October 16th is Feral Cat Day! Did you know that there are as many as 70 million homeless kitties in the U.S.? That’s a pretty staggering number! Read on as a Webster, NY vet discusses feral cats.
Helping Feral Cats
One of the best ways to help feral cats is by making sure that your own kitties have been fixed. Otherwise, they may very well contribute to the ever-growing problem of pet overpopulation. A single pair of cats can have as many as 11,606,077 descendants in just nine years! You can also help by supporting TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) programs. Another thing you can do is set out shelters for feral cats. You can easily make these out of plastic storage totes. Just cut a hole in one end, and then add newspapers or blankets. Ask your vet for more information on helping feral cats.
Stray or Feral
Many people get confused about the distinction between stray cats and feral cats. There is no physical difference. The only thing that separates them is the fact that strays have been around humans before, and are much more sociable. In fact, strays can be quite friendly. This makes sense, because many are former pets that were lost or abandoned. However, if stray cats live wild long enough, they can eventually become feral. (Note: it may interest you to know that only domestic cats hold their tails up. Feral kitties let their tails droop behind them.)
Adoption may seem like the best way to help feral cats, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t always work. Cats that have been wild their entire lives don’t always adjust well to living indoors. Some have a hard time with the concept of using litterboxes. Others are just too wary of people. That said, there certainly are some heartwarming success stories from people who have managed to transform feral kitties into loving pets. It really just depends on the cat. Ask your vet for specific advice on adopting stray or feral cats.
As noted above, feral cats don’t always make great pets. However, they can be worth their weight in gold as barn cats. Many feral cats would be more than happy to hunt mice and other vermin in exchange for food, shelter, and basic veterinary care.
Please feel free to contact us, your Webster, NY vet clinic, anytime. We are always here to help!