Feeding feral and community cats can get expensive. You definitely do not want to waste it. Nor do you want to feed your beloved colony, only to have the food stolen by raccoons or ruined by rain before they can eat it. You need an outside cat feeding station to help protect the food from weather, or wildlife, or even to help protect the cat from the weather.
There are many types of cat feeding stations you can purchase or build, some designed to simply protect the food from bad weather. Some are designed to be raccoon-proof. Some are a complete box to help protect the cat as well while he eats.
There are many options to choose from.
You first have to decide what kind of feeding station you need. Why exactly are you considering purchasing or making a cat feeding station?
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This simply means I may make a small commission on all qualifying sales, at no cost to you. Read Affiliate Disclosure for full details. Thanks for supporting the kitties!
Covered Cat Feeding Stations
If you are looking to protect the food from the weather (and sometimes the cat too!) then you likely need a covered cat feeding station.
Pictured above is a cedar cat feeding station from CozyCatFurniture. These types of cat feeding stations are very sturdy and made of wood, such as cedar. Some of these can be bought from places like Amazon or direct from the crafter’s websites. They’re very nice to look at though if you want to set one up on your property.
The downside is these can be seriously pricey for even a small one.
Another place to have a covered outdoor cat feeding station made is the Ark Workshop. These will take some time to come in as each order is custom made (and expensive), but they have MANY different designs to choose from, including enclosed or elevated cat feeding stations!
Feral Villa makes outdoor cat feeding stations as well as cat shelters!
The alternative to one of these is to use plastic storage totes and build your own! Alley Cat Allies has instructions on how to build one using plastic totes. These are inexpensive to make. The downside to these is that they don’t last long and are kind of obtrusive looking.
Enclosed Cat Feeding Stations
If you want more protection for the cat and the cat food, you could consider an enclosed cat feeding station or turning an outdoor cat shelter into a feeding station. It’s simply allowing a cat to enter a shelter to eat!
Cat feeding station ideas you can purchase at Amazon for an enclosed cat feeding station include feral cat shelters, dog houses you repurpose, or even a pet carrier without the door can be used as an enclosed feeding station!
If other wildlife isn’t a concern and you feed your cat colony on schedule, the size of the door in the above designs is fine. If, however, you feed at night or leave food unattended, you may wish to purchase the cat shelters with smaller doors, such as FeralVilla’s cat shelters.
As mentioned previously, you can purchase some enclosed feeding stations at the Ark Workshop.
Elevated Cat Feeding Stations
If you’re looking for cat feeding stations that are not on the ground, there are options for those too!
The one pictured above is a CozyCatFurniture design. Pricey, but can be an effective feeding station OR cat shelter for sleeping. You can purchase it at Amazon!
Ark Workshop also builds elevated cat feeding stations, as well.
Wildlife-Proof Cat Feeding Stations
If raccoons, opossums, or other animals are getting into your cats’ food, there are some interesting ideas to help protect your feeding area!
My favorite raccoon-proof cat feeder is the automatic cat feeder that doesn’t rely on microchip recognition.
An automatic cat food feeder, specifically this one, has been proven to keep raccoons from getting the cat food inside. The downside? Raccoons can CARRY it off and have been known to try this while they figure out how to get the food inside.
You will need to rig it so they cannot carry it away, either by putting it securely inside a weighted plastic tote like this lovely video shows or by placing in inside of a cat shelter where it cannot be removed through the door.
This suggestion for feeding free-roaming cats should only be done on your property as you don’t want this destroyed or stolen by people in public parks or business parking lots.
Another suggestion for keeping the wildlife away from your cat’s feeding station is to use a cat flap that scans for your cat’s microchip. If you ensure your cat colony is microchipped during Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), this might be a good option when combined with a cat shelter like the ones mentioned previously.
Want to build your own raccoon-proof feeding station? Instructions can be found here.
Cat Feeding Station Ideas
From simple DIY designs with Rubbermaid totes up to expensively built cat houses, there are a million ways you can set up an outside cat feeding station. You can buy winter cat shelters to repurpose as a feeding station. You can build your own wooden platform for feeding your cats. Or buy an automatic feeder!
Don’t know what to feed community cats? Don’t forget to read my post on the best food for outdoor cats.
Did I forget to mention a feeding station idea that you use? Did you purchase one of the ones I mentioned in this post? Let me know by commenting below.
17 thoughts on “Outside Cat Feeding Station Ideas”
This was a refreshing and enjoyable post to read. I’m a cat lover, so i just loved your outside cat feeding station ideas. It was quite interesting to learn that the Racoons are so crafty that they will think to take a feeding station away so that they can work at getting the food out later.
All that was interesting but what I loved the most was that cat flap that will scan for your cat’s microchip. It’s pure genius I think.
Which one of the feeding station suggestions that you mentioned is your personal favorite?
My personal favorite is the automatic feeder idea inside of a weighted crate or the little covered feeding stations. I don’t need an entire hidey-hole set up. Thanks for asking!
