Monday, February 25, 2013

Debate: Should you feed stray cats?

Recenty the Petworth listserve has been aflutter with a debate about feeding stray cats: some folks from PetMAC, a local pet adoption center, have been feeding a bunch of them in an alley and asked for help, while others say that's bad.

One commenter said they're a public health issue that can transmit rabies and eat local wildlife, and that animal control should be called. Other folks disagreed, saying they aren't rabies threats, and both cited some statistics.

Others said PetMAC's feeding program is a good one, they trap and neuter the cats and works to find homes for them and only feed the cats once they're neutered. There's the worry that feeding cats might encourage more strays to hang around though.

What do you think? Do you feed strays? It does seem like feeding them to be nice isn't a good plan, it's much better to trap, neuter and find homes for them, like PetMAC is doing.

(And my favorite Catillac Cat was always Wordsworth.)


  1. There's a woman who feeds the two stray cats that live in the alley behind our bank of rowhouses and I can't even tell you how many times I've walked past and seen rats scurrying around the food bowls.

  2. Good point, I didn't even think of that. Thanks.

  3. The washington humane society believes most feral cats (which is what most stray cats usually are) are better off left in their colonies of cats. they have a program called catnipp program. they spay and neuter the kitties, then put them back in their colonies. Yes, i do believe it is fine to feed them. I have adopted a semi feral cat, it is hard to socialize this cat and integrate the cat into a household. The other thing feral cats actually help control the rat population in the area. - shawna

  4. We have stray cats that spend a lot of time on our back porch. Just this winter, we saw them catch at least three mice/rats. We only feed them in extreme weather situations- bad hurricanes or really cold weather. On really hot days, we will put a little bit of water out. It's a pretty good trade-off for us and they are very sweet cats.

  5. Cats that are truly feral can't be adopted, they never adapt to people no matter how much time you spend with them.

    As for rats, some people put out way too much food, which is when you get rats. If you put out just enough for the cats, they get fed, there's nothing left to attract rats, and everyone's happy. Except the rabid cat-haters.

  6. this is to dinosaurpuke im sure you would have rats any way buddy don't blame the poor cats what do you people want to do just let them starve?i will continue to feed my little gray stray and that's real human of you anonymous practically starve them so they can rat for you better sick


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