Friday, February 4, 2011

Snowed In Feral Cats Rescued

Feral cats will go where they go for shelter, maybe an abandoned groundhog burrow, or a thicket, and some cats will go into the sewers. It is the colony caregivers responsibility to locate the cats by removing the snow from the front of the sewers and hiking through the woods to remove the snow from the thicket dens.

The blizzard of February 1, 2011 brought ice and 28 inches of snow to our area, and if that was not bad enough the temperatures have been record low with wind chills of 16 bellow.

I am a feral cat colony caregiver and have taken on the responsibility of caring for six to 10 cats.  I oversee this colony with my husband and two volunteers’ and presently we are all worried about the feral cats.  All of us are looking for the cats, we put out bowls of food for them and the food is untouched. The snow and the extreme cold has hindered the cats from leaving their shelters. they have no food or water.  They are cold and they must eat snow for hydration.

On February 2, the snow and sleet finally stopped at 8:00 at night and my husband and I made a path from our back door  to the thicket that was located in the woods.  We needed to make a path to get there because the snow was too deep.  It took us two hours to reach the thicket in the woods
As soon as we reached the thicket we realized that it was packed snow.  We took turns shoveling the snow away from the entrance.   One held the flashlight and the other shoveled.  

When the entrance was in sight I got down on my knees and removed the snow from the entrance with my hands. I then set a bowl of food and water at the entrance.  When the thicket entrance was cleared, I needed move on to rescue the feral queen cat we call Lucy. 

This feral cat has shelter under my neighbors back deck. I was determined to free her so I removed snow from the sidewalk and made a path to the front of the house.  

The snow on the street was too deep to cross and it was too late to be in my neighbors yard. My husband assured me that all of the cats ate well 36 hours ago and that we would get a fresh start early in the morning.

I spoke to my neighbor the following morning.  My neighbor told me that he would make openings in the snow to allow cats to get out.(There were no cats under the deck)

The feral cat we call Bob has been observed in the sewer by my home, and he may have gone there for shelters so we shoveled a path all the way up the hill to the area where the sewer is located.  

Cats will go into the sewers for safety the average temperature in the sewer is 55 degrees.  If the cats were in the sewers then I needed to get them out.  With all the sewers entrances blocked with snow the air was limited.  We also need to free the cats because it is not safe for cats to be in sewers when snow begins to melt. 

 We needed to rescue the cats by opening all of the entrances to the sewers.

Entrance to sewer is clear, cats can escape
The snow packed on the street curb made it difficult for me to determine where the sewer opening was.  I ended up shoveling snow for a half block and then I found the sewer entrance.  The snow was over 3 feet deep.  The snow removal truck had packed snow and ice onto the sewer drain opening. It was hard to remove with my snow shovel and my husband helped me with the task.  

When I could see the drain pipe opening I got down on my knees and removed the snow from the sewer opening with my hands.  I called for the cats and set a bowl of food and water at the opening.  I returned to the sewer a few hours later and the food had not been touched.  

I then replaced the food with canned food with strong fish scent to lure the cats out of the sewer. I provided the sewer cats canned food mixed with dry and set the bowl with water at the entrance of the sewer.  At 2 am my husband was walking our dog and he saw the feral cat that we call Bob head sticking out of the sewer eating the canned cat food.  

I was able to save one cats life.  There are eight feral cats  missing Lucy, Daisy Shadow, Stripes, Rusty, Charlie, Tommy and Buddy. These cats have not eaten since February 1st two of my volunteers presume they did not make it, that it was natures doing, but I have not given up on them.

I have provided the cat's with a shelter that is dry and it has insulated bedding and heat.  Plus the room does not freeze because of the window heater and a kerosene heater when there is power outages.  


All content and photographs are the copyright of Susan Golis, Sgolis all rights reserved

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