The air gets cold and all of a sudden that cat you have seen lounging outside seems a bit cold. While it may be tempting to bring the cat inside, not all cats want this lifestyle.
Community cats can range from friendly to feral and both may need different treatment when it begins to get cold outside. Assessing the situation may be a best first step to seeking out foster homes for neighborhood friendly’s and dumped domestic cats or finding ways to allow the cats to live outside as they want, but with some comfort from the cold.
Here are a few quick ideas of things you can do to provide for animals in the winter:
One of the nicest things you can do for community cats, both friendly and feral, is give them a place to go when it is cold. If you cannot open up your basement or garage, making a shelter is the next best step. There are many online tutorials on how to make shelters which do not take much time or money to make. Plus, you will be helping the neighborhood cats keep warm.
Feed the cats:
Making sure the cats are fed during the winter is key to survival. Cats use up a lot of energy just keeping warm and need to eat to continue to replenish their body’s fuel. Making sure cats have a bowl of water and regular feedings will help them survive when food and water are typically scarce naturally.
Cold weather does not mean TNR-ing should cease to happen. In fact, the cold is when you should be trapping-neutering-and releasing to ensure the next kitten season won’t be as abundant. Cats will be able to recover either inside your home for the evening or at the shelter that does the neutering procedure. Do not release cats back into the cold after TNR as the anesthesia alters their ability to control their body temperature.
If you see a friendly cat on your street who is not owned, you may want to consider fostering the cat and keeping them out of the cold for the winter season. You are saving the life of a cat who potentially may not have made it outside, especially if it is a dumped domestic cat. Opening your home to a kitty during the cold season is a great way to give back and you will have made a new friend in the process.
Project MEOW is always looking for fosters to help cats during the cold season. Please reach out if you are interested in fostering a cat.