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Ragdoll Cat

What is the difference between a feral and a stray cat?

     Current scientific data is sketchy, but most estimates place the number of wild or feral cats in America at 70 million and rising. This includes cats that were abandoned, lost and those born in the wild. Females in this population have an average of 1.6 litters each year, with an average of 5 kittens per litter. Do the math! This is an overwhelming problem for kind-hearted folks and rescues with limited budgets….we can't get ahead of the numbers with those unchecked amounts of litters. So what can we do?  

   The first is to recognize the difference between an abandoned and a feral cat. A feral cat is a cat that has had no human interaction in their lives and usually lives in colonies. As such, they will exhibit aggression and/or fear whenever there is a human nearby. They are used to fending for themselves and will use their teeth or claws without much provocation. So whenever you approach a cat on the street, being cautious is a good idea. To help these ferals in Onlsow County OCPAW, (Onslow County Partners for Animal Welfare), has received a grant from Onslow County Community Foundation for our PawsAbility Spay/Neuter Program and Brenda Hunter Williams, (Great Moves Realty) & Spanky's Sports Bar of Jacksonville in a recent funding event.


The funds we have received help us assist companion animals and ferals with our spay/neuter programs which have functioned successfully for many years. We are blessed now to offer a specific program for ferals to spay/neuter, vaccinate, and ear tip for only $15.00, and we also have drop traps and transfer crates to assist you.


Spay/Neuter vouchers are available:


On our website


Pet Mart on Rt 210 in the ferry and  Curvy Chic Consignment.

Trap/Neuter, Release (TNR)

Perhaps the most effective strategy documented to help feral cat colonies is the trap-neuter-release, or TNR, method. This management plan involves trapping healthy stray or feral cats, sterilizing them, vaccinating them as appropriate, and returning them to their colony.

This helps on several fronts:

·        Eliminates the addition of new kittens through breeding

·        Allows for a shrinking colony, increasing the availability of resources like food

·        Decreases howling, yowling, and fighting associated with breeding

·        Lowers the transmission of diseases, such as feline immunodeficiency virus and panleukopenia, that can devastate cats

·        Opens up shelter space for other animals

TNR allows for healthier cats and has less impact on the surrounding community over time. Overall, it is a win-win!


What to do if you find a stray abandoned cat or kitten? Take a photo and post on every social media site you know of and canvas your immediate area to see if their family is searching for them. Call Onslow Animal Services and send them a picture of the cat, location, and your contact information. Being a foster or finding one is the optimal way to help until their owners are located. Send your information to OCPAW, and we will list the animal on our Lost & Found sites. If no owner comes forward, we can assist you with a spay/neuter voucher and post it on our adoption sites. 


 If a domestic cat is either neglected, lost, or even abused, it can develop feral-like qualities, but a previously domesticated and socialized cat can never become fully feral. They become strays and then maybe, in some situations can develop feral-like qualities.

This is good because a cat that is lost, abused, or neglected can eventually find peace and happiness again in loving families. If they have learned to live with humans when they were young, they will quickly revert back to that domestic state as well. Cats, while known to dislike change and stressors, can quickly adapt again if the conditions are right.

Relocating? Time is the enemy of finding a home for any animal! Unfortunately, there is not much that organizations such as OCPAW can do to help if given only hours or a day to find placement. So reach out early to organizations for best outcomes.

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