Dear Porky and Buddy,
Here it is November with snow and a smallish cat just showed up on my back porch a few days ago.
I think she is sheltering under the porch, but when I go out to try to approach her and coax her inside she takes off into the woods and I don’t see her again for hours.
I have been leaving food and water for her and it is gone every morning. I would let her in and take care of her in a heartbeat, (like my other three cats), but I am afraid she is feral and will never come in. How can I help her survive outside in this weather?
P.S. Her name is Sparky
During the Great Depression, hobos would draw a picture of a cat near a house where a kind-hearted woman lived who would give them food.
Nowadays, there are some homes that have a sign on the roof that says, “Stop by here for help.”
The signs are invisible to humans but it seems that homeless pets can see them clearly.
So thanks for having that sign installed.
Now that it’s there you have three issues.
First, you need to figure out a way for Sparky to have adequate shelter if, in fact, she remains outside all winter.
Under your 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 Sparky and bring her/him 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 Sparky (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 Sparky 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 benefactor.
Some day, there is a chance that she will suddenly decide to stroll right into your house, but only after she trusts that you are sufficiently tame!
Speaking of houses, the Oswego County Humane Society is moving just down the street.
Our office and clinic will now be located at 110 W. Second St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
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.
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.