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Feral Cats During Insane Cold Ne Us/ontario

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by FelisCatus, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. FelisCatus

    FelisCatus Thread Starter RIP </3 Alpha Cat

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    Dec 27, 2018
    Hi there, it is currently -20 degrees celcius/-4 Fahrenheit here in Ontario (and I guess NE US) and I was wondering how all of you wonderful feral/colony caretakers are doing?

    Did you prepare the colonies with extra bedding and such knowing a huge storm is coming? I eventually want to take care of ferals (I don’t believe I have the knowledge/skills yet). How does one go about finding a colony to take care of besides Kijiji/Craiglist, FB groups and asking local shelters?
     

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Colorado USA
    Hi, I don't know how cold it gets for @Jcatbird or @catsknowme
    but maybe they or some other members will have a chance to answer your questions :)
     

  3. Jcatbird

    Jcatbird TCS Member Top Cat

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    Southern U.S.
    Thank you @Furballsmom Now is a VERY crucial time for ferals. They need help to survive the cold. I have put up many shelters fir them over the yesrs. Insulated, with blankets, protected from wind, rain and snow are important. I have also provided heat. Cats can easily perish in the cold or severe heat. I hope you can help some.
    You can easily find groups in your are by doing a google. search of “ Feral rescue groups and then your city, or county.” If you have a Humane Society you can ask them or local vet offices. Skills are easily learned. Many here can help you. Every group would be very grateful for any help you can provide as well as teaching you lots of tricks for assisting. Thank you so much for caring and be willing to help them. If you can.... now would be good! IF you feed them and provide shelter, they will come!
    :help::please::kitty::catrub:
     
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  4. catsknowme

    catsknowme TCS Member Top Cat

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    As always, I heartily second Jcatbird's advice! While we have not gotten nowhere nearly that cold down here, our ferals can quickly succumb to upper respiratory problems in severe cold.
    I promote extra calories and weight gain in anticipation of hard freezes. I add an extra meal of canned food with L-lysine added; if I see signs of sniffles or wheezing, I add a decoction of slippery elm and marshmallow root. I also heat all the food, either on the woodburner or in batches in the microwave, if temperatures are near or below freezing. In late afternoon, when food is less likely to freeze over, I offer heavy cream diluted with boiling water, as a treat and to promote fat gain (cream has no lactose so doesn't upset tummies like milk will. Half&half is tolerated well, too.)
    For shelters, I like to do a shelter within a shelter. My main feral colony has a "longhouse" of tarps and plastic draped over a swing set frame. The 'A' shape forces the rising heat back down onto the living space. Inside, I offer an assortment of shelters and beds - ranging from a down comforter on top of a metal cot to boxes & plastic bins with portals cut out and insulated with Reflectix and warm cushioning added. Large clay pots lined with dried grasses and a small cushion of Reflectix or self-heating batting (sold as water heater batting or lining for pot holders) topped with faux fleece added. Discarded ski wear such as vests and mufflers; also arctic sleeping bags, are also popular.
    As for finding ferals, it pays to be alert for spotting glowing tapetums, especially in the dusk of dawn & sunset, plus the wee hours of the morning. The poor areas of town and behind restaurants and grocery stores are where I locate most feral colonies. Cats typically sleep away from where they eat and water; scavengers are often predators of cats as well.
    As Jcatbird suggested, offering food and shelter will often draw in cats in need, too. It is all very simple and I encourage you to start a.s.a.p. because kitties really need all the help that they can get. Plus, establishing time & place of feeding creates the base camp for TNRV efforts, which need to occur soon to allay a flood of homeless kittens in spring.
    Thank you for caring :cheerleader::rock:
     
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  5. marmoset

    marmoset TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Oh wow if you are looking to help caretake for colonies search facebook for your area. I'm a member of several US based groups for TnR, Community Cats, Feral Cats- those are all the search terms you should use along with Ontario. Or even just try Canada with those terms. Join a basic Canadian group and you'll find more localized groups that way.

