How to Help Homeless Cats

Torry, the cat that came to me as a homeless kitten
Torry, the cat that came to me as a homeless kitten | Source

If you've ever wondered how to help homeless cats, then I have some tips for you.

I'm a cat lover! I think cat's deserve the title man's best friend, not dogs, at least not so much dogs.

Unfortunately, too many people bring home that cute kitten, then dump it when it loses its cute kittenish appeal, probably round about the time they get their first messed up litter tray.

Homeless cats tend to group up with other homeless cats, and roam the streets until they end up with kittens themselves, or become the father of kittens.

Of course, not everyone throws their cat out. Many elderly people keep cats as pets, as they are easy to keep as well as making good companions. No-one needs to risk muggings and street attacks walking the cat at night!

Unfortunately, often when old people take ill, get taken into hospital, or even die, no-one remembers (or perhaps even knows) about their cat, and it often gets left behind to fend for itself.

Street cats live on rodents and small birds, as well as the remains of fast food tossed carelessly away.

Sometimes they are lucky and find someone willing to adopt them, but more often than not, this is not the case and the cat will spend the rest of its life on the streets, cuddling up with other stray cats to keep warm on freezing, cold winter nights.

Un-neutered female cats will have litter after litter, and the kittens will grow half-feral, having never known the soft touch of a human being, or the joy of stretching out in front of a warm fire.

So how are we going to help homeless cats?

stray cats living among litter
stray cats living among litter | Source
Crazy cat lady costume
Crazy cat lady costume | Source

Helping homeless cats

You've heard of the cat lady? I'm going to be a cat lady when I grow up! Cat ladies feed all the stray cats in a district.

She never needs to venture far from her own front door, or workplace, because word quickly gets round the stray cat kingdom that someone is giving out free food.

One day she may feed just two or three, but the next day 10 will turn up.

Cats listen out for the sound of kindness, because it is a kindness to give free and delicious food to cats who have maybe never eaten a decent meal in their lives, at least not since they found themselves on the streets.

If she (and in my experience it is always a 'she') drives to the spot she chooses to feed the cats, all the cats listen out for, and recognize the sound of her vehicle, or her voice, or if they are far away, they will hear her rattle any cans she may be carrying, and come running.

Feeding homeless cats is actually NOT an exceptionally good idea.

Like all in the animal kingdom, well-fed cats tend to breed more than they would do if they were hungry.

So by feeding homeless cats, the problem of stray cats in a neighborhood could well be exacerbated.

However, it is an excellent way to build up their trust in humans, which will allow you to catch them easily.

Torry is the same size now as Patchy the pup (he's full grown but will always be 'the pup')
Torry is the same size now as Patchy the pup (he's full grown but will always be 'the pup') | Source

All stray cats should be neutered

It is a sad fact of life that hordes of stray cats on the street are a nuisance. No-one wants them once they have adapted to street life, as they may not make good pets afterwards.

Cats that have strayed or been thrown out, can still be rehomed, but if their kittens have grown up never knowing the touch of a human, they will be nervous and scared of people. Their only experience of humans may have been someone shouting at them, or throwing missiles at them.

These cats are very difficult to keep as house-pets after a life such as this, but it is not impossible.

If you are the cat lady in your area, or want to become one, the best thing you can do is befriend the cats. Feed them, preferably at the same time and at the same place, every day.

Get them used to at least one human (you), and once you start to gain their trust, look around for any free cat neutering schemes in your area.

Many charities operate free cat neutering services for stray cats, and ideally you want to make sure that every cat in your care gets spayed.

If one or two turns out to be a chancer, actually belonging to someone but still coming for some free grub, then get them neutered too.

If the owners were that fussed, they would either keep their cats in, or else put collars on them.

If the cat has been micro-chipped the vet will check this first and try to contact the owner before he goes ahead.

Neutering can only work if all the local stray cats are rounded up. Miss just one (female) and the whole cycle will begin again. Many domestic tom cats are not neutered.

If you cannot find a free spaying service in your area, then it is a good idea to approach your veterinary surgeon and ask if he would be willing to offer a group discount.

Many vets will be happy to offer this service, if they care about animals (or perhaps live in an area where they are nightly kept awake by yowling felines on heat!).

If the price is outside your budget, consider organizing some fund-raising events involving the local community to pay for the treatment. Most people would be happy to help.

Isn't Torry gorgeous!
Isn't Torry gorgeous! | Source

Homeless kittens that have been dumped

Sometimes people throw small kittens out on the street. Perhaps they had a tabby at home who produced a litter (again!) and they cannot re-home the offspring.

