A set location or feeding station for feeding cats outside can make mealtime a breeze, especially because kitties like a calm environment when they eat. Feeding stations give cats privacy from the public (and the neighbors will appreciate it, too). A feeding station is like a little cat pavilion or picnic area: the raised floor deters bugs, and the slanted roof keeps the food and the cats safe from the elements. Also, feeding cats at a regular time and place lets them know where and when they can get some grub.
Choosing an existing sheltered spot, like under a tree, can be a great low-tech start. You can make a DIY feeding station with only basic carpentry skills or common household items. Try to camouflage the station so it blends in, like with dark green or brown paint. Here are a few feeding station ideas:
- For a simple feeding station, attach a domed plastic garbage can lid to three or four wooden posts.
- Cut cat-size holes in large plastic storage tubs or trash cans.
- Build a dedicated feeding station with materials and tools you can find at any hardware store. See our simple DIY instructions for building a feeding station and other examples in our Feeding Station Options.
Don’t feed near high-traffic areas, the cats’ shelters, where they sleep, or where they typically go to the bathroom. You can set the feeding area in your garage, shed, or carport if the colony is near your home. If the cats are at a workplace or campus, try working with the maintenance or grounds departments to feed the cats in outbuildings—it’ll reduce visibility of feeding areas and give cats privacy from the public. If you don’t feel comfortable working with the people in charge, look for less-visible areas such as wooded areas or back porches where you can place the feeding stations.
And remember, keep it clean!
Remove all garbage and leftover food every day to keep the feeding area sanitary and unobtrusive.
Cedar Outdoor Feeding Station
Advantages: The awning extends to cover the length of a standing cat at the feeder.
Disadvantages: Must be angled forward to ensure drainage.
A Simple Bucket Feeding Station
Advantages: Inexpensive as you can get buckets for under $5 at Lowes or Home Depot.