Many of us have lived around here for most of our lives, so why are we always surprised when it snows in October?
Think about it.
That said, around this time of year we always hear from kind-hearted people who have seen a stray cat hanging around their house or hiding under the porch.
Most of the time they are feeding it, and many of these cats are too afraid to do anything but sneak up to eat the food.
They are animal lovers and just want to know what can be done?
First, you need to figure out a way for the cat, let’s call her Fluffy, to have adequate shelter if, in fact, she remains outside all winter.
Under the porch is a great start but not enough.
Is there room there to put a small dog house with straw inside and insulation all around it?
Use straw, not hay, and no blankets or anything that will not stay dry.
The opening should be just barely enough to let her get inside and turned away from prevailing winds.
Preferably there should also be a small escape hole somewhere so it doesn’t feel or act like a trap.
If that won’t work there are lots of online directions for outdoor shelters for feral cats.
You can find some at www.alleycat.org.
With the shelter problem solved, you now have the health issues.
Talk to your vet to see if she will allow you to try to trap Fluffy and bring her in to be neutered and for a basic health check and vaccinations.
If that won’t work, call the Humane Society for help and suggestions.
You don’t want little Fluffy (assuming she is a female) to go into heat and get pregnant.
Nor do you want him/her to be around your cats, if they go outside, if he/she has any infectious diseases.
Finally, remember that the fact that Fluffy runs from you does not mean she is necessarily feral, i.e. a cat who has never been around humans.
She may just be scared – and rightfully so if she was abandoned somewhere and has been trying to survive on her own.
There are relatively few truly feral cats, but many terrified homeless ones.
So get her some shelter, keep putting food and water out (but bring it in at night so you don’t attract unwanted wildlife), do your best to deal with health and neutering concerns, and let her continue to see you being her “friend.”
Someday, there is a pretty good chance that she will suddenly decide that you are worthy of her affection.
But, even if that never happens you will have allowed her to live safely on her own terms.
Be proud of that!
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Located at 29 W. Seneca St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.