Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Keep Outdoor Cats Hydrated in Winter



Outdoor cat in winter
Keeping outdoor cats hydrated in winter is of utmost importance. Outdoor cats can survive many days without food; however they must have water daily.  When it is cold outdoors the water source is limited as it may be frozen. 

If you keep your cat outdoors or if you care for a colony of feral cats then it is wise to provide them with water several times a day and if you are able to do so, set up a non freezing water bowl for outdoor cats.

My colony of cats come from the forest and I never know when they will come to eat or drink so I have provided fresh water for the feral cats by setting up a deep water pond with water pump and fountain in my yard.  This pond will provide the cats with a water source provided the temperatures do not dip below zero. 

Another way to provide outdoor cats with water during winter is with a thermal bowl, or a non freezing water bowl.  This bowl does require an eclectic outlet and it is best if you set it up in a protected area; on your porch or covered deck.  

 Check the water bowl a couple times during the day to make sure it is full of water.  I will leave the water bowl plugged in from 6 to 10 pm, but when I go to bed I will unplug the bowl as I do not want it to overheat due to an animal drinking all of the water. 
 
If you do not have an electric outlet on your porch or your deck then set up a solar bird bath.  There are free standing solar bird baths and there are ones that attach to your deck railing.  

There is also  a ground level solar water sipper for birds. This sipper water source  will allow the cats to get a drink of water.  Use these birdbaths for the cats.  The solar heat keeps the water from freezing.  As long as you provide a way for the cats to reach the water the solar bird bath is a good way to provide outdoor cats with water in winter. 
  
Tips:

  1. Set cement blocks next to the solar bird bath to make steps for the cat to get to the water.
  2. The solar bird baths are great as you will save on energy and the cats will have a water source that is not iced over. I recommend changing out the water in the bird bath daily to provide the cats with clean water. 
  3. Feral and outdoor cats need a dry shelter with no wind, bedding of straw, high protein food and reliable water source, if these requirements are met they will survive the winter.