Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekend charmers & a winter shelter

I found this on facebook (Cat lovers' Rescue Group) and wanted to show you how a winter shelter for ferals can be put together.
I like this one but I know that ferals need to have a back escape hole or they will not use it.
Has anyone ever used something like this? I'd like to know more about these. 
If there was an entrance and an exit I wonder if it would be warm enough?

My charges this week-end
(some of you have met these three before)
This black and white creature with a stripe down it's back did not send me running for cover. Nope...this one I gathered up and snuggled in my arms. 

First, I had to lift him. Ha! No easy feat.
Look at this gentle giant.
I could have cuddled him all day. He is gorgeous, has personality and will charm the whiskers off of any other cat. Guess where he came from?
The Lanark Animal Shelter in Smiths Falls. Imagine someone giving him up.
What an arm-ful!

His name is Presley

Molly is a chocolate sundae cat.

Just look at those tootsies
Those are vanilla ice-cream paws with chocolate sauce.
"I'll have one, please."

and Buddy...what a doll!
Buddy wants to be groomed ALL DAY.
Then he gave me a 'cat in window' photo.
"Thanks Bud"
After visiting and caring for these three magnificent cats I headed back to town to care for a tuxedo, an orange and white and a calico. You'll meet them soon.
The rain has stopped and the sun is shining once again.
Kane really enjoyed running the acres today.

Another thin, starving, wandering cat has been picked up in our area. Our shelter is full and a good person has offered to take her in temporarily. Bless her.
Our local shelter is a NO KILL shelter and, at some point,  if adoptions are down the shelter fills up. That is what has happened recently. This is when the community has to step up and help out. 
Please remember to support your local animal shelter & animal rescue groups in your area.

I'm joining for Sweet Saturday.


  1. Presley, Molly and Buddy are so beautiful. I thought of you yesterday as I saw a van advertising in home cat care. It's the first I've seen in our area.

    It always makes me sad to hear about the homeless and the ones who are feral and never had a loving human touch. How can humans be so foolish regarding spaying and neutering!


  2. All are wonderful feline creations of God. What sweet personalities shine forth from each one.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  3. L and I are trying to figure out what to build for Next and Enough....something on the porch, that is insulated...but like you say, if there aren't two doors, you really can't expect them to use it.

  4. Thanks for this info Deb! I will certainly be prepping a couple for our winter visitors (our secret OK? hahahahaha)
    Lovely lovelies you spend time with!
    I wish I could help the shelter with more than money and supplies but welllll you know my issue with my girls.........
    Looks like a nice Sunday. Enjoy!!

  5. Oh, what gorgeous cats!!! However, I'm not sure I've ever seen an ugly cat...... they're all beautiful in their own way.

    I worry so about all animals outdoors in the cold weather. The plastic boxes don't look very warm, but I suppose they're better than nothing.

    1. Hi Dolores: The insulation around the inside makes all the difference in warmth. The straw works better than blankets also. I'm not sure about the hole where they enter and exit, though. Thinking that may let in too much cold air.

  6. You just have the most beautiful "clients". That black & white Presley is magnificent and as you say, an armful. I have never seen a feral cat in our area, but that's not to say they are around. We do have a lot of coyotes and they may not make it, I just don't know. Deb, I have decided that you are an angel and these kitties are just the luckiest to have you. I'm so thankful the apron chose you and we got to meet,

  7. Hi Deb: What a beauty. Great markings. It must be that time of year our shelters are full also..Happy Saturday..Judy

  8. Thanks for visiting us, and sharing the photos of your gorgeous 'charges'.

    In late June this year a small, starving, black cat in obvious distress wandered into our yard. This is fairly unusual for us - as the previous poster mentioned, we also live outside our city and have our share of fox & coyotes. After a week or so of regular meals, the little cat overcame her fears to let us know she was friendly and certainly abandoned. She is now vet checked and spayed and the vet guessed about 3 yrs. of age. She now lives with my sister who lost her 18 y.o. black cat and HAD to have this one - the kitty, was named Julie, has a wonderful home and wants to rule the other cats that live there - a budding diva!

