"Annie Wxill" > wrote in message
> "Phil P." > wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
> > In Wendy's cats case, I think the cats are closer to feral than homeless
> > since they were born and lived all their lives in the wild state with
> > little human interaction. Homeless would be be more appropriate for a
> > lost or
> > abandoned cat.
> Thank you for an informative and educational response.
> I would defer to your assessment of Wendy's cats because you have so much
> experience in that area.
> For a lot of reasons, I wish there could be an easy way for a lay person
> to differentiate between a feral and what we might agree to call a
> cat that appears wild.
How about "frightened homeless"- which is probably the most accurate
They're fairly easy to differentiate out of the trap. A feral will usually
disappear as soon as she sees you. A frightened homeless/stray/lost cat
will usually just back away- staying just out of reach. If you don't try to
approach her, she might gradually come closer. In the trap is another
> I've noticed that some people seem to think in all or nothing terms, i.e.,
> the cat is either feral or tame, while, in fact there is a range of
> behaviors that any individual cat may exhibit at any time depending on the
> circumstance. These behaviors may not accurately depict the state of the
> cat's socialization to humans.
Absotively. This is especially true for cats in shelters and adoption
centers where all the qualities that make them great companions work against
them. For instance, a very sweet and sensitive cat can become very
defensive from all the strange noises and people in the store. Other than
our shelter, only one out of the five stores in which we have adoption
centers has a quiet office we can use *sometimes* for adoptions.
> As you state later in your post, some of your ferals will rub against your
> legs and let you pet them, but they still are feral.
This is not really unusual. A lot of colony caretakers will tell you the
same thing happens with some of their cats. Every once in awhile, you will
come across a cat in a colony that's amenable to tamming- but these cats are
few and far between and usually a recently displaced pet.
> It appears to me that some people think homeless and feral are the same
That's because some people just don't understand ferals are closer to
wildlife- and not homeless pet cats.
Wendy's question of what to call her cats, who are somewhere between
> feral and tame, but closer to feral, is important. If we had a word or
> words and better understanding for the middle ground, maybe fewer homeless
> cats would be labeled feral and not automatically sentenced to death.
Sadly, its the "good Samaritans" that hurt the ferals the most. They think
they're helping the cats by trapping them and taking them to a shelter or
calling AC. If they're not TNR'ing the best thing they can do for the cats
is leave them the hell alone!
> (Sigh) Then, as you mention later, there is also the problem of someone
> mistaking a feral cat as closer to tame, and because of that expectation,
> the person either being injured or disappointed in the relationship with
> that cat.
OTOH, some people think they can "convert" a feral by smothering the cat
with affection. They usually end up in the hospital and the cat usually ends
up losing his head (literally). The same situation can happen with shelter
cats if the match isn't right.
> One thing I have observed is that whenever there is a conflict between
> and animal, the animal is ultimately on the losing side.
That's why they need us to stand up for them.
> >... An unsocialized feral cat born.in the wild and
> > never becomes socialized to people is indeed a wild animal just like a
> > squirrel or a lion or tiger. They aren't homeless. The only difference
> > size (and the amount of damage they can do to you).
> I can see your point there. Any of these animals can be tamed to a
> but still be wild with potential for damage to the human who crosses them.
Most ferals can never be tamed. The closest they'll come to being tamed is
spending their lives hiding under the bed and miserable.
> >... Feral or domesticated pet- both are genetically identical to Felis
> >Silvestris Lybica- the African Wildcat- a wild animal by anyone's
> >definition. The only difference is one is socialized to humans and the
> >other isn't. A feral cat is more of a "natural" cat than a domesticated
> >pet cat.
> I did not realize that. Thank you for setting me straight. I have
> been in awe of the relationship I have had with our various cats. Now I
> appreciate it even more when I get that snuggle and purr.
> >What about the offspring of the offspring of the offspring of a lost
> >domesticated pet cat?
> I don't know about other countries, but I assume that the African Wildcat
> not indigenous to the U.S.
Yes. The African Wildcat is not indigenous to the U.S- its from Africa. Cats
in the US and most of the world- are considered a subspecies of the African
Wildcat - Felis silvestris catus a/k/a Felis silvestris domesticus.
They're genetically identical to the African Wildcat- although some might be
a mix of FS Lybica and Felis Chaus. The African Wildcat has the most
docile temperament of all the Felis species.
Cats that arrived here were domestic cats
> brought by humans. The very first to arrive probably were not the pampered
> housecats we see here today. They would have been expected to earn their
> keep. It's easy to see how descendants of those cats could move out and
> become feral and survive.
Actually, the first cats in the US were probably stowaways on ships. In the
early days of shipping, insurance companies wouldn't insure shipments of
grain if the ships didn't have cats onboard to protect the grain shipments
from rats and mice.-- Many of the cats jumped ship and followed the food.
It ****es me off when fanatical bird groups call cats an "invasive species".
That's like inviting a guest to your home and then having them arrested for
> I suspect that it is not so easy for today's pet cats to survive on their
A cat that spent her entire life indoors would have a rough time surviving
on her own.
> If that hypothetical lost domesticated pet cat lives long enough to be the
> founder of a feral colony, it would be because that pet was not spayed or
> neutered. That is why I say today's feral colonies are the result of
Not only feral colonies- but cats in shelters, too. For every cat that dies
in a shelter or outside, someone, somewhere is responsible for the death.