Article: Feral Cats - Community Caretakers care for feral and abandoned cats
Contributor: Coady's Cats

Feral cats
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Care of Feral Felines - Our Plan

1. Day to day

Emergency care as required, year round feeding, a secure shelter and protection from predators and the elements.

2. Longer Term

Trap, Neuter and Return to their natural surroundings.

According to the Ottawa Humane Society, feral cats live an average of 5 years. They generally die of disease, malnutrition, lack of shelter or predators.

Ours seem to coexist well with the other wildlife that partake of our offerings. These include raccoons, skunks and porcupines, who have all been temporary residents in our feral cat shelters. In our observations (next to the cats), porcupines are the most housekeeping aware. They consistently move their poop outside the house shelters in the shed!

Feeding
This is crucial, especially in winter when temperatures dip and heavy snow cover limit the cats' ability to travel seeking food. We feed our feral cats a high quality, high energy dry cat food all year long. We supplement this with high energy, high fat, high protein food sources. In addition we make sure that they have a source of clean clean water. Throughout the winter, we maintain a heated watering source and a sunning area for the cats, both of which are popular during those cold but sunning days in January. We also snow blow about .5 kilometers of paths on our property so that the cats can visit some of their favourite spots, some of which unfortunately include our bird feeders.

Shelter
After a lot of trial and error, we have adopted the philosophy of a shelter within a shelter. In other words, we have a windproof, watertight outer enclosure wherein we have placed 6 individual boxes, which are usually shared by 2, 3 or more feral cats, depending on their age.

Emergency Veterinary Care
Some common conditions that require veterinary care are diseases like anemia, parasites, and injuries.

Spay/Neuter Program
As a responsible Community Caretaker of feral cats, we try to control the population in our colony by humane trapping, then spaying or neutering by veterinarians. The cats are then released back into the area of their original capture.

Adoption
We have adopted one of the colony as a kitten. After veterinary care and quite a bit of T.L.C., we have integrated him into our home with our domestic cats.