Feral Cat Terminology

Feral Cat - This is a domestic cat that has reverted to the "wild" state after being lost, abandoned, or born in the wild without ever having human contact. Feral cats live in family groups called colonies and can be found anywhere there is food. Feral cats can survive almost anywhere and are found all over the world.

Feral Cat Caretaker - An individual who has taken on the responsibility for the health and well being of a colony of feral cats. The caretaker feeds and waters the cats, provides shelter, and is responsible for humanely trapping and taking the cats to a veterinarian for vaccination and sterilization.

Managed Colony - A group of cats where all have been sterilized, vaccinated, provided food, water and shelter from inclement weather. The colony cats are healthier and no longer breed. The caretaker regularly monitors the colony and individual cats. Feral cats are dependent on the caretaker to enact this plan and provide long-term support. A properly managed colony is a healthy and stable colony in which no kittens are born.

Stray Cat - A domestic cat that has been abandoned or has strayed from home and become lost. Once a companion animal, a stray cat can usually be successfully placed back into a home.

Vacuum Effect - A situation arising when feral cats are removed from an environment. More cats will move in to take advantage of whatever meager food source is available and quickly fill this void. These new unsterilized cats will breed to the capacity of the site.

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