Almost every city has its own stray cat colonies. In other words, actual groups of cats living free but protected by the law. Above all in the winter, when the cold and ice are raging, these stray kitties need our help.
Cat colonies are almost never left to their own devices. In fact, they are often managed and looked after by volunteers. However, the small contributions made by private citizens can still be priceless, especially during certain times of the year. What specifically can you do to help these cats?
The first matter to be addressed in the winter is obviously the cold. Although it is true that cats who live outside have a thicker coat, when the temperatures drop – especially at night – it may not be enough. To stay warm, cats tend to sleep intertwined with each other. Nevertheless, supplying them with a shelter in which to take refuge is always a good idea. It should be set in a safe spot and be large enough to host several animals without being too tall, or the heat will tend to disperse. A few old blankets or jumpers in a box are perfect, but they should be replaced often because they may get wet. Some straw could be an excellent alternative.
Another matter to consider is food: just like other animals, cats need more calories in the winter. Hence, in addition to dry food, which has the benefit of a long shelf life, preheated meals and occasional cans of wet food are recommended.
Always bring warm water, because if the temperature drops below zero, cats have trouble finding ways to quench their thirst. Bowls of thick plastic are the best containers because they insulate heat better than bowls made of thin plastic or ceramic.
Cats are animals of habit. Therefore, try to always come at the same time so they are not forced to venture beyond the safe zone in search of food, and above all, never move the bowls.
One important thing to remember is that cats living in colonies are not used to coming into constant contact with humans and may not automatically accept your care. So, don’t get angry if they don’t seem to appreciate your help, it’s just their way of defending themselves. As soon as you have turned the corner they are sure to head for the food and the warm blankets!