The blizzard covered the ground with 28 inches of snow and ice. It snowed for 36 hours and when the snow stopped my husband I set out to rescue the feral cats that were trapped in the thicket dens in the woods.
Thicket dens are man-made from piling pruned tree and shrub branches in an area. Over time the pile of branches becomes entwined and the feral cat will then dig a tunnel into the thicket fortress and make it a den.
|Snow covered thicket den|
When it snows the thicket is encased with snow and the tunnel into the thicket is blocked. The cats cannot dig their way out because the snow will fall on them and trap them.
A cat that is trapped in a thicket has limited oxygen, no food and may freeze especially if the snow on the thickets starts to melt and then freezes.
The water from melt down falls into the cavity of the thicket and the cats get wet, and then the temperature dips and the cats are freezing. The cats may develop frost bite, or Hypothermia . Therefore, it is imperative that we act fast to rescue the feral cats.
|Two thickets encased in snow and ice Image by Susan Golis ©|
Approaching the thicket was difficult because I had to climb over a smaller thicket that was covered with ice. One wrong step and I would fall into the thicket below me. I climbed to the upper thicket slowly and carefully, my husband then followed me to the upper branch thicket.
In order to remove the snow from the entrance we needed to start at the ground level and work upward. Once the snow was removed from the entrance I was able to look into the thicket.
I saw branches that were overlapping and the space into the cavity was shallow. There was a strong cat odor that confirmed that this thicket housed the cats. I poured dry food into a bowl and shook the food in the bowl.
I then set the food down in front of the entrance. Feral cats are fearful of humans so I backed away from the thicket entrance. It did not take long for a cat to appear. The cats had been trapped in the thicket for four days without food. They stayed hydrated by eating the snow that fell into the cavity of the thicket, however the feral cats were very hungry.
Before leaving at dusk I took away the food bowl, as it is not wise to have food out when coyote are in the area. Tomorrow I will go back at dawn to feed the cats and hopefully I will be able to complete the rescue by providing them with a path to dry land.
There were many people involved in this feral cat rescue they were praying for me and the cats, asking God to show me the way. A heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone for their prayers and support.
|Feral cats ate 2 cans of food and dry food Image by Susan Golis ©|