what is a feral cat?

This seems to be a confusing term throughout the rescue community and shelters. A true FERAL cat is a cat who we guarantee you don’t want to be around because they can be quite aggressive, feisty, and you won’t be able to touch them. Think of a smaller version of a lion and you have a feral cat! They have NOT been socialized with humans and we are very scary to them. With animals, fear often equals aggression. As much as we want to help them love us, it’s likely that they will never get to that point.

is a stray cat who is friendly feral?

is a skittish cat you can touch feral?

is an owner surrender who is hissing at a shelter feral?

NO! They just need a new home or to find their original owner!

NO! Just because a cat is scared, doesn’t mean they are FERAL! Our number one pet peeve is to label a skittish/shy/scared cat as FERAL! Scared or semi-feral kitties just need love, trust and TLC. Even a little hiss or growl here and there doesn’t mean the cat should be deemed feral for life.

NO!!!! They are just scared and trying to figure out what is going on because their life just got turned upside down.

what is it?

why do it?

how will we do it?

The action of trapping, neutering and returning feral cats who won’t make good pets back into the “wild.” All those feral cats we were talking about earlier aren’t going away on their own. Los Angeles shelters don’t have a TNR program in place, so euthanasia is the only option if they get caught in a shelter. And if they don’t make it into a shelter, they make more unwanted kittens and restart the endless cycle!

Because Los Angeles has 1-3 MILLION feral cats at any given time! Cats are able to become pregnant at six months old and have multiple sets of kittens a year! If a feral cat gets stuck in a shelter, they are euthanized.  Spay/neuter is our only (humane) way out of this mess.

Feral cat

In summary:

  1. Locate feral colonies/strays in need.
  2. Set out traps.
  3. Once trapped, get fixed, vaccinated, and treat any medical issues.
  4. Release back (because feral cats are way happier when they aren’t with humans!).
  5. Watch, feed and care for the colony for life!

You can do it too! And we can help you! If you are aware of a feral colony in need, reach out to us or read more about it here:



Alley Cat Allies

Feral Cat Coalition