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What To Feed A Stray Cat & How To Help them

What To Feed A Stray Cat & How To Help them

Have you been followed around by a stray cat and wondered whether there’s something you can do to help the poor thing?

Stray cats are often lost or abandoned cats that have been domesticated at some point in their lives. As opposed to feral or roaming cats that are born, bred, and raised in the streets, a stray would be much more comfortable in the presence of people. You can of course help a stray cat by feeding it first. Later on, you can make an effort to find its owner if it’s lost, or helping it find a new home.


What Can I Feed a Stray Cat?

Some people wouldn’t recommend stray cats because they’re likely to keep coming back to places where they can get food and water. Keeping this in mind, you can choose to feed a stray cat if his coming back wouldn’t cause any disruption to your household or neighborhood. When a cat is left to fend for its own, chances are it’s been sustaining itself by hunting on birds, mice, lizards, and other small animals. You don’t have to worry, however because there are plenty of options on what can you feed a stray cat.

·         Cat chow or canned cat food if you have it available

·         Canned tuna or sardines

·         Chopped up boiled eggs

·         Goat’s milk or plain natural yogurt (these are especially good options if you need to know what to feed a stray kitten)

·         Chicken liver and any organ meat

·         Cooked beef, or fish meat (with no spices and no cooked bones)

·         Cooked chicken or turkey breast

·         Lean deli meats

Don’t feed chocolates, dishes with onions and garlic, raisins, grapes, or macadamia nuts to a stray cat as these are toxic to felines.

Commercial cat food is manufactured to meet all the nutritional needs of felines. They are much easier to offer and prepare. You can ask to borrow some cat food for your next-door neighbor if you have a stray cat emergency.

It’s also important to ensure that you provide the cat with a fresh supply of water.

And finally, one more thing to consider after you learn how to feed a stray cat is that it also means the cat would need a place to poop and pee.

How Do I Help a Stray Cat?


Knowing how to feed a stray kitten or cat is only the first step to helping it. A lot of above-mentioned considerations would largely depend on what you’re planning to do with the cat next—are you keeping it or turning it over to the shelter?

1.     Capture and contain the stray cat.

Before you try to go looking for the stray cat’s owner, first make sure that the cat is safe in your care. Corner the stray by subtly surrounding him with barriers like a rope or a leash, without making any sudden movements that could scare him away. Offer some food and when he takes the bait, lure him by putting out a trail of food into a crate or some enclosure where you can keep him safely.

2.     Decide whether you want to keep it.

If you decide to keep the stray, consider the rewards and responsibilities of being a pet owner. Aside from offering food and shelter, you have to consider costs for grooming, vaccinations, and medical checkups. Some states may also have regulations on adopting strays. Review our general guidelines on how to adopt a stray pet

3.     Create and distribute lost cat flyers.

Whether you plan on keeping the stray cat with you temporarily or permanently, you’d most likely have to keep making an effort to locate the owner if the cat turns out to be lost. The fastest way to spread word of a lost cat is by printing flyers with the cat’s description, photo, and your contact details. Put these up in strategic locations for more people to see and upload to lost and found listings and lost pet websites, like PawMaw.com.

4.     Report to the authorities.

You might want to inform the local animal rescue agency about the stray in your care. In most cases, you’d be asked to turn the animal over to local shelters where he will be kept for a specific period, before the stray cat is officially declared “abandoned” and up for adoption. It’s possible to make an arrangement with the authorities to keep the cat in your own home while the search for the owner is ongoing and until the waiting period expires; especially if you express an intention to adopt the cat yourself.

5.     Help the cat find a home.

So, weeks have passed and no owner has come forward to claim the stray cat. If you don’t have space in your life for a new pet, but are worried about the stray cat ending up in a crowded shelter, you can try to be more proactive in helping the cat find a new home. Ask friends and relatives if they or anyone they know would be interested to adopt a stray. When you find a new home for the feline, remember these tips on relocating a cat.

6.     Is it a feral cat or a stray?

What to feed a feral cat is essentially the same as what you’d offer any stray, but dealing with feral cats would be an entirely different matter. Adopting feral cats, for one, isn’t an option as experts agree. These animals are simply too wild to be tamed. Local governments, however, often have TNR (trap-neuter-return) initiatives for the care and management of feral cats.  More than finding out how to feed a feral cat, you might be interested in volunteering your time or donating to local TNR programs. You may also contact your local Humane Society if you’re interested in becoming a caretaker for a feral cat colony.  


Few things in the world are as heartwarming and as fulfilling as helping animals that have been lost or forced to survive on their own. If you decide to feed and help a stray cat and are a little confused on how, don’t worry because you’re not alone in wanting to provide a better world for our pets. Get in touch with local shelters or humane agencies for guidance. 


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