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What to Feed the Stray Cats in India? 

Amir Ali
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What to feed the stray cats in India? If this is the question that has brought you here, then let me tell you you are at the right place; at the right time!

According to the  State of Homelessness Index India, there are around 91 lakh street/stray cats in India. The majority of them are living in extremely poor living conditions and leading sheer miserable lives.

The dearth of food, safe shelter, and health care have become the destiny of these unfortunate felines who are the offspring of either abandoned or lost cats. As a consequence, these cats often have to lead a life of absolute suffering. 

They are being forced to feed themselves by exploring the trash bins, stealing food from the houses or begging for food from passersby. 

Many of them often get killed by larger animals or in accidents. And, a lot of them are sick, underweight and struggling against lethal diseases. 

Very few people and some animal organisations in the country care about the well-being of stray cats. Because people are only interested in keeping pedigree cats to boast their pictures on social media. However, they don’t want to invest a small share of their time and money for the betterment of these street cats.

So there’s a huge scope to take a step forward and do something within your reach to help these innocent cat populations to make their lives less miserable. 

But, today I want to talk specifically about nutrition. So, in this post, you’ll learn about what to feed stray cats in India. Also, I’ll review the 5 Best Foods for Stray Cats in India in 2022. Plus, you’ll get some actionable tips that will help you build bonding with stray cats and become their daddy quickly.

You May Like to Read: Best Cat Foods in India

Why Should You Feed Stray Cats?

Being Human. 

That’s right. Animals only care for their lives and survival or the survival of their pride or herds. I agree that some exceptions do exist but in general, animals don’t care about the survival of other animals. 

However, we humans are not like animals. As responsible beings, it’s our responsibility to take care of the people and animals around us and help them to lead better lives. A small effort from our end can provide a striving cat with food, her kittens with milk and save their lives. So, everyone should try his/her best to feed street cats.

Foods You Can Feed to Stray the Cats Other Than Cat Foods

This infographic shows vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods that you can feed stray cats
This infographic shows vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods that you can feed stray cats

If you have decided to feed stray cats from now onwards, you have two ways to go. First, you can feed them with human food and the second is to feed them with cat food.

In this section, I will briefly suggest some human foods that you can give to your cat. 

#1. Chicken, Lamb, Meat or Beef

Non-veg food is the best option to feed stray cats. Just bring meat, chicken, lamb or beef; wash and then boil. Boiling will make it easily digestible and kill the disease by causing germs. Also, you can take mince instead of pieces of chicken or meat. But make sure that you won’t add spices to it. Just boiled meat/lamb/chicken is the best.

If buying beef, lamb or chicken seems costly then you can go to the chicken shop and ask for internal organs or by-products such as the liver, heart, and paws. Humans don’t usually eat these organs but cats do. So this is an economical option when you have to feed 4-5 cats daily. 

#2. Meshed Eggs

The next food that you can give to cats is boiled eggs. These are pretty economical too. All you need to do is bring eggs; give them a nice boil and then mesh them after removing their shells. Purr-fect! 

Now, go directly to your feline friends on the streets and give them this nutritious food. Eggs are a good source of protein. 

But egg yolk contains a lot of fat. So, give them eggs only occasionally or give them just the egg white without the egg yolk.

#3. Tuna 

The next human food that your furry friends can enjoy(only occasionally) is tuna. Tuna is rich in protein. Plus it contains essential fatty acids. However, you can’t feed tuna regularly since it may cause mercury poisoning and some cats get addicted to it too. Also, some tuna packs contain too much salt so ensure that the one that you are giving to cats is not too salty.

#4. Fish

A better option than tuna cans is fish which is available in the local fish markets in a great variety and at a cheaper price than canned tuna. 

Just like meat and chicken, you need to boil the fish before giving it to cats. Fish is a superfood for cats. It contains a lot of protein which is required for the proper development of cats. 

In addition, fish also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and taurine which are essential for the skin, hair and eyes of cats.

