Winter and cats
Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998 09:15:40 -0600 Subject: FEL-L: Winter housing for small cats
I am considering keeping a mated pair of Geoffrey's cats permanently outdoors. I live in southern Wisconsin where winter temperatures can get as low as –10 degrees farenheit. What would be the best way to house them given that they cannot be kept in the house?
Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998 13:23:52 EST Subject: Re: FEL-L: Winter housing for small cats
There is a lot of different ways you could go. To start with I would say an area that the cats are dry and protected from the wind and eliminates. Wind chill effects worm blood mammals, so you need to be sure they are protected from the wind. If these cats have been outside they will have grown winter coats. If they have not been outside you should have some kind of supplemental heat source for them until they have climates.
I have built houses for my outsiders, and fill them with alfalfa hay. The cats really like the alfalfa, it's almost like cat nip to them. I change the alfalfa hay in the spring and add more in the fall of the year for winter. You can also use carriers for houses. Take the doors off, put a piece of 3/4" plywood in on the bottom half of the opening, use duck tape to cover the vent holes on the top half, and fill with alfalfa hay. Be sure that the hay is real alfalfa. For some reason the alfalfa hay does not afford a home for spiders or other insects, and the cats can bed it down to their liking.
Water is another biggy. They need water, and you will need to have a heated water dish, unless you have the time to change their water three or four times a day, assuming the water is frozen. This can be a real problem if you are talking about bobs. They love water, water to play in, water to go potty in. To prevent this problem, I put my heated dish off the surface (12"-15"), and placed so they can't get over the top of the dish. You also have to be very careful of the electric cord, so they can't chew on it.
I live in Eastern Washington State and our winter temps have been -28 degrees for a week or 10 days at a time. I have had no winter related health problems with my kids. A little common sense, and judgment will go a long ways. Try to put your self in the cats place. TBR
Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998 17:24:43 -0800 Subject: Re: FEL-L: Winter housing for small cats
Also you can get an old crock pot for a few dollars from a yard sale or something and just put it on low to use as a heated water dish. Tie it firmly to the side of the cage and put the cord going to the back and going out of the cage. If they play too much a cement block or a few bricks stacked around the thing will usually keep them from tearing stuff up too much. You do need to check it often for the first few days you use this method to see how the cat is doing with it and to make sure that you keep enough water in the thing so it doesn't go dry and burn up the crock pot. Once you get one settled checking water once a day has worked well for me. Glenda :)