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Cold Weather

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have two inside young cats ( 4-5 months old) but have noticed several hanging around the house outside. Our weather here in New England has been really cold so my thoughts are that they are trying to find food and shelter. We have been leaving the door to the garage up about 6 inches so they can get in out of the wind but by mid week it is suppose to drop below zero again. Any sujections?

post #2 of 22
Hey Brenda...thanks for caring...

Winter’s here, and the cats are cold!
Caregivers in the Northwest, Northeast, and Midwestern states that are experiencing a hard winter need to know that the frigid temperatures and storms can be dangerous to your feral cats. Do they have proper shelter? Plans for shelters to assemble or build can be downloaded from the ACA website (by clicking here). Remember that bedding in cat shelters should be shaved wood bedding, such as Kaytee Pine Bedding. Do not use towels or blankets because they can hold moisture. Electric heating pads and water bowls are good choices if you have access to outdoor electricity.

Bedding, pads, bowls, and more are available from PetsMart online. These products are also available in some PetsMart stores. If you do not have a PetsMart store in your area, the K&H Manufacturing website (they produce the Lectro-Kennel “Outdoor Heated Kitty Pad†and an electric water bowl) lists various sources of their products.


For more helpful information, visit:

post #3 of 22
Laying up straw beds inside the garage will help. Make them out of the way in the corners and stuff, the cats will come in and find them and burrow down into the warmth. Also, cooking up chickens and saving the broth, pouring the broth over the dry food will also help to keep them warm. Over time, it will help build up a protective layer of fat to keep them warmer. Make sure they have water and it doesn't ice over. I put a hot rock (a rock you warm up in the fireplace) in my water bowls for ferals in Alaska) you can buy one at a pet store. It keeps its heat properties a long time, even when doused with snow or ice.
post #4 of 22
HIssy! That's an EXCELLENT idea about having a hot rock in the water bowl! I was going to post a question regarding water being frozen cuz I have had to start either breaking the ice up or dump the frozen water and put in hot water instead but after an hour, it'd freeze again.

I don't have outdoor plugs where I can plug in heated water bowl either so that won't work for me..

I want to use a hot rock. However, I don't have a fireplace so how can I heat a rock up?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
I will see if I can get a couple of bales of hay to put into the corner of the garage. Will that be enough or should I also add blankets for them to get under?

The rock is a good idea as I don't have the outlet outside either. Could the rock be heated in micro oven or regular oven?

Thanks for the imput.
post #6 of 22
Hey Brenda...one more quick question...do you know if these cats are fixed?? If possible..you may want to trap and fix them before April if they aren't already fixed.

post #7 of 22
You can heat it on a stove (carefully) in an old iron skillet. Spray the bottom with PAM cooking spray first.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

No they are not fixed. We moved in here in June of 2003 and didn't know it came with tenants in our barn. When my daughter went to clean out the barn she found kittens. Upon finding them she decided to leave the barn alone til the kittens were big enough. In the meantime mama kitie abandoned a little black kitten and moved her other ones. The grandchildren brough the little black one inside and I bottle fed it and she became my baby. Her name is Samathia /"Sammie". Six weeks later we stole the other two because we didn't want them to remain wild. We found homes for the males and kept another female to keep Sammie company. They are both from the same litter but Smoky has NO tail and Sammie does. Mama Kittie was a Manx. Both of our indoor kitties have had their shots and Smoky has an appointment to be fixed. The Vet is waiting to see if the heart murmer that Sammie has will go away. ( Probably why mama Kittie abandoned her)

As for trapping that will be a problem. I am disabled and it is all I can do is to see that they have food and water. I contacted the animal
rescue in our area as well as the local Vet. In order to save Sammie I had to pay $5.00 for a bottle kit and he charged me $7.95 PER 8 oz bottle of mother's milk supplement.( It cost me well over $100.00 in just food to save this one kitten) I was able to find a clinic for shots which only cost me $10.00 for each kitten and $30.00 to have them fixed. I now know that I could have gotten the supplement a little cheaper at Petco.