#5. Prawns

Prawns are seafood that is easily available in fish markets and they are cheaper than fish. So, boiled prawns(without ingredients) can become a diet for stray cats. Remember, prawns are deficient in fats and are not considered a balanced diet or cats. So it is advisable not to give prawns to cats daily. 

Vegetarian Foods That You Can Feed to Stray Cats

Before you give vegetarian food to cats, remember that cats are obligate carnivores. They need animal protein for their proper growth and development. Grains are rich in carbohydrates which are difficult for cats to digest. This may cause vomiting, loose stools, upset stomach and even diarrhoea. 

However, there are some plant-based foods that you can give to cats sometimes in small quantities. Let’s have a look at some of them.

#1. Rice

Boiled rice without oil, seasoning, spices and oils can be given to cats by mixing with boiled chicken, fish or prawns. Rice can also help in calming down the upset stomach. However, don’t make it a regular diet. Too much rice can cause digestive problems and malnutrition in cats.

#2. Pumpkin

According to Pet MD pumpkin is a good source of fibres, vitamins A and C, and zinc. It helps to prevent digestive problems and hairball formation. Pumpkin also helps cats in improving the health of skin and coat and improved vision. 

You can feed the pumpkin to cats directly taking it out of the can. I want you to avoid a pumpkin can that contains flavours and spices. The second opinion is to feed boiled pumpkins by removing their skin, pulp and seeds. Thirdly, you can prepare a mix of pumpkin, meat, chicken and fish to make a delicious fusion diet. 

Too much pumpkin, on the other hand, can give rise to digestive problems. So, it should be given only in small quantities or occasionally.

#3. Sweet Potatoes

Cats can eat sweet potatoes if they are boiled, steamed or cooked without seasoning oils. Just like pumpkin sweet potatoes are a good source of fibres that can help in preventing hairball formation and digestive problems. 

Feeding sweet potatoes to cats is only okay when you give them in moderation. As you know, sweet potatoes have a lot of carbs. And, our fluffy friends are bad performers when it comes to digesting carbs. 

5 Best Cat Foods for Stray Cats

After going through the popular human foods that you can give to stray cats now it’s time to review the Top 5 Best Cat Foods That You Give to Stray Cats. 

The biggest hurdle in the way of feeding stray and feral cats with cat food is the budget. Unlike our household settings wherein we feed a lesser number of cats, feeding stray cats is a big task. Since there can be ten, fifteen or twenty cats who would be waiting for you to bring their meals every day. Because of this, it’s extremely difficult to go for highly nutritious wet foods since they are too costly.

Remember, “Something is better than nothing”. Hence, I recommend buying dry cat foods in bulk. As a matter of fact, feeding dry foods every day is better than serving wet food once a week. This way stray cats can get at least something to calm down their hungry stomach daily.

#1. Best Overall: Whiskas Dry Cat Food

best cat to feed stray ats overall: Whiskas dry cat food

First 5 Ingredients:

Wholegrain Cereal (Corn, Wheat), Poultry & Poultry By-products, Corn Gluten Meal, Vegetables Oil (Palm Stearin, Soy Oil) |Ocean Fish  

Guaranteed Analysis

Protein 30%, Fats 10%, Moisture 12%, Fibre 5%

Whiskas Adult Dry Cat Food Review

Let’s be practical. It would be too hard to afford premium cat foods to feed stray cats. So, we need to find a product that is neither too bad for cats’ health nor too costly. When I see cat foods from this perspective then Whiskas Dry Cat Food appears to be a clear winner.

Whiskas Adult Dry Cat Food is the best-trusted product and is one of the most popular cat foods in India. It is affordable to feed stray cats too.

It contains 30% protein that comes from real ocean fish. As you know protein is the most essential nutrient for the health and development of cats. Plus 12% moisture which is 2% more than most dry foods.

While taurine and vitamin A helps cats to enhance their eyesight, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids take care of the skin and coat of cats. 

The product contains grains and preservatives which is a downside not only of Whiskas but of almost all dry cat foods except some premium cat foods. Though Whiskas is dry food, it is a bit expensive to feed a large number of cats in the long run.

What Makes This Product Different?

