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I was just told that I can't feed stray cat in my neighborhood. Two ladies came to my door and stated "I am to let the stray cat in the neighborhood to starve and they don't care", they made me pick up the cat's food! There apparently is a stray racoon that started eating out of this stray cat's food; he is limping and is skinny, doesn't appear aggressive, very quiet, doesn't get in people's trash and I have been letting him eat as well ... he needs to get strong, the neighbor has gone and told on me and I was told to pick the food up and to let them both starve. I can't do this.

I need help, I don't know who to turn to. I am in desperate need of help and I can't choose or watch a animal starve to death; there is no one here that will come.

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    Hi welcome to Pets, thank you for taking care of this stray cat, it is definitely appreciated; I am not a lawyer but I don't think that it is legally possible for your neighbors to prohibit you from the action of feeding itself, but on the other hand they probably could legally request you to stop leaving food on the street based on the fact that it could be seen as littering and attracting nuisance pests (like raccoons). Maybe you could feed the cat in a different way that doesn't leave any food residue after the cat is done with eating? – lila Jan 9 at 21:22
  • For example, you could bring a tray with yourself, unload the food on the tray and sit together with the cat until it is has finished eating, then you would take the tray together with any uneaten food with yourself to dispose of the food and clean the tray in home - this way the neighbors won't have any basis to claim that you are contaminating the sidewalk. Also, it would be helpful if you included information where do you live, because laws differ between different countries. And please tell us, is it an option for you to take this cat inside to live together with you? – lila Jan 9 at 21:23
  • Is it possible for you to bring the cat to a shelter? – SerenaT Jan 9 at 21:36
  • I have tried getting animal rescue to come but apperently they make you rent a trap and you do it yourself but all they do with ferals is catvh and do a release or put them down ? I dont have problem with the rental but i work everyday as a hospive nurse and it gets hot i dont know when he will get caught he doesnt let me near him but again in the middle of the night he was outside in cold and crying for food .....😔😪 – Christine Smith Jan 10 at 10:58
  • I hsve d3cided to do that i couldnt bare hearing the cat cry anymore and it was in the middle of the night i stayed outside with it and removed bowl when done i cant do this with anyone around as she said she is telling the offixce monday that i b was feedi ng stray cat and racoon – Christine Smith Jan 10 at 11:02
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Encouraging stray cats like this is not a good thing. Feral cat populations can do masses of damage to the local wildlife. The food you leave out will also influence other animals, e.g. the racoon. I understand your neighbours' perspective and desire that you stop.

On the other hand, what decent person wants to see any animal suffer and starve? Not you or I!

  1. In the immediate future, try feeding the cat in the manner suggested by lila in the comments.
  2. Unless you are absolutely certain the cat is a stray, attach a paper collar reaching out the owner, e.g. https://www.spca.nz/images/assets/31718/1/spca2018_stray_cat_paper_collar_d3.pdf.
  3. If there is no owner, the cat needs to be taken in. A vet or rescue shelter should be able to give the wee fellow a health check, neuter him if necessary, and then give him a chance at finding a secure home where he can be safe, warm and well fed. Go down this route and you may find yourself with a furry little addition to your household, or the satisfaction of knowing that you have converted a nuisance on the streets into a fellow creature having a vastly improved quality of life with a family of his own.
  • Thats just it they feel in fl they are not adoptable spay or neuter and release or they will put them to sleep ughhh – Christine Smith Jan 10 at 10:59
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    Neuter and release would be an improvement on the current situation: it prevents this cat from creating more strays, and thus perpetuating and increasing the problem. Putting the cat to sleep would be a sad outcome but, frankly, probably a kinder and more peaceful way out than being run over/starving due to lack of food, or injuries or old age prevent him from catching his next meal/dying of disease or poisoning/dying of injuries, freezing in the winter... I understand the natural instinct to Preserve Life, I share it. But what is actually best for the cat? – sunrise Jan 13 at 1:09
  • @ChristineSmith then you need to contact a rescue, not animal control. Southern states in the US tend to have higher supply than demand of cats, northern ones have higher demand than supply. Rescues will take in animals and redirect them to states that have demand for them (I am in MN, two of my cats are from Tennessee). – Allison C 23 hours ago
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Letting a living animal starve to death is cruel, but once again I agree that you cannot choose easily. One way is to adopt him and take him into the vet’s, which costs a lot of money and you must be able to take him in. In the vet’s you must check his health and you must get him a collar. Doing this is expensive. In some countries, they neuter wild cats so they don’t reproduce.

You could take him to a rescue centre, but if he is unwanted, he may be euthanized, depending on the country, so he might die unless someone wants him.

You could offer it to a good friend of yours, but that would require responsibility of your friend.

Overall, I don’t think you should let these ladies boss you around or let the cat starve.

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