Some cats survived in areas close to a food source others perished. These cats are living a life much like the wild cats of Africa. They are competing for food water and shelter and just want to carve out a space for themselves so they can live a peaceful life with humans.
All of the feral cats that I have trapped were either socialized for adoption or released to a controlled colony where they are safe from human traffic.
Some feral cats will go where they go when weather turns extremely cold or hot and these cats do suffer. They are too wild to realize that the shed has heat and an air conditioner.
The feral cats are terrified of the nose that the heat and cooler product puts off and so they burrow into the leaves or the brush in the forest. For these wild feral cats we will hike out to them to provide them with food and water. And when the snow is too deep we will make a path to them.
I have trapped and taken the feral cats in for sterilization, tested for feline aids or leukemia and out of the 298 cats there was 1 sick cat.