Cats are carnivores, so why feed them like chickens?

Most of us who feed feral cats are on a limited budget or get free food from a rescue group.

These comparisons are for colony caretakers who do have a choice what they feed. If the cats are starving and you have no choices, well that’s a different story. A few years back, when I realized I was spending way too much on cat food, I started cost comparisons.  I also compared ingredients. What good does it do to feed something cheap, if it makes the cats sick?  Our subdivision was filled with some very sick feral cats. I learned why corn, wheat and soy are not really good for cats, but these are the main ingredients in less expensive food. Well shucks darn, even a lot of pricey cat foods have corn. Since when is corn good for cats? If cats were meant to eat corn, I would be chasing them out of my corn patch in the summer. Believe it or not, I have never caught a cat sneaking corn.

Check out this label from a bag of chicken mash.

Now check out these cat food labels.
Click labels to enlarge.

Well, after a lot of research I ended up with Kirkland, the Costco brand cat food. The cats liked it and I have to say, after feeding Kirkland for over 3 years to 5 colonies and 100+ cats, they are doing great. Shiny coats, good weight, energy and no runny eyes and noses. I noticed it took about 2 months to see a huge difference in the cat’s health. As far as price, 25 pounds, bought at the store cost $20.99. The thing I don’t like is the use of brown and white rice. Rice is known to have some arsenic.

A rule of thumb is only feed in the day and only as much as cats can eat. This will keep unwanted critters out of your cat food. At one of our stations, we need to feed at night and are sometimes plagued by raccoons.

Of course cats need clean fresh water everyday. If you have access to electricity, a heated water bowl is wonderful in the winter. We keep our water bowl on the bottom shelf of the feeding station so the cats can have a leisurely drink without standing in the snow or rain.
Keep food dishes and water bowls clean. Would you want to eat out of a scummy bowl?

OK, so you have the food, water, now what? Check out one of our feeding stations.
A lot of caretakers need to be discreet about feeding cats, so putting in this large
Hilton style cat feeding station is unwanted advertising. It’s great for large colonies!
We have 4 of these stations, all on private property where there is no need to hide the fact.
Download plans for this feeder here.

Here’s some other links for feeding station ideas. Some are super simple, small and cheap.

 Fix Nation   Lots of really good ideas.
Pinterest Tons of ideas for every skill level and budget.
Alley Cat Allies Has some nice pre-made feeders
 Alley Cat Allies   Ant proof bowls

Or go to Google images.