Maybe you are a colony caretaker or maybe you just take care of a couple of community cats near your home or workplace. A major part of caretaking is providing food and water year round in all kinds of weather and conditions.
colony caretakers who provide food and water for their cats year-round may be providing a free meal (or two, or three . . .) for uninvited guests as well.
Raccoons, skunks, foxes, opossums, and rats, just to name a few, may visit your feeding stations for an easy meal. A steady supply of free food can set the stage for a population increase among the wild creatures.
Feed in the mornings
to reduce your "wild animal soup kitchen" and keep your cats safer from nocturnal predators.
Build a raccoon-proof feeding station.
Most cats are great jumpers, but raccoons, opossums, and skunks are not. An "apron" around the bottom of the station will prevent raccoons from climbing to the station.
If you feed a colony on your property you could install a motion-activated sprinkler. Aim it high enough to miss a cat. Watch this YouTube video of a sprinkler in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5D3GKlTkpY&feature=related.
If you have ideas about how to deter wild animals from sharing your colony's food, please let us know!
Photo courtesy of Katelin Welles, Master Wildlife Rehabilitator/Professional Photographer.