If you live in Los Angeles, then you’ve likely seen the many stray or feral cats that roam the streets. Newborn kittens are so adorable and always in high demand, so unfortunately, other (usually older) cats in greater need of care are often left unattended. It’s heartbreaking to see, but there are ways to solve this problem and save many of their lives.
First, let’s understand the difference between stray and feral cats. Strays are cats that were formerly household pets; they somehow detached from their family, leaving them alone in the big city. Feral cats are typically the resulting offspring from cats that were not neutered and spayed. There’s no exact way of distinguishing between stray cats and feral cats just by looking at them, some may be socialized to people, and some are “wild”. Without the regular care and grooming cats get from their human parents, they will look scruffy and might act skittish. Regardless, it’s important to be cautious with the cats you meet on the street.
How Can You Help? Number one, ALWAYS SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR CATS! The procedure actually reduces the risk of some diseases and infections, adding health and quality of life for your pet. Doing so also prevents unwanted litters and ultimately eliminates the amount of feral cats on the street. One simple procedure creates endless solutions!
Secondly, when you come across homeless cats there are plenty of ways to help their situation, such as leaving food to feed them or carefully capturing them using specific methods. Whether feeding or rescuing a cat, the key is to be very patient. Just because you have good intentions does not mean the cat will be comfortable with you right away, you must earn trust.
If you want to provide food for cats, the best way is to use repetitive actions. Feeding strays is very different from feeding your family cat. At the same time each day, find a place to leave dry cat food and water. Do not feed them milk. Nighttime is a popular time to leave food since cats are more likely to be roaming. The first step when placing the food is to give a signal, like shaking a bag of dry food. After a while, cats will relate that sound to the time they get to eat. The best places to leave the food and water are areas small enough where cats can maneuver and where larger animals cannot. Finding the best spot may take several attempts, but if the food hasn’t been eaten after the first attempt, pouring sardine oil over the dry food can help cats discover it. It is important to keep trying. Check the area after a period of time to see if has been eaten; this will confirm your success.
Once you know the local cats have found the food, you can take a step further by gradually being present while they eat. It’s important not to be too aggressive with your presence; stray cats need time to become comfortable around strangers. This may take days or weeks, but once they are comfortable eating around you, you can work towards rescuing them. If you are not comfortable rescuing cats yourself, you can call your local rescue shelter and notify them of the time you feed your cats. This procedure should work best when you go about a normal feeding, and you are close by. Becoming friendly with the cats is imperative. Any attempt in helping strays is eased when the cats trust you as a safe nurturer.
Take action in your neighborhood and in others’. Start befriending the strays near your home using these methods, and educate people in areas outside your own. Share this article! You have nothing to lose, and the cats have everything to gain.