    Finding people willing to HELP is a boon! I can't count how many times I've felt like I was on death's door but still dragged myself out in the weather to the ferals (and mine are right in my backyard) or I had to go away to visit a sick parent etc. Having someone who even does light helping would be such a big relief.
     

  6. Jcatbird

    Jcatbird TCS Member Top Cat

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    Dec 5, 2017
    Southern U.S.

  7. DreamerRose

    DreamerRose TCS Member Top Cat

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    Naperville, IL
    All of you guys rock! Thanks for doing so much for your feline friends.
     
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  8. msaimee

    msaimee TCS Member Top Cat

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    I haven't been asked to give input, but I will offer some anyway :) It helps to have a few other people, preferably neighbors who live on your block, involved in caring for outdoor ferals, because it can be at times very stressful and overwhelming. My neighbors and I are currently caring for only two outdoor feral cats (the others we caught young enough to socialize and convert to indoor cats) and the past week alone has been challenging. Ghost has been limping on one of his paws, but thankfully is improving. Harlow, who is situated in a cedarwood pet house with a heating pad on my porch, appeared to have a bit of frostbite on her nose during a very cold and snowy weekend. She actually ventured into my house a few times and managed not to fight with my 5 indoor cats, but after a 1/2 hour, was panicked to be released back outdoors, and i relented and allowed her back outside. She seems to be doing OK. When caring for a feral cat outdoors, there are always difficult decisions to be made. When to try to trap, when to give it time, when to force our wills over the cat and when to allow the cat to make decisions for its life. You are constantly worried for them, especially in bad weather, or if you don't see them for days or weeks. You are constantly worried if they are ill or injured. You have to commit to regular feeding times. You can't leave food out at night because it will attract other wildlife. You have to be aware of any neighbors who hate cats and object to what you are doing. It is a very stressful endeavor. There is also a certain amount of helplessness involved, because it is difficult to trap a feral cat a second time, so if the cat is ill or injured, it can be difficult to re trap to take to the cat to the vet. Most feral cats you can't just pick up and put into a carrier. I'm not trying to scare you away, because taking care of feral cats is a true calling. But I would advise that if you begin to take on this responsibility, that you have the support of your family, or your neighbors. You can also take in a young feral cat, One who is under 1 year old, and socialize that cat to becoming an indoor cat who will have a much better life. The younger the cat, the easier it is to socialize. If You take a cat who would otherwise be euthanuzed in a shelter and commit to socializing it, you will have done a very great deed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019

  9. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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  10. oldtinsmith

    oldtinsmith TCS Member Young Cat

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    Dec 26, 2018
    FelisCatus,,, last night it went down to -8* with a wind chill of -24*, and our three feral kitties were waiting at our back door for breakfast. They started playing chase with each other for about ten minutes after breakfast, then went back inside the shed (and maybe back insight their beds). ... Their "beds" are two inch thick styrofoam boxes (NutriSystem food shipping boxes!) with a thick layer of straw bedding. ... You can check out the shed with "beds" in my "feral shed, 12-28-2018", in this forum.

    Doug
     
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  11. oldtinsmith

    oldtinsmith TCS Member Young Cat

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    Dec 26, 2018
    All,,, -10* with a wind chill of-28* this morning at breakfast time!No playing this morning, just cuddled together on the door mat. Doug
     
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  12. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    Wowza. :cold: I'm glad they have you !
     
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  13. oldtinsmith

    oldtinsmith TCS Member Young Cat

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    Dec 26, 2018
    WOW!!! It's +19* outside with a +5* wind index!! I fed the kitties and gave them a cloth toy mouse to play with. Watching them running, jumping, chasing each other and a toy mouse to torment. ... On a side note, during the last five days we've had three more (they're neighborhood feral cats!) kitties using our shed and sleeping foam boxes and eating and drinking the food and water here. I have not seen the three guests so far these morning.

