Should I Feed Stray or Feral (Wild) Cats?
The desire to help a hungry cat is such a compassionate one, and it’s estimated that 10% of the population feed outdoor cats. There are stray cats in almost every neighborhood, although they will tend to concentrate around food sources – a sympathetic person, or a dumpster. While it is a kindness to feed a hungry cat, consider how you will cope with 20 hungry cats – because that’s where you may be heading in the near future, if the cat is female and not spayed – and you should assume that she is not.
Where Do They Come From?
They are stray or abandoned pets and their wild offspring. Cats have an amazing ability to reproduce, and kittens can get pregnant at four or five months of age. If they are well fed, more kittens will survive their infancy, to bear kittens themselves. This can quickly get out of hand, causing friction with the neighbors – with nocturnal fighting, spraying, and sick and dying kittens.
If You Feed Cats Outdoors, Please Get Help!
If your hungry cat is wild (you can’t pat or pick her up) and older than eight weeks, it is unlikely that a shelter can take her – she is not “adoptable.” However, there are increasing numbers of volunteers and rescue organizations who can help trap, spay/neuter and return (TNR) this cat so that she can happily live out her life without producing more homeless cats. She will be healthier and safe from injury.