Felixstowe: Feral cat with her kittens caught on camera

IT looks the perfect pet picture of domestic bliss – mum and her cute kittens relaxing in the sunshine.

But while this attentive feline may appear every inch the cuddly cat you would love to curl up on your lap on a winter’s evening by the fire, looks can be deceiving.

For this is a feral cat – living wild on our streets, spending hours scavenging and killing, to bring home enough food for the family.

Experts estimate that there are more than 800,000 feral cats living in Britain – roaming the countryside, where they are often welcomed in farmyards for keeping the rodent population down, and city streets.

This family of tortoiseshell mum and two youngsters was caught on camera by Star reader Steve Malkin in the yard of MAN Truck and Bus in Bryon Avenue, near Felixstowe port. “I have seen this cat many times over the last three years, but this is the first time I have seen her with young,” he said.

“Just before I turned up with my camera she was feeding her kittens.”

Feral cats though have a deserved reputation for their aggressive and often downright fierce behaviour.

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Andy Gillon, manager of Felixstowe Blue Cross, said ferals are essentially wild cats – and the charity could not rehome them.

“If we were to have a feral cat at the centre it could be quite a health and safety issue for staff because you cannot get close to them,” he said.

“They can be fierce and aggressive and it would take a very long time. They are nervous and scared cat which have been used to living outside in the wild forever and putting such a cat in a small pen would not only be potentially dangerous for staff but bad for the mental welfare of the cat.”

An injured feral cat would be cared for by the charity and taken to a vet to be neutered, then released back into the wild as soon as it was well. Kittens can be neutered and re-homed once weaned and before they start fending for themselves.

“Feral cats are exceptional hunters, great scavengers – they have to look after themselves,” he added.

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