Why should people stop feeding feral cats?

A person asked, “Why should people stop feeding feral cats?” The question presupposes that people should stop feeding feral cats when this is incorrect. The standard, humane decision must be to feed feral cats provided (a) they are feed at certain times only to minimise attracting wildlife and (b) they are trapped, vaccinated, neutered and returned (TNRed) at the same time.

Feral cat feeding stations

Feral cat feeding stations

Cat lovers have to take into account the feelings and desires of other people who are not fond of cats and who want to protect wildlife from cat predation.

The best way to strike a balance between people with different objectives and between treating feral cats humanely while protecting wildlife is to do as I state above.

A lot of people will say, with passion, that people must not feed feral cats. There have been some very high profile cases on this very topic over the years. On one occasion it caused a local council to change their policy regarding feral cats.

It attracts unwanted wildlife

The big issue for many is that feeding feral cats attracts unwanted wildlife because they feed too. They say that this causes a human health issue (spread of disease). It is a reasonable but exaggerated argument. The best compromise is to feed at certain times and to take up the food afterwards. This is a controlled way of doing things which should appease bird lovers.

However, bird lovers in general hate feral cats and TNR because it leaves the cats in place to kill birds. They want instant retribution and cessation of bird killing. However killing feral cats fails (vacuum effect) and is inhumane. The counter argument has been well rehearsed: humans created feral cats therefore morally we have a duty to treat them decently.

Can’t ignore feral cats as it is our problem

To return to the question: Why should people stop feeding feral cats? The answer is because it upsets a lot of people who think it causes human health issues. But you can’t not feed feral cats if they are dying of starvation because decency prevents us behaving like that. Therefore we compromise as stated.

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Why should people stop feeding feral cats? — 9 Comments

  1. Feral cats were often a sticking point when I was associated with a local no kill animal shelter. They were trapped, brought in for vet work, desexed, microchipped and sent to various foster homes in the hopes that they could be tamed and then adopted out to suitable families. Some of these cats came in with very little hope or chance of rehabilitation. They were terrified, had lived their whole lives with very little contact with humans and no amount of patience, kindness and rehabilitation was going to make them either able to be handled or adoptable elsewhere. There was argument among many of the senior members on both sides, those that strongly opposed to euthanising any animals, and those that stated it was cruel to keep them alive living in a state of terror, a drain on all ready limited financial resources and counterproductive overall to the purpose of the organisation.
    It’s a very tough call.

  2. i agree. WE created the problem so WE should b working to FIX IT w/o harming the INNOCENT cats/kitties n the process.
    i find it funny(n a not-so-funny kind of way)that bird lovers r so quick to claim ferals kill birds for sport or when they dont have to yet THEY NEVER really take n(let alone admit) the fact that birds eat too. twice their weight n food EVERY DAY as a matter of fact(many at least). so i wonder then, what about the bugs n whatnot that THEY eat? whos THEIR advocate(since they say THEY speak for the pretty birds)n y dones no one seem to care about THEM n take up THEIR cause? seriously tho(not that i wasnt serious about the plight of the ladybug regardless of how flippant i seemed)i have yet to here the bug lovers complaining. y? cuz they get that silly Circle-of-Life thingy where we r ALL a part of n that everything is something elses prey n that there is really not much that we can do about that cuz THAT is the way its SUPPOSED TO B! i know, that whole ecosystem is a HUGE pain, right? the reality is if we ALL tried to TNR as often as we can said problem WOULD diminish cuz over time thered b less ferals as thered b no new generations to follow after it. sure itll take time, but it took time for things to get the way that they r, right? they forget that things take time n MOST of the time the quickest answer/solution is usually the most callous, violent, n short-sighted. it is also the one that tends to cause the most problems cuz its the one everyone rushed into w/o counting the cost of their actions or the impact it will have on others(people, wildlife, n even their precious birds). i just wish they would TRY to b a little open-minded n use some out-of-the-box thinking n order to find solutions that will “satisfy” more than just them. sorry, i could go on n on about THIS subject cuz i hear it nearly every day from neighbors that wont cover the inlets into their raised foundations(like weve suggested)n then find momma cats having their babies there n finding out that their place is the go to place for birthing yet they will complain about how there r soooo many cats n how the birds r sooo at risk. OY! THEY could catch them EZ yet they wont, but we try to catch them with, limited success, n WE r the “bad guys” cuz we r idk, helping the cats exist or something when they should just b euthanized. i tell them the same thing i wrote here n essentially their answer is “well but thats hard”. my response is typically that they need to go back to Shutthell Upsville n let us try to handle the situation as best as we can. then we tell them to keep their dog n their back yard n not n our yard or all over the neighborhood, but THATS ok cuz dogs r SUPPOSED to roam. yeah, c what m dealing with?
    as far as m concerned, TNR is the ONLY way to go. if it is unadoptable do the right thing: get it neutered/fixed n get it some shots to protect it n all the others from getting sick n making more sad n scared ferals out there. we caught a couple of feral kitties n have working with them n now we think they r ready to go to an adoption type shelter.i appreciate all the work everyone else does to help out the kitties n cats out there. keep holding the line! we r right next to u!!!

  3. Just ignore those heartless fools, feed those feral darlings, trap, neuter, return, manage like you life depended on it!

    Do it, never stop doing it!

    I keep a little kit in my car, food, trap, blankets, water, bowls, transfer cage & carrier. I usually have a bag of kibble about my person too.

  4. BTW true ferals don’t come to you begging for food. That’s reserved for house pets that have been tossed out of THEIR homes by lousy humans that should be tossed out of theirs.

  5. I carry a can of cat food in my purse now where ever I go. If anyone says a peep I challenge them to sleep in the cold with an empty belly and the misery that comes with it. Animal abandonment is a crime. Call for the prosecution of anyone you know that has dumped a cat.

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