Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Setting up Winter Shelters for Feral Cat

Today while hiking in the woods I observed one cat busy digging a hole close to fallen branches.  I suspect that is where the cat intends to ride out the storm. 

Normally the feral cats can be viewed lying in the sun or scratching on a stump but today the forest cats were scarce.  I suspect they are hunkering down in their thicket dens because of the severe weather alert for blizzard conditions.

When I returned from my hike in the woods one of the colony volunteers greeted me.  She had bought a bale of straw for the cat houses. We went to the garage and took steps to block the arctic winds with heavy thermal blankets.  
Cat sleeping in straw bed inside garage shelter

We covered the walls and the windows with this insulation. My old garage provides a dry shelter where there are straw insulated beds, cat houses and kitty tubes for any outdoor cat; stray, abandoned or feral.  There is a kitty door and any cat is welcome to the shelter.

A few of the cats that are terrified of humans and other cats will not go into the garage shelter so for them we have set up outdoor cat houses and tubes, however there are a few  cats that prefer a more rustic shelter and for them I made a shelter more to their liking.  

I turned the wheelbarrow up against the side of my garage, covered the top with plywood to block wind and water and then covered it with logs and tree branches to make it look like a forest thicket.  There are logs on both sides and in the center three feet of straw.  This man made shelter is a very popular winter resting spot for the feral cats. 
 The other cat shelters are set in safe areas in my yard.  I set the outdoor cat houses in areas that are away from human and dog traffic.  A few were tucked behind the ornamental grass garden, and one was set behind the evergreen shrubs.  The wooden cat houses that were donated in the fall are hidden from view also however and one serves as a feeding station as it has a metal over hang. 

View this YouTube video to learn how to make an insulated cat shelter from a beverage cooler:

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