feral cat before and after

Celebrating Feral Cat Day By Making a Difference

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

National Feral Cat Day 2014

It’s no secret at a Cat Wisdom 101…

It’s National Feral Cat Day and the best info about what you can do in your community is at Alley Cat Allies. If you’re sharing on social use the hashtag #feralcatday.

What is a feral cat? They are unsocialized cats who look exactly like any domestic cat. Most are fearful of humans and go out of their way to avoid us. Ferals can be called tom cats, barn cats, alley cats or street cats but they don’t live with humans, at least not indoors. They may sleep in a shed, under a porch or any place offering shelter.There is a movement to call them community cats instead of feral for a friendlier, less wild perception. Sometimes feral cats become socialized and sometimes a socialized cat can revert to being feral. Cats are the only domesticated animal capable of doing so because cats, unlike dogs were never fully domesticated.

Our former feral Domino is celebrating his third anniversary of coming in from the cold. Yes, it’s hard to believe but he lived as a feral for seven years and is now a lap cat who lavishes kitty kisses. Domino is not typical. Most ferals will not enjoy that fate. If they’re lucky, they will be trapped, neutered/spayed, ear-tipped and returned to their feral colony where volunteers regularly feed them and provide shelter. By the way Domino was not ear tipped. He’d lost the tip of his ear from frost bite the first winter he showed up on our porch.

domino-feral cat-before and after

Any feral kitten rescued before 8 weeks, socialized and adopted has a good chance of leaving their feral roots behind. I often hear stories of feral cats who decide to leave their wild ways for a cushier life. The feral cats I’ve known who made the switch to formerly feral were solo cats like Domino who didn’t belong to a colony. Feral cats prefer to live in bonded groups or colonies. At the recent PetSafe Summit in Knoxville I met their photographer Sharon Popek who shared a story of her former feral and I thought you’d enjoy it too.

It’s true some “feral” cats are indeed feral, they don’t want to be inside or touched or hang out with you. But if some of them do. Just give them a chance. This cat lived behind a gas station down the road from us for at least 5 years. She was outside, alone. She had kittens and was trapped by the Feral Feline Friends of East Tennessee and spayed. They had to return her, since they did not have a home for her. The owners of the gas station started to complain and threatened to call the shelter and have her removed by animal control. My husband had been feeding her a little and thought she was pretty friendly. We took her, planning to keep her outside. But it didn’t take long for me to realize this girl was ready to be a part of a family. She has lived with us for several years now. She does fine with our other cats and she loves attention. ”

Our U.K. pal Theresa posted her latest poem about ferals.


We never know what the day may bring,
or what we have in store.
Each day is taken in our stride,
just like the one’s before.

Some of us have battle scars,
and wounds that cause us pain.
Mother nature is our nurse,
and soothes us back again.

We’re loath to trust, it keeps us safe
the past has taught us well.
Compassion’s shown by very few,
how many? We can’t tell.

The elements can be unkind,
both old and young may die.
Life is tough for feral cats,
for that we won’t deny.

Some us are trapped and caught,
no longer can we breed.
Others wind up at the pound,
for them a home they plead!

Our future’s never guaranteed,
the risks for us are great.
Poison, cars and unkind folk,
can often seal our fate.

However, we just soldier on,
we’re streetwise, shrewd and smart.
We’ll take our chance in the hostile world,
and hope it has a heart!

Teresa Harrison-Best

Merlin used to be friends with a feral colony I fed when I lived in Toronto. Not snuggle buddy close but I’d see him sitting next to ferals on fence a few feet apart, just hanging out. He inspired me to make a difference and I founded a cat rescue in 1997. Merlin’s birthday fundraising campaign ends tomorrow. It did not meet his goal but we’re grateful for everyone who kindly donated.Next time I’ll figure out the tech glitches earlier 🙂



  • Pawesome Cats

    Great post – I love the before and after “feral” photos of Domino – what a difference a loving home with food and shelter can make. Thanks for spreading the word about feral cats.

  • Elizabeth Munroz

    What a wonderful article! Love all the detail. Whenever I try to explain to people the value of feral cats and why we should care for them, I often run out of words. Now I have a lot more to go on. You’ve covered it all so succinctly! Thanks Layla!

  • Skeeter and Izzy

    This is indeed one of the best days of the year!!! The Feral Cat situation is so immense and so easily solved with TNR. It is so sad to know what some of these poor souls endure in their lifetime. We are fur sure on the bandwagon and have the great joy of having 6 in our family. It can be absolutely amazing what food and patience can yield with a colony. We try to spread the message everywhere. Education is a powerful thing and you would be suprised how many people know little about Ferals and less about TNR . We just wish that there was far more funding to help with the TNR. There are many people in my area that help feed the cats but many cannot afford the cost of spay/neuter for a colony even at reduced rates. We try to TNR all that we can here.
    Thank you Layla for your support of TNR and Feral Cats.
    Luvs to all that help those in need
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang (Poppy, Shadow, Tiger & Sunny) & Twig (X Feral) & Peanut (X Feral) and Romeo (X Tom cat from the hood) >^..^<

  • da tabbies o trout towne

    total lee rockin awesum poem !!! ♥♥♥♥

    great post today doodz !

    happee week oh end two all, heers two dusky grouper ♥

  • easyweimaraner

    I hope all ferals have someone who protects them.Mom’s BFF had a cat who was a feral in mind althought this cat named Felix had the best home ever. They had a “distance-relationship” but all enjoyed it. Felix also protected his territory with attacking all visitors. Nearly all friends of this family wear a cat-too made by Felix :o)

  • Sammy

    Lovely poem…..it touches our hearts……being a formerly feral guy myself this is one of my favorite days for kitties, set aside to bring the cause of TNR and helping ferals in all ways to the TOP of the mind.

    Hugs, Sammy

  • hutchagoodlife

    What a sweet and sad poem. It has reminded Mummy to renew her efforts looking into and gaining the trust of a very sweet skinny kitty that visits our garden and she thinks might be a stray

    Nacho, Noah, Buddy & Basil

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