Many conflicts arise from issues between colony caretakers and people living in the same area as a feral cat colony. Many times these issues result in the cats becoming the bad guys and being harmed or threatened. With a few simple colony etiquette guidelines in place, you as a colony caretaker can ensure good community relations for your cats.
Find the perfect spot to set up your feeding area. Be discreet. Don't trespass and don't cause unwanted attention to the cats.
- Never stage your feeding area out in the open for everyone to see, such as on a sidewalk, on steps/ramps leading into a building, or on private property where there is no permission to feed.
- If you are planning to feed at the parking lot of a building or store, get written permission from the property management or property owner to feed the colony. H.E.B., Wal-Mart, shopping strip centers and apartment complexes are very problematic areas within which to set up your feeding area. Feeding cats at these locations causes them needless exposure to cars, possible contact with too many people and can trigger trespassing issues for you.
- If you are feeding a colony at your own home, feed in your backyard, as opposed to your front yard. You can be sure there will usually be a neighbor or two who will complain to Animal Care Services about all of the cats being fed very publicly on the sidewalk in front of your house.
The key message is to be discreet about feeding cats as not everyone is fond of cats. The old adage of "out of sight, out of mind" is very appropriate when feeding your colony. Remember, people will not complain about something they don't see and cruel people will not poison or shoot with pellet guns that which they don't see. By simply following these guidelines, you are helping to protect your cats.
Tune in for more tips in our upcoming newsletters.