“Community cat” is a term often used to describe any outdoor cat that does not have an owner. Though the term is most often associated with feral cats, free-roaming and friendly displaced cats fall under the umbrella of community cats, as well. Community cats have varying degrees of social interactions with people- and these interactions, or lack thereof, greatly influence whether they are truly feral (wild), semi-feral, or displaced friendly cats.
Feral cats are typically born outdoors and more often than not, will have little to no contact or positive interactions with people in their lifetime. Thus, they are untrusting and fearful of people, spending their lives cautiously trying to avoid human contact. They are not aggressive with people by nature and will not seek out confrontation, but if you approach a scared cat and they have no means of escaping you, they may scratch or bite in an attempt to flee the encounter.
Semi-feral cats fall somewhere between feral and domesticated cats. You may also come across stray cats living outdoors, who have been lost, displaced, or abandoned. It may be difficult to determine a cat’s temperament while the cat is under stress and scared. Securing a cat for assessment will help you to determine this.
Our ultimate goal and passion at ROAR is to improve the lives of every cat that we come into contact with. Though, to do so, requires us to be realistic in what that means for each individual cat. Much like people, mental health and physical health are intertwined. Not all community cats can be acclimated into domesticated cats who thrive indoors. We at ROAR have years of experience with cats of all temperaments. We are confident in our ability to assess the probability of a cat acclimating into becoming an adoptable cat and always make decisions with each cat’s well-being in mind. With most cats that are truly feral, they are spayed or neutered and in good health before being either released back to their familiar environment, transitioned into a barn program (for those ferals that came from a dangerous situation), or placed into a sanctuary. Please explore our TNR (trap-neuter-return) section for more info on humane population control.
*Remember, in Arizona all cats are considered free-roaming and all cats, including feral cats, are protected by law. Please see ARS 13-2910.