In almost every neighborhood, you will find cats roaming free. These cats belong to us all — they are our COMMUNITY CATS.
HOW CAN YOU HELP THE CATS IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
Cat Beach gets many calls from individuals and building managements about cats that need to be rehomed or they may be in danger of being “thrown away.” There are many possible solutions and Cat Beach is committed to do whatever we can to help. It is our belief that often it is best to let cats continue to live in their Home Territory. Human friendly cats, special needs cats, and all kittens can be removed from their colonies and brought indoors for safety, rehabilitation, and special care. These cats can be great adoptable pets.
There are many reasons why cats should be allowed to continue in their outdoor home territories and a number of ways to control cat populations so cats can live their best life – and humans will benefit. Studies all over the world show cats benefit humans as Working Cats. Want to learn more? Please watch our slideshow, “CATS OR RATS.”
It is important to note that “throwing away” cats is a punishable offense under the Animal Welfare Act of 2015. Don’t let your neighbors do it. Or if you witness such reprehensible cruelty, please document it and report it to the police.
Most cats that have been around humans since babyhood can be rehomed and live happily as human pet companions. Cat Beach sees mostly friendly street strays that have been kindly treated by humans – these cats can be adoptable. However, many cats born outdoors will probably feel most comfortable staying in their home territory. They may never adjust to being pets or living indoors. If they are brought in, they may try to escape or prefer to go in and out.
Cats can benefit humans in so many ways. So before trying to eliminate cats from a neighborhood or allowing cats to be “thrown away” or torn from their homes, wwe hope more and more people will consider – “Cats or Rats? Which do you want in your community?”
TIPS FOR CARING FOR YOUR COMMUNITY CATS
COMMUNITY CAT CARE SLIDESHOW created by Virtual Volunteers from AIESEC and RASMA August 2021 How to Care for Community Cats
GET TO KNOW THE FEEDERS Join the Feeders Brigade! Hundreds of good people see the need and go out each day and night – even in the worst weather – to ensure that the cats, dogs, birds and wildlife living in our communities have the basics they need to survive. Please be kind and support the human feeders – they too often experience abuse from people who don’t like animals.
Here are some tips to help the animals in your neighborhood:
GET TO KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY CATS If food is put out regularly, stray street cats are smart and will know to come to feed. Make a set feeding time that fits your schedule and bring out the food!
Take photos and videos. Give the cats’ names. After a few days, you will be able to see which cats return. Cats normally live in colonies or families. Get to know your Cat Colony!
#FEED THE KITTIES Putting out dry kibble is the simplest way to be sure cats get some food. Kibble comes in packs as large as 20kg. Measure out at least a handful for each cat.
Please do NOT put food directly on the ground (would you want to eat food off the floor?). There are a number of reasons not to do this – leftover cat food will attract ants, cockroaches and other bugs. It is unsightly and neighbors may complain. Unless cleaned very carefully, the crumbs will become a breeding ground for bacteria. What to do? Put down a sheet of newspaper or any kind of paper, a banana leaf, plastic dishes from hawker meals and put the food on top of that. Be sure to clean up later!
WET FOOD Cats are obligate carnivores which means they need to eat meat proteins and fats. Some carbohydrates can be digested by cats and serve as energy foods or help digestion but cats’ diet should be mainly meat.
Outdoor cats may supplement their diet by hunting and eating prey. They can be considered to be Working Cats helping your neighborhood by keeping rodent and other pest populations down (see our “Cats or Rats” slideshow above). Still, Community Cats will benefit from nutritious food provided by human feeders.
Commercial cat foods (cans, pouches – wet and dry) are recommended as the good ones include essential nutrient supplements like taurine that are essential for cats’ health and are not easily obtained in the environment.
To stretch the food and provide a variety (cats can be picky eaters), commercial cat foods can be mixed with rice and more cooked meat can be added. If you think cats may be having diarrhea or are constipated, they may need more fiber – a spoonful of cooked blended pumpkin is recommended by cat fanciers and veterinarians and cats usually like it.
Cat Beach Cats enjoy boiled chicken and fresh fish – sometimes local fishermen net fish right off Cat Beach and share with the cats!
Extras for Momcats and Weaning Kittens When kittens start to wean from their mother and eat on their own, the CB Team boils frozen boneless chicken and shreds it finely, then soaks it in Kitten Milk Replacer or Goat milk to give a highly nutritious “slurry” food. As an alternative or when they are eating comfortably, commercial Junior Kitten food is specially designed for growing kittens nutritional needs. Pregnant and Nursing momcats need lots of extra nutrition, especially calcium, to give their babies the best start and reduce stress on their bodies.
To feed outdoor stray Community Cats, the safest alternative is to use a large steel plate for serving. Metal plates are less likely than plastic to get scratched and are easier to clean thoroughly.
WATER Clean fresh drinking water is crucial. Cats need a lot of water but are notorious for not drinking enough and becoming dehydrated. They usually prefer moving water so cat fountains are popular as are water bottles. You can make a simple water feeder at home – place a large plastic bottle in a pan. Punch a hole at the bottom of the bottle. Fill the bottle with water and it will leak into the pan. (https://www.leeholmes.com/diy-cat-feeder-and-water-dispenser/) Search on Google or go to Pinterest for more DIY animal feeder ideas. Or you can purchase low-cost water and food dispensers at any pet store. Talk to your local pet store owner for advice – they may even give you a discount for helping strays!
