Winterizing Feral Cat Colonies

Winter poses a few special problems for feral cat caretakers to deal with.

  • Increased Precipitation. Before the winter weather arrives you should inspect all shelters and food stations to make sure that they are in good shape to protect the cats from rain, snow, cold temperatures and high winds. To do this, make sure the sides and walls of all shelters and feeding stations are properly sealed and covered and that the roofs are waterproof and sealed from leaks. And make sure that all shelters and stations are properly elevated to protect the cats from severe rain or flooding.
  • Keeping Food and Water Fresh. In extremely cold temperatures water may freeze quickly. Thus you may want to bring warm water when you visit the feeding station. This way it will take longer to freeze. Similarly you may want to bring warm moist food if you give the cats wet food as an occasional treat. Or you may want to only feed dry food during the winter months if freezing will be a problem.
  • Snowstorms. If you live in a particularly snowy area you may need to elevate the shelters extra high and provide a ramp for the cats to get into and out of the shelters. You may also need to dig out a daily path to the shelters in snowstorms.
  • Increased Resources. During wintertime you may find that you have a few extra cats looking for food, water and refuge. Thus you may want to set up an extra shelter or two and leave out a little extra food and water at the feeding station.