Home Cats How To Provide Outdoor Safety And Shelter For Feral Cats

How To Provide Outdoor Safety And Shelter For Feral Cats

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It’s an unfortunate fact that there is a cat overpopulation problem. It’s estimated that there are 60-100 million feral cats throughout the U.S. alone. There simply aren’t enough homes to bring all these felines indoors. Spaying and neutering programs are an important tool, but they don’t really address the issue of millions of homeless cats.

As someone who wants to help, you may find this frustrating. However, it’s important to understand you aren’t entirely powerless in this situation. You may not be able to bring any feral cats into your home, but you can open up a portion of your yard to them. With some planning and creativity, you can help keep some members of the local feral community safe.

We’re going to explore a few ways you can provide outdoor safety and shelter to feral cats.

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Create Protection From the Elements

Most people start caring for feral cats by simply leaving food out for them. However, if you’re committed to providing them with a place of safety, it’s worth going a little bit further. One of the challenges feral cats face in neighborhoods is finding a safe place to get out from the elements. The last thing you want is for them to resort to retreating to dangerous areas like car engines or house crawl spaces. Making them a small shelter can be a good approach to this.

Be cognizant of the weather conditions in your location when designing the most appropriate shelter. It can be wise to create a temporary structure for each season. In hot weather, overheating can cause animals to suffer the effects of heat stroke, dehydration, and sunburn. It’s important to ensure they have enough water and protection from the sun to keep your furry friends cool. The shelter you provide here can be in the form of simple elements of shade. Construct a small canopy or place an open box out of the sunshine. Leaving frozen treats in these areas can also help the cats to regulate their temperature accordingly.

In cold weather, it may be wise to create an outdoor shelter for local cats. This doesn’t take a great deal of engineering know-how to achieve. Rather, a plastic tub insulated with styrofoam and straw can make a cozy space for feral cats to shelter on cold nights. It’s important to be aware of how many feral cats are present in your area as they may be less willing to share with one another.

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Consider the Surroundings

Your backyard can be a safe haven for feral cats. However, one of the mistakes inexperienced people can make is assuming the contents of the space are necessarily appropriate for cats. You certainly shouldn’t feel obligated to overhaul your yard at the expense of your enjoyment of it. However, if you want it to be a positive space for cats, it’s important to consider what aspects of the surroundings may be problematic.

Attracting local wildlife to your backyard often benefits from installing flora that is nourishing and beautiful. However, it’s important to first make sure that none of these plants are toxic to cats. You should also invest in pet-friendly fertilizer for your flower beds and vegetable patches. While erecting bird feeders might invite more animals to make your yard a habitat, this may provoke feral cats into overhunting behavior.

You should also take the time to regularly assess your yard area for any hazards. If you have fencing that is broken or has sharp edges, repair this. Look out for any heavy or breakable lawn ornaments that could injure cats if these are knocked over or destroyed.

Commit to Cleanliness

People often incorrectly assume that because cats are feral, this means they are dirty. This usually isn’t the case. Some of these cats might appear slightly disheveled, but they also tend to be fastidious about their hygiene. It’s important to ensure your yard is a place supportive of the well-being that cleanliness brings.

Firstly, make sure you regularly wash or replace any bedding you place in your shelters. This isn’t just because it makes for a more comfortable and pleasant space for feral cats. It also minimizes the potential for infection or irritants. If a cat has been in a fight or had an accident and chooses to retreat to your yard, the last thing you want is for the shelter to exacerbate the injury. Indeed, if possible, you should be vigilant of any such signs of injury in cats should you need to have a vet or feral cat welfare service intervene.

Your cleanliness should also extend to making sure your yard is clear of clutter. In some circumstances, it might be convenient to put large unwanted items in the area until you can take them to the local landfill or recycling plant. However, if these accumulate over time, they can become hazards for feral cats. For example, autumn decorations, toxic plants, and unswept leaves can harm a cat. Committing to keeping responsible waste disposal procedures keeps both local animals safe and your yard looking great.

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Conclusion

The feral cat overpopulation issue is not something you can tackle on your own. However, you can make a difference to a handful of local felines by providing safety and shelter in your yard. Construct seasonally-appropriate shelters to protect them from the elements. Make sure your yard has limited hazards and keep your outdoor areas clean. Alongside supporting local spay and neuter programs, your efforts here can provide the feral population with the care they need.

About the Author

Ainsley Lawrence is a writer who loves to talk about how business and professionalism intersect with the personal, social, and technological needs of today. She is frequently lost in a good book.

 

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