Hello. My name is Girlie and today I’d like talk to you about feral cats. I was a feral cat myself once, that was before I was thankfully tamed and taken in by Elaine and Chris Fairfax (the directors of Animal Friends Insurance). I am a very lucky cat indeed as it is usually very hard for a feral cat to trust a human enough to become a family pet. I’ll tell you more about my story a bit later on but first let’s talk about what a feral cat actually is.
A feral cat is one that lives in the wild and survives on its own without depending on a human caregiver. Many of the feral cat population were once domesticated or descend from domesticated cats. A pet cat can become feral for a number of reasons; irresponsible and uncaring humans can sometimes banish their cat to the wild to fend for themselves whilst other cats may just wander off far from home and become lost. Although it hurts to be neutered or spayed, it really does deter us cats from wandering off too far from home to find a mate. Other feral cats are born into the wild and have been feral since their very first day of existence.
Unfortunately many of the human population view feral cats as a menace. This is because we can often be found in large groups or colonies and to feed ourselves we have to eat scraps meaning that we congregate around bins behind restaurants, hotels or anywhere else where there is an abundance of unwanted food.
We female cats can become impregnated by the age of six months and so many of the young female feral population will give birth to a litter early on. As there is no one to control our breeding, some groups of feral cats can be of an epic size. As well as increasing the chance of fights between ourselves and domesticated cats; it also causes and promotes the spread of illness and disease.
The life of a feral cat is one of hardship and danger. It is estimated that over 80% of feral kittens die in their first year through illness, fighting or by being hit by a vehicle. Without any human intervention a female cat may regularly become pregnant; this can be very dangerous for a cat’s health. It is common for kittens that are born in the wild to be left to fend for themselves and if food is scarce, die. A feral cat does not have such luxuries as food and drink, pet insurance and a warm place to sleep provided for them.
It is highly unusual for fully grown feral cats to become domesticated again as they find humans untrustworthy and are used to fending for themselves. Some feral kittens can be tamed if given enough love, care and attention over a gradual amount of time. This is why I feel blessed to have found Elaine and Chris. They showed me that some humans can be trusted and after realising that they wanted to help and care for me, I eventually let my guard down and became part of their family.
Other feral cats aren’t so lucky and so next time you see a feral cat try to remember that they didn’t choose to become feral. They are not all a menace and it is up to humans to try and control the breeding rates and spread of disease amongst the population.
You can read a more detailed account of how Elaine met me and then brought me into her family by clicking here. It really is worth a read.