Feral vs Stray -
What's the difference?
There is some confusion in cats on the difference between “feral” and “stray”. Stray cats and feral cats share the same basic characteristics in that both are cats that do not have an obvious owner, who wander around without a human family they call home.
The major difference is that a stray cat enjoys being touched and is handleable. They will approach humans to ask for food or affection. They can be pet or picked up and are easily transported in a common cat carrier without undue stress.
A feral cat cannot be touched, pet, or picked up. Feral cats are un-socialized cats. They were either born outside and have never known human companionship, or they were pets that got lost or abandoned, and after an extended time without human contact, have learned to fear humans.
Started as a grassroots effort in the U.S., Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is now becoming accepted all across the country. TNR is the only proven humane method that solves the overpopulation problem while allowing the cats to live out healthy lives.
Feral cats form colonies around a food source. Reproducing to the limits of the food supply, they lead meager lives often shortened by malnutrition, disease, and trauma. Most kittens born never make it through their first year. Their mating behaviors of spraying, fighting, and howling often cause them to become a public nuisance. Constant reproduction adds to the problem. Getting the cats spayed or neutered virtually eliminates these problems. Once neutered, males will no longer spray to mark their territory and fighting over females stops, eliminating the problems of smell and noise. The colony size gradually diminishes with no kittens being born. Cats in a managed colony can live healthy, happy lives without causing problems for neighbors.
Brackenridge Park Community Cat Outreach
Download the following presentation highlighting the Brackenridge Park Community Cat Outreach program.