How often do you feed feral/outdoor cats?

gleason

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
154
Reaction score
137
I've been feeding some feral/outdoor cats for the last couple of years. I've been feeding twice a day, morning and early evening. Last summer the evening feeding was becoming a problem as skunks and raccoons were coming in. I was thinking of cutting back to only feeding in the morning. Wondering what others are doing.
 

NY cat man

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
4,681
Reaction score
9,771
We put food out at first light and take it in at sunset. I built a feeding station to protect it from snow and rain, and to give the visitors some shelter while they eat. We have 3 cats that make regular calls.
 

PeteyOchiFern

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Apr 9, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
75
I've been feeding some feral/outdoor cats for the last couple of years. I've been feeding twice a day, morning and early evening. Last summer the evening feeding was becoming a problem as skunks and raccoons were coming in. I was thinking of cutting back to only feeding in the morning. Wondering what others are doing.
I have two ferals that I feed twice a day and also started to have issues with other critters at night. So what i started doing is making sure I do the second feeding before it gets dark and if they don't finish everything I take the bowls, put them in a large ziplock bag and place them in my outdoor supply chest or in the garage. I also clean their plates and bowls often to reduce remnants of food hanging around. I also try to give them only enough that they will finish and not have left overs.
 

Catsnquilts

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
47
Reaction score
93
I have about 5 that I feed on my front porch so I’m able to keep a eye on how they look, that’s how I discovered Rocky and his poor state. Anyway, I feed wet and dry in the morning and it’s usually gone in a few hours. Then I feed wet and dry in the early evening and bring everything in before I go to bed. Too many possums and raccoons in my area, and they are not looking in need of any extras!
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
1,594
Reaction score
2,395
Location
Los Angeles
I have two ferals who eat directly outside my kitchen window, one in an alley who is TNRed but not by me, and one who ranges on the back of my property. I feed twice a day in all cases but pick up before nightfall.
 

vyger

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Jun 24, 2017
Messages
794
Reaction score
1,381
Location
Northeast Montana
There are other things during the day that also eat cat food. Magpies are very good at spotting food and then calling in the friends to help. They work in shifts, several keep the cats busy and entertained while several load up on food. Then they switch so everybody gets a share. One of my cats that lives in my shop comes and goes through a hole in the floor in the far back. The ferals followed him and now they all hang out around his food dish. Pretty funny to walk in the door and find different cats lounging in his heated bed. In my experience ferals will find food. They are pretty good at not starving. A study in England found them using the cat doors and eating at various peoples houses at night.
I don't really have specific feeding times, It's usually sometime in the morning when I go to get the mail. I call them and they all come running. That way they know who I am and come when I call them.
You might find this fun and interesting. You can do a search for "I don't own a cat". There are many results, this is one that is pretty good.
 
Last edited:
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7

gleason

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
154
Reaction score
137
It looks like most people feed twice a day. I have 8 cats right now that come in to feed. They don't usually finish off everything in the morning so there is some food available throughout most of the day. I add food late in the day and it probably lasts them into the night. That's what has been happening all winter as they get to come in the heated garage. Now that spring is here the coons and skunks will be coming out. In the summer I feed the cats outside. If I stop adding more food late in the day will that be a problem for these cats as they have been used to being feed twice a day or will they just adapt to the change?
 

VegasJeff

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
5
I have two ferals who eat directly outside my kitchen window, one in an alley who is TNRed but not by me, and one who ranges on the back of my property. I feed twice a day in all cases but pick up before nightfall.
What's TNRed mean?
 

VegasJeff

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
5
We were feeding 2 strays and adopted one. I'm interested in adopting the other one which is a black cat but these 2 cats don't get along. The black cat doesn't seem to care but the other one I caught yowling at her one day.

We were just leaving food out but then the birds found out so we had to stop doing it. The black cat was smart and meows for us at that door then we feed her. However she doesn't eat much and wants food sometimes like 5 times a day. lol My wife thinks she is an old cat. We also think there is another stray (but not entirely sure yet if it is a stray), an orange cat, eating leftover food but is too scared and will run as soon as it catches you looking at them.Hard to leave food out now because of the situation with the birds.
 

