Feral cats are the offspring of lost or abandoned pets or other feral cats who are not fixed. They don't easily adapt, or may never adapt to living indoors as a pet, but they still need our help.
Beyond leaving food and water out for them, we can help these cats a couple of ways.
We can help manage and reduce the number of feral cats in our neighborhoods by participating in a Trap-Neuter-Release Program. Many vets will let you borrow a trap to bring in a feral cat. Ask your vet for a good samaritan discount for helping out a feral cat. Often, you'll find that a vet will greatly discount the cost of neutering, shots and tests for feral cats.
We can provide a comfortable shelter for the feral cat living in your neighborhood, like Portland Resident, Cheryl Janis did. She became aware that "Miss Kitty", a feral cat, was living in the eaves of her neighbor's shed.
During the very snowy winter of 2008, Cheryl became concerned that the elements would be too harsh for Miss Kitty. Miss Kitty was taken to Mt.Tabor Veterinary Care, given shots and tested. Cheryl managed to get the cat into her guest house. Miss Kitty was kept there for a few months, but she could not adapt to living within the confines of a house. Cheryl searched for someone to adopt Miss Kitty, but there were no takers.
Cheryl, feeling concerned for Miss Kitty's welfare, learned that she could build a small shelter giving Miss Kitty access to warmth and protection from the elements, but also the freedom to come and go as she pleased.
For less than $150, Cheryl built Miss Kitty a deluxe home that many kitties would be envious of and that was quite easy to make! With a committment to use eco-friendly materials, Cheryl found insulation made from recycled jeans and cotton at Ecohaus and bought some basic 2x4s for the shelter.
To help keep the shelter warm, Cheryl stapled up fabric scraps to the wall and found an outdoor heating pad online and princess blankets for a cozy bed.
To finish the house, roof shingles and cedar siding with a fresh coat of orange paint were added.
Providing a small, warm, dry shelter for a feral cat is a low maintenance way to care for a homeless cat in your neighborhood. "I don't have to feel bad," said Cheryl. She can just look outside and see that Miss Kitty, is dry, warm and happy. And by taking her to the vet once a year, she can be sure that Miss Kitty receives necessary shots and tests.
Cheryl is happy to answer any questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For internet resources to build or buy your own outdoor cat shelter, try this link.