Feral or Stray

Question: Is the cat a stray or feral cat?


A feral cat is primarily wild-raised or has adapted to feral life, while a stray cat is often someone’s pet that has become lost or has been abandoned.


Stray cats are usually tame and comfortable around people. They will frequently rub against legs and exhibit behaviors such as purring and meowing. In contrast, feral cats are notably quiet and keep their distance. Stray cats will also often try to make a home near humans—in garages, front porches or backyards. Most are completely reliant on humans as a food source and are not yet able to cope with life on the streets.


Before you try to place an unowned stray cat, you should confirm that the cat is indeed a stray and not someone’s pet. You can place “Found Cat” signs around the neighborhood, and at local veterinarians and groomers; advertise the cat in the Pennysavers and local newspapers. Go to the closest municipal shelters and put up pictures of your found cat.  Check the LOST cat postings at the shelters as well. Check the website Lost and Found Pets of Long Island. They will post your found cat free of charge in hopes of finding its family. You can also post a listing with a photo on Facebook and as well as Craig’s List.  Also be sure to go to all surrounding shelters as well as cats have been known to wander.


If no one claims the cat, you should begin the process of trying to find it a home if you do not want to keep it. You should list the cat on the waiting lists of all No Kill Shelters identified previously. In addition, you can make up adoption flyers for this cat and place them in supermarkets, pet food stores, groomers and veterinarian offices. Advertisements on Petfinder and in local newspapers are also helpful. Spread the word, too, by asking relatives and friends to let people know you have a lovely cat for adoption.


**We do advise that if your finances allow it that you ascertain the cat is spayed or neutered and have the cat seen by your veterinarian for appropriate vaccines.


What to do if the cat or kitten(s) is FERAL or you have a litter of kittens in your yard:

Let’s face facts. On Long Island, feral cats are a part of our suburban sprawl. Feral Kittens have a chance of becoming domestic cats if socialized early. This must be done before 8 weeks of age. We will not come trap the cats or take the trapped kittens please see the list of town shelters to bring the kittens to.


Normally cats dumped at a No Kill sites are brought to the municipal shelters so you are not gaining anything by doing this cruel and inhumane, illegal deed.