In defining the definition of an alley cat, it would be appropriate to define them as being a medium-sized wild cat with a muscular development and small feet. Their range across much of the United States consists of lowland areas, woodlands, and low ridges in dry rocky hillsides. They inhabit such areas as country parks, trash fields, vacant lots, desolate strips of land, underbrush, wooded swamps, and even abandoned mines. Oftentimes they become quite common because of their mode of transportation, running from the roadside to an appointed hunting spot, usually on the edge of a thicket.
The first description of the definition of an alley cat brings to mind an older and wildcat-like feline, resembling a cross between a bobcat and a domestic cat. An Alley Cat is often described with reddish brown color fur and prominent white tail, though gray and black markings are also seen occasionally. Though most are neutered, a few may still be born with unaltered coats. A distinct note of Alley Cat behavior is that it prefers enclosed areas. Although they are known for hunting at night, they are famous for running at dawn and dusk, when many animals are sleeping and less likely to be noticed by hunters.
Many people believe an Alley Cat is a dangerous animal. Often thought of as a deranged prowler and “fox-plant,” this cat is not actually considered dangerous; in fact, many cities and states consider the cat’s a natural part of the landscape. Most cities have enacted laws that prevent the removal of Alley Cats or take necessary steps to protect the Alley Cat population. Unfortunately, there is still some confusion about whether an Alley Cat is protected by law or not, and in some states it is illegal to own an Alley Cat. For more information on the definition of an alley cat, and other wildlife and feline subjects, see the web sites of Cat Fanciers International, Cat Behavior publications, and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.