A feral cat is one that has lived apart from humans for so long that it is not socialized to humans. It has been abandoned or was born in the wild and has lived so long in the wild that it is not a candidate for adoption into a home.
A stray cat, on the other hand, is a domestic cat that has been abandoned or lost. It can usually be socialized to live with humans again in a home.
Feral cats are best suited to living outdoors with shelter in a safe place, food, and water. If they are vaccinated against rabies and spayed or neutered, they can live a contented life.
Uncared-for feral cats may struggle to live and eat, are subject to accidents and illness, inclement weather, and injuries from fights with other cats. Feral kittens up to 8 or 10 weeks of life can be socialized to live in homes, but not after this period.
The best way to help feral cats is TNR, a program of Trap-Neuter-Return, and follow-up care for the cats in the form of shelter, and reliable food and water.