Test Your Knowledge on Feral Cats

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What is a feral cat?

A domestic cat that lives outdoors and avoids human contact

What is the impact of feral cats on wildlife?


What is the most common infection found in feral cats?

Bartonella henselae

What is the risk of feral cats transmitting rabies to humans?


What is a trap-neuter-return program?

A program that traps feral cats, neuters them, and returns them to their original location

What is the impact of feral cats on native species?

Endangerment and extinction

What is the primary prey of feral cats?

Smaller animals with body weights under 100g, particularly mammals, birds, and lizards

What is the effectiveness of trap-neuter-return programs in controlling feral cat populations?

Not effective

What is the impact of feral cats on public health?

They are a considerable zoonotic risk for transmission of diseases and infections

Study Notes

Summary Title: Feral Cats: A Threat to Wildlife and Public Health

  • Feral cats are unowned domestic cats that live outdoors and avoid human contact.

  • They are considered one of the worst invasive species on Earth and are devastating to wildlife.

  • Attempts to control feral cat populations are widespread but generally of greatest impact within purpose-fenced reserves.

  • Trap-neuter-return programs are advocated by some animal rights groups, but scientific evidence has demonstrated that they are not effective at controlling feral cat populations.

  • Definitions of feral cats vary between professions and countries, and some animal rights groups seek to normalize them as "community cats," which is seen as euphemistic and distracting by conservation biologists.

  • Feral cats are protected by law in Italy and are surgically neutered in Rome, Padua, and Venice Provinces.

  • In the United States, there is no widely accepted definition of a feral cat, and waiting periods are used to evaluate whether a cat is feral.

  • Feral cats are found worldwide, including on islands and in urban, suburban, and rural developments.

  • They primarily prey on smaller animals with body weights under 100g, particularly mammals, birds, and lizards.

  • Feral cats often live in groups called colonies, which are located close to food sources and shelter.

  • Feral kittens can be trapped and socialized, but older cats are difficult to socialize and may remain fearful.

  • Feral cats are susceptible to diseases and infections including rabies, bartonellosis, toxoplasmosis, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).Feral Cats: Health Risks, Control and Management

  • Bartonella henselae is the most prevalent infection found in feral cats, with 33.6% testing positive.

  • Feline coronavirus is the second most common infection, found in 18.3% of cats.

  • Feral cats are a risk for transmitting rabies to humans, with 16% of people infected by exposure to rabid cats.

  • Feral cats are a considerable zoonotic risk for transmission of intestinal parasites.

  • Feral cats can be controlled through trapping and euthanasia, or through trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs.

  • Scientific research has not found TNR to be an effective means of controlling the feral cat population.

  • TNR results in fewer complaints and improves the quality of life of the cats.

  • TNR is backed by well-funded advocacy organizations, but its effectiveness is disputed by some scientists and conservation specialists.

  • De-sexing cats, as in TNR programs, does nothing to prevent them from continuing to destroy wildlife.

  • Feral cats kill one to four billion birds and six to 22 billion mammals annually in the United States.

  • Feral cats kill on average one million reptiles each day in Australia.

  • Feral cats have had a major impact on native species and have played a leading role in the endangerment and extinction of many species.

Do you know the impact feral cats have on wildlife and public health? Test your knowledge with our quiz on feral cats. From their prevalence worldwide to their susceptibility to diseases, and the effectiveness of different control methods, this quiz covers it all. Discover the truth about feral cats and their impact on the environment and public health.

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