The other night I heard an interview with the head of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (aka the busybodies who are never there when needed by a cat) which taught me something new.
It seems that I have been mistaken in calling the late lamented mother cat (who had her litters underneath the summerhouse) a feral. She was not a feral, she was a stray.
According to the gentleman being interviewed, ferals live in the bush. They tend to be larger than household cats, shun the company of humans and are unlikely ever to be domesticated. (Sounds like my friend Rufus.)
Strays however tend to be cats who have lost their slaves and their homes. They are often found in colonies where they live rough and off the land .
I suppose this means that if I lost my slaves I would become a stray and have to fend for myself. What a dreadful thought.