With temperatures dropping, you might notice your neighborhood outdoor cats coming together, cuddling, and napping on one another’s soft, comfy coats.
Cats are pretty adaptable animals, but they’re susceptible to dangerous health issues like hypothermia and frostbite when they’re exposed to temperatures that dip too low.
Outdoor cats can survive the cold, but that doesn’t mean that they’re happy to spend hours and hours trying to find a warm place to protect themselves from harsh weather.
Whether you’re a pet parent to a fluffy feline that spends most of her time outdoors or a good Samaritan who wants to protect the friendly strays from chasing prey through the snow, we’ve got your back. What are you supposed to do to protect the purr machines during the winter?
Build them a shelter, to start with. Shelters are a great way for outdoor cats to stay warm – you can build them from cardboard boxes, styrofoam, or plywood, or even resort to old storage bins you don’t need anymore.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure that the shelter that you build stays dry by getting rid of the snow, lining the inside with waterproof padding, and adding a bunch of blankets for warmth.
Food and water are necessary during the winter, too, especially when you’re caring for kittens that can’t fend for themselves. Contact shelters and rescues to check whether they’re able to help, and that’s pretty much everything you can do.
We stand corrected – you can adopt one of the cats, too, but you might end up with more than you bargained for.
When temperatures started to drop, a good Samaritan decided to rescue a beautiful black stray off the street because he wasn’t sure whether he’d be able to come back for her.
Within a few days, her belly started to grow. Meet Belle, a stray that was rescued off the street with a little more than a cute smile.
Before Belle ended up on the street, she belonged to a family that cared for her. She was a happy, affectionate, and appreciative feline that brought a smile to everyone’s face. She was loved – but she was left behind when her family decided to relocate.
For whatever reason, her family decided to depart without taking her with them. She was heartbroken and didn’t know what was happening, but she knew she needed to move on with her life.
She was living on the street near her home when her good Samaritan neighbor spotted her and started feeding her.
When the weather changed, he noticed her growing bigger and bigger. She was pregnant! Concerned for her health, the neighbor contacted LAPS (Langley Animal Protection Society) to see whether they’d take her in.
LAPS pulled through and connected Belle with a wonderful foster volunteer by the name of Narod. Narod became a foster when her daughter started nagging her to get a kitten.
She knew shelters and rescues were brimming with kittens during the kitten season and decided to contact LAPS. She wanted to foster a kitten because she wasn’t sure whether her daughter was ready for the commitment that comes with adoption.
Narod fell head over heels with fostering and became one of LAPS’ most dedicated foster volunteers. Narod and her two kids were over the moon to foster Belle and help her with her pregnancy.
Not long after, Belle gave birth to 6 healthy, naughty kittens at Narod’s home. She had the best pregnancy and birth experience thanks to her foster mom – she didn’t need to battle the cold, search for shelter, or give birth to her babies during a snowstorm thanks to the good Samaritan, too.
She was over the moon when she saw her four boys and two girls and she started nursing them right away. She was born to be a mamma, that was for sure. Belle was named after Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and LAPS took to Facebook to search for Beauty and the Beast-themed names for the little ones.
When you sponsor a cat or a kitten through LAPS, you’re the one that helps them with spaying, neutering, deworming, vaccinations, and any other medical needs while at the shelter or in foster care.
Moreover, you get to name the kittens and be a part of the “A Day in the Life at LAPS” strategy to help more kittens – meaning, you get to see what Belle and her kittens do on the regular.
Back to the story, though. Belle was a great mother from the get-go. Cogsworth, Sultan, Walt, Babette, Chip, and Maurice were a force to be reckoned with – they were absolutely adorable considering they looked like little black panthers running around Narod’s home.
They were energetic, friendly, and finicky – climbing on top of each other, pushing Belle’s buttons, and causing trouble every moment of the waking hour. They were eating pretty much everything Narod prepared for them. They were tough to tell apart, too.
Cogsworth was the runt of the litter, but she was the fastest out of the bunch. She’d run around, storm out of the room whenever Narod opened the door, and climb on top of Sultan.
Sultan, on the other hand, was the hungriest among them. He was more than happy to nab everyone’s milk. He’d practically drown every time he tried to drink!
Walt, the biggest boy out of the bunch, would pee everywhere. He didn’t want to use the litter box – he wanted to pee, eat, and drink at the same time.
Belle was happy to teach them everything – she was patient with them and she didn’t mind waiting for them to figure things out for themselves.
Belle and her kittens were a happy family already, but they were even happier when they grew bigger and stronger – and got adopted by loving forever families that looked forward to spoiling them rotten!