Thursday, January 14, 2016

#Stray and Feral #Felines in Winter Weather--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith

While the inside cats are enjoying the comfort of a heated home and warm blankets to snuggle under, our outside friends have been shocked with winter's chill.  A warm December had us all spoiled, resting a little more assured of the safety of Sunnybud and his feral "friends." Now January cold has us hoping that we did enough to provide warm shelters during nights when the temperatures dip into the teens.

Sunnybud has remained a daily visitor during it all. Some mornings he is waiting in the sun room on a fluffy towel. But other especially cold mornings, he is waiting in the heated bed in the rear corner of the sun room. One such morning this week, he had his morning meal, went outside to do his business and then quickly returned to the heated bed, sat in a breadloaf position and looked at us as if to say, "You can leave now. I'm staying!" Some very cold days he stays until mid afternoon then goes off roaming until his evening meal. Then he heads off to his nighttime destination. Other days he sits outside in the morning cold, contemplating where he will find warmth for the day. If the temperatures are reasonable for travel, he heads off for the day. Other times he waits around until other felines stop by the feeder and chases them away.

Regardless of his plans for the day, he enjoys a good meal on a warmed plate, snuggles in my arms for a bit of warmth, but quickly leaves when he's has enough pampering.

Suunybud sits in the comfort of a heated bed in the sun room.
Sunny explores a flowerbed under our deck before
returning to the sun room to finish his evening meal.

Sunny sits outside on a cold winter morning
contemplating where he will spend the day.

Sunny follows one of his usual exit paths. 

One of our visitors leaves after eating at a feeder on the patio.

We are constantly thinking of ways to improve our winter accommodations. My husband is rigging up a trail camera which we can put on the patio to study the comings and goings of the neighborhood felines and perhaps provide additional provisions for their safety.

The trail camera

We have also added another feeding station around the side of the house where strangers to the patio can feed without distracting Sunnybud.

The new side feeding station

Halo, who seems to have recovered from her recent medical issues, can truly appreciate both outside and inside feline worlds. A stray herself, she mostly probably endured some pretty harsh weather conditions and now seems to truly relish the comfort and warmth of her forever home as much as we enjoy having her with us. But coming to us and accepting our love and care was her choice.

The question that will always snag at my heartstrings is...will Sunnybud ever make that choice, or will the outside always be his world of comfort and safety?


USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 91st novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




Anonymous said...

Thanks, Karen. You guys do an awesome job of caring for the outdoor visitors!

Sandy Swanger Bartles said...

I love these blogs on your cats. I truly feel like they are a part of my family too. Thank you for sharing them with all of us!

Unknown said...

Someday Sunnybud will decide fulltime love and comfort are what he needs. :-)

Jeanie Jackson said...

Love all of your comments about the babies and admire the care you take with all the furbabies around you. The top picture of Paddy is especially precious!

Unknown said...

I love all the pictures you post of your feline family indoors and outdoors. They are all so lucky to have you and your hubby to watch out for them.

Unknown said...

You are amazing always! Those kitties are lucky to be in your neighborhood. And you help others by getting such great information out. My mother is doing some of the same things too.