Cats are clever hunters, that much is clear. Even domestic cats make their people happy now and then with a piece of prey from the wild. But could a cat, used to human closeness, actually survive in the wild?
The outdoor life of a wild cat or a wild stray is very different from the sheltered life of domestic cats. Both experience different socialization and adapt their behavior accordingly. While cats born and raised in the wild rely on raising their own food and breeding is done by their own species, the domestic cat can usually rely on human attention and care.
So, if you're wondering if your house cat, who occasionally puts mice in front of you and likes to stay outside, would survive in the wild, the short answer is yes. There are many things that can kill cats in the wild, especially if they are unaware of the dangers.
Cats: From survival in the wild
First of all, cats are very careful animals. They explore their surroundings carefully and prefer to take a risk too little, rather than too much. Moreover, they know very well where, in case of doubt and in case of emergency, there is shelter and food for them: namely with humans. If you deprive ordinary cats of their usual security, they will most likely hide somewhere before they go hungry foraging for food.
If she is not lucky enough to find enough small animals to cross her path, which she can easily capture, she will soon expand her territory and will probably soon be dealing with human leftovers. In other words, she starts digging in the trash because she already knows this kind of food of human origin from the smell. Thus, the domestic cat, who is not used to long-term outdoor life and self-sufficiency, quickly faces a whole series of problems:
● The consumption of waste causes diseases for which no veterinarian is on hand.
● At night it gets very cold and difficult to find warm shelter, especially in winter.
● Domestic cats are used to social contact with humans and miss him in the wild.
● Unusual car traffic is particularly dangerous and the risk of accidents is high.
● Dogs, birds of prey and other predators can sometimes kill the cat fatally.
Even freemen remain domestic cats
As you can see, survival in outdoor cats demands a lot. Your cat could be run over by a car, die of malnutrition, an untreated illness or injury. In contrast, real wildcats and wild strays are used to living in nature. These live mostly in packs, have a life expectancy of a maximum of 5 years and grow above all directly and from the beginning in the wild.
At the same time, this is the essential difference between domestic cats and wild cats: the latter, as babies, learn the most important survival strategies and hunting techniques. Although kittens that have grown up in a human home also learn to hunt and have instincts that advise them to be wary of danger, their survival strategies are much weaker.
When Domestic cats become wild: adaptation to the wild
Domestic cats can, if they survive the above-mentioned dangers in the wild, grow wild and their offspring then grow into this life. You then have a similar life expectancy as wild cats. That's not nice, though. Conversely, stray cat babies are more likely to get used to living as a family member in a human home than adult strays who previously knew only the outdoors. It is not possible to accustom feral domestic cats to a life of security and human affection in adulthood, but it is difficult, requires much patience and love.
By the way: According to the fine catalog, the suspension of a domestic cat in Germany is considered an administrative offense, punishable by a fine of up to 25, 000 euros.