Cats are very resourceful and feral cats can live happy lives outdoors within their own groups. These groups, called colonies, function as a tight-knit community. Feral cats are born and live outdoors. They prefer to keep to themselves as they are not domesticated house cats that are accustomed to living among humans. They form colonies amongst themselves and usually will not allow any outsiders into their group.
Living outdoors, especially in urban or suburban areas, can be challenging since this would not be a cat’s natural environment. Extreme weather conditions during different seasons can cause additional hardships. Here are some ways we can help our outdoor feline friends:
Spay/Neuter: Many animal shelters and rescue groups have TNR (trap/neuter/release) programs. These groups work with veterinarians who will spay/neuter the ferals to prevent overpopulation. Cats are caught in special traps, spay/neutered, and they released back to their colony. During the surgery their left ear is clipped to show that this has been done.
Provide Food: Food can be very scarce for feral cats, especially during harsh winter months. Keeping filled bowls of dry food readily available will provide these cats with ample nutrition for them to live healthy lives. Since most feral cats don’t like human interaction you may never see them eating the food. But empty bowls will mean full, happy cats. Overtime, you may gain the ferals trust and they may meet you at the bowl at mealtimes.
Provide Water: Fresh water is another basic need that may be difficult to find. Finding water in the winter months could be especially challenging when temperatures fall and stay below freezing for extended periods of time. Using deep water bowls will lengthen the time the water will stay liquid. Putting warm water in the bowl will also prevent quick freezing.
Provide Shelter: Cats will curl up together to keep warm and an enclosed shelter will protect them from the snow, wind, and rain. Shelters can be built out of wood or made by cutting a cat size doorway in a large plastic container. The ideal size would fit approximately 3 cats and be located in a quiet, out-of-the-way location. For extra coziness, line the bottom with straw to keep them extra warm and dry.
This is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. A new letter, and a new post, for every day in April!