A feral cat is unsocialized, one not raised in captivity. Unaccustomed to humans, a feral cat will avoid contact with people.
Feral cats are everywhere. You can go years without seeing a feral cat because they are generally nocturnal, but they're there! They survive on rodents, insects, and handouts (discarded food). No one put the cats there. Feral cats are the generational offspring of abandoned, unsterilized neighborhood family pets and are part of the ecosystem.
You cannot simply "relocate" the cats. Feral cats are naturally territorial. Attempts at relocation do not work because the cats have strong homing instincts. Also, when cats are removed from an area, through whatever means, other feral cats simply move in to replace them, known as the "vacuum effect."
Most university campuses employ a "managed" protocol for their feral cats. Cats in managed programs are spay/neutered and vaccinated. This controls the numbers of cats with proven methods. Managed programs are the most humane, effective, and "green" approach. Managed programs are veterinarian approved.
Our 18 different feeding stations help us manage the feral cats on campus. Spay/neuter efforts depend on the cats being at a certain place at a certain time. In addition to keeping the cats as healthy as possible, feeding programs help us to regulate that timing.
Feral cats are not candidates for adoption. Feral cats differ from friendly, owned neighborhood stray cats. Feral cats are unapproachable by humans. While we have several cats on campus that are so used to students they are quite friendly, most of our cats have no interest in bonding with humans.
We respect the fact that not everyone will support our efforts. While the Program is a long-standing part of SMU, we try to be as unobtrusive and cooperative as possible. Please contact us with any suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you love cats or hate cats, everyone agrees there are too many homeless cats. Our spay/neuter efforts try to limit the numbers as much as possible.
Feral cats are protected by animal cruelty laws. Feral cats in managed programs are protected by animal law.