Thread: John Doe
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Old July 26th 17, 01:14 PM posted to
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Default John Doe

Hmmmm… I have come to doubt this individual’s understanding of what a “Feral” cat actually is. There are, typically four types of cats seen in outdoor settings, broad brush:
a) Housecats that are allowed outdoors – common enough. In some areas, outdoor access is a requirement to keeping a cat, really. Is it always a good idea? Not hardly!
b) Stray cats – these are cats that once had a home, but for any number of reasons no longer do so.
c) “Alley” Cats – these are cats that never had a home, but live peripheral to people and depend on people to survive. They may do so by scrounging, hunting, or by being fed. An excellent example of much appreciated Alley Cats would be the street cats of Istanbul. My wife and I spent some time in Istanbul, and were promptly adopted by a clowder of about 4 cats that decided we were 'good people'. No food involved or required. We did put out water, however.

All of the above come in various degrees of shyness, defensiveness and distrust, but the bottom line is that they are as dependent on people as any given housecat for the most part. Stray and Alley cats tend to live relatively short lives, are subject to many diseases and other problems, but their survival rate would be much lower without people. And, all of the above will, eventually, adapt to living closely with people (in a ‘home’), over time. Some, even (at least the three I have taken on) will even become aggressively affectionate.

d) d) Feral cats – these are cats that have never had a ‘people’ home, probably for generations if ever. They do not depend on people. They do not eat ‘people’ or ‘people-source’ food, even if offered. They do not eat carrion unless they killed it themselves. They want about as much to do with people as does the typical Lynx, Mountain Lion or similar. Feral cats live an average of over ten (10) years, mostly based on heavy attrition during the first six months of life. Once about a year old, they tend to make an average of about fifteen years. They have the same general attitude to being captured and ‘tamed’ as would that Lynx or Mountain Lion. Not to suggest that they cannot adapt, but the attitude is feral.
These guys might take years, if at all, to be gentle enough to handle. And given a chance, they may simply abscond. As would that Lynx or Mountain Lion.

So, be exceedingly careful when characterizing any animal as “feral”. It is not a simple descriptive, but a very specific term.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA