My determination of feral cat versus pet, mirrors that of hogdogs.
Too, the logic of the reason for the feral cat epidemic that Hansam expresses, I also agree with. That being that its a human created problem.
It's very simple:
Pet owners should keep their pets at home...and I should add...should keep their pets under control when they are with them away from home.
It's not my neighbors job to clean after my pets. My neighbor shouldn't fear walking out his/her own house to meet my 135lb. shepherd showing his teeth at them any more then that same neighbor should have to be working in their flower bed with the pleasant aroma of my cat using their flower bed as a litter box.
For some strange reason, many cat owners seem to think it's ok to let their feline's run free. Here in the country,that seems to be the general attitude.
I will also say that here in the country, it is generally accepted that if my pet is on my neighbors property disturbing them and my pet doesn't come home, I have no gripe.
Therefore, since I love my pets, I've taken the time(many hours)and expense of proper training to insure my neighbors are not bothered by my pets.
Again, my pets are my responsibility.