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Unwanted winter shelters

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I just read in another thread that catnip make some ferals agressive..I though of putting some Feliway, or catnip by a couple of winter shelters.. we'd like the ferals to make use of them but they prefer an abandoned house or under a porch..they'be warmer in the box though, they sun themselves on top of it though but won't go in.. I thought of Feliway b/c is calming or depends on the cat, specially a feral? Thank-you
post #2 of 8
I have sprayed Feliway on the shelters I put out but I don't know if it helped or not.

What do you have in the shelters? I use straw and/or non-aromatic shavings. Is it possible to put some straw down where the cats feed and then put that in the shelters? I'm thinking that they may associate the straw with something good or since their scents are already on the straw, they'll be more inclined to check out/use the shelters.

Just my .02
post #3 of 8
If your shelters don't have an escape hatch, they won't go in it. You need a front door and a back door before a feral will be comfortable enough to go inside. Straw is a good insulating material to use inside.

Since you are quoting me about the catnip, what I said is that it does make some ferals aggressive, not all of them. But they are not used to catnip like a house cat is, so you don't want to use it until you know how they will react. If you have dry leaves in your yard, you can use those for insulation as well. I have yet to meet a stray or feral who didn't lie on a pile of dry leaves provided for them.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank-you gargoyle and hissy..the shelters don't have a escape hatch/back door ..we followed AlleyCats shelters blueprints that have no 2nd door_unless they use the roof as an escape hatch but if it's left down how would the cats realize they can push it open, and in ours couldn't, roof is held down with fasteners, can only be opened from outside.
I'll e-mail alleycat.org about it so other people don't make the same mistake we did if they go by its directions.
We'll cut out another opening and hopefully they'll like that. And put some Feliway.
The bedding is straw, thanks Hissy for the leaves suggestion, will have to make sure they are well aired leaves though, in my yard they tend to rot fast.
post #5 of 8
The shelters I built are also from the AlleyCat plans. The lack of a back door has not detered our ferals from using them. The cats will bolt if I mess about with the shelters, so in general I just refrain doing that, especially when the weather is bad. The lid is very heavy; I'm not sure the cats could lift it up (at least not w/out getting a tail caught when the lid comes back down).

Now, the one shelter that is at my house is in my side garden, so come summer, they may just have to learn to tolerate my weeding and such
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
<<they may just have to learn to tolerate my weeding and such>>

the one at my backyard is close to a flower bed too!..so they don't mind not having another door? What did you cover the shelter opening (door) with? We made a flap door out of tarp_ the one they use to cover boats/cars, etc. Now I wonder if they are repelled by it tho it was new and they are used to cars and that type of stuff. My husband was going to hold the flaps up with tacks and see if they go in an open entrance..
post #7 of 8
I want to replace some cat shelters that I made from rubbermaid bins soon, I wanted to make some with an escape door like Hissy suggested, I thought about using a regular cat flap door like you would use in a doorway to a house for the exit door, they arent that much, maybe 10 dollars, I think thats what I may use for mine. We are gonna get started on that soon, the bins that I have up there now are getting pretty ragged looking, and I wanted something up off the ground a bit. I have used feliway in the ones I made and they used them.
post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by zinc
so they don't mind not having another door? What did you cover the shelter opening (door) with?
So far as I can tell, they don't mind not having a back door/escape route. We didn't put door coverings on any of the shelters. We did make sure they were out of the prevailing wind (tree line) and the entrances face south. The shelter in my garden is on the south side of my house. I check it frequently during snow (which has been minimal this winter) and so far no problems. They do push a bunch of the straw up into the entrance, so perhaps a tarp doorway of some kind would be a good addition.

I have another shelter on my deck (a "small dog" doghouse) which has only the one entrance and 2 of them use it regularly. HOWEVER - if I step out onto the deck, 9 times out of 10 they will leave the doghouse.

Malynn - We bought the little heavy plastic doorflaps that go with the doghouse. It was a bit of fun watching them try to figure out how to get past them the first few times, but the cats well have the hang of it now. I would guess that regular dog/cat doorflaps would work too. All of ours are up on bricks.
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