Call To Action!

Columbia's Board of Health is collecting public comment before they begin drafting a new animal control ordinance that will address the overpopulation of unwanted pets. The deadline for comments is May 14, 2009.

Read more about feral-friendly ordinances.

News & Blogs

Christina McCullen and her husband, David, got more than they bargained for when they went out for dinner at a fast-food joint in October of 2006 » Read more

The ticketing of a Columbia woman has sparked a heated discussion about animal control in the city » Read more

At Feral Cat News, you'll find the latest news articles from around the world about feral cats and kittens.





What are Feral Cats?

"Feral" comes from the Latin word "ferus" meaning wild animal. It refers to individual animals that have been "released" from the domestication of their species and become wild. According to Sara Pehrsson (Cats Magazine, August 1995), feral cats are neither wildlife nor pets, so they don't get the advantages of either group.

Feral cats are cats that are second, third or later generation offspring of unaltered strays and free roaming pet cats. When they live together, the group is called a "colony." They are born outdoors and usually are hidden by their mothers. They have little or no human contact in the formative months. Not socialized to humans, they view people as a danger. As they are often nocturnal, you may not be aware of their presence or total colony size. You might be aware of the spraying, nighttime mating, and the strong smell of urine from the intact males. Feral cats are not good candidates for adoption unless someone is willing to spend considerable time with them. Taming feral cats can take months or even years.

By contrast, stray cats are companion cats that previously lived in human homes, but now are forced to live on the street. These cats have gotten lost, or been thrown out of their homes or abandoned by irresponsible owners. Once captured or taken in, they can be quickly resocialized.

Alley cats can be ferals, strays, or free roaming companion cats. It can be difficult to tell these cats apart. For that reason, when feral cat sweeps occur, untagged and unmicrochipped free roaming companion cats get caught up and most likely killed for being outdoors unsupervised.

What are Feral Cats?

  1. Cats (or their offspring) of abandoned or lost pet cats.
  2. Ferals can sometimes be rehabilitated. The first step to this is to stabilize (spay and neuter) a colony and assign a colony caretaker who provides food and daily human contact.
  3. Not all feral cats are strays; and not all strays are feral.