Someone did this to Toreador (well, he is a Spanish cat), or Torry as we call him, our cat.

Our local cat lady found him cowering behind the garbage bins next to the local supermarket, when he was very tiny, barely six weeks old.

She added him to her rounds, feeding him everyday, as he grew bigger.

One day she was severely distressed because we'd had heavy thundery downpours of rain, and this little kitten was soaked through, but still he came to her through the pounding rain, mewling to be fed.

She scooped him up and brought him straight round to me, where he could be warm and dry indoors.

She knew I'd said to her weeks before I would like a kitten, and was happy to take on a stray. She had organized the village strays to be neutered the year before, but missed one! So I knew this little cat, barely more than a kitten herself, had had at least two litters of kittens.

Torry didn't come from her though. Someone had witnessed a car drive up, dump him out and drive away.

I found out later that at least two other cat ladies had been feeding him too, and he ate the lot every time as if he had never seen food before.

Three or four months on and Torry is now a huge cat, as he likes his grub. He's also spotlessly clean and very loving and friendly.

Yet he was a homeless cat too.

Give a homeless cat a home, and if you can't, please feed and neuter the homeless cats in your area.

Toreador, cat most handsome
Toreador, cat most handsome | Source

More by this Author


Comments 46 comments

alezafree profile image

alezafree 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I wrote a similar hub about foreclosed upon pets. I love the photos. Makes me want to adopt more cats (I already have three)!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

One is enough for me! We used to have a female cat, and at one time we had 12 cats in the house! Half from her first litter and half from her second. Fortunately,we got them re-homed eventually. Then the mother cat died unexpectedly, and we were left with none! Thanks for commenting :)


alezafree profile image

alezafree 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

I hear ya. Three can be a bit overwhelming at times. I don't know if I could handle another. But I really do love them to pieces.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

He started collecting dogs too, we had 4 of them at one time, not counting the puppies! I had to put my foot down, the house was stinking - 12 cats, 4 dogs and more. Now it's 2 dogs, one cat, but I like cats the best :)


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 4 years ago from Holly, MI

OH Izzy...what a VERY important topic! Thank you, thank you for writing this. You know I volunteer at least 5 mornings a week with a rescue, and I foster a few of our Pitbulls. However, we also have a TNR (trap, neuter and release) team for cats where we return them to their managed colonies after their surgery and vetting. I just signed up last week to take the class to join the team. Wish we could just take them all in, but we have close to 60 in boarding, plus...gosh, I don't even know how many in foster families. There will just never be enough homes for them all, but if everyone does a little something to help...it will go a long way. Fantastic hub!!


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Great hub, Torry is a handsome cat.I have a stray all ginger cat with no collar,he comes over my wall,and looks into our sliding glass door for food. He's grown to trust me a little now, rather dashing over the wall when I take food out to him,Joyce.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Hey Herbi, well done you!! Actually going out and getting involved, that's wonderful! Yes the neutering is the best thing to keep stray cats numbers down.

writer20, thanks for admiring Torry! He's a cracker! Cats are great companions, and even if yours is just a visitor, he will keep rodents away from your house and garden.


Sophia Angelique 4 years ago

totally brillint hub, Izzy :)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Glad you like it :) I just fired this one off after seeing the weekly topic inspiration, and anyway I know about stray cats - and had some lovely photos of Torry to show off:)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Your Tory is a beautiful cat! My parents had Gus for many years - a tiny, orange kitten that came from a female homeless cat that had kittens near my mom's dentist's office. With respect to the thousands of other homeless cats out there, I know that in my hometown, there is a service (supported by donations) that captures the stray cats, neuters and spays them, then releases them again. Other people adopt homeless cats that do not make good pets and use them as barn cats to keep vermin down - I live in an agricultural area of our state.

Anyway - long way of saying that I love the hub and subject. You covered it very well. Hugs to Tory! Steph


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Torry! Please you are speaking to a committed socialist LOL (Tory is short for the Conservative Party in the UK). Thanks, Torry is beautiful. The stray cats here in this village do a great job in keeping the rats down, well worth every mouthful they are given, and no most will never make housecats.


