For community cat caretakers, practicing good neighbor relations is often as easy as following responsible colony care protocols. These tips for responsible feeding practices will go a long way in keeping the peace among human and feline neighbors.
Give the cats enough food, but not more than they'll consume within about half an hour. Leftover food may draw pests and complaints, so clean up whatever the cats don't eat.
Be careful when using disposable plates; once they're empty they can easily blow around as garbage. Reusable bowls need to be cleaned, but they're less likely to cause resentment among the neighbors.
Even the tidiest feeding station may attract flies, especially in hot weather and around wet food. To head off or solve any issues, feed at sundown, when flies are less active, and remove the empty dishes before the flies start buzzing around the next morning. Cleaning dirty dishes is essential to avoid letting fly eggs and larvae develop at your feeding station. The Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals has more tips for keeping bugs and slugs at bay.
Local wildlife is another common cause for concern around feeding stations, especially in urban areas where many people expect their neighborhoods to be free of wildlife. Overfeeding of cats may attract rodents, raccoons, skunks, opossums or other wildlife. Because some of these animals come out at night, you may need to remove all uneaten food after dark. Adjust your feeding routine to address the specific wildlife at your feeding site.