Pet Patter: Winter help for homeless felines

Pet Patter by Joilene

It is still hard in some areas to find a dog for a pet as people crave the comforts of companionship more than ever due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Cats however, are also great companions and many are still in need of loving homes. There are perhaps though still more cats in the wild, also referred to as feral or stray cats, that do not have a  place where they can call home and are forced to spend the night in the freezing cold weather.

Many stray cats in the community are simply lost or abandoned and trying to seek warmth from the winter weather. Often, they will seek warmth underneath the hood of the car near the engine. During the winter months, one should always bang on the hood of the car or honk the horn, before starting the car. This serves as a warning to stray cats to move on and avoid being injured.

Another way to help homeless cats during the winter is to build or provide a temporary winter shelter for them outdoors. A shelter will help the cats stay out of the harsh elements and stay dry, warm and alive instead of freezing to death.

There are many differing designs for an effective winter shelter for cats and all one has to do is to do some research online. A good website with different options and ideas can be found at and .

If deciding to build one, many designs take very little skill and a lot of the materials can be found at very low cost or even free. However, there are many ready-made shelters or kits available for purchase online as well.

A few things that are important for the cat shelter to function properly as a safe haven for stray cats are as follows:

  • The shelter must be weatherproof. The materials used should prevent the shelter from getting wet from rain or heavy snow and they should be durable and eco-friendly.
  • The shelter must be insulated. Using straw for insulation in the cat shelter is one of the best items to use and will not freeze when wet. Styrofoam although not very eco- friendly is another good choice. Carpets, blankets, towels or hay, can get wet and absorb heat making the cat colder and hay can become moldy.
  • The shelter should not be placed directly on the ground and should be located in a sheltered area.
  • The size of the shelter should be large enough for a cat or two but have minimal air space so as to keep the warmth inside it.

There are many other ways to help stray cats live better lives such as trap, neuter and release/return programs or trap, neuter and adopt.

Many cats, for whatever the reason, stray outdoors and are in need of warmth, shelter, food, and love. So, whichever approach seems best to you, know that the best approach is always do what you can to help save a cat’s life from hardships and suffering or even death.

I hope that this article helps in this regard.