About Us






TNR in the News

Your Colonies





Contact Us

Facebook Twitter YouTube

Out of the Cage! The Blog of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals

Save a Life. Donate Now.

Adopt a Cat!





Solid, tidy feeding stations like those offered by FeralVilla can both protect food and water from the elements and help caretakers avoid complaints from neigbors and landlords. (Photo by Greg Brush)

Solid, tidy feeding stations like those offered by FeralVilla can both protect food and water from the elements and help caretakers avoid complaints from neigbors and landlords.

Photo by Greg Brush

NYC Eartips: Summer 2008

Proper Feeding Stations Help Avoid Problems with Neighbors & Nature

by Greg Brush, FeralVilla

Although our outdoor cat shelters have been sold for years, as people recognize the need for cats to have good shelter in cold weather, the issue of managing food and water in cat colonies is often overlooked. Some people find or create solutions by sheltering the food/water under overhangs, porches, signs, decks, or even vehicles. Others take commonly available items like Rubbermaid totes and cut out the side to provide some shelter. While these tend to break and blow away more easily, they do help. Some folks just have found no workable solution. So what problems do they need to solve?

Throughout the year, dry food left out for cats will get wet when it rains. Soggy food is not appealing to the cats, and most will simply not eat it. Beyond that, if left for very long, food that has gotten wet will become moldy, and can potentially sicken the cats. Throwing out the food can become costly during rainy times of the year, and can also mean food isn't available when the cats need it.

Water bowls aren't immune to problems either. In many areas, water will become contaminated with falling leaves or seeds from nearby trees. Those who live near maple trees can attest to the scourge of the whirligig seeds that rain down every spring. The autumn sees a constant stream of falling leaves that can quickly turn the water bowl into a soupy, brown mess.

In response to regular requests, we have begun to offer two different sizes of what we generically call feeding stations. They are durable and made of wood, painted and covered with shingles. This makes them more durable and less likely to blow/tip over than Rubbermaid totes, and also gives a more attractive, finished look. This can be a helpful, but overlooked factor in keeping the peace with neighbors and landlords when maintaining a cat colony. Many disputes over the location of cat colonies can be traced back to "untidy" colony management practices — loose bowls or plates, or even worse, food poured directly onto the ground. Making sure a cat colony is a "good neighbor" is a prudent way to protect the cats.

Although no one can guarantee the weather, feeding stations should be placed so that the open side is not facing into the prevailing winds. In cases where the winds are disturbed as they blow between/around buildings, there may be no orientation to completely avoid the wind. Some locations may be prone to flooding, or excessive water pouring off buildings. So it may take some observation and experimentation, particularly during or immediately after heavy rain, to determine which area remains driest.

No matter what type of feeding station you choose, it can be an extremely valuable tool in managing a colony of outdoor cats. For more information on FeralVilla's feeding stations and outdoor shelters, go to www.FeralVilla.com.

About the Author

Greg Brush is the designer and creator of the innovative FeralVilla outdoor cat shelter. After co-founding IndyFeral, a non-profit TNR organization in Indiana, Brush stablished a successful partnership between the group and a state prison to produce the shelters as a fundraiser. When the group finally leased a warehouse as a permanent base, he designed and fitted out the organization's fully functional on-site clinic. He also authored first drafts of ordinance revisions making TNR legal for the first time within Indianapolis. In 2006, the group celebrated the 10,000th cat spayed/neutered! Brush speaks nationally on TNR and co-founded the Feral Bureau of Indiana, where he serves as the volunteer CEO. He devotes much time to TNR and is now working on the Indy No Kill Initiative.