Monday, December 26, 2011

feral cats

Feral Cat

What is a feral cat? It is an untamed cat born in the wild. A stray cat is not necessarily a feral cat. This cat grows up with no human contact unlike a stray cat who can have human contact but is not owned by someone.

In the United States, a feral cat commonly comes from an abandoned domestic cat's offspring. Owners who have not spayed or neutered a cat may lose or abandon it. Although the parent(s) have had human contact, the offspring will not inherit this exposure. Even the parent(s) in time may revert back to being a wild cat.
In Australia, a feral cat is a breed that lives in the wild. These cats can be found throughout the country. They are predators to marsupials, reptiles and birds. Australia, New Zealand and several island countries have had problems with large populations of feral cats destroying different species of wildlife. Some countries tried eliminating them but that led to other animal control problems.
These cats are usually found in groups. Their lifespan is much shorter than a domestic cat because they are prey for larger animals. They can be found in areas of extreme heat or cold. They play a part in controlling the small animal population especially rodents. Unfortunately, they also feed on birds.
Controlling this population has always been a challenge. Some states allow them to be hunted and killed. Another technique is to trap, neuter and release the cat. This has been effective but very time consuming. The Feral Cat Coalition in San Diego has a program at no cost to help control this population. Recently seven feral cats were trapped on Saint Nicolas Island in California. Instead of being exterminated, the cats were transferred to an the Animal Medical Center in El Cajon. The Humane Society of the United States, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Navy are working together to try to control this population on the island of over 200 of these cats.
A feral cat can be tamed to live with humans but this is recommended at the young kitten stage. A slow process of 2 to 6 weeks is required to acclimate a feral kitten to humans. Having a adult domestic cat can act as a role model for the kitten. Taming an adult can be done but requires a different approach. Some feral cats or kittens cannot be tamed based on their temperament. If a cat that cannot be tamed is returned to the wild, it should be spayed or neutered.
A feral cat is a wild animal. It can carry diseases including rabies. A cat is a prime carrier of a parasite called toxoplasmosis. This parasite can be very dangerous to humans with weakened humane systems. A feral cat because it feeds on raw meat is more apt to have the parasite. If you find one, be very careful and seek professional help on how to handle it. If bitten by a feral cat, see a doctor immediately.
My name is Frank Loethen. If you enjoyed reading this article, please visit my cat products website, Available are high quality cat products at great prices.

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