Feeding Ferals: Rain, Snow and Sunshine
Written by Colony Caregiver: Robin
There are legions of us out there, feral cat colony caregivers they call us. You would mostly recognize us by our cars, filled with cat food, water, traps, shelters and sometimes bales of straw.
I am part of a group that cares for a colony of approximately 20 cats who live in an industrial area in the east end of Toronto. Three to five days a week (other people feed the other days) I load up my car with two trugs of clean bowls, four litre and a half bottles of fresh water, and a whack of canned and hard food and head off to feed the cats.
Our area is large so we feed at several locations. When I arrive at the first one, there are often cats waiting. I swear they know the sound of the car. I use a clicker to call. I move on from one feeding station to the next. One group of seven cats live a relative life of luxury amongst some boats. We bought them a small trailer and outfitted it with cat doors and shelters inside.
Our colony is what is called a managed colony, they are fed every day, we provide shelters and we have trapped almost all the cats and had them spayed or neutered, with the help of Toronto Cat Rescue. Any kittens are socialized and adopted out to great
homes. In 2010 we spayed and neutered 8 cats and adopted out 3 kittens.
I don’t want to romanticize the life of a feral cat. It’s a harsh life. They battle the cold and wet, hunger, predators, and at our colony, trucks. One of our lovely cats, Queenie, who can be seen on the poster for Cat City (our colony was featured in that documentary), was run over by a truck in the fall. Another cat succumbed to injuries probably from a coyote, another just disappeared. We do all that we do to make their lives the best that they can be but feral colonies are a by-product of irresponsible pet ownership. If all cats were spayed and neutered, there wouldn’t be the approximately 100,000 ferals living in Toronto.
What I can do is take care of my colony. Winter, spring, summer and fall, rain, snow and sunshine, I’ll be out feeding my ferals. If you want to read more about my adventures in caring for feral cats, check out my blog Cherry Street Cats.
Would you like to help the cats as well? Please make a donation online via CanadaHelps to put towards the purchase of food and spay/neutering costs for the cats of Cherry Street! If you would like to help care for the cats they are in need of feeders, so please email Robin for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.