Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Setting up Feeding Station for Feral Cats

Setting up a feeding station for feral cats is a big responsibility as the cats that you feed will become dependent upon you. 

This community service is not for everyone, before you take on the responsibility of being a feral cat colony caregiver, determine the hours that you have to volunteer your services.  

Contact cat networks in your area to see if there are volunteers that will help you with the cat colony.  It is not wise to take on a large colony without helpers.   For a colony up to 10 cats you will need a minimum of 3 volunteers.  For 20 cats six volunteers.  

Get organized as you will need to be ready to care for cats.  It is best to have everything that you need before you are assigned to a feral cat colony. 

Many cat caretakers will document their cat’s history by getting a journal.  Take the cats photograph and give them a name to identify them.  Write a description and date all notes about the cat.  Log in the journal daily with the time that you fed the cat and note the cats eating habits.

You will also need food and water bowls as well as a multipurpose food that is formulated for all ages.  

Choose a safe feeding station; an area that is away from human and car traffic.  You will need to protect the food from rain, snow and wind.  I bought a plastic storage container and turned it on it's side and set it close to a wind block; privacy fence, back of the house or if in the woods by a large rock or tree trunk. 

To secure the plastic feeding station I held it in place with bungee cords.  When the weather is good you can set out a freestanding feeding station.

Feed the cats twice a day, a bowl food and fresh water in the morning and at night. Hungry cats will arrive early and will sit close to the feeding station. 

Do not miss a feeding; if you cannot feed the feral cats at the specific time; ask a one of colony helpers to put out the food and water. 

For large colony’s you will want to put out a few bowls of food and water.  Otherwise for 1 to 6 cats you can put out a bowl of food and water and the cats will wait their turn.   

Feral cats get along however if they are hungry and no food is available they will become agitated and that is when fights occur.  It is best to provide the cats with a regular feeding schedule.  If you miss a feeding the cat will go to look for food in trash canes and dumpsters. 

Continue to feed the cats daily. By doing this, the cats are growing dependent upon you. After two weeks, the cats will be more comfortable and will wait for your arrival and walk or run toward you when you approach them with the food and water.

Watch over the cats while they eat and take away the bowls when they have finished.  Leaving bowls with food will attract predators; dog, fox, coyote.  I provide the cats with fresh water all day long. 

Never attempt to pet the cat. The cat has never been touched by a human and your touch will terrify them.  The cat will attempt to protect themselves by scratching and biting.  A bite will need to be reported and that cat will be trapped by animal control and put down.  It is best to watch and care for the feral cat only.

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