Feral Cats are the offspring of stray or abandoned household pets. Raised without human contact, they quickly revert to wild nature and form colonies where food and shelter are available. Reproducing to the limits of their food supply, they lead meager lives shortened by malnutrition,diseases, trauma and high kitten mortality. Feral cats also become a public nuisance and make up a large portion of the cats euthanized at Animal Shelters. (Source:Day Spay)
A feral animal is one that has reverted from the domesticated state to a stable condition more or less resembling the wild. The cat returns readily to a feral state if it has not been socialized properly in its young life. These cats, especially if left to proliferate, are frequently considered to be pests in both rural and urban areas, and may be blamed for devastating the bird, reptile, and mammal populations. A local populaton of feral cats living in an urban area and using a common food source is sometimes called a feral cat colony. As feral cats multiply quickly, it is difficult to control their populations. Animal shelters attempt to adopt out feral cats, especially kittens, but often are overwhelmed with sheer numbers and euthanasia is used. In rural areas, excessive numbers of feral cats are often shot. South Dakota and Minnesota allow wild cats to be shot. More recently, the "Trap-Neuter-Return" method has been used in many locations as an alternative means of mananging the feral cat population.
Trap-Neuter-Return (TRN) programs, present as a humane method of feral cat population control, are facilitated by many volunteers and organizations in the United States. These organizations trap feral cats, sterilize them through neutering, and provide inoculation against rabies and other viruses, and sometimes long-lasting flea treatments before releasing them. Frequently, attending veterinarians notch the tip off one ear during spay/neuter surgery to mark the individual as being previously caught. Volunteers often continue to feed and give care to these cats throughout their lives.
October 16 is National Feral Cat Day in the United States.
Additional information regarding feral cats can be found at the following sites:
Tri-State Cat Rescue - www.tristatecatrescue.org
Feral Cat Coalition - www.feralcat.com
U.S. Humane Society - www.hsus.org
Alley Cat Allies - www.alleycat.org
Best Friends Animal Society - www.bestfriends.org
Neighborhood Cats - www.neighborhoodcats.org
No Kill Advocacy Center - http://nokilladvocacycenter.org/