We love our felines to the moon and back. As such, we often forget that there are some people out there (if you can believe it) who do not love cats as much as we do. There are cats in the world without homes as awesome as the ones we provide for our treasured fur babies. Chances are, you know of some such cats near where you live.
Stray cats are everywhere. Whether these guys have been abandoned by families who moved away, dumped on the side of the road and left to die as kittens, or they’re just runaways whose hoomans miss them but can’t find them, these guys need as much love and care as our own domesticated angels.
However, how do we take care of these precious babies? How can we offer love to the stray felines that shy away from hoomans? What can we do to ensure that they eat (as often as they’ll approach us, anyway)? Read on! We have a few ideas!
Donate to Local Shelters and Animal Rescue Causes
We decided to get the more expensive (and obvious) option out of the way first. Many animal rescue and humane society shelters accept (and even ask for) donations, because they are nonprofit organizations. As such, they rely on money and goods donated by people in and around the area. Some accept these types of donations year-round; others have fundraisers during certain times of the year or in times of crisis for the shelter. Either way, you can call a nearby shelter (or Google it; chances are good that they have a website with this kind of information listed on it) and talk to someone about making donations.
If you’re like most of us, you may have a tight budget as it is. We understand, and so do most shelters! These places often accept goods (we mentioned this above) such as pet food, toys, leashes, etc. You can get many of these items for little to nothing at online pet supply stores, so check it out and give what you can!
One of the best things you can do to make an impact on the stray cat epidemic is to adopt a feline of your very own! Many of us already have, which is why we adore them so much! However, for those who haven’t (or, for those who have one or two, but have much more love to give), shelters are also always looking to adopt out their precious cat population.
Of course, this can become a bit pricey, as well, because these babies get their shots, tested for certain feline diseases and infections, dewormed, etc. However, it’s well worth the cost, if you can afford it, to give a sweet kitty a good, loving home, especially if your shelter is a kill-shelter (shelters that put down animals after a certain period of time).
If, however, the upfront costs of adopting a cat from a local shelter is too much, and you (again, like many of us) need time to save up for the vaccinations and vet checkups, look around your neighborhood. There are likely many strays running around that would give anything for a safe place to sleep and a nice bowl of food (not to mention all the love you have to offer them)!
Note: we DO NOT recommend attempting to catch feral, pregnant, or malnourished felines, especially if you already have fur babies at home. Feral and starved/emaciated cats will attack even the kindest of hands with the yummiest food, just because they don’t know any other way. Pregnant stray cats are apt to be wild, as well, and very nervous, especially as the pregnancy advances. We’ll touch more on how you can safely help these poor babies if you see them, but PLEASE do NOT chase or corral one!
DO NOT Call Animal Control (IF it Can Be Avoided)!
If you see strays roaming the neighborhood or near you home, PLEASE try to avoid calling animal control! The reason is simple: you have no way of knowing whether the cat will go to a no-kill shelter, or straight to a place that will put them down (treating them as a danger/menace to society). For all you know, the cat could be one hundred percent friendly (if maybe a little scared and disoriented) and just looking for its next meal.
IF, however, you see that the cat is violent, shows symptoms of rabies, or seems to be in discomfort or pain, go ahead and call your local animal control department, rather than attempting to take in the animal yourself. These cats may not only be dangerous to you, but to themselves, as well. Also, if they suffer from injuries or diseases that cannot be fixed, they may be suffering terribly. Use your judgment but do so with great care!
When Adoption/Rescue isn’t Practical
Many of us would love to take in a(nother) feline companion. However, sometimes because of where we live (rules, laws, etc.), our income, space issues, allergies, or time constraints, it just isn’t feasible. So, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do from your home for those neighborhood stray cats:
- Set out small bowls of food. At least then you know they get at least one good meal a day!
- Leave out plenty of water. This is especially important in the summertime; even stray cats get too hot and dehydrate!
- Don’t be stingy with the catnip. Again, even outdoor strays love things like catnip, and they deserve a treat, just like a tamed indoor baby does!
- Place a few toys NEAR food/water dishes. This will help these cats get your scent and associate you with pleasant feelings. This is especially helpful if you plan to TRY to bring the stray into your home eventually (of course, so will the food and water offerings)!
Tell Us YOUR Stories!
Do you have a success story with helping a stray cat? Please let us know!