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 4 years ago

Very good story Izzy. Stray cats for us have never made good pets but they have never turned down a good meal either.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

LOL, I had to re-read your comment - I thought you wrote "they never turned into a good meal"! Tell the local Chinese restaurants that! It's such a shame there are so many stray cats everywhere.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Fabulous Hub! Torry really is a beautiful cat- and proof that one can make a huge difference in a homeless cat's life with some compassion, care, and love!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Simone, and thanks for giving me the inspiration to write it. I love writing hubs that I don't have to research, like this one!


catgypsy profile image

catgypsy 4 years ago from the South

Thanks for this hub, hopefully it will get people to care. I currently have 26 cats that are all feral or strays and am taking care of them. They've had their shots, been fixed and some live outside in a large screened in proch and some inside with me. Yes, I'm the cat lady! These poor little beings need love and a home. People feel for homeless people...don't understand how they can't have the same feelings for homeless animals. Great Hub!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Well done you, catgypsy! You have taken a step further than most of the cat ladies I know, by bringing them home. Most people couldn't, for one reason or another, but you have done it, so hey...kudos to you! And getting their shots done as well as neutering is fantastic!


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

I adopted Amy from a shelter which is no-kill. It started as a result of the founder taking in homeless cats as it is no longer safe as humans encroach on wild animals' space in building our homes, we are now living near coyotes. It is a wonderful organization. There are indeed plenty of organizations which will spay or neuter cats for free.

Torry is sweet.

All cats I've had in my family were strays/accidental meetings while we lived in a house. One was a cat from Mom's cousin.

For the most part, any cat in my life has been the kind that others would turn down.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Excellent information for searchers there Flora. I know there are places here in Spain, and in the UK, but was not sure what was available in the US or Canada, but there surely must be organizations that will help spay cats for free, and you have just confirmed that.I had the most wonderful cat that I had to re-home when I moved to Spain. He was a rescue cat, and the most clever cat I have known in my life. I had to put a child-lock on my full-size fridge door to keep him out. He helped himself whenever he was hungry! A cat that could open doors! I wish we'd had a video of him, he would have been a youtube sensation lol


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 4 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Indeed Torry is quite handsome. There's a cat lady in Wimberley Texas, who always keeps cat food in front of her shop in the quaint little shopping area frequented by tourists. Turns out the geese (who come up from the nearby creek) like cat food too!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Oh my! Wouldn't have thought geese and cats together would make a good mix. Hope they don't both get fed at once!


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 4 years ago from California

So funny Izzym, I have a hub named How to help homeless cats and kittens, so I have apparently found another "crazy" cat person. Bravo! Thank you for sharing such important information, I agree that the real answer is neutering all kitties because however much we cat lovers want to feed them, if they are not fixed, the problem truly does "multiply"!

Toreador is a beauty!!!!! Rated up!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

I am so sorry I chose a title so close to yours. I didn't see it until I had published this one! Thanks for your kind comment and words :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Wonderful hub, Izzy, about an important topic. In Houston we have dedicated people who do the same...feed stray cats and eventually trap, spay or neuter, and then release. It takes a terrific commitment of time from the people and trust on the animal's part to accomplish this feat. Both of our cats came from the streets (Dusty and Peaches, each with their own story and hub) and are now solely inside cats. Dogs suffer just as well when abandoned.

Our shelters are now overloaded with pets some of it relating to the economic downturn with people losing their homes, etc. Sad!

Up votes and intend to share this important topic with others. Thank you Izzy!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Peggy and yes it is all very sad that animals get turfed out to live on the streets. Thank goodness for the cat ladies! And, as you say, the dog wardens.


brandrocker profile image

brandrocker 4 years ago

Thanks for expressing and sharing your concern for stray cats. There is no fault with them. Lovely hub. Thanks again.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Thanks brandrocker. I'm sure there are stray cats the world over, and they all need a helping hand.


brandrocker profile image

brandrocker 4 years ago

@IzzyM I absolutely agree with what you have said.


Talullah profile image

Talullah 4 years ago from SW France

Torry is exactly the same as a cat here that adopted us after it was abandoned by its owners. He's huge but as soft as anything. Like you, I moved from the UK to another country, in my case France, and, sadly, the French don't seem to treat their animals as creatures with feelings. There are many Brits here with cats that took them on!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

The Spanish seem to have a thing about small yappy dogs, not that they ever walk them or anything. I hardly know any Spanish with cats now you mention it, but there are plenty around. Torry has taken to bringing us home 'presents' of small birds and things. (sigh!) Ah well its a cat thing. Usually they are still alive so its easy to release them.


