Feral cats know how to find shelter from the cold, just like other wild animals outside. If you provide shelter, they will use it. The James’ Gang Colony cats in my yard have a Feral Villa and another insulated outdoor cat house filled with straw that we built for them. For my neighbor’s feral and stray cat colonies I usually make the standard Rubbermaid bin shelter. A lot of these neighbors also build their own outdoor cat shelter for the cats. Here’s a look at the community cat shelters around my neighborhood.
Every year, the temperatures drop after the holidays, along with my mood. I’m not a fan of winter. But my mood picked up when I saw the James’ Gang Colony cats in my yard lounging all morning, looking totally comfortable in their environment.
These particular cats in my yard have been around for a few winters now. I started this blog to show people that a feral cat can live a long life outdoors, because that is what they know and prefer. Yes, they get help from me, but they were also surviving before that. I trap-neuter-return TNR a feral cat colony because I don’t think cats should be outdoors and I don’t want more of them, but the ones who are already out there deserve to live out their lives.
I’m happy to provide extra comforts to the feral and stray cats in my yard, and I encourage all of the cat colony caretakers that I work with to do the same. Once a feral or stray cat is spayed/neutered, they will start sticking around more because they are no longer roaming and looking for a mate.
Cats need water year round, like we all do, and that gets harder for them to find in the winter. There are lots of easy ways to provide fresh water for them.
A few years ago I bought a heated water bowl for them. I actually bought the one in the second picture of that link.
I didn’t really ever see any of the stray cats or feral cats using it and kind of shrugged off my purchase. Until this morning, when I saw Dice drinking from it, while Springy Funny Face and Bouncy Honey Bear dined together.
This is the fifth winter that I’m caring for Dice now since his TNR surgery at the Anti-Cruelty Society on January 26th, 2009. He was pretty upset in the trap and hit his face trying to get out, but he’s come a long way since. He seems to enjoy the extra comforts I put out for the cats in my yard the most.