During bad weather, feral cats are at risk of dehydration and starvation. As a concerned citizen, you can help feral cats during such times by providing them with a home, food, and water. One simple way to provide shelter for feral cats is by using a plastic storage container or a Styrofoam cooler with insulation and a small entrance hole. Additionally, it is essential to provide food and water in a safe and accessible location for feral cats. In icy weather conditions, you can use heated mats or pads to keep feral cats warm.
Monitoring their health during bad weather and checking for any signs of illness or injury is also important. However, if you cannot help feral cats alone, contact local animal rescue organizations for assistance. By taking these simple steps, you can help ensure the well-being of feral cats during bad weather.
Challenges That Feral Cats Face During Bad Weather
Here are some challenges that feral cats face during bad weather.
|Challenges||Weather Condition||How Does It Affect Cats?|
|Dehydration||Hot weather||During hot weather, feral cats are at risk of dehydration. According to recent studies, feral cats need access to clean water to stay hydrated. However, water sources can become scarce during droughts or heat waves. Feral cats can suffer from various health issues without proper hydration and even die.|
|Starvation||Any extremely bad weather||Feral cats rely on their hunting skills to find food. However, their food sources can become scarce or inaccessible during bad weather, such as hurricanes or snowstorms. It can lead to malnutrition and starvation.|
|Hypothermia||Extreme cold weather||Feral cats are at risk of hypothermia during extreme cold weather conditions. Not only this, but feral cats can also die from this condition if their body temperature drops below 90°F.|
|Frostbite||Cold weather||Frostbite can occur in feral cats during icy weather conditions. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, frostbite can cause tissue damage and, in severe cases, lead to amputation of affected body parts.|
|Illness and injuryAny bad weatherFeral cats are also at risk of illness and injury during bad weather conditions. For example, they may suffer from respiratory infections, frostbite, or injuries from falling branches or debris.|
How Should You Prepare Feral Cats for Sultry Hot Weather?
Feral cats are independent creatures, but they still need a little help during the hot weather months. So, here’s what you can do.
- Provide Shady Spots and Raised Beds:
Shady spots and raised beds can offer them a cool place to relax during the hottest part of the day. You can set up a gazebo, patio, or covered porch with cat beds and plant trees or bushes that offer shade. Just remember to treat the area for fleas.
Raised beds are a great option to offer a comfortable resting place, as they keep the cats off the hot ground. Consider using a cooling pet cot with a canopy or a pet cot house with side windows for extra airflow and shade.
- Give Plenty of Water:
Water is essential to hydrate feral cats during summer, especially when temperatures soar. To ensure they always have access to fresh water, it’s a good idea to keep plenty of water bowls in shaded areas where they can stay cool. One option is a cooling or filtered water bowl with a reservoir, which can help ensure they don’t run out of water even on hot days.
- Use Dry Kibble:
During extreme hot weather conditions, feeding feral cats dry kibble rather than wet food is preferable. Dry food stays fresh longer and doesn’t attract as many insects, which can help prevent issues with pests like ants. To protect their food, keep it in ant-proof bowls, or containers insects can’t easily access.
- Protect Their Paws from the Heat:
Feral cats need a cool surface to walk on during hot weather, as hot concrete or sand can burn their paws and cause discomfort. Providing a dirt or grass path to shaded areas is a good idea to protect their feet and keep them safe. It will allow them to move around freely without risking injury.
- Prevent Parasites and Other Pests:
Feral cats can be susceptible to various health issues during summer, including flea infestations, tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, and heatstroke. In addition, they may contract diseases like feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) from other cats they come into contact with.
To prevent these issues, it’s important to use flea and tick prevention products and ensure that cats can access mosquito-repelling plants or sprays. Regular grooming and cleaning of their feeding areas can also help prevent the buildup of pests and debris.
How Should You Prepare Feral Cats for Freezing Cold Weather?
Taking some key measures is crucial when preparing cats for cold weather. So, below, we’ve discussed them in detail; have a look.
- Install Small Shelters Outdoors:
One of the most important things to remember while protecting feral cats from harsh cold weather outside is the shelter’s size. Small shelters are a good idea as they do not disperse heat quickly, making it easy for cats to stay warm.
For instance, you can choose a cat shelter house with 45*43*40 cm sizes. It can accommodate two cats, depending on their size. If fewer feral cats are nearby to use the shelter, it’s better to make the shelter even smaller so that less body heat is required to warm it up. Also, the doorway should be small enough so that only cats can enter, and adding a door flap can help keep out cold air and predators.
You can buy the K&H Pet Products Outdoor Heated Cat Shelter, which is great for providing shelter to feral cats, as it is waterproof and easy to carry around.
- Use Insulation for Shelters:
When insulating feral cat shelters, ensure that the materials used are safe and non-toxic. Avoid using materials that could pose a fire hazard, such as heat lamps or electrical wiring. Instead, consider using eco-friendly options such as recycled denim insulation or reflective insulation made from recycled materials.
