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Feral Cats: Fact & Fiction
What are feral cats? Feral cats are the “wild” offspring of domestic cats. They live outdoors, separate from humans. In fact, feral cats are usually frightened of humans. Rescue groups such as ACR prefer the term “community cats” since it includes cats that have been abandoned or lost and are forced to live outdoors. The term also underscores the fact that unhoused cats are a community problem regardless of how they arrived in their situation.
Why do cats become feral? Feral cats are descended from domestic cats whose owners abandoned, or failed to spay and neuter them. Feral cats’ domestic kin may also have got lost or run away from abusive owners. Like domestic cats, feral cats multiply very quickly. In five years, an unspayed feral female can have 20,000 descendants.
Are feral cats solitary? No! Feral cats tend to live in colonies, or groups. Often, as many as three or four generations of a family will live together. Females help in raising each other’s young.
We have experienced volunteers who are able to assist with inquiries about community cats. Send a message to our Feral/Stray team today.
Trap, Neuter/Spay, Return (TNR)
Studies have shown that Trap-Neuter-Return is the most successful method, is operated at lowest cost to local government and residents, and provides the best life for cats themselves.
Found a Stray Cat?
If you suspect a cat is lost or stray, here is a checklist to follow:
Try to catch the cat and take him to your neighbourhood vet in order to check for microchipping. The vet will be able to read the cat’s microchip very quickly if there is one. If the cat is injured or sick, please take him to the Toronto Humane Society for treatment.
Check PetFBI.org and report the cat to the Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal Services (via 311) as soon as possible and follow-up with them regularly. Someone may be calling there looking for him.
Take photographs of the cat, post on social media and put up “FOUND” posters around your neighbourhood, including any vet clinics in the area. Add a listing to PetFBI.org.
Go, door to door, with the photographs, and ask your neighbours if they recognize the cat (it’s sort of like detective work – like a Kitty Columbo!) It’s also a great way to raise awareness amongst your neighbours – maybe one of them has a shack or garage they can convert into a temporary shelter. You have to be creative when it comes to cat rescue.
If you cannot keep the cat at your home (isolated from your other pets), see if anyone you know would be interested in fostering and helping with expenses. We have had a few people raise money through crowdfunding platforms such GoFundMe. Once he is healthy and adoptable, try to find him a loving home. If you really cannot keep him for a few weeks while you look for his family and then find him a new home, then you will have to take him to Toronto Animal Services or to the Toronto Humane Society.