Are Feral Cats Dirty & Do they Carry Disease?

There are a lot of misconceptions about feral cats, and one of the most common ones is that they are nasty creatures who are dirty and spread disease.

It’s very easy to see why people think this about feral cats, as they spend all their time outside, tend to be flighty and make it difficult to get close to them.

Since feral cats don’t live in a home and don’t have regular access to vet care, then people assume that they are filthy and nasty. In fact, the truth is far different.

Feral Cats Aren’t As Disease-Ridden As You Think!

All animals, including pet cats, are at risk for carrying disease, but many people do not realize that their indoor cat is just as likely to have medical problems as feral cats.

feral cat

Indoor cats that are given outdoor access are exposed to the same diseases and sicknesses as feral cats, but, they have the benefit of vaccinations.

Catching, vaccinating, and releasing feral cats is the best way to decrease any chance of the spread of disease, even though it is already fairly low.

Feral Cats Generally Stay Away From Humans

A lot of people have the idea of feral cats trying to enter their home, cavorting with their family pets, or coming up to people and bothering them.

This is very unlikely to happen, as feral cats will do everything that they can to stay away from other animals and from humans.

scared cat

Since feral cats prefer to be on their own, they will not come to the house of a family.

This means that even on the off chance that they are sick, they won’t spread illness to family pets.  Always use caution when approaching feral cats in case they are rabid

All Cats Clean Themselves

Even though feral cats may look a little rough around the edges due to broken and kinked tails or ripped ears, they are still fastidious about being clean.

cat cleaning


In this way, they are no different from pet cats.

When feral cats get dirty they will give themselves a bath to clean off.  While they don’t have access to human baths, most pet cats do not like these either, so they both take care of their own hygiene.

Cats Always Look for Clean Areas to Sleep

No cat will pick a wet, moldy, or smelly location to sleep if they can help it. Feral cats prefer to sleep in warm and dry areas, which means that they will be out of the rain and mud.

This prevents them from getting dirtier and limits their exposure to disease.  There are many options for you to provide them with their own place of shelter.

cat sleep

The more access that a feral cat has to warm and dry sleeping areas, such as a barn or outbuilding, the healthier and cleaner they will be.

Understanding the truth behind feral cats will give people a whole new appreciation for them and ensure that they do not think too unkindly of these felines.

Feral cats, while unsocialized and not wanting to be close to humans, are not dirty creatures.  They take care of themselves, do a great job avoiding sick animals, and are not very likely to spread disease.

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