|A clowder of feral cats and kittens|
Feral cats and strays differ only slightly in their behaviors especially if the stray cat has not been completely cut off from human interaction. Feral cats, born and living outdoors without any contact or care by people have been tamed to the point of being adoptable provided they are completely removed from their wild environment before their truly feral behaviors have been established and set into their personalities. Such behaviors are set while the kittens are still being raised by their mother as she teaches them to avoid human contact and that people are something to fear.
Feral cats display defensive behaviors and postures towards any person who ventures to come too close to them, then they run and hide.
|Feral kitten eating a rabbit|
|Ferals take their toll on native Australian Cockatoos|
Our historical records date the arrival of ferals in Australia to be somewhere around 1824. In spite of this its been suggested that they have been in Australia long before the Europeans settled it; they may have arrived as a result of Dutch shipwrecks back in the 17 hundreds or years before that arriving from present day Indonesia on Macassan fisher ships and trepangers who frequented Australia's shores during the past century. However they arrived, anywhere in the world, feral cats have not lead a charmed life. Rather, its been a very difficult life with nothing but hardships and unkindness from their environments and, most often from human contact.
They deserve better and its up to us, who claim we care, to rescue and tame them, to provide medical care and a safe home for these 'lost' cats to live out what is left of their lives in relative safety and comfort. Even the wildest feral can be tamed with enough time and commitment - I have managed, these years since, to tame a few; some of the barn cats on the farms and diaries I have lived on had feral cats that eventually came around to my gentle care of them. I have even managed to find homes for a few that finally realized they could have the life of a domesticated cat. Its worth pondering on the next time you see a cat in need, whether a feral, a stray or just lost and frightened. Remember, the responsibility is yours.
|This feral won't go hungry today but what about tomorrow?|