Stray vs. Feral Cats

Stray or Feral – what the difference?

A stray cat is a domestic cat that strayed from home and became lost or was abandoned. Because a stray cat was once a companion animal, they usually can be re-socialized and placed in an adoptive home.

A feral cat is a domestic cat that was lost or abandoned and has reverted to a wild state or a cat that was born to a stray or feral mother and had little or no human contact. Adult ferals are very difficult to tame and are not usually suitable for adoption. They live in family groups called colonies that form near a source of food and shelter. Feral kittens can usually be socialized, and the younger they can be taken inside, the better. Kittens under the age of 7 weeks are easier to socialize to humans. Have you found a kitten and you’re not sure how old it is? Check out this guide.

Observe the cat’s appearance and behavior using these quick tips. These tips are only a general guide. Each cat acts differently.

Stray Cat Feral Cat
may approach you will not approach you
may approach food right away that you put down will wait until you leave to eat
may be vocal will be silent
may look disheveled will appear more groomed
may be seen at all hours of the day usually nocturnal

If you think you have found a stray cat, please click here to learn more about Lost Pets.