Feeding a Street Cat

The public can help the street cats by making sure there is fresh water around and very occasionally feeding them (every other day). That means placing dry food in a tucked away place preferably between dusk and dawn when the cats are most active.

Provide enough food in several separate heaps, where even the shy ones have a chance to get their fill. Another way is to place a “feeding station”, a container which is always filled with food and remains in the same place. This way, cats can pick different times to feed and avoid confrontation with stronger or dominating cats. You just have to make sure from time to time to provide a refill.

While you are feeding, you will get to know each member of your colony and the cats will be expecting you. This is a great opportunity to keep an eye on the health and condition of the cats. Are the eyes clear? Do you spot any open wound? Is the cat moving normally or do you notice a limp? Do you see any pregnant looking cat? Do you notice any newcomers who don’t have their ear clipped (means they are not sterilized)? If so, get in touch with our rescue department and we will advise you on the next steps and assist you in every way we can to get these cats treated and/or sterilized.

A lot of people are reluctant to feed strays for several different reasons. One of these is the idea that strays will breed out of control if you feed them. The truth is that strays can breed out of control whether or not they are fed. Not feeding stray cats will NOT reduce the stray population. Even very hungry cats can still breed and then they will produce starving and unhappy little kittens.

Another reason is that a lot of people don't want to feed strays. They worry that if they feed a stray cat that it will hang around looking for more food. That is true if you feed too often (every 2nd day once is enough) or too much (food left overs make it convenient for street cats to just hang around in this area.)

Also, there is the belief that the street cats will stop hunting for rodents, when they get fed and don’t feel hungry anymore. Studies show that even well-fed cats will continue to hunt. They might not eat the prey (mouse or rat), but they still will hunt and kill them.

The biggest drawback to feeding strays is that your neighbours often won't like it. For the safety of the cats be sensitive about where you place your food bowls. Keep the feeding area clean and remove uneaten wet food as it will attract rodents & insects and gets smelly.

It is also important to plan for the times when you go on holiday or if leaving the country for good. Who will look after your cats? Do you have somebody you share the feeding task with?

If you don’t then you have no choice but to “fade out” the feeding. This means, you will feed less and less over a period of time until your departure in order to make the cats look for other food options elsewhere. This way you don’t just disappear from one day to the next, leaving a confused and waiting cat colony behind.   Next CSR…

HomeHow to help a CatHow to AdoptInfo & AdviceForms
Adopt a Cat Home Posting Form