Talullah profile image

Talullah 4 years ago from SW France

The French are exactly the same here with their dogs. I don't think I've ever seen a French person walk a dog. We look after a neighbour's Dalmation when they go on holiday; he's never walked so is completely hyperactive when we take him out; I can't manage him on my own because he's very strong and taller than me when on his hind legs! Having said that, our back garden overlooks a farm, and they have three gorgeous border collies who have the complete run of the place, and they spend all their time chasing each other at ninety miles an hour, which is exactly what they should be doing.

There aren't many cats round here, funnily enough, but there's always a dog barking somewhere.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Tell me about it! Miles from anywhere and dogs bark day and night here. The Spanish tend to leave their dogs tied up in the their gardens overnight and they are all excitable little things that bark at anything. A dog in the campo somewhere miles away will start barking and set off all the local ones - at 3am or whenever, Now we know why the Spanish need a siesta, because they never get a decent night's sleep!


Talullah profile image

Talullah 4 years ago from SW France

It seems to be common in Europe to treat animals badly. Here, they have their hunting season (called the 'chasse') which they take very seriously. You are advised not to let cats out, or to walk your dogs at this time of year, because they will shoot anything that moves, including people. This year, at least one hunt member has been shot dead, along with lots of other animals, including a donkey, so I've heard! The dogs they hunt with are kept locked in basements and half-starved to make them hungry and aggressive, which is so cruel. It's so outdated and unnecessary; it horrifies the Brits here, but the French are stubborn, and I can't see it ever changing.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Dogs (and cats) are always getting poisoned when walking in the campo (the countryside) here because the farmers put out poisoned meat for the foxes. It is totally illegal and no-one ever catches them, but dogs and cats are always dying horrible deaths. They hunt the foxes with guns and dogs too, but not in any organised way, It's always one man and his two skinny scruffy mutts. They shoot them less than 100 metres from our homes, and that is illegal too!

Having said that, Spain is at last bowing down to pressure and banning bull-fighting, although it still goes on. Just not as much.

What I will say in their favor, that where they don't care for animals much, they do care for children. There are far less cases of child abuse in this country than in the UK. In country villages like this one where I live, we still have three generation living together in one house, so kids are always well taken care of.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Really interesting hub and I love cats, I would take them all home with me if I could. I remember a lady who lived next door to us in a caravan many years ago. She always took in stray cats and had at least 15 cats in her small caravan! luckily we don't have the problem in my area, but if we did I am sure we would all try and help, its such a shame they are beautiful creatures, wonderful hub, nell


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Where I'm living now, there are two strays come round, but both are fat and healthy looking so I suspect they are not homeless at all, but just cats doing what they do best - wandering round 'their territory'. 15 cats in a caravan is just over the top LOL


catgypsy profile image

catgypsy 4 years ago from the South

Wonderful hub! I currently have 24 cats because I just can't NOT help one. I love all animals and just wish more people would take even just one stray in. They are so helpless and need someone to love them. They give so much back to us. Great work, IzzyM.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Well done YOU, on homing so many cats! Thanks for commenting :)


Green Bard profile image

Green Bard 4 years ago from Tenerife

Just voted up for this wonderful hub, Izzy! I love cats so much and won't leave my eight-year-old Tiggy for anything!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

I've had to leave my cat in Spain, but he will be well-looked after :) I don't think I could talk my parents into taking on a cat here and this is not my house, so not up to me! Given a choice though, I would have a few :)


Green Bard profile image

Green Bard 4 years ago from Tenerife

Actually that is a problem I have because my father doesn't want me to bring my cat over if I go to live at his house so until I can sort out a place for us both I am staying put!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

I don't blame you at all, especially seeing how long you have had your cat. Your father is in the UK or in Tenerife?


Green Bard profile image

Green Bard 4 years ago from Tenerife

He is in Cardiff in Wales, Yes, I have lived with Tiggy since the end of 2004 so that's nearly eight years.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

That's a long time. Hope you manage to find some-place for both of you! I don't suppose Tiggy speaks English but I'm sure he'll get on fine with the Welsh cats! (spoken like a true cat-nut).


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 3 years ago from South of France

Torry is SO gorgeous I don't know how anyone could have dumped him - I hate humans sometimes! I got adopted by three strays when I lived in Cyprus, two of whom were ginger and white (my favourite colours). I took them back to England (via six months' quarantine) and then on to France. They were the sweetest, loveliest friends I could have hoped for. Sadly no longer with me. (Can't bring myself to use the d-word...) Congrats on your cat rescues, I intend to do the same when I'm finished mourning... :( Love Torry, he made my heart leap! :)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 3 years ago from UK Author

Oh that is such a nice comment! Thanks! I hope a beautiful ginger cat will come find you in France.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working