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Feeding and Caring for Feral Cat Colonies in Phoenix
Director of Communications
January 31, 2019

In an ideal world, every feline would have a loving, forever home to enjoy every day of their lives. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world and it isn’t always possible or practical for the feral felines in need here in the Phoenix area to find a forever home.

What is a Feral Feline?

A feral feline is an undersocialized domestic cat or kitten. They tend to be fearful of people and keep their distance from humans. They usually live in colonies where they share common food sources and territory.

How are Feral Cats Different from Stray Cats?

Stray and abandoned cats have usually had human contact and socialization. They aren’t instinctively fearful of humans and will often allow themselves to be pet and handled.

When felines are lost or abandoned and find themselves living outside in a hostile environment while struggling to find food they often join a cat colony for survival. Stray cats can become feral over time due to a lack of contact and loss of socialization with humans.

These two types of felines (feral and stray)  together create the “community felines” or “Free-roaming felines” that you may find in and around your home, work or in between.

Why do You Feed the Feral Cat Population in Phoenix?

As the largest cat rescue in the Phoenix area, our mission is to care for as many cats and kittens as possible in our area.

We dedicate a lot of our time and resources to caring for the local feral cat population because we believe that every feline deserves the best life possible. We are also working to reduce the population of feral cats through TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return).

At Saving One Life we provide the following care to feral cat colonies because they may never live in a forever home but that doesn’t mean they should suffer starvation and deprivation.


  • Food: We distribute approximately 1,000 pounds of cat food per week (52,000 pounds per year) to ensure their survival in areas where we have identified a colony and TNR’d the population.
  • TNR (Trap – Neuter – Return):  We humanely trap feral cats and spay or neuter them to help decrease the overall population. Once they have healed we return them to their colony.
  • Colony Feedings: We continue to provide food for these felines Veterinary Care:  If a feline in one of the colonies needs veterinary intervention, they will be treated.

What Happens if You Trap a …

Friendly / social kitty

We always check to see if they are microchipped and if so, do everything we can to reunite them with their family.  If not, chipped, we post on pertinent websites and groups to locate the possible families.  If both those options are fruitless and we have available space in the rescue, we will place in rescue for potential adoption.  If not, we will do our best to place kitty with another rescue.  Sadly, there are not enough foster homes among all the rescues in the valley resulting in friendly kitties returning to their colonies.

Sick kitty

We treat it.  No matter the ailment, we will not return a kitty back to a colony to suffer.  If the feline cannot be treated (terminal illness,etc.), we will humanely help the kitty cross the rainbow bridge.  We only euthanize when absolutely necessary.

Pregnant Kitty

We will place in foster to allow the kittens a safe place to enter into life and be properly socialized.  Once mom is done caring for the kittens, she will be fully vetted and returned to her colony (if feral) or placed for adoption (if adoptable).


We will place in foster to allow the kittens a safe place to enter into life and be properly socialized so they can be adopted.

How Can You Help?

There is no way to offset the costs of caring for feral colonies through adoptions because so many of these feral felines are not deemed adoptable. So we rely on the support of generous donors like you who believe that all felines should have a reliable source of nourishment and medical care.

We provide for approximately 800 felines in need around the Phoenix area – each and every day!  Help us feed those precious ones throughout the year by signing up.

There are several ways that you can help! We need donations of food and $$ to help support the feral kitties in Metro Phoenix area.

Total cost to feed all of the approximately 80 feral colonies for an entire year is $5,292.07. Although we are fortunate to partner with several organizations to obtain donated food to offset some of the costs of feeding it doesn’t cover all of the food expense. It doesn’t cover any of the cost of TNR or medical care.

Your donation of cash can help us feed, TNR, and provide critical medical treatments to over 800 feral cats and kittens in the Phoenix area.

Apply today to become a Volunteer!

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