Keeping cats safe this winter

Cats Protection League volunteer Sheridan Gaunt holds unwanted pet Arthur, during a rehoming event at Loxley Community Centre, Werrington. ENGEMN00120130408173211
Cats Protection League volunteer Sheridan Gaunt holds unwanted pet Arthur, during a rehoming event at Loxley Community Centre, Werrington. ENGEMN00120130408173211
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Winter is here and our beloved cats are curled up in the warmth of their homes enjoying all the luxuries of regular food and fresh water, clean warm bedding, along with all the love and affection they could possibly want. But what about the poor stray, lost and feral cats that have no home? What can you do to help? Here are some ideas that can make the life of a cat in winter a little less harsh.

Give the gift of warmth; one of the greatest risks to strays or feral cats is the bitter cold of the winter weather. Help them make it through the long nights with a place to hide. If you have an outdoor shed with a window, maybe you could leave it ajar so a needy cat can slip inside for shelter? And maybe provide a box with an old blanket or towel in? To stop it from getting wet or damp if possible, elevate it off the ground so that the box or bedding doesn’t become sodden

Feed a feral cat; if you are aware of feral cats in your area then without encouraging them to your property, why not consider taking some food to the area that they are in and putting it down for them? Your own cat may be choosy but a starving cat will eat the cheapest of cat food.

Provide fresh unfrozen water regularly; animals who don’t have clean accessible water will turn to gutters and puddles where sadly they can drink deadly antifreeze, oil and other chemicals.

Be careful when starting vehicles; cats are known to look for warm spots in the most awkward places, including around the engine of your car. Take a moment and give a quick check underneath the car and inside the bonnet. Check your work vehicle/van before heading off home to make sure that in bad weather a cat hasn’t ventured inside to keep warm and dry. These simple things can make the world of difference to cats and potentially stop one being miles out of area and lost or a fatality happening.

Be very careful with antifreeze; antifreeze, which is Ethylene Glycol based, is highly toxic to both dogs and cats. It is sweet tasting and so attractive that animals like to eat or drink it. But ingestion of antifreeze can be fatal if it is not treated immediately. The signs of poisoning are depression and lethargy. The animal may appear groggy or drunk, including loss of balance and vomiting. Immediate veterinary treatment is required, but of course a stray cat is unlikely to be noticed by anyone who cares enough to take action. Please look out for leaks on your car and keep your own pets away from any area where antifreeze is stored. Even people who do not have pets should be aware that antifreeze kills to avoid accidentally poisoning wild animals and pets belonging to people.

Finally, for all of you pet owners, please try to encourage your cats to stay in as much as possible. If your cat likes to go out at night to the toilet and have a wander, remember when the temperature drops below zero, you are putting your beloved pet’s health at risk. Why not provide a clean litter tray indoors for this short period of time? The only hardship is for us owners, having to clean it regularly and put up with the smell. A very small price to pay to keep our 
beloved cats safe. These 
few simple steps really can 
make the world of differ-ence.

Our next homing event will be on Sunday 8th January 2017, at The Loxley Centre, (next to The Crab and Winkle pub), Werrington, PE4 5BW, from 1.30-3pm.

If you are unable to make this but would like to find out more about the cats in our care, looking for their forever homes, please contact us on 0345 371 2750.