How Can You Tell if a Cat is a Stray or Feral?
- 11 Why Put a Shelter Outside
- 12 Here are the Tops Five Outdoor feral Cats Shelters
- 13 Cat Shelter Near Me
- 14 FAQs:
- 15 Conclusion
Simple Cat Facts
- Classic Features of Identification: Retractable claws, sharp teeth, and a long-tail (the are some short-tailed cats as well)
- Average Size: 12-24 inches long, 3-8 lbs, and 8-12 inches tall
- Scientific Name: Felis catus
- Average Lifespan: Domesticated- 15 years, In the wild-2 years
Classifying Each Type of Cat
- Pet cats live in the family of humans
- They are typically raised from birth by us humans
- A pet cat is generally sociable and friendly towards humans
- Strays usually due to getting lost or abandonment, live in the wild
- Stray cats at one time were socialized therefore they are generally approachable by humans.
- At one time they were someone’s pet-(that makes me sad)
- Feral Cats have very little or zero human socialization That is so true. It took weeks for the one I rescued to come near me.
- Born and raised in the wild with the most concern being something harming it or it causing injuries in their quest for food and shelter.
- These cats reproduce and live close to human populations and are often taken care of by humans indirectly. That is reason enough alone to provide one of the best cat shelters to help keep them safe.
A Cats Diet
Cats are scavengers and carnivores that survive from an opportunist diet. Domesticated cats have the luxury of eating store bought food and fed by their caretaker. However, cats that live in the wild survive off small animals and human food scraps.
The preference for cats in the wild are amphibians that weight under 100g in weight, birds, and rodents.
An In-depth Look at Community Cats
In the United States, there are estimated tens of millions of community cats. It seems unfathomable with these numbers that many communities continue to use ineffective, outdated methods to control the expanding population. That includes relocation and elimination.
The felines that end up at shelters make up a large number of euthanized cats throughout the country annually. The only proven successful, effective and humane method is Trap-Neuter-Return TNR). The ASPCA endorses this strategy of managing the community cat colonies.
What is a Community Cat?
Beings community cats are generally born and raised in the wild, not all tolerate human contact. That is due to them being too wild and fearful of the human touch. Cats such as these will often be in groups or colonies.
They tend to find refuge wherever food is available. That is one of the leading reasons for putting a cat shelter such as this somewhere to assist these felines. They find shelter in places such as deserted cars and abandoned buildings.
Some will dig holes in the ground to keep themselves and their babies warm in winter months and to stay cool in scorching summer heat.
A Stray or Feral Cat? How To Tell The Difference
Have you noticed an unfamiliar cat hanging around your backyard lately? Perhaps you have a kitty hiding under your porch that will only come to eat fast as you leave it out? Maybe one meows from a distance or maybe approaches you? What will you do?
How can you tell if the cat is a stray or is it a feral cat? Knowing this answer could be a significant shift in how you can help her.
First— let’s talk about a couple of meanings. What are the difference between a feral cat and a stray “community cat”?
While it is true that on biological terms, they are both the same exact species, domesticated cats, right?
They look the same as the ones we have that are spoiled rotten. However, on behavior terms, there is significate difference that will affect the manner in which you will be able to help them.
What is a Feral Cat?
This topic is very dear to my heart due to my young cat that was feral when she entered our lives. I used to wish she would just let me touch her. For weeks there was no contact. Feral cats are domestic cats that have had very little or usually no human contact during the beginning few months of her life.
All kittens calculate their view of the world between the ages of two and 16 weeks. That is the sensitive time-frame that they find out who is their friend and who is their fo. It is the time-frame when having much positive human interaction that they learn to trust us humans. They see us as their food source, their comfort provider as well as their protector.
Kittens born outside of a home without loving interactions with us learn to view us as a potential threat. While these cats are still biologically domesticated cats, they have gone feral (wild). That means the kittens reverted to wild behavior patterns.
A feral cat will behave similarly to a wild animal when trapped or cornered. Boy, can I attest to that! I have scars where mine tore my arms up severely.
What is a Stray Cat?
Stray cats are different from a feral cat in that it is a cat that is homeless. Stray cats grew up in a home around humans with the proper socialization. However, she either was abandoned by her owners, or she got lost and cannot find her way home.
Stray cats need a home and shelter. It may can survive on the streets, but it would very much be better off in a home as the family pet. If you find a lost cat, the preferred outcome is to reunite with her family.
Unfortunately, there are many strays whose owners put them out on purpose. When these cats are on the streets, they face predators, the risk of car accidents and most often abuse by humans. Therefore, if you do find a stray cat, try your best to relocate her to her owners. I am sure they are missing her terribly.
Can Feral Cats be Tamed?
The short answer to this is yes. However, it takes work and particular techniques to work with these cats to get him or her less apprehensive of humans. It is a slow process that requires knowledge on the behavior of Felines and if possible, some experience.
I had several friends teaching me along the way on what to do and how to handle my little-scared kitten. She was so terrified of everything when we took her in. Trust me when I say, all these feral cats want love and affection, but it takes building trust.
The younger the feral cat is, the better opportunity you have for her to become accustomed entirely to you, your family, and other humans and become a suitable pet. Naomi, my once feral cat, still hides when someone other than myself is in the house.
They are such fragile cats that you have to treat with gentle hands and respect their boundaries.
However, most experts feel that older feral cats are best to let them remain feral. The theory behind this is that attempting to socialize them is not only overwhelmingly time-consuming, but it is also often too much stress for the cat. These sweet cats live long happy lives when provided with food, water, and shelter.
I know this is not usually possible, but if you can, get the cat neutered or spayed. That will stop the birth of many more and keep them healthier. As mentioned above, the processed used to have these cats fixed, so there is no more reproducing is Trap-Neuter-Return. Those words basically define the process.
If at all possible you would trap the cat, it gets fixed by a vet, then returned to where you found her or if necessary a better place where food and water are available. Placing an outdoor shelter will help keep the cats you see around your home safe and healthy, and the cost is relatively low.
So, How Can You Tell if a Cat is a Stray or Feral?
There are a few ways you can tell by their appearance. If you see a cat that seems to be a purebred, it is more likely to be a stray. However, color print patterns or long hair can appear in the general cat population. Those features are not an indication that the cat is a purebred.
If you see a cat with a distinct look such as a Persian, then it is very likely to be a stray. If you find a male cat that is apparently not neutered, the odds are higher that he is a feral rather than a stray. There are some exceptions, however, by the general male cat owner population due to hormonal behaviors, have their male cats neutered.
If you see one that still has his male parts, it is more likely that he is a wild tom-cat. If the cat or kitten appears sick, unkept, or underweight, it is probably a stray. If she is well-groomed and seems healthy, it could be a stray recently lost or abandoned.
In reality, the best way to tell these two apart is by the behavior of the cat
If the cat approaches and is friendly with no sign of fear and does things as trained cats do, you can bet it’s not feral. If she lets you scoop her up or rub against your leg, she is not feral. She more than likely belongs to someone in the neighborhood. Take her door-to-door just to be sure.
If the cat hisses at you or will not let you near her when you try to approach her, chances are high it is feral. These cats avoid contact at all cost-even if that cost is your hands and arms. Feral cats will get used to the one who feeds them and considers that person to be her caretaker. Other than that, it is unlikely she will approach others voluntarily. It takes time, and it’s not always easy.
Why Put a Shelter Outside
Cats are vulnerable to the wind, snow, scorching heat, ice of winter, and cold. However, you can help them by providing water, food, and shelter. When feral cats have an adequate winter shelter, they can thrive even in the worst temperatures.
A cat, just like dogs, needs a safe place to sleep especially during cold Winters. It only should be large enough for one or two cats. However, not large enough for a skunk, possum, raccoon, dog, or any other outside creature.
I am going to show you the best cat shelters such as this available through Amazon. I tend to buy just about everything on Amazon because I trust the e-commerce site and everything is guaranteed, or I get my money back.
Here are the Tops Five Outdoor feral Cats Shelters
K&H Pet Products Outdoor Kitty House (Heated & Unheated)
K&H offers this kitty house available in heated and nonheated. K&H Pet Products Outdoor Kitty House comes from a reputable company who take pride in keeping cats safe and warm. The construction is of quality materials to ensure your cat’s comfort as well as your family’s safety.