MONITOR CATS’ HEALTH CONDITIONS As you get to know the cats in your area, try to check them for any wounds or evidence of illness like lethargy, runny noses, infected eyes, etc. If you are able to capture them safely, best is to take them to a veterinarian for treatment. If you cannot get cats vet care for any reason, you could still go yourself to a vet clinic to talk to a veterinarian and get supplies like cat vitamins and antibiotics that could be added to food. Ask a vet for advice!
VACCINATION Cat viruses are epidemic but vaccination can prevent unnecessary suffering and fatalities. In recent years, cat parvo virus has taken many cats’ lives. Viruses and bacterial infections can be spread by cats through dirty food or water, feces and urine, or fight wounds.
Ideally, all cats should receive at least one vaccination a year. Kittens will also need 1 or 2 booster shots.
If you cannot capture and take cats to a veterinarian for vaccination, you might be able to get a vet to come to the cats. Once you have identified your colony of Community Cats, contact your local government Veterinary Services department. They may be able to send a vet to the community for low-cost vaccinations.
PARASITE TREATMENTS External and Internal
External – Fleas and Ticks Cat fleas prefer to jump to cats, not people. Weak cats that are sick or injured and kittens may become infested with fleas. They will need flea treatments and possibly baths to get rid of the fleas.
Internal – Worms Another important issue for Community Cats is that outdoor cats may hunt and eat mice, rats and other creatures. Kind people may think they are helping cats by giving them raw fish or other meat but forget that raw foods often contain parasites and bacteria.
SPAY / NEUTER SURGERIES All cats at the age of 6 months or older should be sterilized. While the surgeries can be as expensive as RM 300, Cat Beach has a special program with the Windsor Animal Hospital for discount spay/neutering of cats – register with Cat Beach – go to our OPERATION SNIPSNIP page for more information OPERATION SNIPSNIP
Female spay and male castration neutering have many health benefits. Studies show that neutered cats live longer, healthier lives – and their nuisance behaviors like howling, urine spraying and fighting disappear as their sex hormones go down after the surgery. Most importantly, neutered cats do not contribute to the cat population. So many kittens die needlessly on the streets because adult cats have not been sterilized. Males fight; females in heat make horrible nuisance noises – cats in mating season are so vulnerable to become sick or injured.
The street “stray” or “community” cat populations can grow amazingly quickly. Typically a pregnant female will give birth to 4 to 6 kittens several times a year. A small colony can quickly grow larger!
LET’S STOP THE SUFFERING! The most humane way to stop the explosion of cat populations is to practice TNVR: TRAP – NEUTER – VACCINATE – RETURN OR REHOME.
(https://tccf-tnr.org/ on 3/6/22)
RETURN TO COLONY Adult cats that are most comfortable living outdoors can be returned to the home where they were born and grew up. Cats have strong territorial instincts and may be happiest being returned. However, if their home is dangerous – for example, a construction site that will be torn down or a busy parking lot – then it may be better to find another solution.
If after TNVR, the plan is to RETURN TO COLONY, then it is important to ensure the cats will be safe and have the resources they need. Is the place safe? Are there Feeders who will continue to provide food and water? Will anyone monitor their health conditions?
REHOME CATS It is true that many cats living outdoors from birth will prefer that life. If they have resources for food and water, so-called “feral cats” can survive and thrive like all wildlife animals. If cats have no contact with humans, after about 12 weeks (4 months) of age, they may “go feral” and may never be able to be brought indoors. However, most cats that humans see living on the streets do trust humans to provide food and may become friendly. Some adults may even be suitable as pets living indoors or as indoor/outdoor cats.
Bring in the Kittens One ‘secret’ to reducing cat populations is to bring kittens and their moms inside and give them good care. Kittens that are gently handled will quickly learn to enjoy petting, playing and eating and will learn that humans are the providers of food and fun. These kittens are adoptables! If raised indoors, they will be happy as indoor pets. Reach out to your family, friends, colleagues and post on social media to find loving, caring homes for kittens! See our Rescue page for more hints on how to rehome RESCUE.
Assess and sterilize Momcats Watch momcats (queens) care for their kittens for one of the most touching examples of good parenting. Yes, some momcats may be sick or kittens may be ill and things can go wrong – then a veterinarian is needed. But more often than not, a well-fed healthy mother will be able to give birth and give her kittens great care without much human assistance. You can find guidance on caring for orphan and neonate kittens and momcats at a number of sites on the internet – we love the Kitten Lady – www.kittenlady.org.
DEATH & BURIAL Cat Beach Sanctuary can offer some referrals and advice if a cat or kitten or other animal has died. Call or message the Cat Beach Helpline at +6 017 575 3419.
Cat Beach strongly suggests cremation, not burial. There are commercial crematoriums that accept animals as well as certain temples. Some of the Garbage Disposal companies do burning rather than dumping in landfills.
This is hard to discuss but please consider spending a little to have any dead animal cremated. Fire is the only way to totally remove the many viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi that accumulate in corpses. Studies show that especially in tropical places including Brazil and Malaysia the soil is severaly contaminated with dog and cat viruses. If you bury a cat or dog that is sick, it will contaminate the soil and the next animal coming by will probably catch the disease. Even if it was an accident that caused the death, burials of animals have potential to cause real harm.
Of special concern is burials on beaches in sand or in the sea. Scientists who study marine mammals and other sealife have found evidence of cat-specific diseases like toxoplasmosis in sea creatures. Fish consumed by cats may spread diseases further. Please help prevent the spread of diseases by choosing cremation over burial.