We live on the south shore of Massachusetts along a country road.I think most of the neighborhood cats are throw aways. It is too bad that people take on the responsibility and then don't follow through.
Sorry for going on but this is a sore subject with me.
post #9 of 22
Brenda...please contact this group and see if they can help you with trapping and fixing the cats/kittens. If they aren't fixed by April...you may find yourself with more kittens this summer.


post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

I emailed the people that you left the link for. I am waiting to hear from them.

I thought I would add that this morning when I woke I looked out on the deck and found my two stray ladies waiting patiently by the door. I placed the two bowls of food down with water dish in the middle and they feasted. The black/orange appears to be the elder and I would almost bet the jet black is her daughter or sister. They are both Manx. Yesterday I seen a white/yellow Manx but I have never seen him before. Don't know where he came from. The elder black/orange let me pet her but can't get near any of the others.

The neighbor across the road also feeds and leaves her back proch door open just enough to let them in out of the wind. She counted over a dozen some with tails and others without sleeping on her porch the other night. One of her little fellowes has only one eye.I hope that the people I contacted can help.
post #11 of 22
I believe you said you live at the south shore? I think that may be too far for http://www.secondchancefund.org/index.html as they are in Worcester county, but they should be able to steer you to someone who can help.

I'm also in the same situation as you are, but with their help I've trapped 4 cats so far, 3 kittens and 1 adult male. The adult and 1 kitten are people friendly, so are adoptable. The other 2 kittens were too afraid of people so were released after being altered. There are (at least) 4 more I would like to see trapped. The mom of the kittens and her daughter, the "grandma" of these two, and a littermate (I think) of the mom.

These are the only ones I see on my deck, though I know there are others, but are too afraid of people to come to my deck.

I currently have the adult male and kitten in my bathroom. The adult is going to someone tonight until a home can be found for him (he's FIV+), and the kitten will be going to a no-kill shelter on Sunday. They should have no problems finding him a home as he is the sweetest and friendliest kitten you've ever seen. He absolutely demands attention by wrapping himself around your ankles (and kneading them) and he loves to flop onto his back so you can play with his belly. I was brushing him last night and it was putting him to sleep. He also has a purr engine that doesn't quit. It's hard to believe this is a semi-feral kitten born to a semi-feral mom, etc. etc.

Good luck in capturing your "tenants". It gives you a wonderful feeling knowing that you're making their life just a little bit easier.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
I recieved email from that group yesterday and altho they feel they are too far to help me they are trying to find me somebody closer.

Our temperatures this morning has dropped to below zero and the next few days will be worse. The black female has already appeared this morning for her breakfast and I watched her as she returned to the barn but the black/orange older female is still yet to be seen. I think she at one time was a house cat because she will let me pet her.

There is also a big striped gray out there but he hasn't attemped to come near the deck.

The neighbor across the road has been feeding dozens of these cats for years. They just keep multiplying. She found one kitten in her gas grill. She has one that is missing an eye. Some with tails and some without. The two females I am feeding are Manx. I spoke to the animal control officer for our town and the best they will do is trap and put them to sleep. Forget that!
post #13 of 22
Hi Katie,

You mentioned using an electric heating pad if you have outdoor plugs. Do you mean a regular household heating pad or one that was designed to be used outside? I have a "Dog Loo" I think it's called with straw inside on my deck for a couple of my ferals. With the wind chill factor it's suppose to feel like -8 degrees tonight and I don't think the straw will be enough to keep them safe.

Also, I don't have a fireplace to heat a rock for their water dish. Could I put one in my oven to get it hot?

post #14 of 22
Hey Ellie...Hissy wrote:

You can heat it on a stove (carefully) in an old iron skillet. Spray the bottom with PAM cooking spray first.

Also...here are some heated pad options:




post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Our temps have been lower than that the last few days and my little ladies were still on my deck this morning. Tonight and tomorrow is going to be rough on them but I have done all I can. Massachusetts has closed schools across the state. Temps under zero with chill factor of 45-50 below tonight and tomorrow. The cats are sleeping in the barn and I just pray they are alright.

post #16 of 22
Hi Katie,

Thanks for the information. I'll stop by Pet Smart tomorrow to see if they have the heating pads. If not, I'll order one. Do you know if those litte pink disc they sell are any good?