Whiskas Dry Cat Food has the best balance between the price and quality which is unmatchable by any dry cat foods as of now. 

ProsCons
More protein than other cheap dry cat foodsA bit expensive.
Taurine and Vitamin A Grains as fillers
2% more moisture than the recommended quantity
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Good Reviews

Why Buy This Product?

If you are looking for reasonably nutritious cat food for stray cats.

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Read Whiskas Cat Foods Reviews in Detail

#2. Best Budget Food for Cats: Purepet Ocean Fish Adult Cat Food

Best Budget Food for Cats: Purepet Ocean Fish Adult Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients

Sardine, Mackerel, Eggs, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Cereals, Soya Refined Oil. 

Guaranteed Analysis

Protein 28%, Fat 12%, Moisture 10%, Crude Fibre 2.5%

Purepet Dry Cat Food Review

Purepet Dry cat food is really an option if you feed more than 5 stray cats every day. Currently, it is the cheapest cat food available on Amazon and has got very good customer reviews.

The food is less nutritious than Whiskas but doesn’t ignore the fact that Purepet is available at almost half the price of it. So if you don’t want to compromise on the quality then go for Whiskas but if you have a large number of stray cats waiting for you then go for Purepet.  

Like most cat foods Purepet Dry Cat food includes Omega-3 & 6 fatty acids which are required for the health of the skin and coat of cats. Taurine on the other hand helps to keep sharp eyesight.

What I like about the product is that the brand is claiming that their food controls the hairball formation. If this is true then it would be great for stray cats because due to lack of care and proper nutrition they shed a lot and suffer from air ball formation too.

A lot of consumers wrote in the reviews that stray cats devour this food. This indicates that its flavour is good and most cats would like it. 

It includes Preservatives and grains as ingredients which are bad for cats’ health so it is a drawback of this cat food. 

My final words are Purepet  Dry Cat Food, one of the best foods to feed stray cats but if you don’t want to compromise on the quality then go for Whiskas.

What Makes This Product Different?

Purepet is the cheapest cat food available on Amazon and has good reviews that make it a good fit to feed stray cats.

ProsCons 
Budget-friendlyLow Nutrition
Controls HairballContains Preservatives
Omega-3 and Omega-6Contains Grains
Taurine
Most cats like the flavour

Why Buy This Product?

If you are looking for food to feed a large number of stray cats then Purepet Dry Cat Food is a good choice.

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#3. Me-O Persian Kitten Food

This image shows Me-O Persian cat food

First Five Ingredients

Poultry and Poultry By-products, Rice, Soybean Meal, Corn

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein 32%, Crude Fat 18%, Crude Fibre 4%, Moisture 10%

ME-O Persian Kitten Cat Food Review

If you feed stray kittens along with cats then Me-O Kitten food deserves your due consideration. 

Me-O Persian Kitten Food although being sold as a ‘Persian Kitten Specific’ diet, it can be given to street kittens too.

The reason why I included it in the list instead of general kitten food is that it has 2% more protein content than the Me-O kitten food ocean flavour. So, hopefully, it would provide better nutrition for stray kittens who already lack protein-rich diets. 

Its kibble size is such that it can be easily taken in and chewed by those tiny-teethed kittens. 

Another advantage of feeding this food is that it has high fibre content which makes this food easily digestible. Plus, more fibres also help in minimising hairball formation. 

This food is added with vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus for strong bones. 

Like other cat foods, Me-O Persian cat food takes care of providing Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to help stray cats have better skin and a healthy coat.

The presence of grains, preservatives and flavours are some undesirable ingredients in this kitten food. 

What Makes This Product Different?

Me-O Persian kitten food has higher protein than other dry kitten foods in the same price range.

ProsCons 
2% More Protein Than Other Kitten FoodsPreservatives
Controls HairballContains Grains
Omega-3 and Omega-6
Taurine
High Fibre 

Why Buy This Product?

If you are looking for kitten food which is an alternative to Whiskas and then go for ME-O Persian Kitten Food.

