Monday, September 9, 2013

Feral and Stray Cat Health Comparison

I have trapped many cats since 1999 and in that time all of the feral cats were healthy, none of them tested positive for any feline disease.  In addition to being healthy they were all well groomed.
 
Rescued Stray Cat
When first started trapping feral cats for sterilization I expect them to be sickly, to have a poor coat with infestation of parasites.  The veterinarian reports that the cat has ear mites, needs to be wormed and needs a dosage of revolution to get rid of the ear mites.  Not a flea or tick is found on them and none of the feral cats tested positive for feline disease.  

In comparison the stray cat did not do so well. Out of the 128 cats that I trapped this year 10% of the stray (abandoned house cats) tested positive for cat disease including diabetes.   All of the stray cats had poor coats and many were matted.  Long haired cats needed to be shaved.

Cats that once lived with people are stray cats. These stray cats have a difficult time adapting to living outdoors. They do not know how to forage or where to go for shelter and they do not live in colonies with other cats because the feral cats do not welcome them.  Stray cats are on their own and it must be very frightening.

I pick up strays all the time that are starving, have hair missing, they may have bite wounds from fights or their hair is matted.   

So when it comes to living outdoors the feral cat will live a longer and healthier life than the stray cat.  

Photograph of Calico Cat:  This is Gracie she was a stray that my husband found on a bitter cold night.  She was skin and bones, had missing fur, was missing one tooth and her tongue was cut off at the tip.  It is doubtful she would have survived the night as she did not know where to go for shelter.