What is the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat?
Pet and stray cats are socialized to people.
Feral cats are not socialized to people. While they are socialized to their colony members and bonded to each other, they do not have that same relationship with people.Sometimes feral cats are somewhat socialized to their caretakers.
- A stray cat is a cat who has been socialized to people at some point in their life, but has left or lost their domestic home, as well as most human contact and dependence.
- Over time, a stray cat can become feral as it’s contact with humans dwindles.
- Under the right circumstances however, a stray cat can also become a pet cat once again. Stray cats that are re-introduced to a home after living outdoors may require a period of time to re-acclimate; they may be frightened and wary after spending time outside away from people. ·
- Another definition that may help:
– “A stray cat is a domestic cat that has been abandoned or has ‘strayed’ from home and become lost. Stray [cats] were once pets and they can usually be successfully rescued and placed in homes.” – Stray Cat Handbook
- A feral cat is a cat who has either never had any contact with humans or it’s contact with humans has diminished over time. It is fearful of people and survives on it’s own outdoors. A feral cat is not likely to ever become a lap cat or enjoy living indoors.
- Kittens born to feral cats can be socialized at an early age and adopted into homes.
Read more here Thanks to Alley Cat Allies
Lots of facts on feral cats The Humane Society of The United States