Today we honor our feral brother and sisters with the help of Alley Cat Allies. National Feral Cat Day began in 2001 as a way to raise awareness, promote TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), and help make the world a safer, healthier place for feral cats. Here are a few facts about ferals that I have put together for you… and keep reading to the end because I have a surprise!
- Physiologically, feral cats are just like me, and like you kitties out there. The only difference is that they are not hardwired for human contact. They fear humans and think more like wild animals — which is what they have become, raised away from humans and living by their wits.
- Feral kittens learn their wild behaviors through their mothers, but can learn to form a bond with humans, especially between two and seven weeks of age. The older they get, the less likely they are to become tame. With patience and hard work, some older kittens and adult ferals may become used to humans, but there is no guarantee.
- Although some bird groups try to claim that feral cats are responsible for declining songbird populations, the truth that is humans destroyed a lot of birds’ natural habitat and that has had a far greater impact on these populations. Feral cats much prefer to capture easier prey — ground animals like mice, voles, and lizards. In fact, a significant amount of a feral cat’s diet is garbage, the easiest “prey” of all.
- A well-managed feral colony gets rid of many problems that humans complain about. Cats that are spayed, neutered, vaccinated and fed regularly at a station rarely have loud fights (there are no mating battles anymore), and they don’t spread disease. Their numbers do not increase since no kittens are being born. In fact, over time, the population decreases through attrition.
- Did you know that in freezing winter weather, feral cats’ ear tips can get frostbitten and break off? If you have strays or ferals in your neighborhood, you might give them some extra support by building inexpensive shelters for them.
Now for the surprise (at least it is a surprise if you did not come here through either Facebook or Twitter): I am having a commenthon! For every comment you leave until midnight tonight, Pacific Time (only one comment per kitty family, please), my human will donate 50 cents to Alley Cat Allies, up to $150! We love them because they do so much to help colonies and educate communities about feral cats! I thought this would be a great way to celebrate National Feral Cat Day… and my human agreed!
Happy feral kitties day! thanks for donating 🙂
Oui Oui says
Excellent Sparkle! That’s wonderful of you to do a commentathon for the ferals. Poor things, we didn’t know they lost their ear tips, although that might be one of their least worries.
E. Heth says
MY phone autocorrects my rescued tripod -Sprint- to Spriny. She was caught in a car engine and her leg was broken, she survived two months as a feral with a broken leg. She came to us as a four month old, and she is often sweet and she’s very smart. And, I love her like crazy! Thank goodness for the TNR who saved her life Little Cats Lost, thank you!
Fraidy Cats says
Sparkle, that must be some comfy bed 🙂 another great post! we didn’t know that about the ear tips and frost bite. YoW! thanks for having this commentathon! Alley Cat Allies is a great organization.
Pip, Smidgen, Minnie, HOllie
Yous and you human rocks! We has very few ferals around here, we has lots of barn cats. Way back in the 90’s wes had a big push out to the farmers on spaying and neutering barn cats. They is fed. they has a job and they does it better when they does not has to worry about other things. Barn cats is domesticated but not very domestic. They likes their world and they take good care of it. When a barn cat goes over the bridge, often a new young cat is brought into the coleny from a shelter, and mos often, those is rescues from a feral situation.
Healthy, happy, well fed cats is much better mouse (and other rodent) hunters, than foragers (And most of them leaves song birds alone).
Cathy Keisha says
Cool on the commentathon. TW has seen kittens with feral mothers who grow up tamer than I am. Their mothers also with a little love and a lot of food came around.
What a generous & great idea! I assist with our cat coalition doing TNR, and I wish so badly that people would understand feral doesn’t mean aggressive-their colonies are very organized and advanced. I’ve also spent over a year patiently earning the trust of our shelter cats that were deemed feral and certain people wanted to put them down, they are now wonderful pets, maybe a bit shy, but loving their homes and humans. education is the key. I hope this continues beyond just Feral Cat Day. Sparkle; you and your human are amazing!
How wonderful that you are doing this for our feral brothers and sisters, Sparkle.
Spitty the Kitty says
You know what, Sparkle??? My Human says she’ll match that $.50 and make it an even dollar a comment! What a great idea!
What a nice thing to do! I like your points very much, especially the one about the birds. Of course, *we’ve* known that all along, but humans are often misinformed.
Katie Bella says
Sparkle– an excellent article and thank you and mom for your generosity to Alley Cat Allies. xox
What a great idea! Comment on – thank you Sparkle’s human for making this donation.
That’s a nice idea, Sparkle! We wish everyone had a TNR project going – and that there are no feral kitties in a few years at all. Just happy pets.
Dear Sparkle, thank you for sharing…what a kind and wonderful cause. Looks like your commenthon is a success so for! Blessings to you and your humom. Your friend, Catherine xo
Here’s my comment. Is it worth 50 cents?
Good work! Glad there are people out there looking for safe and humane alternatives to deal with feral cats 🙂
I love the idea of a commentathon! Feral cats deserve love and respect too!
Laura & Taffy says
That is so cool of you Sparkle! ACA is a great org. Purrs.
Laura & Taffy