Skip to Main Content

Have You Ever Looked in a Feral Cat’s Mouth?

Written by PETA | July 11, 2011

Every day, PETA’s fieldworkers rescue homeless and unwanted cats who are battle worn and weary after months or years on the streets or in the woods. Kind-hearted people often feed homeless cats to give them at least a little relief from the constant hunger that gnaws at their worm-filled bellies. But food alone doesn’t protect cats from the dangers and hostility that exist on the streets.

Two cases just this week exemplified the hard lives of homeless animals:

This cat, who had apparently been homeless for quite a while, had no teeth—leaving the cat with limited defenses and making it nearly impossible for her to get adequate nutrition. 

This feral kitten was so weak that he could barely move. He was emaciated and suffering from a raging upper respiratory infection that prevented him from being able to see or smell his food. Without PETA’s intervention, he likely would have starved to death.


Many people feed neighborhood cats without knowing how the cats live and die when not at the food bowls. I’d be a millionaire (and donate it all to PETA!) if I got a nickel each time a cat-feeder told me, “There used to be a white one, but he doesn’t come anymore” or “I haven’t seen the momma in awhile” and similar sad stories. They break my heart because I know that the cats who aren’t showing up met a horrible fate under the wheels of a car, in the mouths of dogs or other animals, or at the hands of cruel people. That is, if they didn’t succumb to one of the many ailments that kill cats on the streets when they don’t get treatment. Even a simple urinary tract infection quickly becomes deadly for homeless cats.

If you care about homeless and feral cats, please be strong for them and rent or purchase a humane box trap (read PETA’s full instructions on trapping feral cats) and bring them to a reputable open-admission animal shelter, where they might find a loving home if they’re friendly or at least a peaceful release from a hostile world if they can’t be adopted. It beats the alternative.

If you absolutely can’t do this, at least work with a local spay-and-neuter clinic to sterilize the cats and re-release them onto the battlefield. They will still have hard lives, but they won’t bring more kittens into a world where no homes for them exist and life is a struggle.

Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post

Commenting is closed.
  • chris says:

    We have a feral cat that we brought home. She lived in a stable that was being demolished to make way for construction. She trusted and liked our dog when she was at the stable. Its been almost two years and we can pet her a little bit while she’s eating. She talks to us and is a full fledged, though aloof, member of the family.

  • Dee says:

    For almost 15 years I cared for homeless cats. Had them spayed, fed them and looked out for them. When I was moving, gathered most of them and brought them to Animal Control. They do not keep feral cats!!! they destroy them. shameful!

  • SARAH MARIE says:

    this is horribal,im the type of person that cant even kill a butterfly people dont have the right to do this it is sick and mean and they should go to jail for it..i take in animals that need help,i just took in a dove that a cat hurt and it is doing really good it should be able to fly in a week or so,thank you for anyone out there that helps animals:)

  • dawn says:

    It breaks my heart to see these homeless kitties running loose unnoticed and unwanted. I have a really great Humane Society in my area that I donate to every year in friends/family’s names as a Christmas present. They only euthanize if the kitty is unadoptable and I have dropped off several strays that have found their way back home or to a new forever home. This is a well written article, thank you Lindsey!

  • Supraglacial says:

    whille looking for our stolen cat we came across a ferrel lil guy in really bad shape. People in the area said he had been around for at least a year. I ended up taking him home, looking after him as best I could and got him neutered. It has been a month today and Buddy is doing much better. My guy is still missing and it has been therapeutic working with Buddy. Currently we are working on socializing with our other cat and so far… well its going to take a while. The change in Buddy has been nothing short of amazing. He is a very loveable guy and very talkative. Had I taken him to our local humane society they would have put him down immediately. This is their standing policy. So very sad

  • sarah dear says:

    Someone should pull whoever did this teeth. This is wrong enough said.

  • Destiny says:

    to take a feral cat to any shelter is just the same as euthanizing it. but at the same token, to see them live stressful street lives is horrid. sanctuaries have good intentions but are never as good as they seem. it would appear the only kind thing to do is to euthanize.

