A feral cat is a descendant of a domesticated cat that has returned to the wild. It is distinguished from a stray cat, which is a pet cat that has been lost or abandoned, while feral cats are born in the wild; the offspring of a stray cat can be considered feral if born in the wild

The term “feral” is sometimes used to refer to an animal that does not appear friendly when approached by humans, but the term can apply to any domesticated animal without human contact. Hissing and growling are self-defense behaviors, which, over time, may change as the animal (whether “feral” or “stray”) begins to trust humans that provide food, water, and care.

Feral cats that are born and living outdoors, without any human contact or care, have been shown to be adoptable and can be tamed by humans, provided they are removed from a wild environment at a young age before truly feral behaviors are established

The number of feral cats in the U.S. is estimated to be in the tens of millions. Sadly, many communities still opt to control populations using outdated methods, including lethal elimination or relocation. Not only are some of these methods horribly cruel, they are also highly ineffective. It’s time to focus on feral cats in the fight to end animal cruelty. When whole colonies of cats are trapped and put down, it creates a “vacuum” where the colony was located. So, when a colony is taken out, a new one will just replace it.

Connecticut Cat Connection endorses Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) as the only proven humane and effective method to manage feral cat colonies. You can identify a TNR feral cat by noticing if it has a ‘tipped ear’. This is the practice of clipping a straight edge off the top of one ear to ‘tag’ the cat as already being, “Trapped-Neutered-and Returned” to it’s environment. This “Ear-Tipping” practice helps ensure cats already treated are not returned to shelters unnecessarily.