Wild Animals/Feral Cat


New Kitty
New Kitty  
Hello Jonathan,

I live in an isolated, forested section of East Liverpool Ohio, and a feral cat started coming around a few months ago.  He is much larger than any domestic cat I have seen (neck approximately 5 inches across) in this area.  His fangs are also much larger, and he has a longer ridge of darker fur along his spine that is not apparent in the photo. He has begun approaching me for attention due to (I believe) his observing the behavior of a stray that is in the area. I am hoping that you may be able to identify if he is a domestic cat, or a species of wild cat.  Any information or advice is appreciated!

Dear Madeline

Thank you for your question and your very clear photograph. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

http://www.mammalsociety.org/mammals-ohio lists 3 species of wild cats living in Ohio: the puma, bobcat and lynx. Your photo shows a domestic cat. I'm afraid that a feral domestic cat looks the same as a domestic cat of the same breed, so I can't tell if the cat in the photo is a feral cat or somebody's pet. http://www.ohioalleycat.org/about-feral-cats/ gives details about the problems about deciding if a cat is feral or not. Domestic cats can be very independent and can kill local wildlife. They can quickly adapt to living apart from humans, but may still choose to visit certain homes and call out to be fed. I went to a talk several years ago and the speaker said that a group of cats would go to one house at 6 pm and start calling to be fed. After this, they would visit another house at 6.15 and another at 6.30. On each occasion, the homeowners thought they were the only ones that were feeding the cats.

In my area, there is a notice asking for a missing cat to be returned. It may be worth chcking if anyone is missing a cat, but there is a good chance that the cat you've found has been living independently. Please read the following website: http://www.crittrcatchr.com/animal-control-critter-problem/urban-wildlife-nuisan and make sure that you contact the appropriate authorities via http://www.ohioalleycat.org/about-feral-cats/ before releasing the cat.

I hope this helps

All the best


Wild Animals

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.