During the formation of the Coalition the subject the administration was most concerned about pertained to how we were going to feed the cats. We created the list of instructions below and assured them that they would be strictly enforced. We can't express how important it is that everyone follow these rules. If someone breaks them and creates a problem, I will be the one they call down and the future of the cats and the Coalition will be jeopardized.
ABSOLUTELY NO CANNED CAT FOOD!
The campus cats must be fed dry food only. They do very well on dry food and it's not as smelly and messy as canned food! When you feed the cats, try to be as inconspicuous as possible - don't carry large bags of cat food with you to the feeding station. Put some food in a container and carry that to the feeding station. Make sure the cats have a bowl of fresh water too. Try to determine how much food to leave for the cats so that there aren't any leftovers when they're finished.
It is very important that you feed the cats during DAYLIGHT HOURS and that you give them just enough food for ONE DAY ONLY. No "self-feeders"! Leftover food or an abundance of food only attracts raccoons, opossums, and rats. If you've been feeding the cats after dark, change to the morning or afternoon -- the cats will adjust! If you cannot feed cats on weekends or holidays we have a list of volunteers that live near campus that will feed them for you.
Make sure that the food/water bowls are in an isolated area away from heavy traffic and sidewalks. Try to find a place where the food bowl is easy for you to get to, but well hidden. To keep the food from getting rained on, you can take a rectangular shaped, plastic kitchen garbage container (preferably dark colored), lay it flat on the ground and put the bowl towards the back of it. Then push the garbage container up under some bushes. DO NOT use cat food cans, paper, platic or styrofoam plates, or any disposable containers that could blow away. Make sure the area is kept very clean!
The best way to keep ants out of the food is to set a heavy cat food bowl in a plastic plant saucer filled with water. Or, you can purchase a "moat bowl" at a pet store. Another solution is to sprinkle 5% Sevin dust or diatomaceous earth in a circle around the feeding station. Neither will not hurt the cats.
After feeding the cats for awhile they will become more relaxed around you -- they'll start waiting for you and they won't run and hide when you show up to feed them. Don't let this fool you -- they're still feral. Avoid trying to touch them. They are safe being feral -- it's their protection. If nobody can touch them -- nobody can harm them. If the cats do start getting friendly to the point where they rub on your leg, or you can touch or pet them, it's time to remove them from campus and find them a permanent home!
The most important thing to remember when feeding the campus cats is to make sure the feeding station is kept neat and clean. There will always be someone who doesn't agree with what we're doing and will jump at the chance to complain or cause trouble! We do have the administration's "permission" for this program but if the Office of Environmental Health and Safety finds any kind of problem or gets too many complaints they can shut us down whenever they like and revert back to their trap & kill policy. All the items above are VERY important and must be adhered to for the "trap/neuter/return/maintain" method to work. These rules MUST be adhered to so that we can keep doing something good for these cats.
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