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of cat feeding stations and feeding schedules is at the root
of many Campus problems involving cats and wildlife. We must be
sensitive to the fact that not everyone shares our affection and
enjoyment of them and our appreciation of their right to life. Adverse
public awareness of the Stanford cats and their feeding areas may
compromise the feline-friendly environment at Stanford. Campus wildlife
are unfamiliar to many students from urban areas who expect an urban
campus. They are unprepared for and have not been oriented to Stanford's
rural setting. Close encounters with Campus wildlife may frighten
people and precipitate efforts which threaten their existence.
and dedication, the Stanford Cat Network has established control
of a healthy cat population; but the Campus is teeming with wildlife,
primarily raccoons, skunks and some opossums. Although Campus habitat
is being lost to building projects, food is not scarce. These primarily
nocturnal animals are capable of foraging for themselves and should
not become dependent on humans for food. Besides, a cat is no match
for a raccoon; so confrontations should be averted, by discouraging
wildlife from competing for food at cat feeding stations.
no one looks forward to being sprayed by a skunk or inhaling air
laden with the lingering scent of one. Accordingly, no one appreciates
inhabiting a building with a skunk in residence or with an infestation
of fleas introduced by Campus critters. Neither can most of us appreciate
the eyesore afforded by a junky, dirty, indiscreetly-located feeding
station, including the cats. Following are suggestions to address
these concerns and alleviate problems.
- Locate feeding
stations in areas where neither they nor the feeding cats are
visible to passersby or occupants of nearby buildings.
feeding stations away from heavily-populated or trafficked areas--bike
racks and parking lots, as well as doorways, footpaths and streets.
This is less disruptive and safer for both cats and people.
feeding shelters and food dishes, using materials that are inconspicuous
and blend in with the surroundings.
durable, draining shelters to keep food dry during the rainy season.
Get ideas from other feeders.
- Keep feeding
stations clean and neat.
Keep dishes and shelters clean.
b) Collect scattered dishes.
c) Dispose of stale food to discourage
flies and odors.
- Spray surrounding
area for ants, and/or place food in a container surrounded by
a water moat to discourage pests.
- Feed during
daylight hours, preferably early to mid-morning, when it is relatively
quiet and the air is still cool (during the summer months), i.e.,
when you are more likely to see your cats yet not attract nocturnal
- Gauge the
amount of food provided so that it is enough to feed the cats,
with minimal food left over to attract wildlife in the evening.
a substitute feeder to feed on your days off, rather than leaving
an automatic feeder to cover for you. Outdoors, automatic feeders
are emptied overnight, and automatic waterers are dumped by scavenging
wildlife. You have only managed to attract critters, while leaving
your cats hungry and thirsty.
clean, fresh, drinking water daily.
Cats need fresh water, especially to keep cool on hot summer days.
Replenish water in the morning, since wildlife probably will have
dumped or dirtied the water overnight.
b) Neutered males, especially, need fresh drinking water to prevent
AND MAINTAIN A REGULAR FEEDING LOCATION AND DAILY FEEDING SCHEDULE.
your cats will become conditioned to show up at feeding time. This
contact is essential to your being a responsible caregiver of the
Stanford cats. It enables you to observe them to make sure they
are safe and healthy and to respond with rescue efforts or veterinary
care if they are not. It also enables your timely spotting of hungry
new arrivals, who are then trapped, spayed/neutered, vaccinated
and released to care on Campus if they are wild or semi-wild (feral)
cats. Every effort is made to find the owners of tame stray cats.
Unclaimed stray or other tame cats and any kittens are boarded or
fostered until they can be placed permanently in carefully-screened,
suggestions serve to protect the cats, they also protect the wildlife.
If wildlife become a problem in an area of Campus, the University
necessarily traps and removes them from that area. They used to
relocate them back to the foothills; but relocation of wildlife
no longer is permitted by the State Department of Fish and Game,
in an effort to prevent the spread of domestic animal diseases to
pristine wildlife habitats. This applies throughout the State, not
just on Stanford land.
cats are domestic animals, and any trapped cats are surrendered
to the Cat Network. However, if other wild critters are trapped,
they cannot be released elsewhere on Stanford land; they must be
euthanized. Even relocation may not have been very humane. Urban
wildlife, used to raiding neighborhood pet food dishes and garbage
cans, may not know how to search for food in the wild and may starve.
They also may fall victim to territorial disputes with established
wildlife in areas where they are released. Stanford land with its
vast areas of open space is natural habitat to an abundance of wildlife.
The presence of these critters is a fact of life st Stanford; please
do not endanger their existence by attracting them with cat food
to populated areas of Campus where they will be trapped. Accept
responsibility for their welfare, as well as that of the Stanford