How you can help stray cats this winter
One of the many questions that cat lovers ask themselves as this time of year, is what to do for stray cats in the winter months? Without a regular home and sources of food, these stray cats are particularly vulnerable to the cold and harsh winter elements and desperately need our help.
Shelter, food and water are really the basics of what every stray cat needs during the cold winter months. Here are a few ideas on how you can help these cats.
When it comes to shelter, you can make your outside space accessible for them. This may include opening up your shed or outbuilding so that they can access and make use of it. Alternatively, you can always make an impromptu shelter out of old pieces of wood or building materials. If you aren’t very good at DIY, then many pet stores sell portable shelters that are ideal for cats.
Once you have a space that the stray cat can escape to, you then need to think about what to place into it. Some of the most basic things that are needed is a warm blanket, that can be used for the cat to snuggle into it as well as a straw floor. Cats love to burrow and the straw allows them to do so while keeping warm.
This is obviously essential but how you store it and where you keep it are important. A thick plastic container is ideal as this will prevent the water from freezing when left outside. It is best to keep the water outside of the shelter, as water is easily spilt. The best place to keep it is near the doorway, so that the stray cat can easily find it. You need to keep a close eye on the water level and to top it up when needed.
You can feed stray cats either wet or dry cat food. Dry food keeps for longer and will not freeze, but if you can it is better to provide wet cat food as it is absorbed more easily. The most important thing to remember when feeding stray cats, is to do so regularly, so that they know when their next meal will be ready. They thrive on routine.
So, if you do happen to know of a stray cat in your local area, please do try to help them. Make sure that they have adequate shelter, and access to food and water.