NY cat man

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
4,681
Reaction score
9,771
We were feeding 2 strays and adopted one. I'm interested in adopting the other one which is a black cat but these 2 cats don't get along. The black cat doesn't seem to care but the other one I caught yowling at her one day.

We were just leaving food out but then the birds found out so we had to stop doing it. The black cat was smart and meows for us at that door then we feed her. However she doesn't eat much and wants food sometimes like 5 times a day. lol My wife thinks she is an old cat. We also think there is another stray (but not entirely sure yet if it is a stray), an orange cat, eating leftover food but is too scared and will run as soon as it catches you looking at them.Hard to leave food out now because of the situation with the birds.
That's why the feeding station I built has overhead cover and also is enclosed on 3 sides to not only protect the food from the elements, but to better conceal it from the birds.
 

movinintime

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
261
Reaction score
427
Exactly my prob. He's a tomcat feral & about 5 yrs old too. Everytime I see him I feed him. About 2-3 times/day but s. AZ heat is causing a few missed lunches as triple digits is brutal for him to eat midday. I'm just glad I have the time to feed him as home daily now for forseeable future.
 

moxiewild

Seniors, Special Needs, and Ferals
Alpha Cat
Joined
Aug 4, 2014
Messages
691
Reaction score
783
We were feeding 2 strays and adopted one. I'm interested in adopting the other one which is a black cat but these 2 cats don't get along. The black cat doesn't seem to care but the other one I caught yowling at her one day.

We were just leaving food out but then the birds found out so we had to stop doing it. The black cat was smart and meows for us at that door then we feed her. However she doesn't eat much and wants food sometimes like 5 times a day. lol My wife thinks she is an old cat. We also think there is another stray (but not entirely sure yet if it is a stray), an orange cat, eating leftover food but is too scared and will run as soon as it catches you looking at them.Hard to leave food out now because of the situation with the birds.
Since you asked what TNR means, are all these cats spayed/neutered?

If not, it could potentially be a reason why some of them aren’t getting along too well.
 

vyger

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Jun 24, 2017
Messages
794
Reaction score
1,381
Location
Northeast Montana
It looks like most people feed twice a day. I have 8 cats right now that come in to feed. They don't usually finish off everything in the morning so there is some food available throughout most of the day. I add food late in the day and it probably lasts them into the night. That's what has been happening all winter as they get to come in the heated garage. Now that spring is here the coons and skunks will be coming out. In the summer I feed the cats outside. If I stop adding more food late in the day will that be a problem for these cats as they have been used to being feed twice a day or will they just adapt to the change?
Another factor I should have brought up is how good the hunting is. There are more things around in the summer to hunt and eat so that could offset how much you need to give them to eat. It also takes less calories for them to maintain themselves because of not needing to generate more heat to make up for the cold so they may not need to eat as much. If you cut back and they don't complain then they are hunting the local vermin. On the other hand if they keep showing up really hungry and letting you know it then they need the extra.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18

gleason

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
154
Reaction score
137
Oh what a sweetheart! He looks well fed.
 

JamesCalifornia

Mr.Mom to a house of cats 😇😼
Top Cat
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
3,243
Reaction score
5,551
Location
Los Angeles
~ People I meet that do TNR with ferral cats do feeding once a day - often at night . Wonderful compassion for these stray animals . `🐱 💕
 

steven1808

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Hi,

I am residing in the Middle-East. There are a lot of stray cats in the neighborhood. Due to the hot weather, there are very few small animals to prey upon for food. As a result, the cats are mainly scavenging food from the garbage bins. I initially started to feed the cats with cooked chicken meat. Later I switched to dry food and I realized not all the cats are eating although I know they are hungry. But eventually, all the dry food will be eaten. I liked to seek your opinion on whether I should avoid giving the cats cooked chicken because I am concerned they may develop habits of being picky with food. Feeding the cats with cooked chicken is not a viable long term option for me. Thank you
 
Top