Feral cats can survive in just about any climate - with a little help from their friends.
Providing warm, dry winter shelter is an essential part of colony caretaking.
Straw is our recommended insulation for feral cat winter shelters. If you missed the straw giveaways, it can be found at garden supply stores and horse barns. Be careful not to get hay, as hay contains moisture. Hay is for eating. Straw is for bedding. You can purchase straw in bales, which will be enough for several shelters, so you may want to combine your purchase with friends.
Where to buy it locally:
C G Feeds
2355 Arthur Kill Road, Staten Island
(917) 991-4068 (leave message)
7000 Shore Parkway
Brooklyn, New York 11234
718-531-8949 (call in advance)
2 Elzey Avenue, Elmont, NY
Other options are speaking to stores, restaurants or banquet halls that have indoor fall displays using bales of straw. After Thanksgiving - they usually toss it to make way for their holiday displays. Ask to take it off their hands.
Craft stores such as Michael's and AC Moore sell small bales of straw good for a couple of shelters. For those of you without a car or a means to get straw locally, order it online from Feral Villa (enough for 2 shelters).
Fresh water for your colonies is important throughout the year. The cats need water, especially when dry food is the predominant food provided, which is often the case in winter when wet food itself can quickly freeze. Add a bit of salt or sugar to the water to lower its freezing temperature. Hear are some other ideas on how to prevent water from freezing.
Mylar blankets are also effective when laid on the floor of the shelter. They don't absorb and take away body heat like ordinary blankets when a cat lies on top, but instead reflect heat back. Mylar blankets can be purchased at a cost of $1.50 each from Healthy Harvest.
For more information on Winter Care please visit the following websites:
or the NYC Feral Cat Initiative: Winter colony care
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