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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; however, the offspring of a stray cat can be considered feral if born in the wild. [1]

In many parts of the world, feral cats are descendants of domestic cats that were left behind by travelers. Because cats are not native to all parts of the world, feral cats can cause harm to local environments by preying on local species. This is especially true on islands where feral cats have sometimes had a substantial and deleterious effect on the local fauna.

Feral cat

Feral cat with catch.

Behavior of "feral" cats[]

Feral versus stray[]

Main article: Stray Cats

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.[1] 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.[2] [3]

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. [2][4]

They normally hunt for their prey, and don't like to be taken into human care.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Holton, Louise (June 2007). Wild Things? An Introduction To Feral Cats. Bandaras News. Retrieved on 21 November 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Feral Cat Coalition / Ray Savage (November 2009). Taming Feral Kittens.
  3. Cats Behaviour
  4. Training stray cat


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