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Hurricane Fay Coming! What to do with my feral babies?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
We live in Hillsborough County, FL and are right smack dab in the middle of a hurricane warning area. No mater where the storm hits, we are going to be hit pretty hard with at least heavy rains and winds.

We have a family of 3 feral cats that we have had the pleasure of taking care of for the past 3 years. They are a beloved part of our little family. Is there anything I can do to help them during this time? There's also another mother cat who has had 3 kittens. She appears to have moved to our house and we have been feeding them for the past 2 weeks. I've looked everywhere, but there's no mention of what to do with feral pets. I can't get near them except for to put food in fron of them.
I need some pointers to keep them safe. I've lived in Tampa, FL all my life and have never been in this position before.

Bringing them inside is not an option - our home is waaaay too small and the time they were inside (when they were spayed/neutered) it was just disastrous.
post #2 of 11
If you can, bring mother and babies inside. Otherwise, they have to ride storm out outside. Are there any structures outdoors they can use? Eg.
shed etc? One possiblitiy is to cut hole for in/out access on the side AWAY
from the expected wind direction(s). Hurricanes usually have clockwise circulation and the forecast will tell you what direct to expect the winds.

For the most part, you will probably only get some high winds and
rains - 60 mph or something like. They can find shelter and survive
this, amazingly. (think Katrina and so forth).

I would shelter as many as I could bring in, / trap closer to the time
of the expected storm esp the mom and babies.

In the past (I have 14 ferals in a colony here and they often experience
high wind storms and snow or rains) I have put out shelters for ferals consisting
of: a rubbermaid container with lid on top. cut hole in side (use
a coffe can lid of large coffee can as template) (had this doen for me
at home depot). I put 4 or 5 standard simple BRICKS in the bottoms of the tupperware to weight it down, and I lined with heavy layer of newspapers - I then filled with straw
(got at a craft store). In FLA the straw not needed for warmth, newspapers are fine.

I placed the shelters in the areas where I least expected winds to come
from experience, partially sheltered by the shed they hide under.

I put the hole facing away from expected winds. They used these shelters
extensively. I also have a dog igloo (smaller sized) that I put bricks in and
lined with paper and straw, and this might be the BEST choice for you.

Igloos are round shaped and shed the winds, so they don't have
the same resistances as square containers. This sits partially sheltered from
direct winds, but not completely like the square ones. It has
never moved, even in gusts of 50-65 miles per hour.

I hope these ideas help yoyu some. You can get dog igloos on Craigslist or used sometimes, maybe even from the shelter? Not sure - I bought mine
for a bout 60 buts its been a GREAT investment. I have about 6 to 8
cats that can shelter at one time in it... you would need one or 2 of
these probably.
post #3 of 11
If you are looking at a category 1 hurricane then you are looking at some ferocious winds. I had the misfortune of experiencing Charlie a few years back.
If you have a garage then you can trap them and put them in there.

Category 1 means maybe 90 mph winds. I don't see how they can survive without being in a very sturdy structure.

Maybe you can at least get the kittens and keep them in a carrier and then put them in the bathroom during the storm.

Maybe you can try opliot's suggestion only use more bricks or cinder blocks. You can put the structure directly against the house. If you are in a flood zone then you will need to raise it off of the ground somehow.
I wish I knew what else to suggest.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by opilot View Post
If you can, bring mother and babies inside. Otherwise, they have to ride storm out outside. Are there any structures outdoors they can use? Eg.
shed etc? One possiblitiy is to cut hole for in/out access on the side AWAY
from the expected wind direction(s). Hurricanes usually have clockwise circulation and the forecast will tell you what direct to expect the winds.

For the most part, you will probably only get some high winds and
rains - 60 mph or something like. They can find shelter and survive
this, amazingly. (think Katrina and so forth).

I would shelter as many as I could bring in, / trap closer to the time
of the expected storm esp the mom and babies.

In the past (I have 14 ferals in a colony here and they often experience
high wind storms and snow or rains) I have put out shelters for ferals consisting
of: a rubbermaid container with lid on top. cut hole in side (use
a coffe can lid of large coffee can as template) (had this doen for me
at home depot). I put 4 or 5 standard simple BRICKS in the bottoms of the tupperware to weight it down, and I lined with heavy layer of newspapers - I then filled with straw
(got at a craft store). In FLA the straw not needed for warmth, newspapers are fine.

I placed the shelters in the areas where I least expected winds to come
from experience, partially sheltered by the shed they hide under.

I put the hole facing away from expected winds. They used these shelters
extensively. I also have a dog igloo (smaller sized) that I put bricks in and
lined with paper and straw, and this might be the BEST choice for you.

I will try to get the mom and her 3 tiny ones inside. They are so tiny I'm afraid they will blow away. We will try trapping them this evening.

