Feeding Procedures

 

Although a lot of caring for a colony is just common sense—to avoid any misunderstanding—here are some rules and guidelines to make everyone's life as a caretaker a little easier.
1. Food
The amount of food needed by the cats depends upon the weather, other sources of food, and the size of the individual cats. You can expect an adult feral cat to eat roughly 4 ounces of dry food. Some cats will eat considerably more food, others less. We are only feeding dry cat food. The smell of wet food will attract other animals. Monitor the amount of food the cats leave behind to determine the proper portion. If the food is all gone in 15 minutes, you may want to put out a little more. If there's still food remaining after an hour on a consistent basis, try putting out a little less. Remember to always keep the feeding station neat and clean. This is vital, not only for the health of the cats, but also our community relations with UTA. Keep the food dishes in one space to facilitate clean up and to provide a neater appearance. UTA and the community as well as the cats will appreciate your efforts!

To protect the food from birds and the weather and some other wildlife, we are using large plastic tubs or wooden feeding stations/shelters cut to permit access by the cats.

Location of the feeding stations is also important. They should not be put too close to the cats sleeping spots (shelters), or too near the place where they eliminate. On UTA housing properties locations for the feeding stations and shelters will be approved by Housing staff.

Our supply of cat food is stored at Texas Hall. When you need food, let Kathryn know.
2. Water
Keeping water clean and plentiful can prove to be difficult at times. If you notice that the cats are not using the water you provide, you might want to try moving it a short distance from their food, because cats sometimes prefer this arrangement.
3. Bugs
Cut down on bugs by keeping your feeding areas clean, especially in hot, humid weather. An inexpensive and easy solution involves applying cooking oil to the outside of the food bowl. Bugs and ants will not walk on oil. Another solution includes placing the food bowls on a tray or cookie sheet with a 1" high lip, and filling the tray with a layer of water. The cats can reach over the water to get the food, but crawling bugs cannot cross it. Ten-inch plastic plant pot trays also work well. They are available in a camouflaged shade of green and the lip for the plant pot holds the food bowl to prevent it from sliding. Besides being durable and inexpensive, because they are two inches deep, the trays can hold enough water to be used as a water source for the cats.
4. Housing for the cats
Some colonies have already found shelter for themselves - in a shed or under a building where they are safely permitted to reside. As our program develops we are hoping to build and provide the colonies with additional shelters.
5. Health
You'll want to keep an eye on the cats for general good health. Some common indicators of health problems are: changes in behavior, changes in eating habits, inability to eat, dull eyes or coat, discharge from nose or eyes, or listlessness. If you feel that a feral is ill, get in touch with Kathryn or Stephanie first. We may want to give our vet a call first and describe the symptoms and if necessary we might want to re-trap him and take him to our veterinarian for a check-up.

"Sterilize! Don't euthanize!"
 

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Feeding Station Sign