what to feed stray cats

what to feed stray cats

You may have noticed a stray cat sniffing around you, found a stray cat in your yard or on your doorstep, or even found yourself in a situation where you need to take action to rescue one.

Either way, you’ll be faced with a bit of a dilemma: to feed or not to feed, and then wonder what to feed a stray cat. First, there are a few things to consider before providing food or taking in a stray cat. Stray cats can get upset stomachs, we recommend reading The Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs.

Is this cat really a stray cat?

The first thing to determine is whether the cat is really a stray cat and not just a cat that wanders in an unfamiliar area.

You should look for obvious signs like tags and collars. Also, feral cats tend to look scruffier and less groomed, with scars and bruises on their bodies. Often, they are also not neutered.

However, it’s not always obvious at a glance, and with cats increasingly being microchipped rather than collared, you may not be able to tell if a cat is a stray just by looking at it. After all, cats are natural wanderers and they love to roam.

  • Consider taking your pet to the vet to have it checked for a microchip.
  • Check nearby neighborhoods to make sure they haven’t lost a cat.
  • You can post photos in your area and online to see if anyone shows up.

You should always make sure to handle stray cats with care; you don’t know the kitten and he doesn’t know you.

What to do with stray cats?

So, you’ve established that the cat you’re dealing with is in fact a stray cat and not someone’s lost pet. what are you doing now?

  • You can take your cat to a shelter and the shelter will try to rehom it.
  • You can find a suitable home for your cat.
  • You can bring your own cat if you can.
  • You can leave him alone and let him live his life in the great outdoors.

Whatever you decide to do with a stray dog, you need to be in a position where you can safely handle and bond with it. This can be challenging, especially if the stray dog ​​has a previous owner or has been abused.

Should I feed a stray cat?

While some people are opposed to feeding stray cats, of course you should! Cats are now domesticated animals and stray cats are out fighting to defend themselves.

Generally speaking, most feral cats are hungry, especially in winter, and may not get a lot of good food. In fact, many stray cats depend on garbage cans and the occasional mouse or bird for food; this is not nutritious and is not healthy.

It’s not the cat’s fault that stray cats are homeless, many are born outdoors to other stray cats; It’s kind of cruel to starve such an intelligent and nice animal.

Many people are reluctant to feed strays because they fear the strays will come back for more. And? Cat food is relatively cheap, especially dry food, and you can even feed her relatively cheap from what you have in your cupboards and refrigerator, as we’ll discuss below.

What about feral cats?

There is a big difference between stray cats and feral cats. While a stray cat may have a hard time surviving outside, a feral cat is happy outside and can take care of itself as long as it appears healthy. So how do you distinguish feral cats from feral cats?

  • If the cat is not friendly and approachable, or aggressive, it may be feral.
  • Due to the nature of living outdoors, feral cats tend to appear scruffier and more tired. Cat fights happen a lot and they tend to be battle scarred. However, feral cats usually have clean, well-groomed fur.
  • They usually don’t meow, beg, purr, or make eye contact.
  • It is more likely nocturnal, but is occasionally found during the day.
  • If you feed feral cats, they are less likely to return because they are independent, and if you catch and try, they will never adjust to living indoors.

You can certainly feed a feral cat, and it may happily accept your offerings, but you may never see it again. Most importantly, feral cats are adapted to living outdoors and can survive on their backs.

what to feed stray cats

If you decide to feed a stray cat, you may be wondering what exactly to feed it. Some people are against feeding feral cats because it encourages them to return to where they were fed, which could bring in more feral cats.

However, unless the feral cats are causing a specific problem, there is no problem feeding them. The question is what to feed feral cats, not if you should feed them.

Cats that live alone without humans will always rely on their predatory instincts to catch prey and survive. Therefore, they will eat fish, insects, mice, birds, rabbits, and any other small animals all the time. So what exactly should you feed your local mutt?

It’s not a bad idea to feed a stray cat regular canned food. If you think about it, stop cats from killing too many local wild animals.