The older ferals (mom and her 2 babies) I can do the rubbermaid structures for them. We have a crawl space under our house and this is where they go when they hear a loud noise or when they want to sleep in the shade. I will place the containers under the house.

Thank you for the tips. I would have never thought of the rubbermaid containers.

Hopefully we can keep everyone safe and healthy.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CC12 View Post
If you are looking at a category 1 hurricane then you are looking at some ferocious winds. I had the misfortune of experiencing Charlie a few years back.
If you have a garage then you can trap them and put them in there.

Category 1 means maybe 90 mph winds. I don't see how they can survive without being in a very sturdy structure.

Maybe you can at least get the kittens and keep them in a carrier and then put them in the bathroom during the storm.

Maybe you can try opliot's suggestion only use more bricks or cinder blocks. You can put the structure directly against the house. If you are in a flood zone then you will need to raise it off of the ground somehow.
I wish I knew what else to suggest.
I'm going to try to get the kittens tonight with their mom. They are still nursing and I wouldn't want to separate them.

We don't have a garage, only a carport, so I'll put the structures under the crawl space of the house depending on where the winds are coming from. Luckily we are not in a flood zone.

I thank you for your helpful suggestions
post #6 of 11
Dont panic. Winds will likely NOT be in excess over 70 gusting. 90 is
for near the center where winds are strongest. I don't know your
exact location re: storm, but it seems like center will track over the inland
areas not the costal tampa area. (Live in largo FLA for many years, so know
well the area.)... Only had one major storm there - Elena.

if you put under the house, elevate the rubbermaids as much as possible wedge em in good under the house structure.. LOL.

Also bricks if you can to elevate some off
the ground areas that might get some rain under the house area...

Make sure when you cut
holes in the shelter boxes, make sure the hole is several inches from bottom
of container .... hum, and of course, check the forecast so you know
which direction winds will clock from (they usually will tell you, as the storm
approaches winds come in one direction, then back around to a different direction as storm pulls away.

Lastly, you can think / figure on about 4/6 cats per box depending on
size of box....

Good luck, vibes n prayers from my end. I know how hard it is to think
of the babies out there. Good luck w/ trapping. (If you put the boxes
under the house, mama will find and use...I'm sure of it.)

You are a kitty
post #7 of 11
It seem Faye has been less of a threat than they anticipated and for that I am glad. My parents don't live in Florida year round but have a house in Naples. Seems they got some heavier winds there. My parents are not there in the summers and I am glad because of hurricanes.

Let us know how your babies fare.

The only reason I mentioned 90 mph winds is because of Charley. It strengthened very quickly and caught everyone unawares so I always think it is best to prepare for a worst case scenario. I didn't mean it to panic you and I hope I didn't.

I hope trapping went ok.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Before we went to bed there were still several ideas about where the storm was heading and it was changing every 15 minutes, so we thought it best to be prepared as if it were going to actually happen.

We made the little shelters for Blondie and her babies (all grown), and spent 2 hours trying to catch Matilda and her 3 tiny kittens. This was down right terrifying since Matilda doesn't let you anywhere near her or the kittens with out hissing at us. She looks just like something out of a horror movie. She's not to be blamed - we've only known her 2 weeks and she is only protecting her little ones. We put Matilda and gang in our bathroom before going to bed (boy, that was a treat!).

We woke up this AM and the streets are eerily silent. There is no traffic. The sky is an odd color of tan and gray. There is an ever so slight wind and no rain in the sky. Looks like we dodged another one

Thank you for all the helpful advice. We now know what to do with our feral babies the next time we are threatened.
post #9 of 11
No honey, the edge of the hurricane is just getting your way!

I know this is so scary for you. Many !!!

This was all great advice that people have given. I'm glad you were able to get it done! I was just going to suggest, get those babies inside! I understand you have a small house, but if you could just get them in there for just a day in a spare bathroom or small room, it would be worth it.

Please check the radar and I'd keep those shelters in place and keep the kitties inside until you see that the hurricane is no more.

Keep us posted please!
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenvillegal View Post
No honey, the edge of the hurricane is just getting your way!

I know this is so scary for you. Many !!!

This was all great advice that people have given. I'm glad you were able to get it done! I was just going to suggest, get those babies inside! I understand you have a small house, but if you could just get them in there for just a day in a spare bathroom or small room, it would be worth it.

Please check the radar and I'd keep those shelters in place and keep the kitties inside until you see that the hurricane is no more.

Keep us posted please!
We had brought the babies inside. We are out of the woods hurricane-wise
We only got some fine misting - no actual rain or anything.

Much thanks for the vibes
post #11 of 11
I am so glad you and your SO and your kitties feral and otherwise are all safely through the storm.

I look forward to hearing more about your cats.
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