The word “feral” is used to define a cat that lives outdoors, is not socialized to people, and essentially does not belong to anyone.
Feral cats are the result of a domestic cat being abandoned or lost and left to fend for itself. The offspring of the domestic (now considered feral) cat are usually never handled by people and become terrified. Many times, when approached by people, they will hiss out of fright. Given the chance, they will run away and hide. This is misunderstood as being vicious, but that is not true. Almost all feral cats that are trapped will cower to the back of the trap and shake from fright. Some even urinate due to uncontrolled fright. If the trap were to be opened they likely would not attack, but rather, run away.
Fifteen to twenty percent of the cats we trap annually, are socialized, abandoned cats. Through no fault of their own, these cats wound up homeless. These cats didn’t even have the luxury of being surrendered to a shelter. Instead, they were thrown outside left to fend for themselves.