Spotting Feral Cat Behaviour
Feral Cat Behaviour The Difference Between Stray and Feral
Studying whether a cat is displaying feral cat behaviour one of the most reliable ways to tell the difference between feral and stray cats. It is important at the outset to be aware of this difference especially for those involved in cat care or feral neutering schemes. A feral cat is one that has been born outdoors, usually away from humans and born into a cat colony of other feral cats. Feral cat behaviour distinguishes this type of cat from a stray. A stray is usually a domestic cat that has wandered off (strayed) or sometimes even been abandoned by its owners and left to fend for itself. The good news (for stray cats) is that as a species they are fully adaptable to living outdoors and taking care of themselves. This type of cat however is in no way feral although if away from humans for a prolonged period it may well begin to display some semblance of feral cat behaviour. Feral kittens are only born to feral or feral/domestic cat pairs. However feline experts believe that a domestic cat can return to a “wild” state within as little as 2 generations.
So What Are The Traits Of Feral Cat Behaviour?
The most striking trait of feral cat behaviour is that of a feral cats aversion to human contact. Although some stray cats that have been away from people for a sustained period may be at first very cautious they can be re domesticated. A feral cat however over 14 weeks old is usually beyond domestication and should be left to fend for itself. A stray will often look pleased to see humans (especially if they come bearing food) and will display the “tail up” stance and approach you directly. It will also make eye contact and if it is relaxed it will also blink as a sign that it doesn’t feel threatened by you. The feral on the other hand will either run away or crouch low to the ground facing you sideways on with its tail around the side of its body. This type of feral cat behaviour is known as none socialization and unless you want a nasty scratch you should avoid touching such a cat.
Can Kittens Showing Feral Cat Behaviour be Domesticated?
Kittens born into feral colonies and showing all the classic signs of feral cat behaviour can still be domesticated up to about 14 weeks of age. Kittens that are handled by humans and kept in the home are of course going to be far more tolerant of people of course. Although feral kittens can be domesticated a true feral adult cat is a completely different prospect. These animals are as such “wild” and apart from trapping and neutering programmes they should be left to their own devices. Many well meaning cat lovers spend a great deal of time and money feeding feral cat colonies and whilst this is very admirable others are of the opinion that such cats should be left to the delicate balancing forces of nature. Its also worth pointing out that many of these so called feral cat colonies are not feral at all. They are in fact first and second generations of stray cats that have bred outdoors. If you need more info about feral cat behaviour check out this comprehensive article here.