You can put it anywhere such as porches, garages, barns or other indoor/outdoor area where cats need a little assistance with keeping warm. With the Lectro-Soft heated bed inside, stray and feral cats will have a warm place to sleep during the harsh winters even in sub-zero degrees.
The roof and the walls come insulated, and the roof hangs over two doors to help keep them safe, warm, and dry. I think the feature I like most is that it has two doors so that the cats are never trapped inside.
It is easy to assemble so that anyone can put the house together as no tools are necessary. The product has a one-year warranty and is all any outdoor cat would need for comfort. Please go here to read more about the K&H outdoor kitty house as well as hassle-free purchasing from my favorite e-commerce, Amazon.
MidWest Curious Cat Cube, Cat House/Cat Condo
This product is not necessarily as the one above but it is perfect for fulfilling your cat’s natural instinct to want to play and lounge around. Midwest Curios Cat Cube, Cathouse/Cat Condo is as relaxing as they come.
It comes with a bed topper that has enough stuffing to provide one or two hideaway areas on synthetic sheepskin bedding. One fantastic bonus is the large sisal scratching pole that will promote scratching to save your furniture from damage.
The cat condo is easy to assemble and will accommodate multiple cats in the spacious tri-level condo. It is 14.6 inches long, 14.72 inches wide, and 30.39 inches in height making it quite roomy.
Go here to find more important information and where you can order yours today.
Petsfit Outdoor/Indoor Cat Shelter For Feral Cat
This shelter is precisely like what I was describing in my blog. It has panel walls that are 12mm thick and wood that will last you for at least three years outdoors. The Petsfit Outdoor/Indoor cat shelter once assembled is sturdy to protect against harsh weather.
It has a construction that is cedar meaning it is anti-rot material that will split with improper transportation. Also, if there are animals around that like to chew, this is not the shelter for you.
It will comfortably fit one cat up to 15 pounds. For ordering this product as well as learning more information, click here:
New Age Pet ecoFLEX Albany Outdoor Feral Cat House
Here is another excellent shelter for ferals and strays. The Eco Flex Albany outdoor house has double wall panels offers warm natural insulation that helps keep it regulated inside the unit.
The material will never fad, and it is rot-proof, bug-proof, and weatherproof. It comes with a 10-year warranty to ensure both you and the outdoor cats are happy. For more information and the perfect avenue to own this shelter:
Milliard Thermal Cat Mat
The Milliard Ultra-Soft Thermal Cat Mat is the leader when it comes to a cat mat for those ferals that are not comfortable in a shelter. Thanks to its Mylar foil core, any cat can stay warm and cozy without needing any electricity.
It reflects the cat’s body heat to ensure warmth throughout the winter season. It has a Leopard print and is solid black fleece on both sides. It measures 21 inches x 17 inches. You can order below and as well find more information about the product.
Any of these any cat would love, but feral cats will like it and appreciate one to stay warm. Putting a shelter where it is acceptable to outdoor cats is becoming prevalent in areas where they are many ferals and strays.
Join the others by putting a shelter, any type shelter outdoors to help save a cats life.
Cat Shelter Near Me
- One pair of cats that are unfixed and their offspring can produce around 420,000 kittens within seven years.
- Due to a shortage of sweet taste buds, cats cannot taste sweet.
- You always see cats rushing up trees face-first, right. Did you know they cannot come down the same way? That is because their claws are curved backward.
- Cats have superior sound detection because their range of hearing is three times greater than humans.
- Did you know that cats never meow at other cats, only humans? Kittens will meow for their Mother to let her know they are hungry or cold but when adulthood hits, they will not meow at other cats.
Not everyone will be so kind if they find a stray cat or a feral roaming around their home. However, if you would just take a little time to help them stay watered, fed, and protected by a shelter, that would be amazing.
These cats are usually harmless unless they feel threatened. Do them a favor and be kind to them. Just because they are wild or a stray does not mean they deserve less than any other cat.
I sure hope you enjoy this blog and maybe you learned something as well. I know I did. If you would leave a comment and let me know what you thought and if you have some input that may be handy let us know. Also, if you do not mind, please share this post on your social media to help me help others.