What Is a Feral Cat?

Please note that OC Animal Care is currently not accepting healthy stray cats. If you have a trapped cat, you must return it to where you found it. We are currently only accepting ill or injured animals, underage orphaned kittens, and stray dogs.

What Is a Feral Cat?

A cat born and raised in the wild, or who has been abandoned or lost and turned to wild ways in order to survive, is considered a free—roaming or feral cat. While some feral cats tolerate a bit of human contact, most are too fearful and wild to be handled. Feral cat often live in groups, called colonies, and take refuge wherever they can find food—rodents and other small animals and garbage. They will also try to seek out abandoned buildings or deserted cars—or even dig holes in the ground—to keep warm in winter months and cool during the summer heat.

Stray Cat & Feral Cat Differences

Yes. A feral cat is primarily wild-raised or has adapted to feral life, while we define a stray cat as someone's pet who 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 car 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.

Feral Cat Resources

Feral Cat Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinics in Orange County

Community Cat Caregiver Tips