i did want to talk more about them, independent of the cowchican thing because average joe public doesn't understand them very well.
feral cats are animals born without any contact with humans, as the babes grow past the first few formative weeks, they lose the natural ability to easily bond and develop trusting relationships with humans.
so for all intents and purposes, they become (at least to us) a wild thing. but as far as nature is concerned...they are in fact a big mistake and nature did not give them the tools and skills of other wild animals in order to survive very well.
therefore they can sometimes survive for a few months or years living on the periphery of human beings..their chances are better if they are given active support like trap, neuter and release and regular feeding at feeding stations managed by human beings.
but they cannot survive on their own..they cannot survive isolated from human support because they were supposed to be a domesticated animal protected by humans. nature did not evolve them into an animal that could survive on their own.. this is why you do not see feral cat colonies thriving out in the bush..out there they would just quickly become part of the food chain.
their only real chance is to be within a well managed group.
the other thing about ferals is no one..not even me... can identify a true feral from a domestic freaked out cat..they look and act exactly the same. i have had "feral" cats come in..and 2 days, or 2 weeks, or 2 years later, the domestic switch has turned back on...and all of a sudden the monty's, the websters (aka broken tail) and maybe the morgans are not feral anymore.
i did not rehabilitate them and tame the wild beast within..they just eventually remembered who they really are...which was once someone's pet abandoned to survival out on the street.
so what i want to say to everyone is this....feed that poor cat roaming around your street. trap that poor cat out there on its own..maybe it is a feral and needs to be spayed/neutered/vaccinated and vet checked and have a regular, predictable source of food..or maybe it is a previous pet who would like eventually to come back into the human fold.
but do not turn your back on it...do not close your eyes...do not convince yourself that feral cats do just fine..they do not. they are the result of neglect AND abuse of cats within our society, they are NOT supposed to be out there on their own.
and here is a very sad truth about us..most of us will move the world to catch and help a sketchy dog on the loose...(read brindleweb and the saga of boujie)..but we will not bestir ourselves one single inch for a cat in the same kind of predictament.
this is because cats do not have as much value as dogs do to us so we can come up with our excuses to keep our eyes firmly closed.
these cats do need our help....lets not pretend that they don't.