Homeless Cat Facts

What are homeless cats?
Homeless cats are sometimes called feral 
  • Always the result of pet owners' abandonment or failure to spay/neuter (S/N) their animals
  • Many assume their animals will survive when they move away and leave them behind; domestic animals do not automatically return to their "natural" instincts and cannot fend for themselves
  • They do not have the skills needed to survive outside unassisted
True ferals are not socialized to people
  • Typically fearful of people
  • Prefer to avoid contact with people
  • Occasionally form bonds with caregivers 
  • They typically live in groups called colonies and have strong social bonds with their feline colony member
Who are feral cats?
Feral cats are healthy
  • <1 % are euthanized due to debilitating conditions, trauma, or infectious diseases
  • Experience similar or lower rates of infections than those for pet cats in the U.S.
  • Their lifespan is similar to pet cats
Feral cats are protected under state anti-cruelty laws
  • Intentionally killing a cat is a criminal offense in all 50 states and the District of Columbia
  • Applies to all cats—companion, abandoned, lost, and feral – regardless of ownership



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