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Kittens and Winter

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have these beautiful, amazing, wonderful feral kittens living outside of my house. I've been working with them bit by bit and slowly they've come to trust me, of course they are still extremely wary of other humans and even of me to an extent. Winter is coming soon and I worry about leaving them out in the cold so much. I wish that I could bring them inside but my father-in-law is extremely allergic to cats, so I'm at a bit of a loss for what to do. They're still a bit wild and if sent to a shelter will be put down because it would be very difficult to find them new homes, and I can not let that happen. What I need is someone that would be willing to help me find them homes that would be patient and understanding, to help me find someone that would assist me in getting my babies through the winter. Or some really, really good advice. *laughs awkwardly*
post #2 of 5
Smiffy - someone will be along with good (better than mine) advice I hope!
Here's what I do for getting through winter: Easy, cheap and affordable
shelter boxes.

Make them using rubbermaid containers. buy at Home Depot or Lowes,
and have them cut a hole in one side for you of the container (need
an electric tool / saw for this). Size of a large coffee can lid (I use
the plastic lids, trace a circle and cut it out).

Now for the stuffing! If you can - get some of that nifty bubble wrap for pipes that they sell... it is used to wrap water heaters and pipes in cold
areas. Cut it (cuts easily w/ siscors, and put on the bottom and sides
of the container. Use duct tape to secure it. Put about 1 inch or 2 of newspaper on the bottom of the container. fill it with STRAW not hay.
You can buy the straw at a craft shoppe for about 5 bucks a "mini bale"

If you can't find the bubble wrap, see if you can get a scrap or two
of that nice foam and foil insulation used in houses they also sell at home depot and Lowes. Alternately, you can use a foam mat that they sell at the sports stores for yoga (thinner one of course) and cut it up. Put the foam on the sides, bottom and if you can top lid inside.

Put the lid on the container et voila - instant shelter box!

Place the shelters out of the wind, put a large brick or rock on
top to keep from moving/blowing in the winds...

You will need about 1 mini bale per container depending on size. Make 2
smaller or one larger shelter box - it depends on no. of cats and if they
all get along. I like more boxes for "variety" and so I can move em around.

A large shelter will run you about 15 to 20 dollars if you do it this way.
2 smaller ones might cost 15 apiece.

For food and water - create a feeder by getting another rubbermaid and putting it on its side. PUt the lind "inside" the container bottom, so
there is a slightly "raised" surface. anchor with rocks or bricks, and
put food and water out "under shelter" so to speak for the rainy days

My colony of 13 cats shelters in these boxes, and eats this way in
the tough parts of winter, and they've come through 2 years now
in fine shape. They love their cozy (smaller) rubbermaids - houses
2 cats at a time. also have a large dog igloo faced away from winds
filled with Straw. They nest in that too.

As far as HOMES. Petfinder. and of course you MUST MUST get hooked up with a low cost spay neuter and get that done. Its really important if you don't want more and mroe kitties! Also perhaps you can find a group that will help sponsor. Flyers at Petsmarts or Petcos and local vets. Last resort ads in paper. Make SURE you ask for a financial dontation IF you do the ad route - 75 dollars at least - otherwise you could have your cats bought by someone who will resell to animal testing reserch labs! Eeeks!!
post #3 of 5
Thank you for wanting to help these kittens!

The only thing I would add to opilot's advice is that we cut two holes, because we've never had a feral use a shelter we made that had just one hole. Don't put the holes opposite each other (wind), make one in front and one on the side.

In the meantime, I agree, the cats/kittens must be spayed and neutered so they won't reproduce, or it can get really out of hand.

To find a place that will do it inexpensively or for free (depending upon what's available in your area), you can search for local shelters and rescues (which often provide free or low cost spay/neuters) or on low cost spay/neuters here:


You can also search through http://www.petfinder.org by typing in "cat" and your zip code, and searching through the list of orgs page by page (some have 3 - 4 pages of cats up for adoption, so you have to just keep going) - but all orgs have either a link to their website or to their web page on petfinder. See what services they offer. If there's some that have foster networks, try e-mailing them or calling them to see if they're willing to take in these kittens as fosters - and then they'll wind up in those orgs foster network.

Good luck!

post #4 of 5
This is great advice, and I would only add - you may be able to use styrofoam ice chests cut to size, my supermarket sells them for a couple of dollars. The insulation isn't as good as the thicker styrofoam boards you buy in huge (wall-size) panels from Lowe's, but if you're on a budget, it may be more economical.

Oh, and another thing you can add is a thermal blanket, like the kind they put on runners at the end of marathons. They look like big sheets of silver foil. You can buy these for about a dollar in Target's camping department, they are called "emergency blankets." They will help keep in warmth. I would probably put some other fabric or layer of something over them though so as not to scare the kitties with the shiny silver.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Aaww. Thanks so much everyone! We've started to get to work on a shelter to keep the kitties warm and safe through the winter. They seem to like it pretty well, we're not completely done with it yet, but they've started sleeping in it already and they're always rolling around on the little blanket that we have in there right now. So I'm definitely pleased with things so far. I'm really glad that I have people that I can turn to that will give me advice to help the little babies. Thanks so much, once again!
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