Best Cat Food For Strays & How To Take Care Of Them
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Do you have a stray Tom coming into your backyard every now and then? If the wandering kitty isnt afraid of you, then its probably a stray cat a cat who once had contact with humans and may now be lost or abandoned.
Otherwise, the kitty coming to your yard may otherwise be someone elses cat who is often let outdoors, or it is quite possible s/he may be a feral cat.
Regardless if the visiting cat is a stray or a feral cat, there are some things you can do to help him/her live a healthier, happier life. For starters, lets discuss what is the best cat food for strays and how to best take care of them.
- What Determines a Stray Cat?
- What to Feed a Stray Cat
- Best Cat Food for Strays
What To Look For When Buying Food For Feral Cats
While people who feed and care for feral cats often want to help and provide the best cat food available, it can become expensive to do soespecially when they have taken on the responsibility for feeding multiple cats. Thats why its important to strike a balance between providing quality nutrition for the cats and remaining within your budget. Make sure to choose food made with whole, quality ingredients to ensure that the cats get the most nutritionally complete meal possible. The first ingredient should always be high-quality animal protein.
As long as the ingredients are high-quality, you can save money on cat food by choosing foods made with cheaper protein sources. Chicken is usually a very affordable protein source, so look for foods made with chicken. Some cat foods are grain-free, but they tend to be more expensive. To cut down on the price, you can choose a cat food that contains grains, but make sure to select foods made with grains that are easy for cats to digest, such as oatmeal or brown rice.
If you find yourself feeding several feral cats on a regular basis, you might consider buying the food in bulk as another strategy to cut down on costs.
Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!
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Compare Best Cat Food For Feeding Feral Cats
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Best Cat Food For Feeding Feral Cats
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The best cat food for feeding feral cats is somewhere at the intersection of great nutrition and a great price.
After hours of research, weve rounded up five foods that share a combination of nutritional excellence, convenience, and the right price. At the top of the list is Wellness Complete Health Paté Chicken Entrée. This paté-style cat food comes in big, convenient cans, doesnt cost a fortune, and gives your ferals the hydration and meat-rich nutrition they need.
Keep reading to learn more about this Wellness cat food and our other top 6 picks for the best cat food for feeding feral cats.
Best Practices When Caring For Feral And Stray Cats
Be a good neighbor. We recognize that feeding a feral or stray cat comes from a place of compassion and concern for the cats well-being. It is a selfless act to help an animal in need, and when best practices are followed, it is better for the cat, the community and for wildlife. We encourage anyone feeding outdoor cats to follow these few simple steps.
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The Best Food For Feral Cats
- Time to read: 5 min.
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If you are a cat person, be it wild or non-aggressive, every type of cat would be equally fascinating for you. Cats might not be as obedient as dogs but can be your best friends with proper care and love. One such cat that takes place in every feline lovers heart is the feral cat.
Feral cats are generally not very calm by nature and can get a bit ferocious at times. But even they are eligible to become a cute family member and part of your life. Hence, you can get a feral cat for your home, but you need to take good care of their nutrition. Generally, these cats are obligatory carnivores by nature. So, below are some highly nutritious foods that can help you keep your feral cat calm and happy from the inside.
How We Selected The Cat Food For Feral Cats
Most of the products listed are not selected hand to hand. We used artificial intelligence to make the list. But we can assure you all the products listed here are of superior quality as they are already tested by real users, rated by expert reviewers, and recommended by real humans.
Key decision-making factors you should consider to select the products:
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Purina One Tender Selects Blend
Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend With Real Chicken adult dry cat food is made with real chicken as the #1 ingredient.
This adult dry foods omega 6 fatty acids help nourish and maintain healthy skin and a radiant coat.
This natural recipe plus essential nutrients uses real ingredients, including accents of real carrots and peas.
Crafted without fillers, artificial flavors, or preservatives using real ingredients.
Stray cats need food with crunchy bites and tender morsels they can bite. Give your cat the food they need by feeding them Purina ONE tender selects blend with real chicken adult dry cat food today!
Its made without fillers, artificial flavors, or preservatives. It also has vegetables like carrots and peas.
Things We Like
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein is made with real chicken, turkey, and fish for a high-quality protein that helps maintain lean muscle mass.
It also contains antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium to help support healthy immune systems.
