One thing about the word feral bugs me... and that is the ubiquitous use of that word for ANY cat that doesn't have a home.. or should I be a little more accurate in that any cat that once lived outside for any length of time..
The official definition of feral is "of or characteristic of wild animals; ferocious; brutal." Or not domesticated.
A feral cat is a cat that is not friendly. A cat that would rather take your arm off then take a treat from it. A kitty who would much prefer it if you would not interact with them.
There are stray cats, domesticated cats who are living outside, that are not feral. These kitties can live in homes. Ferals often can not - I know of a few that are in homes, but it took a lot of work to win every ounce of trust and even still they are wary. They are not your typical house pet and it takes a very special owner to even try to work with it. Sometimes feral cats are domesticated, at which point they are no longer feral - which is easier to do when they are younger. As a general rule feral cats are NOT cats you can pat, they are not cats that have been your pet for years (save for the rare exception), and feral cats are also NOT cats that have been living in your home for months or years that you no longer want so you bring it to the shelter and say it is feral.
But they are living feeling beings who deserve to live long healthy lives. It really hurts when I hear of communities that want to just kill them and hope that ends the problem (often it does not, other cats move in when the first set is removed)
There is no absolute when it comes to the best way to deal with feral cats. TNR does help control the population and keeps kittens from dying due to lack of food. Feeding can help keep them healthier..
But until we get the over population under control and cats are no longer considered disposable pets, there isn't a whole heck of a lot we can do to prevent the continuation of feral cats. Wouldn't it be nice if even your most commonly bred cat had a monetary value to the world?