The Crankee Yankee and I have been feeding and sheltering stray cats for years. We never know when a stray cat turns out to be someone’s indoor/outdoor cat. However, if they are wandering around our house, they can count on food, water and shelter. It isn’t for us to judge people who are fine with letting their cats out on a freezing cold day.
So if you find yourself worrying about a stray cat out in the cold, here are some ways to help:
- If you own a cat carrier and can get the stray into it, take the cat to your vet or the animal shelter and ask them to check for a microchip (microchipping your pet is the best way to find them should they ever run off.) A microchip will let the vet know who the animal belongs to.
- Buy some decent cat kibble and some bowls (personally, I use the paper bowls, the kind you may use at picnics, etc.); fill them up and leave them where the cats can get to them. We generally put out the food in the early morning, and top them off in the evening.
- Put out water bowls as well; I recommend what is called “heated pet bowls” (check Amazon; that’s where we got ours) that have long cords that you can plug in to keep the water from freezing in the winter. Always give the cats water; cats should only drink milk when they are kittens. After that, milk really isn’t that good to give adult cats.
If you have room on your porch or garage, put up some shelters. We make our own, and they are easy-peasey to make. Get a good-sized cardboard box (we like the Chewy’s ones as they are pretty roomy) and line the bottom with a couple of blankets or towels. To keep the bed warm all night, check out the Milliard Thermal Cat Mat at Amazon.
To keep the wind out, drape the tops and sides with an blanket or towel. For a cold freezing night, pick up some “body warmers;” after taking them out of the package, remove the sticky papers from the back and put the body warmer underneath the blankets; sticky side down. The heat lasts for 10 hours.
If you can get a picture of the cat or cats you are feeding and sheltering, you can make a sign showing the cat, and posting it to see if someone owns the cat. But in the meantime, you can help a stray cat stay warm and safe with snug shelter, food and water.
The Crankee Yankee and I realize that we probably are feeding and sheltering cats who actually have homes, but our motto is this: “come one, come all—we feed then all!”