Feral cats (unsocialized domestic cats) caregivers are real troopers who endure, much like our mail delivery people, “neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night…” in order to complete their tasks. During the cold winter months, those caring for feral cats have concerns such as constructing proper shelters and preventing water from freezing. Caring for feral cats in warm weather brings up an entirely new set of concerns:
Food spoilage is a real concern during warm summer months. Alley Cat Allies recommends removing food after 30-minutes minimum or 45 to 60 minutes, maximum to allow those who might be slow to arrive an opportunity to eat. It’s also very important to maintain a clean feeding station.
To keep insects out of food, colony caretakers may:
- Put baking soda around food bowls
- Put a tray or flowerpot tray filled with .5 or 1.5″ of water on a feeding station platform and food bowls in the tray.
- Reduce wet food usage because wet food attracts insects
- Elevate feeding stations with food-grade diatomaceous earth
- Use ant-proof bowls
During warm weather, it’s vitally important to take their hydration needs seriously. Water evaporates quickly in the heat, so offer extra sources of water and frequently clean and refill them. Water evaporates less in shady places.
TNR may be done year-round, especially during the months where cats generally go into heat. However, it isn’t recommended to place traps in hot areas such as on asphalt or in places where shade is at a minimum. Metal traps tend to warm up faster, too. Cats can succumb to heat stroke very fast, so it’s best to check traps often.