Feral cats make up approximately half of the population of felines in the United States. Because these felines live on the street they must find food and shelter anywhere that they can, including abandoned buildings, alleyways, and beneath dumpsters. Most people are aware that these homeless cats exist, though many people do not know the true story behind these feral felines.
Feral cats have been living among
humans for over 10,000 years. These felines are the offspring of other
homeless cats, which is why they spend their lives on the street. Feral
cats live in colonies with other homeless cats, and these felines work
together to find shelter and food.
Feral felines have never been
properly socialized with humans, which causes them to be wary of human
contact. Because of this, homeless cats will often run away or act
aggressively if a human tries to approach them. Feral cats are different
from your pet cat, and without years of work to socialize them they
will never be interested in trusting, or even playing with a human.
cats are not spayed or neutered, which is a main reason why the
homeless cat population continues to grow. In fact, a pair of breeding
cats and their offspring can collectively give birth to 420,000 kittens
in only 7 years.
Organizations have been implementing Trap Neuter
Return programs to reduce these homeless cat population numbers. Trap
Neuter Return is a program where volunteers humanely trap feral cats,
take them to a Veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, and then return
them back to their home colony. These felines are often given ear tips
to make it apparent to other volunteers that a cat has been spayed or
neutered. Ear tips are created when a small portion of a cat's ear is
surgically removed by a Veterinarian. Learn more about Trap Neuter
Return and ear tips in this Alley Cat Allies video.
some communities have devoted volunteers and organizations working to
help homeless cats, most feral cats have a tough time living on the
street. This is due to a lack of food, harsh living conditions, the
threat of animal cruelty, and viruses such as Feline Immunodeficiency
Virus and Feline Leukemia.