Do you have a stray Tom coming into your backyard every now and then? If the wandering kitty isn’t afraid of you, then it’s probably a stray cat; a cat who once had contact with humans and may now be lost or abandoned. Otherwise, the kitty coming to your yard may otherwise be someone else’s cat who is often let outdoors, or it is quite possible s/he may be a feral cat.
Don’t know whether the wandering cat is a stray or feral cat? As mentioned above, strays are usually lost or abandoned cats who are used to human contact (in most cases). Feral cats on the other hand, are cats who were born “wild” and basically grew up fending for themselves out in nature, with little to no contact with human love.
Regardless if the visiting cat is a stray or a feral cat, there are some things you can do to help him/her live a healthier, happier life. For starters, let’s discuss what’s the best cat food for strays (or any visiting cat).
What to do
Type of food to give stray/feral cats
If you do not have a cat and therefore have no cat food in the house, do not abandon ship. You can quickly whip up some plain cooked chicken and rice as this is actually a great meal for your little friend.
However, if you do have cats, then luckily you’ll already have some food to offer the hungry stray. A good quality food, either dry or wet (canned) will do just fine. Just make sure to pay attention to the number one ingredient. Avoid meat by-products as the first ingredient, and grains like corn meal that are listed as the top 1-3 ingredients. Offering stray or feral cats a healthy, balanced meal is just as important as feeding your own beloved house cat a healthy, nutritious diet.
Giving the best cat food to strays (on a budget)
It’s highly probable that most people are unlikely to buy expensive, high-quality cat food just to feed the stray(s) that show up now and then at their house. We understand what it’s like to be constantly on a budget, so spending extra cash that you don’t have on a wandering kitty is just not on people’s priority list. We get it. So here is why we’ve suggested two of the best dry and wet cat food options that offer stray and/or feral cats a healthy balanced and nutritious meal without breaking the bank.
(Click images to see pricing detail and customer reviews on Amazon).
What not to do
Many people make the mistake of thinking that stray cats (because they are living off nature mainly) can or will eat anything given to them. Please note that this is incorrect and could actually pose a bigger health risk to the stray if you were to offer him/her human foods that cats cannot eat. For more info, check out our article on human foods that cats can eat. The food you give does have a large impact on the cat’s health, so please keep in mind that “just because” they are stray and/or feral, their stomachs are not accustomed to eating everything and anything.
Do not give up on the stray. The stray or feral cat may depend on the nutrition that you provide. Many strays are not used to hunting and catching their own food like perhaps their feral cousins are, so therefore you can expect a stray to stick around and keep returning to be fed.
Extra tips for feeding stray or feral cats
Cleanliness is key: It’s important to not just throw out food to the stray cat assuming they will know where to find the scattered bits. Rather, you should provide clean bowls for both food and water. Any bowl will do fine, but the number one rule is to clean it daily, or even several times a day. Place the bowls somewhere where adverse weather conditions cannot reach. Always provide fresh, clean water as the bowls get slimy and sitting water can gather mosquito eggs and other unwanted bacteria or critters.
Also do not “top up” fresh food onto food that has already been sitting (dry or wet). If you notice the cat is not eating all of the proportions you provide then consider providing a little less.
Love & be loved: A stray / feral cat is just like your cat but one that is not receiving any human love. But you can change that!! Cats only meow at humans, so next time don’t ignore that pitiful cry – they are indeed talking to you! They may be a little wary or scared by your touch at first, but after you build their trust they will loving come to you.
If the cat is adoptable, consider speaking to the local animal shelter, getting him/her spayed or neutered, and finding kitty their forever home! (Maybe your home???) 🙂
Otherwise, if you’re feeding a scared feral cat (who is not used to human contact) it will be harder to find this cat a permanent home. It is most likely however, that feral cats will even be very uncomfortable living in a shelter as they are just very unaccustomed to human contact. For answers to frequently asked questions regarding strays and/or feral cats, visit the US humane society’s website.
Final thoughts: Best cat food for strays
Remember, strays can be helped more than by the food that you give them. Most strays are adoptable cats who are yearning to be loved again! When possible, do more than just feed a stray. Offer him a warm bed to sleep in, too!
Folks, you have the power to make a change in the lives of our furry friends. Help spread the word (and love) that strays and ferals are just like the cats you spoil within your home except they lost out on the lucky card somewhere along the way. Give animals a second chance!
Most importantly, let’s spread awareness of the great importance of spaying/neutering cats, whether it’s your indoor pet, the traveling tom, or a feral. There are many ways you can help!
Thanks for your support with Fluffy Kitty!
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Brittany, Paul, and Yoda =(^^)=