Rescue, Feral And Wild

Recommended Posts

Too many folks confuse the words “wild”, “feral” and “rescue”. Sure many rescues are feral, but few are truly wild.

Dogs and cats that don't have a permanent home are often seen around dumpsters, behind fast food places and are just running loose around our neighborhoods, but in most cases have had plenty of human contact. Unfortunately for the animal that contact has been both good and bad.

Technically, by dictionary definition, feral means a domesticated animal that has escaped from a cared for status and is living more or less in a wild, untamed manner. Feral comes from the Latin “fera” - 'wild beast' with a secondary meaning of “feralis” - belonging to the dead. The term 'feral' should not be used to describe the naturalization of a wild (non-domesticated) species. Nor should "feral" be used to describe a population of a species which although descended from a domesticated population has severed itself from dependence on humans and lived independently in the wild for a long period.

According to zoological terms, a wild animal is strictly instinctual in its nature and will act in like manner. These animals have little, if any, human contact and should be regarded with great caution as there is nothing to prevent it from acting out its natural behavior; survival. This usually equates to 'protecting itself', 'hunting for food' and 'continuation of species'.

I can only stress the precautions that many rescuers are familiar with when dealing with your neighborhood feral dog or cat and often such critters as racoons, possum and fox. In some areas the list can be quite long.

  1. Feral animals can be extremely dangerous to your domesticated pets
  2. Even though often “cute” or “irresistible”, do not leave food outside(1) to attract feral animals
  3. If feral or wild animals have become a nuisance around your home, call a professional(2)
  4. Keep your domesticated pets inside, or at least in a protected area, at night
  5. If confronted by a feral or wild cat, dog or other animal, remain calm and back away slowly(3)

  1. (1)Many of us have inside/outside pets and leaving food out for them is almost “natural” as we are of course thinking about the well being of our pets. Water bowls are okay but many pet stores sell a trickle device to attach to your hose faucet. I recommend these whenever possible. If you leave “crunchies” out for your cat or dog, make sure to bring it in at night unless there is sufficient protection from wild or feral animals.
    (2)Depending on where you live; “Animal Protection”, “the Pound” or “Animal Welfare” should be listed under your City or County phone listings. If you happen to be in an area where these public services are not available look under “Animals” in the yellow pages of your local phone directory for a private, professional service.
    (3)There seems to be much controversy over exactly what to do when confronted by wild or feral animals. Here's a basic tactic that seems to be a compilation of most “expert's advice”:

Use a calm voice to let the animal know that you are not interested in a fight. Facing the animal, take several steps back to let it know you concede the confrontation. Turning your back could incite the attack response in wild animals.

Your full body should be turned towards the animal as a profile makes you appear smaller. Remain tall and erect, and if at possible try to make your body appear bigger than it really is. Waving your arms above your head and to your sides and shouting “Get away!” or “Shoo!” will often do the trick to scare off the aggressive animal. A jacket, sweater or shirt can be slipped off and used to wave over your head or to the side to further increase the size of your presence.

As you continue backing away, try to locate a stick, tree branch or even a rock to use as a possible weapon should the animal decide to attack. If the animal does lunge at you, remain standing while kicking at the animal's head and torso. Your legs are better suited for defense as they are generally stronger than one's arms. If you have a stick, deliver full, forceful blows to the animal's neck and torso in an effort to weaken it.

If there is a possibility for you to move to higher ground such as on a car, a raised platform, or a tree, then do so.

No pet/animal lover wants to hurt an animal, but sometimes it may be unavoidable. Some ferocious attacks have been made by “cute animals” like racoons and possum. Do not let your love and caring for animals interfere with your survival or harm to yourself or domesticated pet. Of course you can try all non-violent means first, but in the case of an attack by a feral or wild animal you may not have such a luxury.

Blessings of Peace,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like that, Use a calm voice. What if they don't undestand english?

Do You, Speak English?

I speak cat, dog, goat, sheep, horse, donkey, prairie dog and a little bit of chimpanzee, alpaca and camel. These, amazingly enough, are all quite similar, except for the chimp...IF you keep your ears open ! :rolleyes:Coyote and wolf, on the other hand are very difficult to get the exacting nuances figured out, and then of course there's all those local dialects. It's soooo embarrassing :shy: to think you're saying "Here doggie, doggie!" in Central Valley California coyote, only to realize (after you're bitten) that you actually said "Sit on a cactus-berry cat face!" in Northern Montana Gray Wolf! :bag::lol:

But it's all tonal...sorta like Charlie Brown's Mom or teacher...we don't understand a single word, BUT you sure get the drift by how it sounds! :cool:

Blessings of Peace,

(Bow-wower rowie-wow woof! or Mao-wower mowie-mao maao!.... for the catter's out there!) :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

:) fun topic.

I have rescue sister cats. From a farm where they were born wild in a barn. The farmer found them and thought to drown them all, but the child in the family insisted they be taken to the local farm vet. I had just had my bobcat mix put to rest from a long life of 17 years (he was ready to go home), and they told me about the kittens. So I accepted two sisters, they were delivered to me on Thanksgiving day last year. I named them Grace and Faith. They are both calico, one more brindle than the other and they have their own distinct language and behaviors and I love them for it. Grace is chatty and verbal, and a drama queen, she has a large butt and likes to swing it like Queen Latifah. Faith on the other hand is a hunter and very quiet most of the time, she likes to bring me gifts of birds and voles. They both hang out in my grapevine over my roof hiding beneath the great leaves.

I did have a hybrid wolf some years back and he didn't bark, he woofed. There was a very real difference to his sounds, his growls were fierce and his body language was powerful. But with me, he would sometimes be a whining baby, despite his 123 lbs of muscle and incredible power. Wolve mixes have a more aloof personality to them, as if they demand the human associating with them to step up from the level of the domestic dog. :derisive:

I'd show you a pic, but I have to change the pixel sizes first and I'm too lazy right now.

Edited by Fritillary
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.