Feeding the stray cats. Guidelines for Israel.
I don't know who to turn to, perhaps you can help!
My neighbor feeds the stray cats but it has gotten out of control. Originally he was feeding two or three cats but now that number has risen to a colony of about 20. Sometimes he gives them cat food, other times he gives them raw meat, sometimes white cheese, but whatever it is, there are always remnants of food left lying around. We have spoken to him multiple times but in-spite of promises not to, he continues feeding the stray cats in our neighborhood. The cats congregate at the entrance to our building and they make a huge mess. What are we supposed to do?
Thanks for writing to us and raising this topic. People in Israel are very sympathetic to stray cats and you will often see someone feeding them but when it gets out of control, as you describe, there are a few things that you can do;-
Keep in mind that there is some benefit in having a few cats in your area as they keep the snake and rodent population under control. Does your neighbor know the laws around feeding stray cats in Israel?
The Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection lays out these guidelines:
- Feed street cats in an area that does not put them in danger and does not constitute a nuisance to nearby residents.
- Feed street cats with quality dry food, at fixed times, in fixed places, and in the exact quantities required for each meal. Pick up the leftovers and dishes at the end of each feeding, and to keep the area clean.
- Provide clean drinking water for street cats.
- Keep the waste dumpsters shut at all times.
- If you notice any deterioration in the health of a stray cat, please contact your regional veterinary clinic.
We contacted out local municipal authority and the response we got from the Chief Veterinarian's office was as follows (translated from Hebrew to English):
"It is permissible to feed the cats on condition that no remnants of food are left lying around and that the area is kept clean. Should this regulation not be adhered to, please report the incident to the Public Complaints Department and a fine will be issued"
The Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection also states that it is the local authority's responsibility to spay and neuter stray cats, in order to prevent uncontrolled growth of stray, street cats populations.
Note: Poisoning stray cats is a violation of section 4 of the Animal Welfare Law (1994). Violation of this law is punishable by imprisonment.
We hope this answers your question.