While many people prefer to keep their kitties inside to live, there are plenty that live outside part or full time. Living inside is much safer and warmer for a cat but not always an option. We have one that has never stepped outside as well as a barn cat. While the barn cat isn’t as tame as our indoor one I’m still always concerned about her winter care. Here are some tips to keep in mind for the colder months.
Shelter – An outdoor cat should have access to some type of insulated shelter. You can use a small dog house or use cardboard boxes. If you use boxes put a smaller one inside a larger one and fill the space between them with straw to help insulate. Make sure it is in a draft free and dry location. Cats get cold and need a warm place to sleep during long cold days and nights. I find that my barn cat sleeps in the stacks of hay or straw.
Water – Keeping water from freezing can be a challenge. Even in my barn the water freezes so I make sure to replace it twice a day for our kitty to drink from. Animals should not be forced to rely on eating snow for their source of water. Cats that hunt or eat food will need less water but it should always be available.
Food – Cats need extra food in the winter to help stay warm. We feed outdoor cats all year (and yes they still hunt great!) but always increase it in the winter months. A lot of small critters they eat hibernate and aren’t out for as many hunting opportunities. My barn cat earns her keep hunting and keeping mice out of my grain but I never want her to lose weight during the cold months.
Make sure they are fixed – Spaying and neutering is important! You don’t want to find a new batch of kittens in the spring (and fall) each year. Overpopulation is a huge problem so do your part. When my barn kitty came home she was completely feral. We were able to get her spayed through a TNR (trap neuter release) program for only five dollars. They notched her ears to mark that she was fixed and she’s been a happy kitty since then.
Worming – You should worm your outdoor cat twice a year at least. Heading into winter is a great time to do this. It will help them maintain weight and reduce parasite numbers where they live. You can use standard or natural wormers, the choice is yours, but it’s a critical part of your pet’s health.
Do you have any tips for taking care of your outdoor animals during the winter?
Try E3Feline – superior organic nutrition for your feline friends: http://www.e3live.com/p-37-e3-feline-fresh-frozen.aspx