Feral Cats – What Is the Difference Between a Stray Feline and a Feral Feline?

Feral Cats – What Is the Difference Between a Stray Feline and a Feral Feline?

Many cats in the world are homeless, and therefore must live on the street for the entirety of their lives. Some people categorize these felines as stray, while others categorize these felines as feral. Although both terms do mean that a feline is currently homeless, stray cats and feral cats are actually two completely different types of cat. Do you know the difference between these homeless felines?

What is a Stray Cat?

Stray felines are defined as cats that were once someone’s pet, though due to unforeseen circumstances, they are now homeless. These felines may be homeless due to many factors including the kitty leaving its home and becoming lost, or in some situations, the kitty’s owners have abandoned it.

Because stray cats have had human contact for most of their lives, they will tend to be more welcoming to humans and they will not run away as readily as a feral cat. This means that stray cats can be tamed quite easily, which allows the possibility for many stray cats to be adopted into loving homes once again.

What is a Feral Cat?

On the other hand, feral cats are felines who have lived on the street all of their lives. These homeless cats live on the street because they are born to a homeless cat (either stray or feral). These felines are very frightened of humans, and they can be hostile toward humans because they are not used to human contact. Although this hostility can be disconcerting to some people, be assured that these cats are only acting out as a defense mechanism because they are scared.

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Feral felines are much more difficult to adopt into loving homes. Socializing a feral cat can take many years of love and devotion before the cat will trust a human. Feral kittens are easier to adopt into loving homes if they are socialized at a very early age.

Stray and feral cats often live together in colonies, and they are able to survive on the street by scrounging for food, and by finding feeding stations in their community. These feeding stations are small areas that volunteers create to give these homeless felines access to food, water, and a warm place to sleep.

As you can see, feral and stray felines have very different backgrounds and reasons for living on the street. Feral cats have lived on the street for their whole lives, while stray cats are forced to live on the street due to unforeseen circumstances. Unfortunately, living on the street is not the ideal situation for any of these felines. If you’d like to help homeless cats there is likely a feral or stray cat rescue organization right in your community who would love any support to help these homeless cats.