Understanding and Caring for Feral Cats

4 min read


Raging Hormones Lead to Unwanted Behavior


One recurring statement I hear is that feral cats are a nuisance. The fighting and yowling from protecting their territory or mating is obnoxiously loud. An immediate remedy is to have them spayed/neutered. You can reach out to local nonprofit groups for assistance which will humanely trap the cats and get them spayed/neutered. Trapping feral cats should be left to the professionals and incorrect trapping can result in injuries to both you and the cat. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to have all pet cats spayed and neutered, including indoor cats. You never know when one will escape or get lost.


The Universal Sign of a Sterilized Cat


If you decide to become a caretaker of a feral cat colony, it's extremely important to ensure they are all spayed and neutered. During the sterilization surgery, the cats are administered a rabies vaccination, and they are also "tipped," which means that the tip of one ear is surgically removed while the cat is still under anesthesia. Ear-tipping is a universal sign that a feral or stray cat is sterilized, another term for spayed/neutered. This prevents the trauma (an expense) of re-trapping and unnecessary surgery.


History has taught us that overturning misconceptions and prejudices takes time and education. One way to begin the conversation is to abandon the word "feral" and refer to them as "free-roaming" or "community" cats. This removes the stigma associated with "feral" or "wild" cats.


No one likes to be misunderstood, including outdoor cats. It's up to us to share the facts and keep educating the world.


Image: Lee Ming Hui / via Flickr