Useful Information

feral cats ireland

A feral cat is a descendant of a domestic cat that has returned to the wild. A stray cat is a pet cat that has been lost or abandoned, while feral cats are born in the wild. The offspring of a stray cat can be considered feral if born in the wild.


The term "feral" is sometimes used to refer to an animal that does not appear friendly when approached by humans, but the term can apply to any domesticated animal without human contact. Hissing and growling are self-defence behaviours, which, over time, may change as the animal (whether "feral" or "stray") begins to trust humans that provide food, water, and care.

Feral cats that are born and living outdoors, without any human contact or care, have been shown to be adoptable and can be tamed by humans, provided they are removed from a wild environment before truly feral behaviours are established. Such behaviours are established while it is still a kitten being raised by its mother.



Trap-neuter-return (TNR) is a method of humanely trapping feral cats, spaying or neutering them, and releasing them back to the same location where they were collected.Trap-neuter-return begins with the trapping of feral cats. The captured cats are taken (in the trap) to a vets where they are sterilised by the neutering of males and spaying of females. Some animal rescues provide discounted vouchers. Some cats will also be ear tipped. Ear tipping is the universal sign of a neutered feral cat. The procedure involves removing approximately a quarter-inch off the tip of the cat's left ear in a straight line cut. This is done while the cat is anesthetised for spay/neutering and healing is rapid. It prevents the same cat being picked up twice for spaying/neutering. 

Feral cats may never become fully tame to be pet cats but their lives can be made a lot easier with TNR and daily feeding.

Kitty owned by Sarah, Luca and milo owned by Laura.
Kitty owned by Sarah, Luca and milo owned by Laura.


Check Feral Cats Ireland for more information on TNR and how to help feral cats in your area.

Click here for a step by step guide to the TNR Process from Alley Cat Allies.