This formula has no corn or wheat, so its great for cats sensitive to those ingredients.
Plus, this grain-free recipe is perfect for senior cats because it supports healthy weight levels without excess calories from carbohydrates.
You can feel confident knowing that BLUE Wilderness has everything stray cats needs to live a long life full of energy and happiness.
Things We Like
What Should I Feed My Cat
There is a lot of conflicting information out there regarding dry versus wet food grain versus grain-free raw versus conventional diets what about organic or gluten free? All of this can be confusing for any cat owner.
Veterinary research has not yet concluded what the optimal combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates is for a feline diet. We do know the minimal requirements of the more important of these macronutrients. Commercial diets are manufactured based on these for each life-stage group, such as a kitten, a neutered cat or an older cat, and have additional essential vitamins and minerals.
Here are the facts based on current scientific evidence.
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We Gave Preference To Moisture
Our cats ancestors were desert dwellers. They lived in arid environments where fresh prey was often the best source of moisture. A mouse is about 70% water and a fine source of hydration for a desert cat hours away from the nearest watering hole.
Because fresh water was scarce, early wild cats evolved to have low thirst drives and a natural inclination to get their water from the moisture-rich bodies of their prey. This means that they typically dont drink enough water to compensate for moisture-depleted dry food.
Constructing Your Feeding Station
There is nothing worse than having a big bowl of dry cat food that has been rained on it turns to soggy mush and after about a day it can even get moldy. Cats wont want to eat it and YOU will get stuck cleaning it! Feeding stations need to be waterproof.
Ideally, the feeding station you construct should be able to fit your bowls of food and at least one cat, so at a minimum one cat can eat at a time and that poor cat doesnt have to eat out in the rain in inclement weather. Water bowls dont necessarily have to be inside the feeding station, although its nice. If you cant do a station that sizable because of the need for discretion, the bigger priority is to make sure the food stays dry and protected.
A slick and easy way to keep feeding stations dry is to take a large rectangular Rubbermaid storage bin, tip it on its side and put the food bowls in it. The bin serves double duty both as camouflage and it protects the food from the elements. If you get blustery rain where you live, you can take the lid to the storage bin and cut it length-wise and then put it back on the bin, so that the top half acts as an awning of sorts. Zip tie the lid in place. If you need to, you can even place the entire bin on a couple of wood boards or cement blocks so that its up off the ground and out of any puddles.
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How To Balance Quality And Price
People who care for feral cats often think of the cats as their own, even if they arent. Just because a feral cat doesnt live in your home doesnt make it any less deserving of your attention or of a healthy and well-balanced meal. But how do you balance the cost of caring for an entire colony of cats, while still providing quality nutrition?
Shopping for cat food to feed a feral cat colony can be a challenge because there are many factors to consider.
First and foremost, you want to choose a product that contains high-quality ingredients and is nutritionally balanced.
This means finding a product that lists a high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient and contains other sources of healthy nutrition, such as supplemental proteins, animal-based fats , vitamin and minerals, and other beneficial supplements.
To find a cat food that provides decent nutrition at an affordable price point, stick with simple recipes made with nutritious but affordable ingredients.
Chicken is one of the most affordable proteins for cat food. For the sake of price, you may need to choose a cat food that contains grains it is best to stick with healthy, digestible options like brown rice and oatmeal.
Make sure the recipe is complete and balanced in terms of nutrition, but you might need to forgo pricey supplements like chelated minerals and probiotics. Its all about balance choose the highest quality product you can consistently afford.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food
- Real animal protein #1 ingredient
- Helps with digestion
- Low moisture food
- Contains corn meal
Nutrish cat food formula is made with simple, natural ingredients, like real U.S. farm-raised chicken. Protein from an animal source is the number one ingredient, combined with wholesome brown rice, vegetables, essential vitamins, minerals and taurine.
There is no ground corn, wheat or soy in this cat food. The recipe includes quality proteins like chicken, salmon and whitefish, as well as wholesome veggies. This is a well balanced kibble for feral cats and wont break the bank.
This food also contains a wholesome fiber source that naturally provides prebiotics to help maintain healthy digestion. This quality protein, dry cat food formula provides essential nutrients to help maintain healthy organs and lean muscles.
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Lives Daily Essentials Salmon Chicken & Beef Cat Food
9Lives Daily Essentials dry cat food provides complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats.
