Winter can be a happy time of year when you are cuddled up with your kitties enjoying a cup of cocoa by the fire. But for an outside cat, life is harsh. It is not uncommon to find cats curled up in the engine of cars to keep warm but sadly they can be killed as soon as the car is turned on. Homeless cats need extra TLC during the winter months, including shelter from the weather plus added calories and fat in the diet.
If you are willing to care for homeless cats in your area, please consider the following tips:
- A suitable shelter for free-roaming cats should be big enough for them to stand up and move around in, but small enough to retain body heat when the kitties snuggle up together inside.
- Ideally, the shelter should also be insulated for warmth and elevated to prevent ground moisture from seeping inside. The entry should be just big enough for a cat to fit through, and protected from the elements.
- Canned cat food is ideal for outdoor cats, but it may freeze. Another option in cold weather is a dry kitten food that contains more calories and nutrients than adult formulas.
- Feeding and watering the cats at the same time each day can prevent them from wandering off into the cold in search of food.
Creating an insulated house is a kind gesture that is also affordable!
DIY – Step-by-step guide on how to build a shelter
1 large plastic storage tub with lid (exterior tub)
1 medium plastic storage tub with lid (interior tub)
1 in. thick hard Styrofoam
1. Cut a 6” x 6” doorway in each tub using a box cutter and yardstick a few inches above the ground to prevent flooding. If your area has predators, cut a hole in the front and back of each tub so that there is an escape route. Tip: If you are having trouble cutting the plastic, use a hair-dryer to soften the plastic.
2. Cut some of the Styrofoam and line the floor and four interior walls of the exterior tub with it. Leave about a 3” gap between the top of the wall pieces and the upper lip of the tub.
3. Cut out two doorways in the foam that line up with the tub’s doorway. Tip: It helps to trace an outline on the foam before cutting it.
4. Place the interior tub into the exterior tub.
5. Fill the bottom of the interior tub with straw. Do not use hay, blankets, or folded newspaper as they will freeze and provide no warmth. Also, hay is moist and can become moldy. The cats need something they can burrow in, and straw is the easiest and cheapest material to use.
6. Put the first lid on the interior tub and then cut some Styrofoam to rest on top of the interior tub’s lid.
7. Cover the exterior tub with its lid.
Article source: Healthy Pets at mercola.com
DIY instructions source: isfoundation.com