It’s time to begin winter preparations for cats at Catnip Casa Cat Refuge. That doesn’t mean a lot of changes for the cats that spend their days and nights inside. The feral kitties and outdoor shelter cats face different challenges. Cold, heat, rain, snow, and wind impact them daily. Since our cats all have special needs or are of advanced age, or both, we spend extra time preparing winter accommodations.
We have a feral villa that’s well insulated in the outdoor shelter shared by Hiss and PJ. Those houses are build in Indiana and made for cold weather. The shelf inside is dusted off and lightly sprinkled with food grade DE (diatomaceous earth) for pest control. Next, we add a blanket that reflects their body heat and fasten it to the corner posts inside. The house sits on patio pavers above the ground to help reduce dampness and to allow the bricks to soak up heat from the sun and ground on warm days. In the winter, their canned food is always warmed, and we have a heated water bowl too.
We have more feral villas around our property for strays and the community cats that live here. We also have shelves with warm beds and blankets set up in one shed where we allow the cats access. Annie and Extra seem to prefer the shed with the cat beds and blankets. Blankets are also hung from the shelves to break the wind and keep the heat in better. Sheltering ferals with human made shelters can be hard because they have their own preferences and may not agree to use the shelters we provide. Our strategy is to watch what they do and try to work with what we observe to improve on their natural choices.
Heated beds in the K&H outdoor houses are also available. The houses are sheltered in a catio or shed and placed on pavers or pallet to keep them dry and warmer. It sounds like a lot for a small colony, but their preferences change due to weather, wildlife, and even their age and agility. Our feral, aka community, cats are seniors and special needs kitties too. They deserve the best life possible.