If you have feral cats in your neighborhood and can’t resist helping them out by feeding them – don’t feel bad for looking for the cheapest way to feed feral cats.
You’re doing them a good deed if they are looking malnourished and like they’re struggling to survive on their own.
Either way, whatever your reasons are, you’re right to do it on a budget. The best news is that it really isn’t that expensive either (could even be free) as I’ll explain:
What Is the Cheapest Way to Feed Feral Cats?
There are two schools of thought when it comes to feeding feral cats on a budget;
- Making large batches of food yourself; or
- Finding the cheapest available commercial cat food
Now, technically, it can be less expensive to make some food yourself from scraps and other ingredients. You can make a big batch and freeze a load of meals.
There are a lot of cat owners that make their own cat food to save money. The issue I have with doing this for feral cats, however, is that it’s not as easy to guarantee when and how often you’ll see them.
Unless, of course, you have a feral cat colony living or hanging around your house all the time. But that’s rare, it’s more commonly the case that they come and go, often days at a time.
But either way, there isn’t a lot of difference in cost if you shop around for some inexpensive cat food brands.
Sure, they aren’t going to provide the best quality balance of nutrition like some of the top brands. But that really doesn’t matter.
What matters is that those feral cats are getting a good meal inside of them.
Dry and Wet Cat Food Brands for Feral Cats
Here are some of the best-suited dry and wet cat foods I was able to find on Amazon to consider:
Best Dry Food for Feral Cats
Here is a quality dry food from Inception Pet Foods that is great value for money. You can pick it up in either 4lb or a huge 13.5lb bag, and you have a choice of flavors!
Or, this cat food from Blackwood is just as good. It’s actually higher in protein, so a slightly better choice in the winter months.
Best Wet Food for Feral Cats
Generally speaking, wet food is better for feral cats. They enjoy it more too, so if you’re trying to make a new best friend too, serve up some wet food.
Here is a couple of the best value for money options:
If you’re putting out a meal a day, this 12-pack from Meow Mix will keep you covered for a while. It’s super convenient too.
I know how hungry a feral cat can be, so I thought I’d include this bumper 48 serving pack of wet food from Nutro:
How Many Times a Day Should You Feed a Feral Cat?
This is an interesting question. A feral cat will typically eat small meals as and when they find them while fending for themselves.
This means they might not be able to stomach a big bowl of food all at once. By this, I mean they may well gobble it all up, but there is a chance they will throw up afterward!
The worst thing you can do is to just leave a huge pile of food out in the hope that they’ll find it.
Ideally, you want to leave out small meals a few times a day. I know this isn’t very practical for most people, and it doesn’t guarantee they’ll come by that often. Plus, you might not want them hanging around that often.
So, it’s up to you how often you put food out. But you now know that more frequent, smaller meals are better.
What Is the Best Food to Feed Feral Cats?
The answer to this question is the best food you can afford to give them!
Cat’s have complex dietary requirements. These requirements are easily met by giving them formulated cat foods, which is why I gave you some examples of foods I’d feed feral cats above.
Some people recommend giving them a diet richer in protein and minerals to compensate for what is probably a pretty bad diet they’re scraping together on the streets. But this isn’t always the case.
If they are successfully hunting prey at night, such as rodents, birds, and so on, they are getting the kind of nutrition wild cats of all sizes survive on just fine.
It’s more a case of helping ensure they are eating enough to maintain good health. Plus, let’s be honest, a wild cat is going to be thankful for a plate of food being presented over having to stalk, chase, and kill their next meal!
Will a Stray Cat Starve If I Stop Feeding It?
I covered the answer to this question in more detail in this article – will a stray cat starve if I stop feeding it?
First of all, a stray cat is a very different thing to a feral cat. Stray cats used to have homes, and for some reason, they are now on the streets fending for themselves.
Strays are not as good as feral cats as fending for themselves and hunting food. Feral cats grew up fending for themselves, it’s all they know.
But neither stray or feral cats should starve if you stop feeding them. It’s not something you should worry about or feel guilty for.
Remember, it’s really not your problem. You’re doing an awesome deed by helping out at all, but if you can’t afford to feed strays and feral cats you should call whatever animal control organization operates in your area.
How to Find Free Cat Food for Feral Cats
I used to work for a cat shelter near my home. We relied heavily on food donations, as most cat shelters do.
I’m happy to say that our community was so generous that we always had at least a couple of week’s food supply to hand.
On occasion, someone would contact us to talk about a stray cat in their neighborhood. We couldn’t always step in and help with the cat, but we would offer them some food in the meantime.
Especially if they said the cat looked malnourished.
So, if you’re not in a position where you can spend money on cat food for a stray. I recommend calling your local shelters, cat protection, and any other organizations that help with strays in your area.
They might not be able to help, but you’ll never know unless you give them a call. That’s one way you can find free cat food for feral cats in your neighborhood.
I hope I’ve helped you find some cat food you can afford to shell out for and give to the local feral cat population in your area!
Feeding ferals comes with some additional challenges and problems, but I won’t go into that in detail in this post.
As long as you follow all the right steps as per the law where you live, if you’re helping these wild cats be a little healthier while saving the local wildlife – you’re doing a good deed.