We have been doing this for over a decade now and over the years, we have gone through a lot of trial and errors and we hope that the following tips and tricks would be useful to you.
Please note we have installed feeding stations only our ground and if you are feeding a colony on a public area, there are certain things you need to consider. First is to assess the amount of foot traffic is in that area. You would want to pick a secluded spot, preferably camouflaged and away from unwanted attention. The cats’ safety would be your first concern. Fortunately, there are a large number of animal lovers around the world and you can browse YouTube for videos on how to build food stations and even outdoor shelters. The feeding station need to be waterproof and ideally, it could be placed on a pile of at least 2-3 pallets. Before building your feeding station, you may consider designing it with two openings, entrance, and exit. The elevation and knowing they won’t get trapped gives the felines a sense of safety. It should be big enough to have a bowl of food and host at least one cat at a time. It is not necessary to have a bowl of water inside – it would be better if you can place it outside. It is also important to make it weatherproof so it doesn’t go flying off at an event of a storm. One has to think of so many different possible scenarios especially when it’s not on your ground, you are not there to quickly fix it.
It’s good to be observant when visiting the colony. It’s best to start feeding the cats where there aren’t many people around. We would avoid showing or talking about the feeding station to just anybody. It is best to keep the cats’ space private and confidential.
Gravity dry-food dispensers is a good option. Depending on the size of your colony, the common size of these dispensers could last 2-4 days. During summer, make sure the cats have access to fresh water. It’s not much help leaving a bowl of water for days as it gets stale and algae cum can accumulate. While our four-legged friends need to be hydrated during warmer days, it is equally important that they have access to fresh water during winter. This helps them keep their body temperature well balanced.
A lot of people are quite calm with the idea of letting the cats be outdoors all winter. Yes, their fur gets thicker and may serve as their winter coat but we could still make it easier for them to provide warm, properly insulated shelters.
AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL , if you are a feeder, you must be a fixer!
When you feed a cat, we take it you feel responsible for it. And that responsibility, we urge you to embrace. It’s great to feed homeless/feral cats, but letting them roam around unspayed/unneutered is a practice one must let go. The colony of 4-7 cats you are feeding and not fixing would amount to hundreds and hundreds, and add to the millions of unwanted and homeless cats living in distress. We know that there is a financial aspect involved and we also had to find ways to afford the vet bills. We are fortunate and thankful for all the support from institutions like Kattens Værn & Inges Kattehjem. They have been a tremendous help and keep us continue what we do. If there’s a will, there’s a way.
So, real cat lovers , friends, are feeders and fixers.