  • Jen says:

    Drop off at an open-admission, no-kill shelter! I stopped $ supporting ASPCA because they constantly “rescued” cats from the woods and from hoarders only to kill them because they wouldn’t have homes. Ferals and former hoarded cats will probably never make good family pets, but sanctuaries exist so these guys can live the life that befits them. Euthanasia is not a good option for healthy cats on their own. Cat-Spay/Neuter-release into an area with no traffic and a reliable food source/shelter is the least we can do.

  • 1simba says:

    I have just taken in my 3rd set of feral kittens in 3 summers and have successfuly been able to place them in loving and caring homes, even when one set had Felv positive. This years bunch is especially heartbreaking, mom is a pet reject to the street and no one will take the initative to trap her and give her the love she deserves. one of her kittens had a bad fate with a car, so the other 2 were trapped and placed with me, where they will be neutered and loved unitl their forever home is found. what a task this has been, but extremely rewarding…..

  • Jessica Smith says:

    Just because these cats don’t have owners does not mean they don’t have homes. (The “wild” is their home.) Cats (and goats) are some of the only domesticated animals that can quickly revert back to “wild” status and be able to survive without a hitch. Yes, they may get diseases, die from predators, or be hit by a car, but how is that any different that a deer getting a disease, being attacked by a predator, or being hit by a car? They’re both sentient beings.

  • marisa says:

    I feel terribly for feral cats. Last November, I took in a little black cat who was much younger than this little kitten, but his eyes looked about the same. I ended keeping him of course and named him Boi. He’s my little angel. And in May, I took in 2 three week old abandoned kitties who were knocking on death’s door and now they are both bigger and definitely fatter and of course, happier. If i could, I would take in every kitten and feed and fix every cat who was living on the streets. Someday, I most certainly would

  • isobel paxton says:

    i have been trapping, and neutering ferals and strays for a few years now. it is never ending but very worthwhile.any i cant re home are released back to where i caught them and any colonies are fed and watered every day. i would never have them euthanized unless they were at deaths door anyway or in severe pain.

  • Sue says:

    I have two strays living with me. One was a year old when my Dad was finally able to capture him. He was eating food my Dad left in the garage for them. He is a beautiful, likely part Maine Coon, long hair white cat with yellow/green eyes. So handsome. our newest orphan is a long hair grey who has just as much personality. They are so much fun. Before my father passed away, he had live trapped and had spayed or neutered at least a dozen cats, finding homes for many of them, but keeping most! He had 4 indoor cats, two cats who did not want to be in the house, but would stay in the garage and a couple more he was working on. He built them insulated shelters for them to come and get some food and when he had built up enough trust he was able to just pick some of them up and bring them in. I wish more people cared that much about animals. I don’t see any strays outside here, just the three that are owned by our neighbours, but we get plenty at the Rescue. Please spay or neuter!

  • Jen says:

    I recently trapped a ferral cat who was limping. I brought him to the hospital. He was too injured to fight so I was able to tame him with the help of my friendly former street cat Tigger. The stray, now named Tommy, needed ultrasounds, a dental to remove his broken teeth, and we are waiting for the money for his leg surgery. He is a wonderful boy. I love him very much. I told the vet if he was too feral to handle, please euthanize him. But, he is learning to not be frightened of people anymore. He is a wonderful addition to the rest of my former street cats. Help the strays!!! Jen, Ottawa, Canada

  • Abarcus says:

    I will some day have the funds to help out!!!

  • Leslie Biesiada says:

    My heart aches fo the cats in my neighborhood that run loose. I happen to have three of those cats,two I’ve had for eleven years and one for ten years. And I also have one that is three years old that my niece left with me. I could’nt take any more. Four is a big responsibility. I have tried to trap feral caats in my neighbor hood. With horrible affects on the cat.(long story) I Just want to do something to help them. I know they suffer. My heart hurts to see them running scared and without love and safety.

  • New Mommy says:

    People love to drop off animals, especially cats, at my old hom. My neighbor then either adopts the cats or takes them aspcas in our area. She has kept so many it’s unbelievable. I found my cat on the streets after some old lady died in the area and her brother left them outside. SHes such a sweet catand i can’t believe people could just let them go without caring what happens.

  • Trebulon says:

    It appears that white cat’s teeth were pulled, not naturally lost.