Kitty Post: Cold Weather and Free-Roaming Cats By Sallie Rhodes
Winter, while beautiful, is a dangerous time for outdoor cats. Extreme cold, brutal winds, snow, and ice can injure and even kill.
One solution is to build winter shelters by converting large plastic tubs into warm, dry shelters. Use non-absorbent bedding such as straw or wood shavings to help keep the kitties warm. For a video on building “Cat Condos,” visit www.beltsvillecats.net/resources.
If you have a raised porch, you can cover three sides with tarps. This provides animals with shelter from wind, snow, and ice.
If you feed outdoor animals, choose foods that have a higher fat content, and try to double the amount you feed them. Extra fat helps insulate against the cold. Routinely check to make sure they have clean drinking water that is not frozen.
If you are able, let outdoor cats inside when temps drop below freezing. Hypothermia affects cats much like humans, and they can become disoriented, leading them to freeze to death.
Before starting your car on cold mornings, bang the hood of your car several times. Cats and other small animals crawl inside engine compartments to get out of bad weather.
These tips apply to all animals that live or spend time outside in the winter. If you know of feral cats that are not being cared for, contact Beltsville Community Cats (BCC) at 240.444.8353 or email@example.com. If you see a dog that has been left outside in very cold weather without shelter, contact PG County Animal Services at 301.780.7200. It is against the law to be cruel to feral cats and to neglect pet dogs in PG County.
BCC encourages everyone to keep an eye out for our four-legged friends.