Although these feeding shelters seem functional and would work, you might check out the ones at The Ark Workshop … http://www.arkworkshop.com. They have several designs and 2 unique raccoon resistant shelters.
I love how this is idea is very niche. I mean there’s also these pictures that really show what you are talking about. I mean for me feeding outside cats is kind of cool, because you know you’re able to help them out and it’s not their fault that they’re just kind of out there alone in the world, maybe you know what I mean. These are feeding stations definitely it’s really cool that you can build one or you can buy one without really breaking the bank. I love how you have so many different choices. And obviously, if you invest more money and they’re going to be a better product. So I really like the idea that you just can kind of leave it out and the cats can just come and go as they wish.
Feeding stations are a great setup to give feral cats some shelter and food during harsh times. We had something similar made out of old planks but it’s starting to wear off after the flood last month. It’s time to get a new one and we are thinking of going plastic since we have many extra plastic totes around. Will check out Alley Cat Allies on how to DIY. Thanks for the link!
Thanks for visiting! Glad I could help!
I really enjoyed your post on feeding the feral cats in your community. I live out in the country and don’t really have that many around. Mainly what we have are cats that people dump on our dead end gravel road.
The feeder that lets only the cats that have been chipped in is a good idea. We have a lot of raccoons here and they can eat a lot. The automatic feeder is a good idea too and probably the one I would need.
How many cats are you feeding at this time? I would only have 2 to 3 at a time here.
Unfortunately, we get a lot of dumped cats and kittens at our barns as well. It sucks. I try to help them by getting them fixed and find homes for those that are adoptable, but it happens ALL THE TIME!
Thank you for caring for those abandoned cats!! I currently care for 16 cats right now. A couple of those are fosters, two of them are my cats, and the rest are resident barn cats.
This is a very great article. I love the different options that are given for which can be your style. Some of these are actually not that expensive to me. Although I don’t own a cat I will share this with some of my neighbors that I know who feed stray cats.
Thank you so much!
Can you recommend a low cost microchip supplier for colony caretakers?
I usually have mine done during their spay or neuter surgery because I’ve heard it’s extremely painful for some cats since the needle is so large. Most low-cost spay and neuter clinics offer cheaper microchips or special microchip clinics.
Another option is some PetSmarts have a vet clinic in them and some of them are VERY cheap, although I’m uncertain if you could simply get a feral done or if they do spay/neuter surgeries on ferals.
Last option, and one I have NOT tried so I make no guarantees on products, is you can actually buy a microchip off Amazon (I’d choose the HomeAgain brand, it’s the only one I’ve heard of that I’ve seen on there) but it is supposed to be administered by a veterinarian. I definitely don’t recommend doing it yourself unless you’ve been trained to give injections.
You can register any microchip for free, no matter WHAT the company tries to get you to pay for yearly registration. That’s just extra perks that aren’t worth it most of the time. It’s registered, even if they ask you to pay. Use 24PetWatch to register all your microchips, their registration stuff is less annoying than HomeAgain, I’ve heard. (I use 24PetWatch)
I hope that helps.
I feed my colony in public (I moved away and drive 30min to feed them daily). Last night my feeding station, spray painted camo, hidden with fake ivy amongst real ivy and bushes, and not visible from the road or parking lots, was stolen.
I’m debating what to do next.
If I put a new feeder out they could just do the same. The feeding station keeps rain off the food and keeps the cats dry while they eat.
If I just put out food it’ll get cold and soggy and they’ll get wind and rain on them while eating.
They don’t come at a particular time — ever since we had a really bad snowstorm around New Year’s they have stopped their habit of coming in early evening. Not that I can stay around for 3 hours watching since I’ve moved.
I could try feeding them somewhere else, but I chose that place because it was the best spot — I walked up and down the fence and behind the apartment buildings several times, and everywhere else looked worse — less cover, garbage in the bushes, closer to the parking lot.
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. If you can’t move it because it really is the best spot, I would maybe use cheap foam coolers or plastic storage bins spray-painted camo again as feeding stations for now. But those aren’t very heavy, so you may need to somehow weigh them down or get them to stay? I don’t know the area, of course. If wind or anything isn’t an issue, it could be just fine using lightweight objects. But then it won’t be as expensive to replace if it’s stolen again. Because without knowing when all the cats are going to show up, they really do kind of need a feeding station.
Hope that helps!
I need help coming up with a way to feed the outdoor cats (that live under my mobile home) without anyone knowing I’m doing it (FREAKING nosy neighbors). The mobile home park is saying we have to stop feeding “strays” or risk eviction. I’m not about to do that, they don’t have anyone else. Suggestions appreciated.
I’m sorry they’re causing issues. The only suggestion I can make is to somehow create an area out of sight of neighbors, maybe just under the trailer? Or some sort of large ‘box’ with an opening they can enter?
Hope that helps!