Helping Homeless Cats

By PetMD Editorial on Aug. 17, 2012
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1. Visit the Homeless Cats

Spending time every week with homeless cats is a great way to help them build trust. However, it’s important to respect their limits. Some cats may eventually allow you to pet or play with them while others will never let you get much closer than a couple of feet away. Either way, your presence is benefitting the cats.

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2. Donate to Your Local Shelter

Whether it’s basic health exams, rabies vaccinations, or spay/neuter surgeries, local shelters and animal welfare organizations provide a multitude of resources to homeless cats. Help them out by donating money or supplies such as food, blankets, or toys.

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3. Volunteer at Your Local Shelter

Providing your time is another great way to support the shelters and animal welfare organizations that help homeless cats. Stop by to play with the cats, clean a few litter boxes, or assist in organizing a fundraising event for the shelter — every little bit counts.

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4. Consider Fostering a Homeless Cat

Most animal shelters are filled to capacity and can use volunteers who are willing to open their homes and maintain the cats until they can find a permanent residence. Young homeless kittens and abused cats benefit the most from the close interaction and constant care.

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5. Provide Outdoor Shelter

Cats don’t need a lot of space, just a space that is large enough for them to stand and move about and stay safe from the harshest outdoor elements. Homemade shelters can be crafted out of nearly anything: from a cardboard box (think of the heavy cardboard used for packing television sets) to an anchored plastic garbage can. Consult the local cat shelter to learn what would work best in your area.

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6. Provide Food and Water

According to the Humane Society, bans against feeding feral cats do not make the cats go away. In fact, quite the opposite occurs. They tend to move closer into human neighborhoods as they grow more hungry and desperate. Practice compassion and set up a feeding and water station for homeless cats.

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7. Book a Vet Appointment

Homeless cats often suffer from a variety of diseases some of which can quickly spread among other cats and even to humans. If possible, bring your neighborhood feral cat to a veterinarian for a health check-up and to spay or neuter the cat if it has not already undergone the procedure.

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8. Promote Spaying and Neutering

Want to help put a stop to the needless euthanization of millions of adoptable cats that are "put to sleep" in shelters every year? Coordinate with the local animal shelters or animal control agencies to develop a spay/neuter outreach program in your community.

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9. Report Animal Cruelty

Just because cats are homeless doesn’t mean they deserve any less decency than your pets. Should you witness people abusing the cats, report it to your local police department or animal control agency. Local humane organizations or animal shelters can sometimes be of assistance as well.

Image: Sue McDonald / Shutterstock

10. Educate Others About Homeless Cats

Speak to your neighbors about the plight of homeless cats and encourage friends to help the cats in whatever way they can.