You will most definitely see some stray cats in the old neighborhoods of Lisbon. You will find them in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are very friendly and will sometimes yearn for human interaction. But most street cats here are afraid of people and will avoid you.
Food is the key to socializing with these guys. I started giving them a small amount of wet food by hand every time I would see them. Eventually, some of the cats associated my presence with food and lost any fear of me. I also always carry some cat treats in my backpack and offer some to the cats when I see them. That will definitely encourage them to come closer, too.
Life in the streets can be though and some cats survive only through the kindness of local Lisboners. Especially old ladies. They have a lot of free time and love to offer to the cats. Some of these old ladies are always providing food, water, and sometimes even shelter when it is raining. They keep the cats’ health in check.
Also, some of the cats you see in the streets are not stray or feral. They have homes. But their owners allow them to spend time outdoors. They normally have collars and are very approachable and super friendly to humans.
If you’re anything like me, you’d love to adopt all the street cats in the world. Unfortunately, I’m a few million Euros short but, we can always be like Lisbon’s old ladies and take care of the cats around us. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to caring for stray cats. One of the best ways to help feral cats and cat colonies is through neutering programs.
Trap-neuter-spay-return programs are organized into reducing the number of unwanted cats by catching and then neutering or spaying and returning them to their familiar environment.
If you think you can provide food, water, and sometimes shelter to a group of feral cats, contact your local animal welfare group to find out how to get started.