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#4. Best Cat Food Combo to Feed Stray Cats: Maxi Dry Cat Food

Best Cat Food Combo to Feed Stray Cats: Maxi Dry Cat Food

First Five Ingredients

Sardine, Mackerel, Eggs, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain

Guaranteed Analysis

Cured Protein 26%, Fats 14%, Crude Fibre 5%, Moisture 10% 

Maxi Cat Food Review

The first three ingredients of Maxi Cat Food come from animals which look attractive. However, the total protein content is just 26% which is lower than its counterparts.

Since the food has 5% Fibre it makes it easier to digest and prevent the hairballs. 

Like other cat foods, Maxi Cat Food includes Taurine too. Taurine is an essential nutrient(type of amino acid) which is required for healthy vision, muscle function and during pregnancy.  

Moreover, the food is budget-friendly(combo pack). So, you can feed a large number of cats with this food by spending less than what would be spent on other brands otherwise. 

The food contains grains and preservatives to increase the weight and shelf life of food respectively. This is a common downside of the majority of dry cat food. So for this product. The other downside is some cats may not like its taste and reject it.

What Makes This Product Different?

This product is the highest cost-saving cat food because you get 2 packs at the cost of one.

ProsCons 
2 Packs 7kg each at the price of 1Preservative
High FibreLess Protein
Omega-3 and Omega-6Contains Grains
Taurine

Why Buy This Product? 

If you are looking for a combo pack which can last longer than others you may consider this food. 

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#5. Best Preservative Free Dry Cat Food for Stray Cats: Drools Cat Food

Best Preservative Free Dry Cat Food for Stray Cats: Drools Cat Food

First Five Ingredients

Sardine, mackerel, eggs, corn gluten meal, whole grain cereals

Guaranteed Analysis 

Protein 32%, fat 12%, fibre 2.5%, moisture 10%

Drools Cat Food Review

The feature that separates Drools Dry Cat Food from its competitors is that it’s free from artificial preservatives and flavours.

Providing preservative-free cat food at this price range is really a big treat from Drools for the caring cat parents.

Apart from this, Drools contains 32% protein which is higher than most cat dry cat foods. So it’s what gives this food an edge over its substitutes.

The nutrient triplet consisting of taurine, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids work together to maintain the health of the eyes, skin and sheen of the coat.

Thinking about its taste? Well, as per the majority of reviews most cats accept this food but when you follow the proper food changing procedure. 

But here’s a heck, don’t replace the entire bowl of old foods with Drools at once otherwise your cats may reject it if you do this. Especially, when your old cat food was Whiskas. 

However, its likeability is lesser than Whiskas and some cats may not eat it. Another con is that it contains grains which are not good for the stomach.

Overall, it’s not better than Whiskas but definitely beats it on grounds of safety and protein percentage.

What Makes This Product Different?

Drools Cat Food is free from preservatives and flavours. No other brand in this price range is providing safer food than drools.

ProsCons 
32% ProteinSome cats may reject it
Free from artificial preservatives and flavoursGrains as fillers
Omega-3 and Omega-6
Taurine
High Fibre 
Organic nutrients

Why Buy This Product?

If you want to feed stray cats with the safest cat food at a low cost then Drools Dry Cat Food is the best. 

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Advantages of Feeding Stray Cats

This infographic shows the benefits of feeding stray cats
This infographic shows the benefits of feeding stray cats

#1. You Can Save The Lives of Stray Cats

The biggest advantage of feeding stray and feral cats is that you can save their lives. Especially, in a country like India where food is scarce even for humans, the situation for cats is even worse. 

Since there are almost no efforts from the government to improve the lives of street cats. They lack food, shelter and health facilities. Our companion animals are struggling to calm down their stomachs every single day. Many of them die out of hunger due to the unavailability of food. So, by feeding stray cats you can save the lives of many who might die of hunger otherwise.

#2. You Can Help Them Improve Thier Health

Even if stray cats somehow manage to survive by arranging food for themselves and their kittens, a large number of them still suffer from malnutrition and diseases. 

