Alley Cat Advocates provides these tips for caring for unowned, community cats in snow and cold temperatures:
- Remember to knock on the hood of your car before starting it. Cats climb into engines for warmth and protection.
- Community cats can get snowed in, so it is important to remove snow from all entrances and exits to their shelters. Shovel regularly to stay ahead of the snowfall.
- Avoid using salts and chemicals near your cat colonies that are designed to melt snow. They can be toxic when licked off paws or ingested from melting puddles and can hurt a cat’s paw pads.
- Cold weather increases a cat’s energy and nutritional needs. Provide extra water to prevent dehydration and replace it often to keep it from freezing.
- Provide plenty of dry food in addition to wet, as wet food will freeze in subfreezing temperatures.
- Provide shelters to keep the cats warm:
- Use storage bins (like Rubbermaid ®) that are lined with solid insulation, and cut out a doorway to create an instant shelter.
- A cardboard shelter is better than no shelter. To keep it from getting wet, elevate it off the ground, line with newspapers, and cover the lid with plastic such as a garbage bag.
- Use sheets of plywood to weigh down lightweight shelters made from plastic, cardboard, etc.
- Cats rely on body heat to stay warm, so keep your shelters small for colonies with just a few cats. For larger colonies, provide multiple shelters.
- Because it resists moisture, straw is the top choice for insulation and bedding in your shelter. Avoid blankets, which tend to absorb moisture and freeze.
ABOUT ALLEY CAT ADVOCATES, INC.
Alley Cat Advocates, Inc. was founded in 1999 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide for the humane treatment of stray, free-roaming cats in the metropolitan Louisville, Kentucky area. The volunteer organization has spayed/neutered over 30,000 community cats through their Trap- Neuter-Return program. For more information on Alley Cat Advocates and its programs, call 502-634- 8777 or visit www.alleycatadvocates.org.