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Strictly speaking, a stray cat is a domestic cat who once had a home and is used to humans, as opposed to a feral cat, who is likely to be the offspring of a stray and rather more unsociable.
A stray cat might be nervous around people but because it has had some human contact in its life it should be able to re-adjust to living with humans once again, should it be lucky enough to have the chance!
There are hundreds of thousands of stray cats in the world, maybe even millions. Some have been abandoned by their owners, and others are much loved pets who have wandered too far and got lost while out on adventure. If your cats are keen adventurers it is imperative to microchip them to stand the best chance of getting them back should they get lost.
Un-neutered males are always getting into fights over territory and female cats in heat, and females who are not spayed are often pregnant or feeding a litter of kittens, as well as having to scavenge for food and find shelter on a daily basis. If the kittens don't have any human contact they will turn feral and are unlikely to ever have a loving home; once ( or if ) they grow up the cycle continues.
Since this is what we have done this week with Domino, I can tell you first hand that adopting a stray can be a very rewarding experience.
Although Domino did officially have an ‘owner', it turned out Domino didn't like the dog who lived in his home and he moved himself out of there a few years ago, preferring to live on the streets.
Domino was un-neutered, skinny and always covered in war wounds. He scavenged food from us for many months before we tracked down and spoke with his 'owner', and he agreed that we could take him on just 2 weeks ago.
Last week we took him to the vet to be neutered and had to keep him indoors for recovery. We expected he would go crazy from being shut indoors for the first time in years, but we were so wrong.
Domino has obviously been missing having a home and someone to love him; we brought him back from the vets and got him settled, then he just purred and purred. He loves to be stroked and rolls on his back so you can stroke his tummy and he looks at you with those adoring eyes that cats sometimes give you as if to say… thank you.
I'm so glad we've adopted Domino; I wish we'd tracked down his ‘owner' sooner and then he wouldn't have had to spend so long fending for himself. But all's well that ends well, he now has a loving home where he wont want for anything.
If you find a stray cat in your house, or on the street, or anywhere else, try to befriend it. Getting a friend like Domino is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.
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