It’s not always that simple though, and your local feral cats may reject canned or processed cat food. So what should you do in this situation? What foods are suitable for feeding stray dogs?

let’s start with what No feed a stray cat


ofAlthough cats drink milk, they lack the enzymes needed to break it down, so it’s best to avoid it. The water will do. Feeding cats milk can cause indigestion and do more harm than good.

fruits and vegetables

ofCats are carnivores, that’s a fact. While hungry cats will eat almost anything, foods like tomatoes and carrots can cause digestive problems for them, as can milk. Although fruits and vegetables can be mixed with other foods, eating them alone is not a viable solution. Also, some fruits and vegetables are poisonous to cats, so it’s best to avoid them.

dog food

ofDog food is next to cat food, right? Incorrect! Pet food is formulated for the animal it was designed for, and there are many biological and physiological differences between cats and dogs…so put dog food back where it belongs.


Also, cats are carnivores. Protein is an amazing food source for them. When you’re thinking about what to feed your feral cat, think about protein. Cooked boneless chicken, lamb and beef are a good idea. Although cats generally eat raw meat, it is best to cook it, as this will prevent bacterial problems. Consider mixing protein with rice for additional benefits.


ofTuna is an ingredient in many commercial cat foods and is an important fish food source for felines. Its pungent odor will encourage stray cats to eat it or come to you. However, be careful and try to get pure tuna; many tuna canned for humans will be very salty, which is not good for cats.

Cats need taurine, an amino acid they depend on for heart function, and they need to get this taurine from their meat diet; cats cannot produce their own taurine like other mammals. Because they are obligate carnivores (meaning they must eat meat), cats need twice as much protein as dogs, which are not obligate carnivores and don’t always need meat in their diet. Therefore, the bottom line for feeding cats is: vegetarian meat, cooked meat, eat more.

If you are going to commit to feeding a stray cat, be prepared to do it frequently. If he’s a true mutt, he’ll definitely come back once you start feeding him. So how often should you feed your stray dog?

  • Cats should be fed at least twice a day, eight to twelve hours apart.
  • Provide plenty of fresh, clean water and keep it available at all times.
  • Perhaps invest in some nutritious commercial cat food over time to provide her with a balanced diet.

catch a stray cat

There are several reasons why you might decide to try to catch a stray cat. He may not respond well to you and refuse to be petted or held, even when you are feeding him.

Or maybe you’ve been feeding him for a while and want to give him a home, but he still doesn’t trust you enough to let you pick him up.

Whatever the reason, you need to be very careful and set a humane trap that doesn’t hurt him. Also, you need to be absolutely sure that the kitten is really a stray cat and not someone’s lost pet or a feral cat.

  • A standard humane trap is a wire cage with a door that closes behind the cat once it has entered. To attract the cat, put some food in the cage.
  • Place the trap in a familiar place, such as where you normally feed it, to make it easier for the cat to find.
  • If you have been feeding your cat for a long time, it is best not to do it the day before you plan to catch it, this will ensure that the cat eats the food you leave in the cage immediately.

Be sure to check the trap frequently so the cat doesn’t get stuck in there longer than necessary.

What to do when you catch a stray cat

If you plan to take in a stray cat and are ready to provide it with a loving and caring home, then this is not a problem, just bring it home.

However, for others who cannot take care of strays, you may not know what to do next. It all depends on the state of the cat. If it’s an adult cat, you can take it directly to a shelter or animal welfare society that doesn’t euthanize stray cats.

If the cat is injured, please take it directly to the vet, the injured cat will not be able to take care of itself or feed itself. Don’t release the injured cat again!

You should do everything possible to find a suitable home for your cat before taking it to a shelter, as shelters are not good places for cats.

Try walking around the neighborhood to see if anyone has considered buying or adopting a cat. Post your ad online and see if anyone is willing to take it. Social media is a great tool and there are many groups dedicated to animal welfare on sites like Facebook. Someone in these groups can point you in the right direction.

Remember that all the data presented here is just a compilation of information from the internet, be careful when using it. Always consult an expert before making a decision about the health of your pets.

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