January looks like it’s going to be a cold one. For many happy cats that means plenty of time snuggled up at home. Sadly, there are many cats out there that have no family to go home to, so how can we help them during the colder months? There are other cats that are forced to spend the night outside, whatever the weather, by owners who don’t want them in the house at night.
Here are a few tips on how you can help these cats, which have been suggested by The Cats Protection.
- Adopt a homeless cat – but be sure to advertise the cat locally and on social media in case the cat is lost.
- Call the RSPCA to request them to come out and catch the cat and find it a new home.
- Contact your local cat rescue centre and ask if they have space or a foster home available for the homeless cat.
There are other options available.
- Provide access to a warm shelter that the homeless cats can use when the temperatures fall. You could add a cosy box or cat kennel on the outskirts of your property. Alternatively, prop open the window of your shed so the cat can get in and out with ease. Do remember to check the window or door to ensure that it doesn’t trap the cat inside.
- Leave food out for the feral cats in the area. If you know of a feral cat you can help by giving them some additional nutrition. Feeding feral cats is also a useful way of reducing some of the damage feral cats do to the local ecosystems.
- Cats need clean water, which can be difficult when water is frozen over. Leave out a bowl of water and check it each morning and night.
- Always clean up antifreeze spills. It has a sweet taste that appeals to cats and dogs but it’s highly toxic and kills very quickly. Keep an eye on the stray cats in your area for signs of antifreeze poisoning and take them to the vets if they appear sick.
- Check under the bonnet of your car before starting it up. Cats often seek sanctuary under vehicles as they provide shelter and the warmth is too inviting to ignore.
Don’t forget to get your own cats microchipped if they are allowed to roam freely. Concerned neighbours can mistake a prowling cat for a stray and they may be tempted to invite your cat into their home or contact the RSPCA. A microchip will help avoid lost cats and ensure your pet is able to be located and returned to your loving home if they wonder too far.