What Happens If I Stop Feeding Stray Cats?

What Happens If I Stop Feeding Stray Cats?

You will likely encounter stray cats now and then. You may see them in your neighborhood,  on the streets, or in a nearby park.  You may get to befriend a stray cat after a few encounters and she starts to rub against your legs.  Feeding stray cats is a humane gesture but it is not encouraged especially because it may lead to overpopulation, the cats may carry diseases and they may get aggressive. 

What happens if I stop feeding stray cats?

So, what happens if you stop feeding stray cats? Will these cats starve? The answer is usually no. Stray cats will not usually starve if you stop feeding them. Cats are natural hunters and even domesticated cats have the instinct to hunt for prey as cats normally would in the wild. 

One move that you can do to help stray cats even if you decided to stop feeding them is to inform local animal rescue groups like ASPCA.

What is a stray cat?

A stray cat is seen outdoors such as in a park or along a street and does not have an owner. It has been socialized to people at a certain point but she may have gotten abandoned, got lost, or may have wandered off. A stray cat may eventually become a feral cat if she does not have human contact. She may have been a pet before and may still become one if reintroduced properly. 

 These are the common characteristics of a stray cat:

  • a stray cat is usually wandering alone 
  • she may approach people, cars, or houses 
  • walks and moves like a house cat 
  • may make eye contact with you 
  • tends to be vocal and tends to meow and responds to your voice 
  • is active during the day just as it is with domesticated cats 
  • she could look dirty and disheveled because she has no owner to groom her 
  • she may have a tipped ear which means she was spayed or neutered 

Should you feed a stray cat?

It is hard to resist feeding a stray cat especially if you have started to befriend her and she has gotten used to your presence. However, this may pose some problems and concerns because some areas and cities have laws against feeding stray cats. 

Also, your neighbors may not think of it highly if they notice stray cats lounging near your home. The best thing to do is to keep the stray cats you’re feeding in your own yard and to provide outdoor litter boxes as well.  You may also suggest to neighbors to place fragrances and smells that cats hate to keep them away such as lemon peels, a dish filled with vinegar, or coffee grounds.

Make sure not to leave uneaten food outside and you may also inform your neighbors that you will have the cats fixed to avoid the proliferation of kittens in your area. Local animal rescue groups in your area have trap, neuter, and release (TNR) programs to ensure that the stray cats 

Many cat experts outright discourage the feeding of stray cats because they may pose health concerns. Since these stray cats live outdoors they are prone to fleas and may be carriers of diseases.

Here are some steps that you may want to do when you encounter stray cats:

  • do not feed them 
  • just passively acknowledge their presence 
  • be gentle with your actions if a stray cat comes up to you
  • just let them be but do not make conscious efforts to pet or feed them

Final thoughts

While it is a humane thing to do to feed stray cats, it is generally discouraged to feed them. This is because stray cats need health care and should be checked and treated by a vet to ensure they are not carriers of diseases. The best thing that you can do for stray cats is to let your local animal rescue groups become aware of them so they may be included in a TNR program for felines.   

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