I don't have an iron skillet to heat the rock. In fact I don't even have a big rock. I was just wondering if I found one if I cook bake it in the oven.

Hi Brenda,

Good lord that's cold. As long as they are out of the wind they shoud be alright. Good luck!

post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Weather update:

It was -8 this morning with a 45 mph wind. We have a few inches of snow on the ground that is now frozen.

I let my Doxie outside and he was out less than 3 minutes when he just layed down and wouldn't get up. I had to yell at my daughter to go out and carry him inside. It is bruttle out there so you can just imagine how excited I was when I seen my two feline ladies. They appeared from out of the barn and came upon the deck where I keep their food. It was so great to see that they had made it through the night. Our weather is suppose to go up slightly by tomorrow...still below freezing but the 20's so we will take it.

post #18 of 22
Brenda, I haven't been on TCS as regularly as I'm used to because of work and some problems with pain that I've been having, but you've already gotten such great advice - I just wanted to say thank you, and what a wonderful, wonderful thing you are doing!!!!!!!

With shelter and food it is AMAZING what cats can live through. We're in NW Jersey, and last year was brutal. It started snowing in October and just went straight into Winter. In January we had at least TWO WEEKS of below zero weather out here, and some of that was with strong winds. We were terrified for the gang we cared for (and ended up trapping some of them at various points and putting them in boarding because we just were too worried - but we'd already missed the worst of it by then). They actually all survived the horrid weather just fine.

We did take Hissy's advice and provide very warm boiled chicken water. We also fed them kitten food kibble instead of regular adult - it's got more protein.

"Your" kitties will be in my prayers, and I hope you can find someone to help you trap and have them spayed/neutered so you don't have a much larger family to care for next winter!

post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the kind words. I really appreciate the help. I have a question for those that live in cold climates. I have a fallen tree down at the back of the property. I noticed my gang cuddle up around that fallen tree so IF I found somebody to take a tarp and throw it over the branches and tie it down the sun shinning on that dark tarp would provide some warmth and get them out of direct wind. Is that doable or if it snowes will they get trapped underneath?

BTW I am learning. I put a large glass ashtray out with water in it and it is frozen to the ground. Might not be able to retreave it til Spring
post #20 of 22
Originally Brenda Dillon wrote:
BTW I am learning. I put a large glass ashtray out with water in it and it is frozen to the ground. Might not be able to retreave it til Spring

I wouldn't recommend pulling a tarp over there. They could easily get trapped.

They do have the barn for shelter? If they're hanging out at the tree, maybe they're soaking up some sun? I sure hope that if the wind were bothering them they'd head into the barn!!!

If you're worried, maybe have someone place a large 3/4' to 1" thick piece of plywood over part of it. It won't sink in snow, the wood will absorb heat, and is a fairly good insulator. If anyone's under there in a big snowstorm, you might have to have someone dig them out. When one of our ferals didn't turn up for two days after getting several feet of snow last year, hubby went out to dig out access to the groundhog burrow they were born in. Sure enough - less than two hours later there were little footprints heading down from there. Poor little guy was trapped in there for two days! (He now lives inside with us, and he is TOTALLY daddy's little boy, Tuxedo). (Gary wrote up his rescue story, and it's here: http://www.savesamoa.org/html/tuxedo.html)
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
We still have cold weather here in southern New England but it is not as bad as it was.

I was in the hospital for 5 days and my daughter , who said she wouldn't have anything to do with feeding them, came through for me. My two lady kitties are still comming to eat every morning on my deck.

Laurie, I am going to take your advise and call the place where I take mine for shots. It's a clinic where the rates are cheaper. I am going to ask if they will help me trap. Keep your fingers crossed.

post #22 of 22
Brenda, my prayers are with you and your kitties! I sure hope you're OK - and I'm so glad to hear your daughter came through for you and "the girls!" And of course I hope someone at the clinic will help - or at least might know of someone who might help. The way it works with the vets we work with is anyone who calls asking for help - the staff takes their phone number and then calls us and lets us call them, rather than handing our phone number out.
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