It may seem like a national holiday every day of the year for our little feline friends. We spoil them with treats, play with them for endless hours, and of course, cuddle with them. But some cats in the world don’t receive enough love. And because there is a lack of care for these cats, we have National Feral Cat Day.
National Feral Cat Day was created to celebrate all the non-domesticated cats out there. Whether you call them strays or alleycats, National Feral Cat Day is a day to recognize these feline creatures as if they were one of our own pets.
Compared to the way in which we see a stray or abandoned dog on the side of the road and feel sympathy towards it, this holiday is a way to remind us that cats deserve the same type of love.
We will further explore what makes a cat feral, whether you can domesticate a feral cat, and how you can celebrate National Feral Cat Day.
What Does Feral Mean?
Feral means wild. A feral animal is defined as an animal that is not domesticated or is considered part of the wild. An animal is feral when it lives in its natural environment rather than in a household as someone’s pet.
What Makes a Cat Feral?
A feral cat is an independent cat. These cats can fend for themselves without the help of any humans! Feral cats can hunt for food on their own and survive outdoors.
Feral cats are not usually social with humans, and they tend to use their feline instincts to maneuver through their day-to-day lives. A cat can become feral through abandonment, birth into the wild, or running away from home.
Although feral cats are not particularly unfriendly or aggressive towards humans, they guard their independence and limit their contact with people. In fact, many feral cats are rather timid and scurry away at the sight of a human.
Because these cats are self-reliant and used to living outdoors, feral cats would most likely not make great pets. They typically don’t enjoy the indoors or living the life of a lap cat.
How Can You Tell If a Cat is Feral?
There are several signs that give away the status of a feral cat.
For one, a big hint that you are looking at a feral cat is their location and environment. If the cat is out in the wild and not walking about in a residential area, they’re more likely to be feral. If you spot a cat in a neighborhood and it is wearing a collar, this cat is probably domesticated.
However, if you spot a cat in an alleyway or in a natural environment, you may be face to face with a feral.
Another way to tell if a cat is feral is its physical appearance. Domesticated cats are usually clean and have a well-kept coat, while feral cats tend to be dirtier. Feral cats may also have visible scars or cuts around the face or ears. They may also be thinner than domestic felines that get regular meals.
Feral cats are also primarily nocturnal animals. This is vastly different than domesticated cats that are more energetic during the day. Since ferals are nocturnal, they are more active at night and you’re likely to see them wandering around under the moonlight.
Can You Domesticate a Feral Cat?
Although feral cats enjoy their freedom away from humans, domesticating a feral cat is possible. It can be a slow and challenging process, but it’s do-able.
If you attempt to domesticate an adult cat, it may require a bit more patience and work. An adult cat may already be set in its ways and have a stubborn personality that could be hard to break.
But if you are trying to domesticate a kitten, the process may be a bit easier. Domesticating a kitten is easier because they are easier to train and capable of learning new things.
What is National Feral Cat Day?
National Feral Cat Day began in 2001 when the Alley Cat Allies wanted to promote awareness and concern about the well-being of feral cats. The Alley Cat Allies is an organization and nonprofit animal welfare program created to protect and improve the lives of alley cats all across the nation.
The Alley Cat Allies also promote the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program and Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR) program. The TNR and SNR are two programs that humanely support the well-being of feral cats by bringing in cats, neutering them, and then releasing them back into the wild.
These programs were created to address community concerns about feral cat populations growing out of control. With these programs in place, the Alley Cat Allies established a way to encourage the health and livelihood of stray and feral cats everywhere and also change negative misconceptions about them.
Why is National Feral Cat Day Important?
Many people may have the wrong impression about stray cats, thinking that they are dirty, flea-infested, and mean. But in reality, these feral felines are similar to any other domesticated animal and deserve to live the best life that they can possibly have.
National Feral Cat Day is all about acceptance of the feral cat communities in our neighborhoods. The holiday spreads awareness about these feline creatures and their unfortunate living situation. The goal is to ensure that feral cats are cared for and loved just like any other pet we bring into our homes.
The Alley Cat Allies are based in Bethesda, Maryland, and have over 600,000 supporters from across the nation. They have brought thousands of wild cats to loving homes. You can find more information about the Alley Cat Allies and ways in which you can help on their website.
When is National Feral Cat Day?
In 2021, National Feral Cat Day is Saturday, October 16th. So mark your calendars!
How Do I Celebrate National Feral Cat Day?
There are a handful of ways you can celebrate this upcoming National Feral Cat Day.
Learn About the Issue
The first way is to educate yourself about the issues that feral cats face within our communities. Once you are informed, you can pass this information onto others and share why it is important to care for feral cats.
One of the most concerning issues feral cats experience is capture by animal control teams. These organizations bring the cats to shelters, hoping that they will be adopted. But more often than not, these cats stay in shelters too long and eventually get euthanized.
Staying informed and recognizing that all feral cats deserve a chance to live an extraordinary life is the best way to celebrate this holiday.
Another excellent way to celebrate National Feral Cat Day is by participating in a Trap-Neuter-Return effort. In this process, a person will capture a feral cat, take them to the vet to be spayed, and then return them into the wild.
This is one way to keep cats safe and maintain the population of unwanted stray cats roaming the city. TNR puts the communities these feral cats roam at ease by keeping the population of these felines to a minimum.
If you are in the mood and feel inclined to bring a cat home, adoption is another fantastic idea for National Feral Cat Day! If adoption is at all possible, bringing home a new furry friend can make a huge difference not only to your new cat but also to the community it was once a part of.
Volunteer at a Shelter
Volunteering at an animal shelter is another fun way to celebrate the holiday. Whether you are helping care and feed cats, spreading information about different organizations, or just playing with the cats at a shelter, these are all perfect ways to ring in National Feral Cat Day.
Donate to a Charity
And if you are unable to go out and volunteer or adopt a stray cat from a shelter, one thing that is always available is charity donation. The Alley Cat Allies is a wonderful organization to donate to because they are dedicated to protecting cats affected by inclement weather. They help keep the feral cats in our communities safe.
Final Thoughts – National Feral Cat Day
Whether you’re a cat person or not, National Feral Cat Day is a holiday that any animal lover can appreciate. It’s created to promote and educate communities about the issues facing stray and feral cats around the nation. Raising awareness regarding the population of feral cats and recognizing how we can help these feline creatures is essential. Through these efforts, we can bring peace to our communities and these cats’ lives.
Just as if we were celebrating one of our pets living at home, National Feral Cat Day reminds us that all cats out there deserve a little bit of love and care too.