Chances are you’ve seen plenty of cats wandering around your neighborhood. When it comes down to it, cats are survivors if nothing else, but not all who wander are lost as the saying goes. Many cats live a nice indoor-outdoor life (even if they really shouldn’t – cats do a number on local bird populations for instance). But how can you help these furry friends that spend their days lazing about the front yards? Especially in these dreaded summer months?
There are a few simple things you can do today to help these felines out.
4 Ways to Help Outdoor Cats
Provide a Water Source
This is the number one way to help outdoor animals, especially in Tucson. Water evaporates quickly, especially in our 100+ summer heat, as well as get hot, so make sure any water bowls you leave out are in the shade to reduce that. You can also help reduce evaporation by using a bowl that has a smaller surface area but has depth.
If you want to make sure the outdoor animals are healthy and have a good weight, you can provide any sort of food. Dry food is typically the best option, but whatever you include is likely to get eaten – they’re hungry! If you choose to provide food you have to make sure you keep the food dishes and area clean and safe. If you leave out kibble in a bowl near grass, chances are you’ll soon have a bowl of ants and the cats won’t want to eat it.
Putting out bowls in a couple of different areas can also help decrease competition between different cats if you happen to have a number of them outside.
Another absolute must for outdoor kitties here in the summer. Providing shade creates a cooler spot where cats can relax and escape the heat. Shade can decrease the temperature of an area by up to ten degrees, which might not sound like much but it surely feels better!
Provide Vet Care
Providing vet care is incredibly important for a number of reasons – and it might be a bit more than you think you can offer. We get it! But tending to the stray and feral cats in your neighborhood will have a net positive on everyone. Flea treatment, vaccinations, spaying and neutering can all be a huge benefit for not just that cat but the others and other pets as well. But that is a lot to ask of a person, which is why there are local and non-profit groups that help offset the costs and provide care for outdoor cats.
The Humane Society has an incredibly thorough guide on helping outdoor cats that is worth the read if you want to know more! The important thing to remember is these cats may be many things – they may be stray, they may be feral, they may just be indoor-outdoor cats. There are no guarantees about animals you don’t know. But by providing these things you’re helping them survive.
If you have a stray that needs vet attention, or you want to find out more about trap and neuter programs, give Acoma Animal Clinic a call!