As Minnesota ends its coldest week of the winter, with lows dipping into fourteen degrees below zero, cat lovers’ thoughts turn to the many feral cats trying to survive brutal temperatures.
For those in the know, Feline Rescue, Inc., a Minnesota-based no-kill companion cat rescue organization that also assists with the care of stray and feral cats is the first place to turn for help. “We've had lots of calls and emails from people concerned about cats outside,” says, Molly Rosenberg, a volunteer with Feline Rescue's outreach program.
Feline Rescue encourages concerned feral cat guardians to provide food, water, and outdoor shelter for feral cats. According to Rosenberg, “Even a cardboard box covered with plastic and with straw inside could do in a pinch. If an outlet is available, providing a heated water dish is the best way to make sure there will be unfrozen water available to prevent cats from becoming dehydrated. Feeding canned food is especially good for giving cats more energy and moisture, but it freezes quickly, so be sure to leave out dry food if the cats don't show up to eat it right away. It helps to keep a regular feeding schedule every day so the cats know when to expect your food. I sometimes heat up canned food and use disposable hand warmers under the food to keep it from freezing right away.”
For those who looking to provide more comprehensive winter housing for cats, the Urban Cat League of New York offers a variety of options, ranging from “do it yourself” insulated shelters made from recycled Styrofoam fish boxes to deluxe insulated accommodations available for purchase.
Alley Cat Allies, a national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, also provides instructions for how to build a winter cat house on their website, along with detailed information about trap-neuter-return, and the difference between stray and feral cats.
Feline Rescue offers seven ways of helping feral and stray cats in winter at their website, as well as opportunities to volunteer, donate, and adopt. Check them out at www.felinerescue.org or call 651-642-5900.