Saturday, December 14, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside | Keeping Cats Warm in the Winter

Have you been outside lately? It's cold out there! I live in Central Texas where it's not all that cold, but this year we've had our fair share of below freezing temperatures I think. Thank goodness for warm blankets and cozy beds.

Unfortunately, not all cats are blessed with warm homes to live in. Which is OK by some of them. Many cats live outdoors as feral cats. They have to find shelter, water, and food in the winter which could be more difficult than it is in warmer months. The nice thing is that people can help.

Keeping feral cats warm in winter
Source

If there's a feral cat or feral cat colony near where you live, you can always leave out some extra food for them. That's a nice way to help. Or you can even build them a shelter. A shelter for feral cats doesn't have to be too fancy. You could make one out of all kinds of things if you get creative enough.


This article at Petfinder tells you how to build and maintain a feral cat shelter. There's also a video there with some more tips.

Feral Cat Shelter
Source

In areas where the temperatures get below freezing, water can be hard to come by for a feral cat. There are heated water bowls you can buy fairly cheap that can keep the water from freezing. Here's another great article on how to prevent freezing water.

Don't forget to check your car for cats before you turn it on. Cats like find shelter in car engines and on wheels when it's cold outside. All you have to do before you get in your car in the morning is take a once around your vehicle and knock on the hood. A feral cat should get the idea and run away from any sort of danger.

I've unfortunately witnessed firsthand what an engine can do to a cat. It happened once when I was probably in middle school. The cat suffered a broken leg from what we were able to tell. She ran off to hide and never let us take a good look. But the cat did live for many years afterwards, thankfully. Her name was Banshee because she was a pretty wild one.

Anyways, with just a few simple steps you can help a cat keep warm and well-fed in the winter. Even if you only did one of the things on this list, it will probably help out tremendously. It's cold out there friends, so stay warm!

35 comments:

  1. We have a bunch of cats that live outside and they have several places for shelter and they also get plenty to eat. When it gets cold, they are starving all the time. They do all right but shelter and food is very important.

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    1. Glad you are there for your those outdoor kitties. I'm sure they are all very thankful!

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  2. We sure do worry about our outside sweeties, even with housing and lots of food, we just worry.

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    1. I know what you mean Brian.. there is so much to worry about with those outdoor kitties...

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  3. I don't think cats enjoy being cold, I know our kitties sure don't. We never see cats outdoors in our area, thankfully, but I guess lots of people do and these houses would be good.

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    1. I don't think they like being cold either. I know I don't like it!

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  4. I always worry about the "outdoor" cats this time of year, it is just so cold this week (-15 F). We hope they all keep warm! Lee and Phod

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    1. That is so cold! I think the cats down in this area are probably OK, but up north I just couldn't imagine...

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  5. This article makes us very thankful to be indoor-only kitties. We just can't imagine what it would be like to not have a family to take care of us!

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    1. Indoor only kitties have the good life guys! You are so very lucky. It is much safer on the inside. And warmer!

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  6. Poor outdoors cats that are out there in this cold :(

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  7. Thank Cat, most of our visitors have their own family, but if not, we certainly will help them. It's so sad :( Pawkiss for a Happy Weekend :)

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  8. We alwys have a bag with kibble for the feral cats. We give it to the Lady who feeds this cats, they only come when she is alone there. They live in an old barn, thats not the best but at least they have a place where they are a little protected.

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    1. We have a lot of areas like that around my property too Easy. A barn, a shed, and lots of other warm places and structures a cat could go into if they wanted to get warm. I haven't really seen any cats though. Except for one black cat we saw a few months ago. He must be pretty sneaky.

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  9. Those are some great tips, Ann. With it getting colder here (and a big snowstorm today), we do worry about cats who live outside.

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  10. You really have to worry about those cats outside...it is so cold. But, I have never seen a sick
    cat outside not that it doesn't happen. We always provide warmth food and water for them.
    Thanks for posting this...
    Purrs

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    1. And thank you for lending a hand to those kitties!

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  11. Fortunately we don't have any around our neighborhood. If we did, M would be feeding them. She has bird seed all over outside too, and the one kind of seed, cats will eat if hungry enough. (Sunflower hearts)

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    1. How nice of your mom, Mario. I also don't have any ferals around here right now. There may be one, but he is extra sneaky and I've seen him maybe 2-3 times since July.

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  12. The mom just trapped a couple of cats at our dad's business and got them fixed. Unfortunately, she had to return them outside. But they have shelter and are being fed. But we need to check into a heated water dish for them. Good info!

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    1. Oh well good for your mom! I think it's a good thing that they can't make anymore babies at least. The prices I saw on heated water dishes were about 20-30 dollars. I think I saw a solar powered one too so you wouldn't need electricity to use it.

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  13. We're all adopted strays, so tending to feral kitties is something close to our hearts.

    One word - if it gets cold enough, even a heated water bowl will freeze up, at least enough to put a layer of ice over the water. Especially if you bought the bowl on-line, you might have to watch it, to make sure it stays water most of the time.

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    1. Thank you for sharing that :) It doesn't really get that cold here and I was curious if water still could freeze even with one of those bowls.

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    2. FWIW - We ordered a bowl on-line a couple years ago, and it was a little "light" for our area. If it got down to around 15-20°F it would start to freeze. We finally bought a new bowl from a local farm & home type store, so we would have something that could handle the local conditions. The new one has worked fine down to 0°F, which is as cold as it has gotten this year.

      Also, this might well be the only available water for a lot of critters in the area. You might need to keep an eye on things, to make sure the bowl gets refilled as needed.

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    3. I did see a lot of "farm" brands when I was browsing on Amazon. They had some that looked like they were pretty heavy duty for livestock I suppose.

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  14. I was told when we moved into this house 2 years ago that there were several feral cats around. No one had done anything about checking their health, so I had a no-kill rescue person come look around. She found where they were sheltering under a workroom built here (decorative rock around the bottom with several rocks fallen down, so we've never tried to put the rocks back). I've never fed them because was told that as long as they stayed looking the weight they are, they're getting plenty of food somewhere--even if it's just the prey around here in the wooded areas behind the houses. If they started looking skinny though, I'd feed them. Luckily the creek doesn't stop running no matter how cold it has gotten, so they've got water. Otherwise I'd find a way to keep water for them at the edge of that shed.

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    1. Sounds like they are taking care of themselves pretty well then. Good thing the water in the stream over there isn't freezing over. It's very nice that you keep your eye out for them!

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  15. Great post Ann! We don't have feral cats around here but if we did, I would follow your advice!

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  16. We hope the feral ones have shelter somewhere. Have a serene Sunday and partake of some big easy today.
    Best wishes Molly

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  17. That's some great info Ann,don't forget to enter Speedy's count down,xx Rachel

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  18. Great idea! I like that cat shelter. Cute. :)

    We're on our way to Kyle (just south of Austin) next week. I'm looking forward to seeing family and to enjoying the milder weather.

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    1. I heard that you were coming down this way! Kyle is not too far from where I live. Hope you have a good time!

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  19. What a nice post, Ann. We don't have any stray cats in our area, since we are very rural, but those are great things to know for those that do.

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  20. Those houses for feral cats are cute.

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