Chances are, at some point in your life (or heck, even at some point this week), you’ve spotted a stray cat who looks like he lives on his own on the streets without anyone looking out for him. Although it may look like these cats are holding their own out there—they’re not.
Whether they are feral (not socialized and terribly afraid of people) or not, these kitties are still domesticated animals and aren’t equipped to survive on their own.
Here are seven images that will make you think twice about leaving stray and feral cats outside to fend for themselves (WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS):
1. They are often poisoned, shot, or tortured by cruel people.
2. They are hit by cars and attacked by other animals.
3. They die of exposure, starvation, and highly contagious fatal diseases, such as rabies, feline AIDS, feline leukemia, and feline infectious peritonitis.
4. Even highly treatable conditions can be deadly for cats who cannot be handled and regularly taken to a veterinarian.
5. Ear mite infestations, minor cuts, and puncture wounds can turn into raging infections and abscesses.
6. Cats with untreated upper respiratory infections may not be able to see and breathe properly—or at all—because of the mucus obstructing their eyes and noses.
7. Ferals driven crazy by the pain and itching of ear mites and the accompanying infections often scratch their ears bloody.
Many stray and feral cats die of blood loss or anemia caused by parasites and fleas. Untreated urinary tract infections, which frequently lead to blockages of the urethra in male cats, cause extremely painful lingering deaths.
When you see free-roaming cats, don’t assume that they belong to someone. They may be lost or abandoned and in need of food, shelter, or medical treatment. Call your local animal shelter or animal control agency for help right away!
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