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whaat is a feral?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Just as the title says.
post #2 of 10
A feral cat is one that is wild, not just a stray, but untrusting of people. Barn cats for example are generally classed as ferals. They have little human contact and are therefore untrusting and pass this on so even their kittens can be difficult to handle. Sometimes people dump their cats in feral colonies (thinking oh he will have friends there) and those previously owned cats can display feral tendencies, but can usually be socialised back to domesticated more easily than a true feral who will be difficult to even catch.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
ok I see now.
post #4 of 10
True feral cats are cats that have had no real interactions with humans and have resorted to their natural wild behaviors. You can socialize a true feral cat, but you really can't tame them. By socializing them, you interact with them enough to gain some degree of trust in you. A true feral rarely warms up to anyone other than their immediate caretaker.

While many cats may be feral born (as many barn cats are), I believe that they start losing their feral tendencies the moment they start to interact with humans. If you start to work with them young enough, or long enough, you would not be able to tell that they were born feral. I've seen some very friendly barn cats that I wouldn't classify as feral. And I've met some "city" cats that were totally feral.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks you guys.
post #6 of 10
The definition of feral is probably, a cat with domestic ancestry, living wild typically after a couple om more of generations as homeless, without natural contacts with humans.... It lives and behaves like a wild.

The true european wild cats is another subspecies of small cat than our domestics, although they may look alike. The wild cat is impossible or at least - very difficult to domesticize. - Our feral cat isnt very difficult to make domestic or sometimes even family pet. There are two wide open windows: taken in as a kitten (2-7 weeks), or if taken in and nursed when sick or wounded. But almost all other variations are possible - although it usually takes time and patience...Sometimes loong time.

Other wild cat subspecies may be easier to domesticize then the european wild cat - feks the african wildcat Lybica(?) is almost as easy to domesticize as our domestic cat. Thus, the ancestor of our pet cats is the Lybica, not the european wild cat.
Even the big Fisher cat of east asia ist easier to domesticize than the european wild cat.

*question: Do anybody knows if there was a successfull try to domesticize a european wild cat? Say taken in as young?*

The interesting is the "semiferal" cat. This is all the homeless inbetweens we dont really know much about.
Some MAY be a feral cat who isnt much afraid of people. Cats are partly individual, see. So this happens, especielly with some kittens, and also some toms.
Other semiferal may be a stray or dumped pet cat, who survived and now lives more or less successfully as homeless shy semiferal.

Question is, if we shall call these barn cats mentioned as ferals or semiferals... They usually do have some connection with the peasant family where they do belong. But this is perhaps another story.
post #7 of 10
It really depends if it is a used barn or not, some just use abandoned / unused barns for warmth and others are really taken care of by the barn owners and are used as mousers etc. Between the two there could be true ferals, semi ferals and pets that should be inside instead of in a barn.
post #8 of 10
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
The true european wild cats is another subspecies of small cat than our domestics, although they may look alike.
Actually it's believed that there aren't many, or even any, pure European wild cats (f.silvestris) left due to breeding with feral domestic cats (f. silvestris catus). Since they still fill the gap of small predator in these areas, there's not really much harm done.
To further add to it domestic cats are descended from f. silvestris lybica.

I consider semi feral to be still somewhat wild and untrusting of people. You can hold a semi-feral and it may even enjoy being petted, but the moment you set it down they want to run away and may hiss at you.
post #9 of 10
I consider any cat born in the wild, to a wild queen, and that wild is our city streets and allys and garbage cans/dumpsters so many times now, as well as in rural areas, to be feral
They do not know human contact and shy away from us. They know better to trust humans. So, so many hurt. They compete with feral dogs for food and many other critters to stay alive, they hunt, they hide. They will tear us a new one when trapped, they are wild animals.
But and a big but here, they can be taught to trust us humans. It is a long, very long, long process, but worth every moment. One glimpse of the cat coming out from hiding makes your heart sing with joy! When you reach out to pet the cat and dont draw back a bleeding arm, you happy dance! ( a small one, dont scare the cat)
My Ginger was not feral, but might as well have been from the way she was treated (abused)
I can now give her kisses all over her face, I call it drive by love attack. where before, a sure fire way to the emegency room. "Is there anyone here who can do a face transplant, STAT!" "What happened?" I think she tried to kiss a cat"
post #10 of 10
A feral cat is a domesticated cat that has reverted to a wild state. Most feral cats have been born "in the wild" although some may have been a stray to begin with, and reverted to this state of wildness over time. Feral cats are distrusting of humans and can not be approached. All will quickly run away if they sense danger.

Feral cats tend to hide during the day and only come out at night. They will not come anywhere close to a human and won't eat food if a person is standing anywhere close to them. Feral cats hide in woodpiles, beneath abandoned vehicles, in abandoned buildings or places where they simply won't be disturbed. They are very wary and tend to gobble food in short bursts rather than taking their time like a stray. Most feral cats seem to be mixed breed shorthairs.

A stray cat is one that has become separated from it's owner. It may have become lost, dumped, or even abandoned when the owner moved or died. These are cats that are used to people and tend to be somewhat approachable
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