I love animals. I'll be including cats and dogs in my mystery series which will begin in December. But I have to admit, I especially love cats! We have three rescue cats who are an integral part of our family. Each came to us as a kitten. Ebbie was very sick on a friend's farm in winter. London was a half sister who we brought home a few months later. Last summer we found Zoie Joy in our backyard, only a pound and a half, hungry and dehydrated in 100 degree heat. I've had cats all my life and each and every one was a blessing in some way.
We live in a semi rural area with a farm in our backyard. Last winter, seeing a black cat with a quirk in her tail like Zoie, we put out a feeder. We saw paw prints on snowy mornings, but didn't spot cats on our patio. However, this summer a Momma and kitten began coming to the feeder in the evenings. We set up an igloo for shelter but I don't think they used it. After about a week, only Momma came. Both were skittish and ran at the first sound of noise. I'm hoping the baby was rescued by a cat loving family. They were yellow tabbies and another yellow tabby, even more feral, began eating from the feeder, too, but on a different schedule. We're able to watch from a window.
Now, Momma will eat when we're on the patio, though sudden movement or loud noise will make her disappear quickly. The other tabby watches for us about a 1/2 acre away under a tree. After we go inside, he makes his way to the feeder. (I'd highly recommend Feral Villa feeder . We've had one outside throughout the summer.)
In preparation for the next season, we have set up another shelter from Feral Cat Shelter. We have a deck with stairs that has a landing. Under the landing near the house seemed to be the best place to put it. It is protected by phlox and a forsythia now and the landing will act as a second roof to shelter it from rain and snow. It has a pathway on the bottom for the cat to enter and two doorways. Then a hole leads to the protected, insulated raised loft. We laid barn-like straw as the bottom layer and then some softer hay on top of that. A dash of catnip, too, which I'll replenish. The roof can be removed to clean out the shelter, but that's only recommended every 3-4 months.
I'd like to capture Momma and have her spayed. But we'll see how trust progresses the next few months. At least with the shelters, we know we've done what we can to help protect these homeless cats from the elements.
Here are some pics of setting up the shelter that might be of interest.
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