Maintaining Harmony Between Humans and Feral Cats

Big Daddy’s restaurant in Bajo Boquete is a popular establishment with a very big obligation to the feral cat colony that lives in the back garden.  The colony, which is undergoing rapid population growth, occupies the back yard of the restaurant and the neighboring empty land parcels.  The cats were straying into the Los Establos mall, which was inappropriate and unsafe.  The owner of Big Daddy’s asked SALDEA to partner with him in re-designing the restaurant’s back garden and to take over management of the colony.

Our goals are: 1) to control the population of the colony and keep it safe and healthy; 2) to create a landscape in which the cats are secluded, protected, and comfortable, while the restaurant patrons enjoy the beauty of tropical plantings; 3) foster harmony between the animals, plants, and humans in this lovely garden.

We conduct on-site sterilizations using the minimally invasive hook-and-loop surgical technique. Cats are trapped and sterilized in their home territory.  After they recover from anesthesia, they are released back into their territory with minimal stress.  We treat the property for fleas once a month.  We conduct anti-parasite treatments regularly.  The cats are fed Kirkland Maintenance cat food, which ensures that they enjoy a high quality diet.  We spend about $50/month on cat food, and $10 on each sterilization.  These costs mount up over time.

SALDEA constructed three feeding stations out of 20 gallon plastic storage bins.  These help keep food and water clean, but they need an additional layer of protection during heavy downpours.  The restaurant is planning to construct roof structures over the feeding stations so the cats can eat and drink when it is raining.

The restaurant is building a gazebo over a large concrete slab in the back yard.  The gazebo will be elevated enough for the cats to shelter underneath, giving them over 100 square feet of space to hide out on rainy days.

SALDEA is working closely with the restaurant to re-design the landscaping.  Currently there are many empty spaces in the landscape which leave the cats exposed.  We are introducing tropical plants that add to the natural beauty and create a buffer for the cats.  This project will be ongoing through the end of 2021.  Check back here for updates and more photos!