When lining the shelter with mylar blankets, secure them tightly to prevent them from becoming a hazard. Using appropriate insulation materials can ensure that feral cats have a warm and comfortable shelter during the colder months.
- Keep Antifreeze Materials and Chemicals Away from Feral Cats’ Reach:
You might think using antifreeze materials will regulate the frigid temperature and keep cats warm. But it’s just a myth. It’s important to avoid using antifreeze, salt, or other chemicals in areas accessible to cats, as these substances can be harmful if ingested. Ethylene glycol, a common ingredient in antifreeze, is highly toxic to feral cats and can cause kidney failure even in small amounts.
So, store these chemicals in sealed containers and out of reach of cats to prevent accidental exposure. If a spill occurs, clean it immediately and safely dispose of any contaminated materials.
- Opt for Trap-Neuter-Return Program:
Performing trap-neuter-return (TNR) during the colder months is an effective approach to managing the upcoming “kitten season” proactively. Spaying and neutering can enhance feral cats’ general well-being, enabling them to withstand harsh weather conditions better. By implementing TNR, you can reduce the number of homeless cats, limit their exposure to cold weather, and ensure their good health.
You may trap cats during warmer times of the day and adjust their feeding schedule accordingly. It’s also important to check traps frequently and never leave cats confined in a trap for too long, as this can make it difficult for them to stay comfortable.
- Feed Extra Food to Increase Warmth in Extreme Cold
Providing extra food and water to community cats during the colder months is vital to help them stay warm. One way to do this is by increasing their food portions, especially canned or wet food, which is easier to digest and provides more energy to fight the cold. Fresh food and water should be provided daily, and care should be taken to prevent leftovers from freezing.
Here are some methods to prevent food and water from freezing.
|Food/Water Source||How to Provide It to Feral Cats?|
|Use plastic containers for wet food||It will prevent the food from freezing and make it easier for cats to eat.|
|Serve dry food||Dry food won’t freeze and provides a good alternative in frigid temperatures. However, it takes more energy to digest.|
|Warm up canned food and water||It can be done using a microwave or heated electric bowls, providing a warm meal for the cats.|
|Use deep bowls and place them in sunny areas||It helps keep water from freezing and provides a warm spot for the cats to drink from.|
|Use insulation foam or a microwavable heating pad||Insulation foam can be sprayed onto the underside of plastic feeding dishes, while a microwavable heating pad or homemade heating pad can be placed under the bowls to keep food and water from freezing.|
|Run water from a spigot or use a water fountain||Running water won’t freeze as fast as still water, and a water fountain or bowl with a fountain feature can keep water moving.|
How Should You Prepare Feral Cats for Strong Rainy Weather?
Feral cats are incredibly resilient but can even struggle in wet and rainy weather. Fortunately, you can ensure these animals are safe and healthy even in stormy weather by following the below-mentioned tips.
- Create a Drainage System:
If you’re providing a shelter for feral cats, creating a drainage system is essential to prevent water from pooling inside. It can be as simple as tilting the shelter slightly or as elaborate as digging a trench around it to channel water away.
- Keep Food Dry:
It can be challenging for feral cats to find dry food in rainy weather. To help keep their food dry, consider placing it in a sheltered area or using waterproof bowls. You may also check on food and water more frequently during rainy weather to ensure it hasn’t become contaminated.
- Provide Warmth:
Feral cats may struggle to stay warm in wet and rainy weather, especially if they don’t have access to shelter. To help them stay warm, consider providing them with blankets or other warm bedding. You can also create a warm, sheltered area by placing hay or straw inside a covered container.
- Dry Cats Off:
If you notice that feral cats are wet from the rain, consider using a towel or other absorbent material to dry them off. It can help prevent other health problems in your cat.
- Treat Illness Promptly:
Wet and rainy weather can increase the risk of illness in feral cats. If you notice a cat exhibiting signs of ailment, such as coughing, sneezing, or lethargy, it’s essential to seek veterinary care promptly.
Common Care Tips for Feral Cats Under Any Extreme Weather Conditions
You can take many measures for feral cats that will differ from one weather to another. However, there are some actions that you must take as part of caring for feral cats under any climatic conditions. Below are some of them.
- Always ensure that there is sufficient food and water.
- Ensure the food is kept at an elevation and under a covered area with a roof above.
- Observe the cat’s behavior to check if they are not ill.
- If there is a change in their behavior, try getting them into a cage and checking them with a veterinarian.
- If possible, check for injuries and provide medical aid.
- Check if it is possible to socialize feral cats. If you can socialize them, you can put them up for adoption or in an animal shelter where they can be cared for.
In bad weather, feral cats face challenges such as finding food and shelter and staying warm. As compassionate individuals, you can provide food, water, and shelter and take steps to protect them from harsh weather conditions.
Also, remember that feral cats are independent animals and may be cautious around humans, so approach them carefully. Support them to help them thrive in their outdoor habitats during extreme weather conditions.