Unfortunately, not everyone is an animal lover — especially when it comes to stray or feral outdoor cats that don’t have a home. Some people look at stray cats as a nuisance to the neighborhood, but they actually provide many benefits to the environment, and to your property. Here are a few reasons why stray and feral cats are beneficial to your neighborhood.
Bye Bye Rodents
One of the most important benefits of welcoming stray cats to your neighborhood and property is that they will help keep the rodent population to a minimum. Mice and garter snakes are no match for the average outdoor cat. If you’re friendly to neighborhood cats, they will surround your property with their scent, which is a great deterrent to keep rodents from invading your home and backyard.
If you have a garden, you know the usual suspects that try to steal your delicious corn, greens and nuts–birds, rabbits and squirrels. Just having a cat show up to your property every day will make those small woodland creatures think twice about venturing into your garden for a bite. Cats are carnivores, so you don’t have to worry about them stealing your tomatoes. Just put a simple garden fence up to keep them from digging into the soil, which looks a lot like a litter box!
Companionship and Entertainment
Stray and feral cats are very entertaining when you get to know them. When they’re comfortable, they play with each other and have fun. You’ll begin to see them as a fixture, like saying hi to a neighbor in the morning. When you feed them, they will thank you for your generosity by giving you unconditional love and companionship when you venture outside (maybe even a special gift at your front door). Cats also understand plenty of words, so give your neighborhood stray and feral cats names and talk to them in a calm voice. Only touch cats that you have had vaccinated, if they allow you to touch them. Some don’t like to be touched and that’s okay — it’s just a part of their nature.
They Can Be Beneficial for Your Health
Researchers have discovered that cats can actually assist in lowering the blood pressure of humans. In fact, taking care of a cat can help reduce stroke risk by a third, according to a Minnesota University study. They have a very calming quality — when you’re outside doing yard work or gardening, they’ll sit nearby and watch you quietly. They have a relaxing energy that encourages you to unwind, and lets you know that everything will be okay.
A Note About Spaying and Neutering Stray Cats (TNR)
You need to understand that the most humane thing you can do is to spade or neuter the neighborhood cat(s) who happen to frequent your property. It’s also imperative that you get them vaccinated — a process called TNR (trap, neuter, return). The cost is commonly around $65 per cat, but it is a wise investment — it will quickly control the cat population so that the existing neighborhood cats can be tended to properly. If you keep stray and feral cats fit, healthy and vaccinated it will lower the risk of diseases spreading among animals in your neighborhood. Set up a small budget for spaying or neutering at least 2 or 3 cats that you see everyday, and see this article on how to trap, neuter and return stray and feral cats. Just having 2 or 3 cats neutered this year will make a huge impact, and be sure to have each cat’s ear clipped so that other cat-friendly neighbors won’t waste money and time trapping a cat that has already been neutered.
Cats are very special creatures that have many useful purposes in our world. They are extremely intelligent and emotional beings. Give your outdoor neighborhood cats an opportunity to show that they can be helpful to you, your neighborhood and your property. Maybe these reasons why stray and feral cats are beneficial to your neighborhood will help convince more people to be compassionate to outdoor cats. Spread the word to practice love for stray and feral cats who don’t have a home and who don’t know where or when their next meal will be coming from.
Posted by Jade
Image credit: Flickr/zoonabar
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