  9. Hi Deb,
    I like the idea of the feral box beds and was wondering if they had a hole in each end they might be more acceptable to the wild cats. I have covered the entrance hole of a dog's house with leather chamois cloth and it really kept the heat in. Do you think the cats would consider a box with leather chamois or some very dense cloth over the hole or even both holes? I don't know a lot about feral cats, only those that are somewhat tame and will use almost anything! I think I did cover the holes with a thick cloth at least partially on one and it was okay with the kitty.
    Lily, WA, USA

  10. One more thought... If the top of the inner container had a cloth drape across it, it could have staw layed in it too so that the top of the inside area would be able to capture the heat and it would reduce some of the extra space that the cat would otherwise have to heat itself. I have done this and the cats don't seem to mind if they have to push up a bit on it to walk in and then when they laid down the ceiling is closer to them. It makes a warm canopy.

  11. Your cats look so sweet Deb! What a good idea to make a winter shelter.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Madelief x

  12. I like the idea of hanging a think fabric over the two openings. The straw insulation is easy enough to do. Those a three truly beautiful cats! ~ Maureen

  13. I am interested in a way to make a shelter for another feral cat that is hanging around here. This is something I'll show to the Mr. I always love the cats you visit! Charlie is at my feet right now and I know how blessed I am to have this guy as my own!
    hugs, Linda

  14. Oh we think Mr. Presley is deeeevine indeedie! That Woman is all goo now with those yummy feets on alla dem kitties.

    The shelter thing looks like a great idea and we agree that two holes would be better given the temperament of the feral. But you never can tell. If it were tucked away really well somewhere they might actually feel safer that nothing could sneak up behind them. Great idea two containers to doubly insure no water could get in.

    And *snicker* the hay in there could entice a nice little food source for the 'landlord' too!

    Ms. Stella O'Houligan
    & That Woman

  15. Gorgeous cats! I like Molly's color :)

  16. More about the cat boxes! For use as the inside box, a buckets shape being round would "fit" a cats shape much better than a square box with lots of unusable corners that have to be heated by the kitty. It would hug the cat like a Dog-Igloo does a dog. Our dog could get right into the back of his and it kept his back very warm because of the curve. Most 5 gallon buckets with lids would work well size-wise for a cat but they might be too tall for the outer box. (They could be laid securely on their sides and still have less room for lost heat than a square box.) But perhaps there is a size big enough around but shorter that would work well. Insulation could be formed around the bucket tightly with extra straw outside of it if there were area without insulation in the square outer box.
    Offsetting the doors of the outer box and the bucket so the cat might enter slightly to one side of the center to go into the outer box and then crawl into the bucket slightly to the other side would help keep the wind out. (I have done this and it has worked.) That could be done on both ends and would keep the wind from blowing straight through. Plus if the hole into the bucket where slightly higher than the outside hole the cat would sink down into the straw and be somewhat lower than the hole. It would keep them warmer down inside than laying at the same level.
    There are so many ways of making it tighter and more cozier for them. I had very old wool blankets that I stuffed with pillow feathers and I fastened to the top and sides of a double box. Worked well. Where I put the boxes they are high in the rafters of an open shed that the local feral cats seem to all find! They feel fairly safe up there and that might be why they would go into some of the more complicated boxes they have used. Just a few more thoughts. Lily

    1. Thank you so much, Lily. Great information.

  17. We had a feral cat in the neighbourhood a few years ago that I was taking care of. We called him Bobby because he'd lost almost all of his tail. His ears were very ragged and his fur terribly matted. I built a winter shelter for him in our front garden. We have a bay window so there is a couple of feet depth of protected space. I covered the ground with straw and leaned a old storm window against the house. The exhaust from the water heater was right there so it constantly was blowing hot air into the space. It was always warm with no snow and he lived there for years. After a couple of years, he let me touch him so I could clean up his fur. A neighbour got her vet to come to the house each year so we were able to give him shots. One day he just disappeared but we had for about 8 years. I still think about him. I later heard he wasn't a true feral but had belonged to an elderly lady down the street and when she died, her husband threw him out. Poor thing.

  18. Deb, We've been caring for ferals for almost 5 years. We've homed many of them. Right now we have Tortie, who lives in our backyard/garden and is friendly - but only to my hsb and I. She is scared of everyone else. We have what we call "winter quarters" for her - got the design off the internet - it's quite similar to the ones you found. Here is a link to a post I wrote about it: We have had others over the years who pop in for food and the winter quarters have been well-used. Currently there are two other cats who stop by.