Friday, July 27, 2012

Heat Wave - Keeping Feral Cats Cool Naturally


Feral Cat lies next to mud

Feral cats are generally skittish about entering a garage or shed for shelter, however some feral cats will enter an outdoor igloo house that is hidden behind shrubs.  

Many feral cats will take shelter by lying on the mulch in your garden, under a low hanging shrub or they will lie in-between the leaves of your plants.  


These foliage type shelters are no match to the scorching summer sun especially if your area has extreme heat advisory.

Over the years I have tried many methods to keep the feral cats body cool but none of my methods worked. The only method that works for a feral cat is derived from nature and it is mud.  Making a muddy area in your yard will provide outdoor cats with a comfortable resting place.  Mud is a natural way to lower a cat’s body temperature and to keep them cool during a heat wave or drought.


I take the woodland feral cats their food and water daily by hiking to their colony.   While at the colony  I count the cats to make sure all are present and I check them for health concerns and for stress.  In the morning when it is cool an average of 76 degrees the cats are resting and there is no stress but in the afternoon at 5:00 feeding I have noted that the cats are breathing hard and they are panting. 
 
Cat in woods
My husband and I decided to coax the feral cats out of the woods to our yard.  I achieved this by moving the feeding station closer to my yard.  By the 5th day the feeding station was set up in my heavily shaded yard. I choose an area close to my Hosta garden that is shaded from two mature Oak Trees and one Silver Maple tree.  



There is morning sun followed by shade the rest of the day.  Which means the temperature is good 20 degrees cooler.  In this area I created a mud bath for the feral cats.  Since my outdoor water is restricted I saved the bath and shower water.  I filled buckets of water and dumped the water into a rain barrel.  This water is used daily to create a muddy area for the feral cats.  




In order to provide the cats with an all afternoon natural cooling mud I wet the ground until the top 3 inches of soil is muddy.  I then keep the top soil moist by setting the sprinkler on a slow drip from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

The feral cats came into my yard and lay on the wet ground.  They slept comfortable because the wet mud lowered their body temperature.  I provided the cats with fresh water and set up a feeding station off to the side of their resting area.
Fiskars5998 Salsa 58-Gallon Rain Harvesting System

Note:
Another way to keep feral cats cool naturally is to take old carpets and lay them out in a densely shaded area close to the cat’s colony or in your yard.  Use your garden hose to wet the carpets.  (Drench the carpets with water.)These wet carpets will provide the cats with comfort.

To conserve on water during the drought I recycle all indoor water into a rain barrel and use this water to wet the ground.

I also choose to not water my lawn and my back gardens.  By doing this I will be able to provide the cats with a slow drip from the garden hose, when the rain barrel runs dry.

Farm animals lie in mud during the hot summer months to keep their body temperature cool, thus this natural method works.


1 comment:

Virginia Allain said...

Very resourceful to use the recycled water from the house. These extreme temperatures of 105 and 110 make your efforts so important. Bless you for this and for providing the information here for others to use too.