As you plan your fall holiday decorations, remember your outside feline visitors. Cold weather is harsh on outside cats. You don't have to spend a lot of money to provide strays the things we take for granted--shelter and warmth. A bale or two of straw can be used to shield already protected areas on your property from cold winter winds. Plastic storage bins can be converted into cat shelters. My husband and I try to give our outside visitors options. Below are several of the shelters we provide. Hopefully our outside cats will choose one or two.
|A shelter in an island garden protected by a weeping spruce|
In addition, I lay thermal heat pads on the furniture in the sun room.
The outside shelters we provide close to the house also have low wattage heat pads inside. Among them are an igloo and cedar shelters. If you'd like to consider making a shelter yourself, here is a link:
Alley Cat Allies also has pages of pre-built and DIY shelters to examine, many with instructions.
We use straw bales as buffers and protection for the shelters against the elements. Since the flowers are gone and plants don't provide much cover, the bales are also useful on the patio to break the wind. Ornamental grasses are available in the garden throughout the winter and shelters can be placed near them for added protection.
|My husband just picked up this year's straw bales.|
Also important in winter are heated water bowls. We notice the strays drink more water in winter than summer because it's harder to find a water supply. Here is one option we use, but many kinds and brands are available.
Keeping these stray fur babies safe is a challenge. Hopefully they'll take advantage of our hospitality.