We keep trying to advise people to STOP leaving cat food outside for the raccoons to share. I have decided although posts involving anything to do with CATS (esp Feral) usually are such a controversial topic which often leads to me deleting or turning off comments on our facebook post... I will not stop my plight to educate the public.
All animal food should be brought in at night. Here is a little sample of what could happen if cat food is left out intentionally.
Feral cats: At nighttime feral cats come and all of the diseases they have including feline leukemia are now shared in a cat bowl. Here is a list of diseases cats can transmit: www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/cats.html. Now your cat eats from it. Shazaam!
Rats: The food left out attracts rodents of all kinds to the buffet bowl. All their diseases are now shared including Leptospirosis. Here is a list of the diseases they bring to the buffet bowl: www.cdc.gov/rodents/diseases/direct.html
With an increase in rat (prey) population, in comes the Predators - Coyotes & Foxes. Is it worth the risk?
Raccoons: Raccoons are so cute & people enjoy watching them. Great! More money for our business. However, if you are leaving food out forget the money you will inevitably have to spend to hire us to trap and control the numbers. What about the diseases raccoons carry? The risk is to you (the person refilling and washing the bowls) but also walking in the environment where the food is left and then back in your home. Last but not least, what about your pets? Here are the beautiful diseases that you are being exposed to by coexisting with raccoons... willingly: www.addl.purdue.edu/newsletters/1997/fall/raccoon.shtml
Please understand this post comes from a good place. We have huge hearts here at Southern Wildlife Management. That is why we are licensed rehabbers & wildlife trappers.
Three of our techs had to get vaccinated for rabies this year because a woman was hand feeding 13 raccoons. One trapped (scratched a tech) and was held at our facility ended up being tested and results were positive for rabies. This was in Fulton County. The series of shots, without insurance, are $27,000 at Gwinnett Medical Hospital.
The bottom line... please do not interfere with wildlife. That includes taking a baby that you think is orphaned, feeding them, touching them. there are consequences to this behavior for both the human and the wildlife.
I USED to feed wildlife, but had to learn the hard way. Two antibiotics and an entire month of being in bed was just the tip of that iceberg. It was and continues to be a difficult choice to not feed wild animals, but they seem to have moved on which makes it easier although lonelier.
Oh wow! I’ve never even thought past just feeding the neighbor cats. We will be stopping this immediately. Thank you for the education!!
Such a well written and informative post. Thank you for this!!!
Even though I'm not a pro, I try to educate people as well on the dangers of feeding wildlife, so I will be borrowing points from your post to further the word about the dangers of feeding wildlife. It is not being kind when you do this. Thank you!
Thank you for info.
And someone claims that all their 25 intact outdoor cats are vaccinated and they don't worry about anything..
Im Like lady.. vaccines don't prevent a damn thing.. .. disease can still spread.. especially parasites and bacterial zoonotic diseases.. omw.. smh
Very true! I have walked out on my deck and encountered coons, skunks and 1 large pissed off possum eating out of cat bowl. Now feed cat in the garage.
THANK YOU... I been educating the public forever on this.. it's exhausting and lepto is EVERYWHERE HERE!!!!
Recently we were called out to a dead cat removal call. We got there and removed one kitten only to hear a little half hearted meow. The Wildlife Tech, Bruce, explored further and found a sibling... barely alive. We quickly took it to Windward Animal Hospital who oversees our wildlife rehab efforts. Out of the kindness of their heart they cared for this kitten. Windward had to resuscitate the baby. But she is alive & well. The icing on the cake is Heather, one of the Vet Techs at the clinic adopted the kitten and now is a member of her family!