Friday, January 5, 2018

4 Tips To Help Keep Community Cats Safe In Cold Weather

Hello, everyone.  This is Lexy checking in with another important PSA. 

It’s winter time and not only are we in a deep freeze here in the North East, as I write this we are in the midst of a blizzard. Lola and I are very lucky to have a home where we can be safe and warm inside. But not all cats are blessed like we are.  This time of year we always worry about community cats, so I thought it would be a good idea to give you some tips for their winter safety. 




Shelter Tips

Even though cats grow a thicker coat in the winter, they still need a refuge where they can escape the cold, wind, snow and rain. A shelter doesn’t have to be fancy, and a simple shelter is actually easy and inexpensive to make. (Mother made some a few years ago with her friend. If she can do it, anyone can!) Here’s a video from Cole and Marmalade that shows just how easy it is. 






Alley Cat Allies has some great resources for other DIY shelters, and even some heated ones you can purchase.  And Alley Cat Advocates  alleycatadvocates.org has a great resource with tons of information on making the shelters safe. 


Food and Water Tips


Feral cats require more calories in the winter to help them stay warm. You can slightly warm some food and put it out at the same time every day so the cats will learn to arrive then and eat the food before it freezes. Since canned food will freeze if not eaten every right away, leave some dry food out as well. (Wet food is ideal for feral cats in the winter because it takes less energy to digest than dry food, and the cats can use the extra energy to stay warm.) Here are some heated bowls you can consider using. 


Photo by Neighborhood Cats

For water, use water bowls that are deep rather than wide, and try to place them in a sunny spot. Using silicone camping bowls or baking pans make emptying frozen water easier since the ice will pop right out. Consider using bowls that are darker in color, made of thick plastic and have a small opening. Heated electric bowls or solar heated bowls will really help prevent the water from freezing. To prevent dehydration, check their bowls twice daily to ensure the water hasn’t frozen. Just remember not to put the water bowl in their shelter. You don’t want it to spill and get the hay wet so the cats are sleeping on ice.


Other Safety Tips

Before you start your car, give it a good tap on the hood and honk your horn. Cats will often crawl inside the engine to stay warm and you want to make sure they are not hiding in there before you start your car. Cats will also go underneath the car, so don’t forget to check the tires, too! 


Photo by Hope Abrams via Flikr

Antifreeze is poisonous! If you keep extra around in the winter, make sure cats can’t get into it, and please clean up any spills right away. Ingesting just a tiny amount can be fatal to a cat. 


Winter TNR Tips 

If your trapping in the winter, please make sure the cats have a temperature controlled holding area where the traps can be kept covered and warm pre-and post-surgery. (Cats can’t regulate their body temperature when they are recovering from anesthesia, so a longer recovery period should be allowed for.) Make sure you can pick up the trap right away because if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for a cat to be exposed to the cold in a trap for an extended period of time. The cats should have adequate shelter when you return them to their colony. (See above!)

You can help a community cat survive the winter more comfortably  All it takes is a little extra attention and care. 
Lexy

30 comments:

  1. These are great tips - and badly needed this winter especially!

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  2. Those are all great tips! Our ferals are sure using their winter houses!

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  3. The PO'M and Sweetie seem to be doing okay during this severe cold, but I'm keeping close watch on them...even stayed home from work today! Fortunately, the bright sunshine is good; they can warm their furs in it! This morning, there was 3 inches of ice on the water bucket!

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  4. Fantastic resource! A few years after we moved in here, there was a black and white cat who kept coming around in winter. He visited three winters in a row - but I could never catch him. He and Bear would "converse" - but if he heard me open the front door, he'd take off. It's still one of those things that haunt me.

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  5. Great tips ! We're glad you have warm home ! Purrs

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  6. This is a timely and helpful article. I've been worrying about the ferals in our area. We have shelter set up for them but not everyone thinks about this. I'm going to share this on my FB page (Feline Opines) and to our local shelter and cat club groups. Thank You!

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  7. We don't have any place to put out food but some of the neighbors leave out food/water for the feral cats. It can be a problem though because of rats and raccoons and such.

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  8. Thanks for those excellent tips, Lexy.

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  9. I like your note about tapping the hood and honking the horn. We have a lot of barn cats that wander outside and this is always a concern of mine.

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  10. These are great tips! It makes me feel sick to think about the animals that have to be out in this horrid weather :(

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  11. Excellent tips. My heart breaks for all creatures trying to survive in this cold.

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  12. These are wonderful suggestions to help cats make it through the winter. Years ago we had community cats in our neighborhood, and aside from putting out food, I didn't know how to help them.

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  13. Excellent tips and oh, my heart just hurts when I think of these babies out in that weather. Thank you for making this blog.

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  14. Thanks for the good information and I loved seeing the shelter. I know where some community cats are and I will go check on them today.

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  15. Excellent tips, Lexy! Especially this winter with cold enveloping so much of the country.

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  16. A wonderful post and great tips for caring for community cats especially in the big freeze right now. It took quite a long time for our little guy Sly Pie's bean toes to heal from damage from the elements when he was fending for himself in below freezing temps. My heart goes out these community cats.

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  17. What a great post! I love that DIY cat shelter, it's terrific. Thanks for sharing these tips. I shared on my social channels!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  18. What great tips! I wouldn't have thought of the silicone bowl for easy ice removal!
    ~Kristin

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  19. Such important information! It always breaks my heart to think about the feral and stray cats in the winter time. We had one hanging around our house a few days ago, so I put out some food and an enclosed bed and blanket for him. He ate the food but didn't use the bed. Then he disappeared again. I hope perhaps he found his way home!

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  20. Such thoughtful and humane tips! I have seen feral cats in our neighborhood in San Francisco and although we never see crazy temperatures, these are good tips to keep in mind to help them in inclement weather.

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  21. What a great post with amazing information! Since I started learning about helping feral and stray cats I have not lived in an area with such cold weather. What a terrific, and creative, way to help protect these sweet furry friends. I've shared too! Thank you!

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  22. Around here, feral cats hide in people's barns. But the shelter idea is absolutely awesome.

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  23. Great tips for keeping kitties warm!
    Have a wonderful weekend...

    Noodle and crew

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  24. These are some great tips! I haven't seen feral or community cats in my area in several years. We used to have a group of cats who would go into the drain all the time. I don't think they are around anymore.

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  25. I am happy to see the feral church kitty being taken care of with an outside shelter and plenty of food and water daily. These are excellent tips.

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  26. I can't believe people leave cats out in winter in the USA and Europe. Barbarians. Thank you for showing us that there are things we can do to help community cats and strays.

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  27. Great posty Lexy. We so hate to see or even think 'bout the poor kitties livin' outside in those cold snowy spots of the world. Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

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  28. These are great tips! Luckily we don't have to worry about snow where we live.

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  29. Thank you for the informative post. I always feel badly for the cats outside.

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