We take care of our pet cats by giving them nutritious food or by not feeding them what is bad for their health. But, this is not the case with stray cats. They eat whatever they find. Due to the intensity of hunger stray cats don’t care about whether things that they have found are good for them or not. As a result, they suffer from malnutrition, diarrhoea and many other diseases.

On the other hand, when you feed them you’ll take care of the nutrition or at least help them with a regular supply of food. This eventually, will help them to achieve good health and develop better immunity. 

#3. You, Will, Receive a Lot of Love in Return

When you continue feeding cats over a long period, then gradually they would start becoming friends with you. You’ll see how quickly you have turned into their dad/mom from a mere stranger. 

They would wait desperately for you to come and feed them during a set time of th day. As soon as you step out of your vehicle you would find them surrounding you from all around; rubbing their bodies against you and making begging meows by looking into your eyes. All these gestures are the signs that now you are someone whom they know and trust and want in their lives.

#4. Feeding Stray Cats Can Help in Carrying Out TNR Programs

You may be wondering, “How is feeding cats related to carrying out TNR programs?” all right. Let me explain…

…You see when you feed stray cats regularly they become habitual not only of you but of human handling in general. This would be helpful in tracking and cathing them to carry out sterilization, vaccination, neutering, spaying and other medical treatments. 

#5. Easy Adoption

Feral cats can’t be tamed yet you can adopt a stray cat. So, you can take any stray cat home from the group, with whom you have good bonding. This would be a win-win situation for both of you. 

As the cat would get a new home which is better and safer than the streets. And you’ll get a new furry friend. 

The good thing is, adopting a cat from a street doesn’t require any paperwork which is a must when you adopt cats from adoption centres. This makes the adoption easy, quick and simple. 

How Much to Feed a Stray Cat? 

Well, it depends on the life stage and health of the individual cat whom you are feeding. In general, kittens in the age range of 8 to 16 weeks need 3-4 meals a day which would sum up to +60-70g in the entire day. Junior cats more than 1-year-old need 80g(⅔ cup) of food daily. Which can be divided into two meals(40g + 40g). Adult cats need 40-60g(⅓ to ⅔  cups) of food which is less than what kittens need. Kittens need more food than adults because they are in a growing phase and hence require more protein for the growth of their bodies.

I advise you to go through the feeding guide given at the back of the cat foods to avoid any confusion.

Tips for Feeding Stray Cats

1. Street cats might not trust you in the beginning when you put food in bowls.  They might run away as soon as you approach them to offer food. So, it’s better to feed on cardboard pieces or paper for some days. Once, the cats start trusting you, then you can use feeding bowls.

2. Never place meals of cats too close to each other. This may give rise to a fight among them. Placing meals at safe distances will give a chance to weak and submissive to have what they need without getting beaten by the dominant cats.

3. Fix a cup or measuring spoon for measuring the quantity of food. This will help you to give an appropriate quantity of food every day.

4. Airtight containers and jars are the best to store cat foods. This would prevent the food from getting spoilt early. 

5. Always keep a paper bag, garbage scooper and broom with you to clean the place after the meals. 

Where to Feed Stray Cats?

The place where you feed stray cats should be at some distance from the residential areas. Because some residents might not like your act of assembling stray cats near thier housing. Hence, it’s better to avoid objections. 

Also, make sure that this place is safe from dogs and other bigger animals who may harm cats. Some stray and feral cats are fearful o humans too. Therefore, ensure that the spot has low human traffic so that the stray cats can have their meals freely.

The backyard of your house, vertical spaces, gardens, or empty chairs are some good places where you can feed stray cats.

Can I Feed Stray Cat Milk?

No! You can’t feed stray cats milk. Cats are obligate carnivores and they are unable to digest milk because of the absence of an enzyme called lactase. Lactase is the necessary enzyme” to break down “lactose” present in milk. So it’s a no. You may read our post ‘Can Cats Eat Cheese, Milk or Dairy Products to know more about this.

References: 

https://endpethomelessness.com/downloads/State-of-Pet-Homelessness-Index-India.pdf

https://www.petmd.com/cat/nutrition/benefits-pumpkin-cats