Wild Cats vs Stray Cats: What’s the Difference?

If you spot a strange cat nearby, you may be wondering if it’s a stray cat or a stray cat. How can you tell the difference between the two, especially if your connection is limited or only from the difference? There are signs of whether you are dealing with feral or stray cats, but you need to be observant and discerning.

It’s important to understand the difference between feral and stray cats, as the behavior of the two varies widely. If you have your own feline friend who has access to the outdoors, knowing if you have a feral cat or just a stray cat roaming around is important information to keep your kitty safe and healthy.

Wild cats and stray cats

It is important to first determine the definition of feral and stray cats. The two have one thing in common in that they both live outdoors without consistent humanistic care, but there is one important difference.

One wildcat There is little interaction with humans. Usually, feral cats are born to feral or stray cats.

One stray cat Has lived with or around humans with whom it frequently interacted. It could have been a house cat once, or it could have been an outdoor cat with its owner. Lost or abandoned, the cat lost contact with its owner and was considered a stray.

Both feral and stray cats are considered domesticated cats, not wild animals. However, feral cats can have very different personalities and behaviors than stray cats.

How to Identify Wild and Stray Cats

There are some physical characteristics and behavioral tendencies that can help you distinguish feral cats from stray cats. If you have a new cat wandering near you, first check the identifiers below to determine if it’s a stray or feral cat.

physical properties

wild cat May have a “pointy ear” which means the pointy part has been clipped off. This is done during the regular trap-neutral-return procedure to indicate that the cat has been neutered.

stray cat May look particularly thin and slovenly. Usually inexperienced hunters, they may have a harder time foraging. Additionally, they are often rejected by feral cats and may quarrel frequently.

wildcatOn the other hand, they are Wild Road experts. They usually look healthy thanks to their ability to live outdoors and professional hunting skills.

Removing pointed ears is a sign of a feral cat

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wildcat Usually not close to humans. They show great caution and avoid contact at all costs. Even feral cat eye contact is rare.

stray cat They are known to display more open behaviors toward humans, including making eye contact and even approaching humans. In some cases, they have been known to rub against strangers’ legs. Humans are a familiar sight and a known food source for stray cats.

wildcat Usually moving in stealth mode, their bodies are crouched on the ground, their tails are down, and their eyes quickly scan their surroundings.

stray cat More likely to have a raised tail – in a cat’s body language, this indicates approachability. They also often move in a more upright position.

Safely interact with feral and stray cats

The most important thing is to be cautious when dealing with any animal you are unfamiliar with. This is true whether you are dealing with feral or stray cats.

Be alert to your cat’s body language and respond to cues that the animal is becoming overly nervous, fearful, or even hostile. As domestic cats, both feral and stray cats are likely to respond in similar ways when they feel fear. alert:

  • hiss
  • squinting
  • ears are blocked
  • an erect, bristle tail
  • hair stands up along the back

bottom line

The most important difference between feral cats and stray cats is how cats view humans. Wild cats lack human socialization and are considered wild for all practical purposes. It can be very, very difficult to adapt an adult feral cat to life as a domestic cat, although you may be able to successfully feed a feral cat and meet its basic needs this way.

Meanwhile, as house cats, feral cats do have a lot in common with cats raised as pets. However, you should always exercise caution when approaching unfamiliar animals, whether feral or stray.