New Jersey just got past a horrible winter. During some of these brisk winter nights, I’ve heard cats roaming around and it made me think of how they could possibly survive in the winter. So, how do they? What I’ve learned is quite sad, actually, because many cats will not survive without our help. No matter how much fur they have, if they do not have a warm place to sleep and get out of the snow, they can freeze and not be able to find food. So, these are ways you can help:
Obviously, cats need shelter! You can either purchase one or make your own. However, the main point is that they have a well insulated and appropriately sized shelter that they can sleep in. According to Humanesociety.org, you need to make sure its “warm [and] dry,” too. The best material to put in the shelter, according to them, “Straw” because it’s “the best material to put in a shelter because it allows cats to burrow” (source: humanesociety.org)
2) Food and Water
Just like all living beings, food and water is a necessity. In fact, Alleycat.org claims that this is vitally important in the winter because “when temperatures drop, the colony will need extra calories to maintain energy levels.” In order to do this you can create your own feeding station within some type of shelter that will protect the food from rain, snow, wind, or any other elements. The feeding station, also, will allow the cats to know exactly where to go for food and water all the time, but you should make sure that it is somewhat elevated to protect it from insects and keep the cats a bit warmer from not being so close to the ground (source: alleycat.org).
3) Remember water must be changed
Especially if its in the winter, you’ll have to change the water multiple times a day so that it won’t freeze. Alleycat.org suggests finding a way to keep the water bowl (preferably a dark colored bowl that can absorb the suns heat) in the sun to reduce freezing. Although there are additional things you can buy to aid with this, if you are consistent in changing the water and aware of the temperatures, everything should be fine.
4) Check your car
During this past winter, I kept seeing tiny paw prints in the snow leading to my car. My assumption is that a cat was taking refuge underneath my car in order to stay out of the snow and try to keep warm. So, each morning I would make sure to check underneath my car, or at least make enough noises so that it would run away. This also tells us, sadly enough, that if a cat has to resort to sleeping underneath a car, than it is probably having difficulty finding shelter elsewhere. After all, my car does not provide too much warmth; it might shield the cat from snow, but the cat is still sleeping on the cold ground.