As a parent, I figured that one day the phrase 'do as I say, not as I do' would come out of my mouth, and after eight years and change, it's definitely been thrown around a few times.

Now, as a homeowner and animal lover, i'm encouraging you not to do as I did, because this little mistake has turned into a bit of a situation.

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A 'Stray' Cat Shows Up In The Driveway...Or So We Thought

Rewind to May of 2020, not getting out of the house much, well ever really, and not a whole lot of excitement until this random cat shows up to our house.


Sweet as can be, super friendly, but with the amount of time she was spending around my house, I thought she was a stray. We started calling her Marshmallow and quickly grew pretty attached to her.

She spent a great deal of time with us during the summer of 2020, hanging out on the back deck while we barbecued, even running through the sprinkler with my daughter and her neighborhood friends, and keeping me company during the long days of trying to occupy a four year old who can't go to school or do much of anything fun (ugh, COVID).


Turns out she wasn't a stray at all, and actually lived a few houses down the street, and her name definitely isn't Marshmallow. She eventually started spending more time at her own home, and more time indoors too, in fact, there was a stretch of nearly a year or so that we didn't see her at all.

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I Think I've Created A Cat Colony

Over the past few months, Marshmallow started showing up again pretty regularly, and these days it appears that she invited some friends along too.

Now admittedly, with the amount of time she has been spending hanging out at my house lately, we did put some dry food out, as based on the number of times my outdoor cameras were going off signaling her arrival at the front, back, or garage doors, she was ALWAYS around.

V.Turco, canva
V.Turco, canva

I guess I did this to myself, as putting the food out for our favorite neighborhood feline friend has signaled to many other cats (and what looked like a raccoon or opossum) in Wappingers Falls that they know where to find good eats....and so let me introduce you to the cast of characters that have been showing up at my front door:

My Accidental Wappingers Falls Cat Colony

20 cats later...I accidentally created a cat colony (and the occasional raccoon and opossum) at my house by putting out food. Oops.

Gallery Credit: V.Turco

20 Cats Later...Avoid Cat Colonies While Caring for Hudson Valley Strays

WebMD (yes, they provide animal care information too) cites, as one of the first things to know when dealing with outdoor or feral cats, to NOT feed them (oops). The Dutchess County SPCA on their website provides some helpful information about controlling the cat population through TNR, Trap, Neuter (Spay) Release, stating:

DCSPCA works to control the population in partnership with local TNR organizations by trapping, neutering, vaccinating, and then returning these cats to their territories.

There are actually programs dedicated to providing affordable services to meet this need too.

So what can you do to help the outdoor cat population?

  • determine if the cat is actually a stray or has a home
  • contact a local rescue to help with TNR, or even to get the animal adopted
  • construct a shelter, especially during the cold months, here's an easy tutorial (we have one of these for the winter)

Here's to more crazy cat lady fun in 2024!

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