In hot summer months, we often put out water for our wild friends who need a little help, like our garden hedgehogs, friendly birds and sly foxes. Feral cats, however, don’t always get the same level of love, but suffer equally from the extremes of hot summers and freezing winters, struggles to find food, and cosy, safe shelters to settle down in.
Caring for feral cats is a big commitment, and one that will take time and money. However, there are a few fun and simple but vital ways you can help your local feral kitty!
If you are thinking about feeding feral cats, ideally only put food down once a day. This will help ensure that the cats retain their natural drive and ability to hunt and fend for themselves. Or perhaps they will even find a second feeder! Having a second feeder is very important for times when you go away on holiday or are otherwise unable to put food out for the cats. It is also in the best interests of the cats not to become fat through overfeeding!
Place the food in a dry location, in a shaded area and with a bowl of clean water.
As we move into summer and the days grow warmer, the most helpful thing anyone can do is put out bowls of water for cats! Just as our own cats and dogs struggle in the summer sun, so do feral cats, so the best way of helping is by ensuring that feral cats always have access to a clean water source. Providing an area of shade can also help them cool down when things get too heated!
Building a shelter can be a fun task and provides a great warm and safe place for feral cats in the winter, and a shady spot in the summer. If this is maintained year round, feral cats will always have a secret shelter to call their own! There are many ways to build a shelter, but here is a simple guide from us:
For cold winter nights, you can place a heat pack inside the cabin (please make sure these are pet friendly and non-toxic). Make sure to place one under a blanket, as they can be very warm at first. If the shelter is raised above the ground (i.e. resting on some bricks) it will be more insulated against the cold. In summer, place the shelter somewhere shady.
Don’t worry about changing the blankets or straw too often, as this may upset the cat and stop them from returning.
It is helpful to observe colonies and alert us if and when any new cats appear so that we can quickly and promptly trap and neuter them. If you are at all concerned about the health or injury of a cat, please do not hesitate to call us.
To help control the feral cat population of London, our Animal Welfare Officers run a Trap, Neuter, Return programme. If you know of feral cats or feral cat colonies in your area, please call us.Find out more
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