If you read my blog, you will know that the Crankee Yankee and I are owned by five cats. It didn’t happen all at once; they just sort of showed up over the years, and we took them in. Each one had a story, and all sort of saved each other; and us.
We also feed the strays in our area; we have a “feeding station” in the backyard. The Crankee Yankee put it together with wood and plexiglass, and everyone seems to like it.
The top tier offers birdseed and cracked corn plus a bowl of fresh water for the birds and squirrels. The middle tier has one of the *heated pads I bought for our cats, plus a bowl of food. The ground floor features a wooden box fitted with one of the pads and a blanket, plus food and water.
We also put food and water on our front deck, in the garage and under our back porch (all walled in so it is relatively snug). We like knowing that our “guests” (and even the indoor/outdoor cats who actually have owners) have access to these comforts, especially in the cold weather.
One of our “regulars” is a largish gray and black tiger cat we call Stripey. We honestly don’t know if anyone owns him, but he has been a frequent diner all through the fall and winter. Just recently, we noticed one of our cats staring fixedly down on the front porch (it is protected by a roof and plastic sheeting all around so that the Crankee Yankee can go out and work on the siding in fair weather.)
We looked down, and there was Stripey, nestled into one of the short stacks of the insulation (fortunately not the glass type). We figured that he has been sheltering there most nights. So during the daytime I put out his very own bowl of food and water, close to where he sleeps. As we have been having some pretty cold and windy nights, I added a thick fleece blanket on top of the insulation. As of this morning, he is snuggled up in it, so I guess he’s happy about the addition.
Yep—we are a couple of suckers for animals, and don’t they know it. Whenever we find out that one of our “strays” actually belongs to someone, we are glad—and they are still welcome to food and shelter at our place. When spring and summer roll around, we also have our resident skunks who come toddling out at dusk. When our gardens are at their peak, they like to “shop” the garden for the occasional snack. After all, we have plenty of produce.
A note to indoor/outdoor cat owners: please seriously consider getting “break-away” collars for your cats. Make sure that they have a medallion on the collar with their name, your name, address and phone number on it. It is also a good idea to add “shots up to date.” This way, people know that they have had their rabies and other very necessary vaccines.
It is also an excellent idea to have them micro-chipped and registered on HomeAgain. This is a service helps get your pet back home to you safely, should someone find your lost pet. Even if you have indoor only cats, should they get out of the house, you have a far better chance of getting them back.
*These are great; they are made with an interior layer that reflects a cat’s own body heat to keep them warm; no plug required. Plus they are machine washable.