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question about winter feeding

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I noticed this morning the water was frozen in the water dish. This is my first winter taking care of ferals- not really looking forward to it.

I know i can use hot water to keep it from freezing- however i feed in the morning - most seem to now be eating at night - so how do i do this? They are now in the woods - it would be creepy and unsafe for me to go back there at that time. Also because they are feeding in the woods - there isnt really direct sunlight back there either.

Im also thinking about getting an outdoor automatic feeder/water dish for them so maybe i dont have to go out every day. Of course I would check on them - but carrying out the food etc. may get a little difficult if it snows a lot. Any recs on items like that? The bigger and cheaper the better of course.

I just got their winter shelter out today. That was a tough job - but its done and Im SOOOO pleased with that.

PS - I feed in the morning because its the best time to have privacy from the neighbors.
post #2 of 14
I'd conduct a search to see if you can find a heated water dish that runs on batteries. Don't know if it exists. Other than that, as far as I'm aware, you just have to put it out in the morning and hope for the best. We cared for our colony just outside our door in a rural, safe area - so I never had to face those issues.

Hopefully someone else will have more knowledge!

post #3 of 14
I am having the same exact problem. When I went out to add more water today to the bowl I noticed it was knocked over and had a layer of ice at the top. I think the cats may have tried to get to the water and knocked the bowl over in their effort.
post #4 of 14
I have been researching thinks that heat with batteries for the past hour. I was thinking maybe battery powered fish tank thermometers but I haven't been able to find any. I also looked for battery operated reptile heat rocks but was unsuccessful. There are battery powered heating gloves that you might be able to wrap around the water bowl over night, seems like a silly idea but it may work. I am going to be doing more research on this idea.

Here is a link to a few products.

post #5 of 14
Here are battery powered heated socks that work for 4-6 hours supposedly and even when wet. If you wrapped one around the water dish it might work to give your cats water that doesn't freeze until the batteries run out at least. They are only $20, could alternate a sock every time you feed. Would be kind of weird but might work.


This kind has bad reviews but maybe a different brand might work.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
wow - thanks!!

Right now their water is in plastic dishes - I am noticing they are cracking though. I guess any kind of heating device would melt the plastic. So I guess Id have to find something else....

also - heres another weird question - i was using a tupperwear pitcher but found that a hi-c container held much more water. I know that these type of plastics wear down and are not meant for continued use due to possible cancer issues. Im sure studies havent been done on animals - would you think theyd be ok if i continue using this plastic container for carring their water.
post #7 of 14
I think using a plastic container for carrying the water is fine. I doubt the heat provided by batteries in anything would melt plastic, but just to be safe I'd get a metal dish - like a dog food bowl - for the water.

And I see no reason why a battery heated sock wouldn't help!

...though that might get expensive. I know rechargeable batteries are expensive, but getting two sets may save money in the long run, because batteries are expensive. Just a thought.

post #8 of 14
i hate to sound like somebody's mom, but i'm not sure it's a good idea to be wrapping electric socks around a bowl full of water outside, etc. they make heated water bowls just for this purpose, jefferspet.com has a few. here is one:


i think these generall need to be plugged in but if you have an outdoor outlet that should work.
post #9 of 14
There are disks that you put in the microwave - designed to be placed in an ourside pet's bed. They hold the heat for 6-8 hours. They would at least keep the water from freezing. I don't think they'd melt plastic.

I got mine at PetSmart - about $25-30 each. The disks are about 10 inches across, so a water bowl would sit right on top.
post #10 of 14
I saw electric water bowls at my local walmart, they were on clearance, i was thinking of getting one. If they are still there I will pick some up if anyone is interested. I think you have to plug them in though, but I am not sure, I didn't look at them too closely.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Redsmurf - please let me know about that. I definitely need something NOT electrical - their water dish is now in the woods with no outlet available at this time.

Thanks for all the help with this!!!
post #12 of 14
Try Solar Sippers -


Battery powered, and completely submergible...also
all weather resistant... keeps dishes unfrozen in the
20 degree weather even as low as teens...

You can make one if you have
sunshine, too using an old tire stuffed with rocks
placed in an area that gets sun, with a large bucket inside the
tire well. The tire and rocks heat in the sun, release heat into
the water and keep from freezing.

The solar sippers are battery powered, and safe to submerge
and might be your best bet. I am using one and very
happy with it, my own ferals now have something to drink
all night long....

There is also a solar heated dog water dish that comes
with a solar panel attached to the water dish - recharges
etc. Valley Vet has it online I believe... Or Dr. Smiths...
post #13 of 14
I forgot to add, in really cold weather I heat 1/2 and 1/2 water
and low sodium chicken broth in the microwave till it boils, put
it in a jar or container and take out to the ferals. The salt in
the water makes it freeze at a lower temp than water so it
stays liquid much longer, and
it provides hydration longer plus tastes and smells great to the
kitties. They even lick it when its slushy and frozen (kinda
the consistency of italian ice)....
post #14 of 14
And switch over to a stainless steel bowl. If the water freezes, it takes the abuse of turning it over and smacking it on the back side to release the frozen water from the bowl.
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