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Outside cats during the cold

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have mentioned before that I often feed my neighbors cat, Socks, because the both of them are rarely home. Socks has come to know me and runs over when I get home from work and also meets me at the door in the morning to eat. I don't let him come inside at all though because I am worried about having him around Dori, being that she is a strictly inside cat. She has her shots, but she didn't get her Felv shot this year (her doctor and I decided against it for now). Anyway, it has been cold here the past 2 nights and we have another freeze warning tonight. It is supposed to drop down to 32, but with w wind chill in the 20's. I often worry about Socks when it is cold. I never see him roaming outside, I would like to assume he found someplace to keep warm for the night. Are cats ok to stay out in the cold? Do they get used to it? I know we are in Florida and it doesn't snow, but it is still really cold out and I just want to be able to put my mind at ease a bit. The guys whose cat he is do take care of him as far as vet visits and things like that, they call me when they aren't going to be home to make sure he will be fed, and they boarded him at the vets during each of the 3 hurricanes this year. But as far as love and affection and worrying about the cold, they don't. I did put a towel in the dryer this morning for a bit to warm it up and then I laid it out the door near Socks' food bowl. He laid on the warm towel as he ate Anyway, sorry to ramble... I am just feeling bad for him tonight.
post #2 of 7
i'm sure he'll be ok. when my kitty who was an indoor kitty ran away during the coldest spell for months (go figure!) i was so worried she'd freeze out there. she came home five days later covered in brick dust - turns out she'd been sheltering in a building site. cats are very resourcefull.

if your really worried you could put a shelter outdoors for him. i think the feral/stray section had some ideas. or a box with a heating pad would do just as well.
post #3 of 7
We used to feed a feral tom cat that lived in the neighbourhood. During the winter we used to put out our old rabbit hutch, lined with thick newspaper (which is very good insulation) and covered in an old blanket. The cat used to sleep in there, as he was getting on a bit and probably was glad of the warm shelter. But in general, cats are exceedingly clever at finding shelter/somewhere warm to curl up so you probably have nothing much to worry about.

post #4 of 7
Bless you for thinking about this cat! I'm sure he loves your companionship as much as he enjoys your food. It might be a good idea to give him a shelter. However, consider the location of the box, in case there are any dogs roaming around that would corner him in it. My brother in Nashville lost several feral cats to dogs - here in California, we have strict leash laws -that seems to help quite a bit.
post #5 of 7
At our last house I fed a feral whom we named "The Don". He was black with big yellow eyes and would not let you anywhere near him. He came up on our deck and would sit about 3 feet away while I opened the sliding doors to put out food and warm milk for him. (He loved warm milk even though I know you are not supposed to give cats milk.) The first time he came both his shoulders were open flesh - all the fur gone like he was either in a fight or had mange. After a couple weeks of feeding him he started to look really good. His fur became glossy and he groomed himself after each feeding. I worried about him also since it gets pretty cold here so I made him a shelter out of a cardboard box, covered it with plastic and put a blanket inside. He never once used it. I have no idea where he slept but he always came every day for food. Once in the summer I was sitting on the deck and for the first time he came up for food and walked close to me and did not run when he saw me. Apparently he was a stray that several people in the neighbourhood were feeding.
post #6 of 7
You could get a styrofoam cooler, cover the bottom and sides with plastic (from a garbage bag), cut a cat-sized opening in the top (as far to one side as possible), put some thick towels in it, and put it on a garden chair with some newspapers on the seat for added insulation. We did that when we were trying to move a feral inside; my husband made a wooden box a bit bigger than the cooler, and we put newspapers between the box and the cooler.
post #7 of 7
Actually from what I've read-shredded paper, woodshavings have a better insulating value. There are strays? or other peoples tomcats that come around when Bobber is in heat (another story!!) I heard one outside last week when the temps were below zero. I know I my property there are plenty of conifers to lie under, or crawl under our firewood piles, or lumber piles. The last two are covered with tarps so at least any animal would be partially protected. Cats are much more resilient than one thinks!!
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