Garden Cats

All About Garden Cats

You Love Cats. Do you have a protected garden or yard area that would be a safe home for a cat or cats in need?

ICRA has rescued a number of cats that are not comfortable enough with people to become house cats. Although these cats are called feral, they are not wild or aggressive, just very shy. They need safe outdoor spaces where they can live out their natural lives. In time, some of these cats will allow petting from a trusted caregiver. Others will keep a safe distance but enjoy playing or sleeping in the garden while you are nearby. Most are curious about people, and will interact with you at feeding time.

Hosting a Garden Cat

We’d love to move one or more of these cats to your garden where they can live in safety under your care. Your main job would be to provide daily food, water, and some shelter from the winter weather. We will guide you through the process of helping the cats adjust to their new home, and support you if you encounter problems.

What Garden Cats are looking for:

  • A safe yard, free of pesticides and free of other pets that may not want them in their area.
  • Shelter from the rain with warm bedding – a cat or dog house, a porch, or even a child’s play house.
  • A regular feeder. It is best to feed daily and not leave too much food out that will attract unwanted critters (wildlife). This means if you are heading out of town for a few days, it is best to have a petsitter or a neighbor take over the feeding.
  • Places to hide—under decks, behind established bushes or logs.
  • A bowl of fresh water—best to change out the water every couple of days to keep the mosquitoes away
  • A home that will love them like pets and treat them like pets and take the cats with them when/if they move or find another safe yard to move them to. (We have great advice on how to do either.)

Garden cat caretakers attest to the wonder and enjoyment of having these beautiful animals in their lives:

“Bruce and Tortie Girl are often curled up like Ying and Yang on their feral cat heating pad on my back porch when I open the door to feed them each morning. They jump up from their slumber and greet me; Tortie Girl rubbing gently against my leg and Bruce keeping an arm’s length but meowing the whole time as though to say, ”Hello, but please hurry up with breakfast!” –Merry, Oakland

“Mama is doing so well, she looks so healthy and lolls around on the deck acting like Leona Helmsley at the Palace Hotel.” –Cindy, Alameda

You can make a huge difference in the lives of these cats, with only a small amount of effort. We know you will find it rewarding.

  • Please contact us for more information on becoming a garden cat guardian by emailing us at
  • If you can’t host a garden cat but know someone who can, please share this information. Thank you!