Strays and ferals: To feed or not to feed? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-16-2015, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Strays and ferals: To feed or not to feed?

I'm not sure where else to post this, but I think my situation is getting out-of-hand.
Shortly after I found Belle and chose to keep her after failure to find an owner or rescue to foster I started seeing a stray around. I felt bad for him so I started feeding him like the neighbors did.
Well, he eventually found my back patio which has a glass door with wood trim. Now I have seen him, his "girlfriend" as I refer to her (she's feral, but sometimes shows up on her own), a black cat, two other cats and just this evening what appears to be a kitten just a little smaller than Belle. He/she ran away when they noticed me.
I can see whenever these cats are out there because of the glass, but I don't know if Belle just wants to play or is mad. She'll sometimes just stare out there but other times she lets me know a cat is out there because she's hitting the door. She doesn't hiss or anything, and I feed the stray a different food from hers as she is a kitten.
My patio is becoming cat central, and while I want to continue helping the cat who is a sweetheart I cannot bring him in. Just buying the extra food is putting a strain on my monthly expenses and I know he gets it from other places. I only feed him when I see him and he has a box out on the patio.
I just don't know what more to do, the SPCA is still full and I don't want to get in trouble for all these cats showing up as I rent an apartment.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 01:01 AM
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SnowylOwl, those other kitties may not be strays or ferals - just neighborhood kitties attracted by the food. If they look like they're in relatively good condition (actually, even if they don't look great), the only way you can make sure the situation doesn't get out of control is to stop feeding the stray. I'd feel terrible no longer feeding a stray too (that's how I ended up with Mr. Casper), but since you know he's getting food from other people, you need to be tough. If you don't have vertical blinds or curtains on your sliders, I'd put them up and just keep them closed for a while. That way, you won't need to look out there and feel guilty, and you won't be tempted to feed him.

Otherwise, you're right. There's bound to be a cat-hating neighbor somewhere who will call the pound. Once that's done, their chances of surviving more than a couple of weeks are slim. Most pounds are not no-kill and give cats x number of days to either be claimed or adopted. If they're truly feral, that's a death sentence.

Cntinuing to feed the stray may feel like the right thing to do now, but in the long run, the consequences could be severe for those kitties.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 12:25 PM
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I'm finding myself in a bit of a situation like you Snowy Owl. I have a stray boy that just showed up about a week ago, going through trash cans for food. I fed him, down the street, hoping he would not associate my home with the food, but he has been coming back. But no luck. I will be trapping him, which I think will be easy, he is super friendly, and getting him neutered and shots at a place that is about 45 minutes from my home. They spay and neuter and give shots for $45. I cannot have another cat. I have 4 inside and an outside feral, who is already a TNR, I have been caring for for 5 years, and she is MAD right now about this guy hanging around. I'm hoping after the $45 snip and shots I can find him a good home.

I have been really good about not feeding other cats and encouraging them to hang around, but this guy, I could not help, he was so desperate. I'm sure it was the same way with you. I do agree with Spirite that feeding them just causes a bigger problem sometimes, but look at me, I know that and here I am. My rule is, if I feed them, and they are not sterilized, I have to take care of that, or I will not feed them.

I know how hard this is. It is so hard to not help out a hungry cat, and I can't do it many times. What I will do is feed them away from my house. I don't know if that is the right thing to do, but it's hard to not feed them. I saw a kitty the other day, eating birdseed How desperate does a cat have to be to do that. I tried to find this one, it was little too, but did not, but I did leave some food near the empty lot that the cat was near.

Bless you for taking care of these poor little things. I know how hard it is.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-25-2015, 01:28 AM
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If you can't neuter what comes along it's best not to put food out. Population growth doesn't need help and if you don't control the population you are feeding you will eventually be overwhelmed with cats you also can't vaccinate or treat for parasites, illness, and injury. Eventually in areas where no one else steps in to clean up your mess it leads to something very very bad. I have seen farms where the yard areas are littered with kittens mewing in distress and scrawny adults with a variety of pest infestations. I circled around this cute (from behind), crying kitten to see what was up and why it wasn't responding to find it's whole face was crusted over and it was blindly calling for help that wasn't going to come. You can't unsee it.
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