When it comes to feral cats, people have several misconceptions etched in their minds. These include claims like feral cats spreading diseases, begging for food, attacking humans, etc. However, most of these claims are not as severe and genuine as they are made out to be.
With all these misconceptions in mind, many of us fail to protect and help these lost and abandoned species claiming them to be disease-ridden pests. Eliminating these obtrusive misconceptions from society is the only way to offer human love and care to these free-roaming cats.
So, listed below are 10 common misconceptions and myths surrounding feral cats.
1. Feral Cats Can Look After Themselves
The first misconception surrounding feral cats is that they can survive alone. This claim is not entirely false. Every animal in the wild has to hunt and scavenge to gather food for survival. The same goes true for feral cats. However, they are not always successful in this task. It is especially true for abandoned new-born or young cats. The survival of the young in the group relies heavily on the kindness of someone who feeds them scraps or adopts them.
These feral cats need our help offering appropriate shelters in extreme climatic conditions. You can purchase the Outdoor Two Story Cat House for the purpose. This outdoor shelter house features a cat-friendly design and an easy-to-install mechanism, making it an excellent choice for cats.
2. Feral Cats are Different Species from Domestic Cats
Most people believe feral cats are completely different from domestic cats. However, this claim is entirely false. The only difference between the two is in their behavior.
As feral cats live in the wild, their behaviors toward humans and other animals differ from domestic cats. This is mainly because they have never socialized. However, they are still part of the domestic family.
3. Feral and Stray Cats are the Same
Most people consider feral cats and stray cats to be the same. However, this is entirely false. The primary differences between the two are listed below in the table.
|Feral Cats||Stray Cats|
|A feral cat has never been in close contact with humans. They are unsocialized outdoor cats.||Stray cats have experienced human interaction and have lived indoors.|
|Feral cats look clean and well-groomed, more so when neutered.||Stray cats look shabby and dirty with disheveled coats.|
|Feral cats are difficult to adopt as pets because they have never had socializing experiences with humans.||These cats can be rescued and rehabilitated as pets again.|
|They have well-built and muscular bodies. This is because they can fend for themselves.||Stray cats often look skinny. This is because they have always been taken care of by humans. Thus, they find it difficult to fend for themselves when initially left in the wild.|
|Feral cats are uncomfortable and aggressive toward humans.||Stray cats are friendly and comfortable around humans. They even show positive behavior like meowing and purring.|
4. Feral Cats Spread Disease
People often fear the spread of diseases like rabies from feral cats. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, it is very rare for feral cats to spread diseases to humans.
Thus, it will not be wrong to state that feral cats pose no threat to the lives and health of humans. Although these cats can cause health risks to stray or owned cats, with the introduction of TNR programs, this risk has been minimized significantly.
5. Feral Cats Attack Pets and Humans
Feral cats attack only due to self-defense. And this is not just the case with feral cats; any animal, whether wild or domesticated, will resort to self-defense by attacking. These cats usually avoid human interaction until or unless placed in inescapable situations.
Apart from this, feral cats are harmless species. The same is true for their behavior towards other pet animals. Feral cats are unaggressive and utterly harmless until they feel threatened or attacked.
6. Feral Cats Begs for Food
Feral cats are more than capable of searching for and finding their own food. Therefore, most times, cats that roam around meowing for food are probably stray or pet cats. A study by Wildlife Management recorded that feral cats are excellent hunters. Therefore, they are self-sufficient in hunting for food for themselves.
Moreover, these cats prefer avoiding human contact and interaction. Thus, even in normal situations, they will stay away from humans for food intake requirements.
7. Feral Cats Should be Taken to the Shelter
Most people are unaware, but taking a cat, especially a feral cat, to the shelter mostly means it will be put down. Even if they are not euthanized, caging a feral cat can be harmful and stressful for their health. Feral cats live in the wild. Thus, keeping them caged is not an ideal option.
Moreover, these cats are born in the wild and are not good domestic pets. Feral cats find it difficult to socialize and interact with humans. It takes a long and hard time for these cats to build a relationship with humans. Thus, taking them to the shelter for adoption is not the right option.
8. Adult Feral Cats Can be Adopted
As mentioned in the previous point, feral cats are uncomfortable around humans. They have spent most of their lives in the wild. Thus, they find it difficult to live with and among humans.
However, when taken as pets as kittens, these feral cats can behave and be treated like any other pet cat. This is because, right from childhood, they will have human interaction and exposure. But this is not the case with adult feral cats. Adult feral cats are scared to be kept as indoor pets.
9. Feral Cats Affect Bird Population
It is a common misconception when it comes to feral cats. People claim that these cats are the reason behind the depleting bird population. However, this is entirely false talk.
Feral cats eat insects and rodents and scavenge food. They are not very successful in hunting down birds as their food. Thus, this misconception always leads to people treating these cats with neglect and hatred.
10. Feral Cats Should Not Be Enforced TNR
TNR is also known as the Trap, Neuter, Release scheme. It is the most humane way to control the feral cat population. Feral and stray cats are the common reasons for cat overpopulation.
The best to control this is through the TNR program. It is non-lethal, where the cat is neutered, ensuring no new kittens are born. They are neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their natural habitat. The Trap, Neuter, Release scheme is much better than other “catch and kill” programs, like euthanasia, that put the lives of these cats in danger.
Although feral cats are not a close part of human society, providing them with an environment where they can live and thrive peacefully and comfortably is essential. Hurting and scaring them will only add to their aggressive behavior toward humans.
So, the fundamental step in helping feral cats is by eradicating all the baseless and false misconceptions that have been going around about them.