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April 2024

Shelter and feeding for an outdoor cat

Wednesday, January 4, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

If you’re like me you may wonder how those feral cats can survive the winter. Many feral cats seek shelter under car engines, porches or any area where they could find warmth. Sometimes we’re tempted to feed feral cats but the problem is that they’ll  keep coming back for their meal every day. I know someone who loves and feeds several feral cats that drop by her townhouse everyday. She recently received a letter from the condo board telling her that she must stop feeding these cats or else she would be fined. Unfortunately, there are many pet “unfriendly” condos out there. I know that this person is probably feeling bad and worrying about how these cats will get their food. Here are some things that you could do to protect our feral feline friends.

In cold weather, shelter is actually more important for stray and feral cats than food.

  •  Freezing winds, snow and rain can cause frostbite of the ears and paws if colony cats cannot find a dry, wind-proof shelter.
  •  Even though feral cats build thicker coats for winter, they can quickly succumb to hypothermia, particularly in rain and snow when their fur gets wet and doesn’t insulate as well.

You can build a simple shelter and place it away from the condo complex but put it within your own reach. The best place would be a wooded area away from people. The shelter could be made from a 30 gallon plastic tote. Cut a hole in the tote. Insert a Styrofoam  cooler inside the plastic tote and cut a round hole  to match the hole that you cut in the tote. It should be big enough for the cat or cats to get in.  Add straw and then a lid on the Styrofoam Cooler. Place the lid on the tote and you’re done!  You can place food in this shelter every day. You’ll now feel that you are protecting our outdoor feline friends and providing them enough food to survive the tough winter. The great thing is that the shelter could be used all the time!

Remember, your pets count.








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