With chicken, beef, and salmon flavors, this dry cat food delivers nourishment that helps support strong muscles, heart health, vision, and skin & coat health.
Plus, with just one morning serving per day .
Youll feel good after feeding your cats 9Lives Daily Essentials. This cat food is made with high-quality ingredients like real meat proteins for the taste they enjoy. It doesnt have any artificial flavors or preservatives.
The food is also 100% nutritionally balanced and complete for cats over 1 year old.
Things We Like
Buyers Guide: Finding The Best Cat Foods For Feral Cats
There are two primary concerns that you should be aware of when you are planning on feeding feral cats. Generally, you need something thats decently healthy but cheap. After all, feeding so many cats can get expensive!
Luckily, weve done the legwork for you. In this section, we help you figure out exactly what to pay attention to when choosing a cat food for feral cats.
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What About Vegan And Vegetarian Cat Food
Its understandable to have misgivings about the impact of the livestock industry and the amount of meat used to produce pet food. While we dont recommend any vegan foods, you can learn more about them in this article.
Many cats seem to do well on vegan food. A combination of plant ingredients and synthetic additives are capable of, at least according to our current understanding, recreating the mix of nutrients your carnivore requires. But it may be foolish to believe that we can recreate a perfect facsimile of the nutritional profile found in cats prey. Doing so may lead to unexpected nutritional deficiencies or overloads.
What Not To Give Strays
Many people make the mistake of thinking that stray cats can or will eat anything given to them.
Please note that this is incorrect. You could actually pose a bigger health risk to the stray if you were to offer him/her human foods that cats cannot eat.
For more info, check out our article on human foods that cats CAN eat.
Do not give up on the stray. The stray or feral cat may depend on the nutrition that you provide. Many strays are not used to hunting and catching their own food like perhaps their feral cousins are, so, therefore, you can expect a stray to stick around and keep returning to be fed.
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We Looked For Foods That Were Free Of Potentially Harmful Ingredients And Additives
The Best Cat Food Is Free Of Carrageenan.
This natural seaweed extract is a great binder and thickener for canned cat food, but it has a bad reputation. Studies have shown that carrageenan creates inflammation in the body and may exacerbate cancer.
The Best Cat Food Doesnt Contain Artificial Ingredients.
Artificial flavors are unnecessary if the food is made with nourishing meat ingredients. No cat needs artificial colors. In addition to being unnecessary, food dyes are tied to behavioral issues and cancer development in both humans and animals.
BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are popular preservatives that are associated with serious problems. Most pet foods have replaced them with natural alternatives including Vitamin E , rosemary extract, and other antioxidants. Although ethoxyquin rarely appears on the ingredient list, it may enter your cat food as a fish preservative.
Buy In Bulk And Online
If you buy large amounts of cat food every single month or whatever, I HIGHLY suggest you use Chewy or and buy in bulk and enroll in their auto-ship options. You get a discount for Autoship at Chewy AND the Amazon equivalent Subscribe and Save.
Plus if you have , you can get free 2-day shipping! Try Amazon Prime Free for 30-days HERE.
In fact, you can get 30% off your order for enrolling in your first Autoship at Chewy! Chewy has free shipping for all orders over $49 as well.
I personally love Chewy for most everything cat medication-related, as their selection of non-prescription stuff is better than Amazon. That said, both Chewy and Amazon have about the same types of cat food available, so pick your retailer.
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We Chose Foods That Were Rich In High
Cats need a lot of protein. But its more complicated than just looking for high-protein food. Instead, we also have to think about the quality of that protein. When choosing the best cat food, we paid attention to the difference between crude protein and digestible protein.
Protein exists on a digestibility spectrum rated by biological value.
For example, 36g of crude protein from feathers is not equivalent to 36g of crude protein from an egg they have vastly different biological values. An egg has a biological value of 100 , while the feather is virtually indigestible.
Yet both the feather protein and the egg protein look lovely on the guaranteed analysis and lend the impression of a high-quality food capable of nourishing your cat.
Digestibility values, not percentages in the guaranteed analysis, are key to measuring nutritional value.
To make things a little more interesting, we dont know everything about protein digestibility in cats. No one has figured out exactly which protein sources are the most bioavailable or the least. Instead, were left to put together a picture based on what scarce information is available.