F or us folk here in Peterborough, it seems that the past weekend has left us all a little unprepared for the white stuff that fell heavily during the early hours of Sunday morning, writes Peterborough Cats Protection spokeswoman Sheridan Gaunt.
The plunging temperatures, icy conditions and heavy snowfall present several risks for your pet cat. Many people are feeding stray or feral cats so by following a few simple tips you can really make a difference and help to keep cats safe.
n When your cat comes in from the snow, wipe off any road grit and any other substances that may stick to his/her paws or fur.
n Keep the doors of sheds and outbuildings shut or wedged open, so that cats do not become trapped. If you are feeding a stray/feral cat keep warm bedding up high to ensure this remains dry and doesn’t get wet or damp. Try adding some straw as this is a good insulator.
n Cats may also climb into vehicle engines for warmth. We urge you to b vigilant, before starting your car, give a firm tap to the bonnet and take a few moments to check the tyres as they tend to take shelter in these areas, which is highly dangerous. Stray cats are renown for doing this.
n Provide some shelter for cats that have access outside, such as a designated shelter, or cardboard box partially covered with plastic sheeting.
n Take care of your cat if they are older or have arthritis, as the cold can severely affect inflamed joints. Provide additional warm and comfortable places for your cat to rest or sleep. If your cat is finding it hard to reach a favourite resting place, then look at ways of making it easier for him/her to reach their preferred places.
n If your cat uses an outdoor water source to drink, make sure it doesn’t freeze. Always have clean, fresh water available inside in case the outdoor source is inaccessible.
n Remember if you are feeding a stray cat, wet food can freeze so pop some dry in a bowl in a sheltered area and refresh the water as often as you can.
n If your cat is seeing snow for the first time, then consider letting your cat wander in a safe and enclosed area such as a garden, and accompany them when they do.
n If your cat enjoys being outdoors, then try to only let it do so when temperatures are highest and traffic levels are lowest. Also, check your cat flap regularly to ensure it hasn’t frozen over or become blocked by snow.
n Keep your cat in during the hours of darkness when there is a greater risk of cats being involved in road traffic accidents.
Every charity will see a dramatic increase in calls to help stray or homeless cats during the colder months and are likely to already be full with a waiting list. If you are especially concerned about a sick or injured stray, then please call our helpline on 0345 371 2750.