    Doug
     
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  14. ParkBaby

    ParkBaby TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jan 15, 2018

    Hi FelisCatus, we are in New York, it's been extremely cold...our outside kitties have good shelters made by my husband, straw, 2 pads, we put each night HotHands hand warmers for 18 hours...between the pads, and the kitties stay warm for 18 hours, then we change them in the morning.
    We've been doing it for years, the handwarmers are safe as long as they are not in direct contact with kitties' bodies. This is our only option, since we have no electricity source in that area.
    We also put a wood large piece at the entrance, to stop the wind, so the girls are protected from wind and snow or rain.
    Wishing you the best of luck!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2019

  15. msaimee

    msaimee TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jul 21, 2013
    Western PA
    It was 58 degrees in Western PA today. Thank goodness this cold spell is over! Both of the outdoor feral cats my neighbors and I care for made it through very well. One is almost totally socialized to me and a few neighbors, and she actually came inside my house for long periods of time during the cold spell, including overnight Tuesday. She was very well behaved towards my five indoor cats, I guess they got to know each other through the windows separating my porch from my sunroom over the past year. There was no fighting or conflicts at all. I am very grateful that the week is over, and that both cats are safe. They are tough, resilient creatures! Hope all of your outdoor cats made it through okay :)
     
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  16. missy&spikesmom

    missy&spikesmom TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Mar 21, 2003
    Ohio
    Yes, thankfully, that horrible Polar Vortex thing slowed down! It went from -7 to 60 degrees this afternoon in Ohio!!!! --Wow!! My feral kitty, Howie, showed back up and I was so relieved. He KNOWS the traps, so when I have had them set out for him (in warmer weather and no snow/ice going on), he avoids my Patio like the plague. As soon as the traps were put away, he was back looking for food. He showed up this entire past week, every day, except the day it was -7. I was so, so worried about him and I know you all "get'' that, when they don't show up and the weather is horrific!!!! I have a heated/insulated tub on the edge of my Patio for him and he did go inside it multiple times that I saw. However, he'd stay there for about an hour---then off he'd trot to somewhere else...… Sigh. I also have heated K&H Pet bowls for dry and wet food. I have a larger heated water bowl by Petfactors and have to say, I LOVE that bowl! The other brands seem to just keep the water at less than room temperature, on a good day. This one, keeps it a bit warmer than lukewarm and is the perfect temperature. I got it on Ebay, but I believe they sell it on Amazon and other sites too. At any rate, I am relieved the temp outside is a lot more tolerable, because Howie's nose looks awfully red today and am worried he got some frostbite maybe on his nose?? Poor animals out there in all that winter weather. Makes me so sad for them :(
     
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  17. FelisCatus

    FelisCatus Thread Starter RIP </3 Alpha Cat

    883
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    Dec 27, 2018
    Thanks for all of your responses and tips.

    We also finally received a break from the polar vortex, at least here in southern Ontario.

    7c/32f!

    Everything is wet and slushy though. I imagine feral cats get matted fur in these kind of conditions.
     
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  18. oldtinsmith

    oldtinsmith TCS Member Young Cat

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    Dec 26, 2018
    Our feral kitties groom quite often. All day long!

    Doug
     
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  19. Talien

    Talien TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Oct 10, 2018
    Michigan
    A lot of excellent advice here, the only thing I'd really add that hasn't already been said is heating food in a microwave will destroy nutrients. Personally I put the food in a bowl and float it in my kitchen sink partially filled with hot water, it takes longer to heat than in a microwave or stovetop but it keeps the nutrients intact and won't burn like on a stovetop if you get distracted and don't get back to it in time. Plus you can 100% control the temperature since the food will only get as hot as the water.
     
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  20. oldtinsmith

    oldtinsmith TCS Member Young Cat

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    Dec 26, 2018

    Very good advice!!

    Doug
     

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