The Good Samaritan’s Guide: How to Help Feral Cats

17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes famously described life outside society as “nasty, brutish, and short”. The same can be said for the lives of feral cats (also called “community cats”). Feral cats generally eat from trash bins and must deal with temperature extremes, traffic, mistreatment from humans and other cats, infections, disease, flea infestations, and more.

Anyone who lives near a population of community cats knows how quickly their numbers can grow, and how susceptible the individuals are to disease and injury. Knowing how to help feral cats is key in reducing their numbers and keeping the population healthy.

Life on the Fringe

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a feral cat is defined as “any cat who is too poorly socialized to be handled…and who cannot be placed into a typical pet home”. Unlike a stray cat, who has become lost or been abandoned by the owners, feral cats are not used to contact with people and are generally too fearful or aggressive to be handled or adopted.
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