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Hi. I have been feeding feral cats on my land for a while. Normally I put out dry cat food in the morning and pick it up in the evening. Lately, the raccoons have been getting into the food and eating it all before the cats can get any, and they get into the cats' shelters/sleeping quarters and I'm concerned they'll take them over. To make matters worse, we've had a bear coming around, climbing over our chain link fence and getting into things. We've also spotted coyotes around.

We've taken to putting the food out twice a day for a short period, then picking it up again so there are no food smells to attract the bear, raccoons, coyotes, and other potential predators. That's fine for the cats who have tamed down, but I know of at least one feral who's used to eating here and who's too wild to allow us to see him (except as an occasional blur rushing out of one of the feeding stations.

Does anybody have any good ideas for how I can make sure that he (and any other 'invisible' ferals) get fed while still doing what I can to protect the gang from the other animals?

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The only thing I can think of to do is to announce mealtime loudly and go away from the feeding stations for a little while (maybe an hour) and hope the ferals learn to come eat at that time.

Joan, I am feeding a flock of feral cats, too and have opposum problem. I have noticed that they will peek under the fence when they hear me call them and I know that there are others out there that I get a glimps of now and then. I figured a quarter of a cup per cat morning and evening and put this out accordingly. I have noticed that the colony that I feed discourages other cats, but racoons and coyoties are another story. Could you raise the feeding station? My guys jump a 6' fence to get to the food which would stop the coyoties but hasno effect on racoons or opposums. I remove the food after an hour. Amy

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Hi, Amy. Thanks for your response.

Don't think we'd gain anything by raising the feeding station. Just spotted a bear passing by that way just this morning, and there's plenty of raccoon activity around. Don't mind the raccoons getting some of the food
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My family and I feed stray cats in the neighborhood along with three of our own cats (one an adopted stray). We keep the food inside during the day because of birds, but put it out at night so a passing by stray can eat. Every morning around four my cats wake me up because they want to go outside. When I go down to put them out I always make sure there isn't a stray eating. If there is, I wait until it leaves before I put the cats out so I don't scare it away. This morning when I looked out, there wasn't a cat but a raccoon. I have never seen one here before. I tapped on the window (partly because I was so shocked) and he stood on his hind legs and stared at the door for a moment, then went back to eating. A few minutes later he left. Now I am afraid to put my cats out. Especially at night. Will the raccoon hurt them? Should I stop leaving food outside? We have a lot of cats in the neighborhood, and most of them aren't strays. Could this start a problem? Any advice/info would help! Thanks!