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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Outdoor Cats - Need Advice

I care for two adult cats. They were here in my yard when I arrived three years ago and I have been caring for them ever since. I feed them daily and have made two outdoor homes for them out of old dog cages that I had lying around. During the winter, I usually put a nice soft cushion down on the bottom of the cages and wrap the cages with layers of old moving blankets. My problem is that I have run out of blankets and winter is approaching rather quickly. Does anyone have any advice on how to keep these little guys warm? Do you know where I can find cheap blankets? Or is there a better way to keep these guys safe? Believe me, If I could bring them inside I would, but my daughter is allergic to cats. Besides, they are both males and don't really get along. They have come to trust me and are very sweet, social and affectionate animals. Any advice would be great. I don't have a lot of experience with cats. I have owned dogs my entire life. Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 03:08 PM
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You might want to visit a charity shop. It's worth a look.
Also, if you have no luck on the blankets, have you considered something like straw? It is a fantastic insulator.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 04:16 PM
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Straw(not hay) is wonderful. You could surround their enclosures with bales of straw and they will be snugly warm. I don't know where you are, but straw bales around here from local farmers are pretty inexpensive. Just be sure to get straw, not hay, as hay will retain water and turn into a huge wet heavy mess.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 06:56 AM
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I second the straw idea. It's cheap and makes an excellent insulator. Fleece throws and baby blankets can be VERY inexpensive at thrift stores. I just bought about 10 for less than $20 for my cat room. Cats LOVE fleece and it does not hold dampness like cotton or heavy moving quilts would. Also, you can bleach them in hot water to kill parasites and they won't lose their color. My foster room is full of nice, colorful cozy blankets that are changed almost daily. Even I want to live in there! Thrift shops also carry things that could be improvised for use in kennels to make cozy beds.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 11:32 PM
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If you have an outlet close to the cages and are willing to spend a little money, you could get an outdoor heated pad. I have this one for my outdoor kitty (former stray)

The small is $34. It's more expensive than other heated pads, but it's one of very few that are made for outdoor use. It doesn't use much electricity at all. I keep it plugged in all winter and never noticed a difference in my electric bill between the first year I used it and the previous year.

Those kitties are lucky to have been in the yard of someone who's willing to take care of them!

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 11:40 PM
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Google DIY feral shelters. There are toms of ideas on making homes for them. With most of them you wouldn't need blankets. Also, hay is a much better insulator than the blanket.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-16-2014, 11:54 PM
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Good will stores. And many of these thrift places, Amvets, Good Will get donated blankets and things they can't re-sell but would be fine for you and with the straw - I guess.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 12:14 AM
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Look in Salvation Army or Goodwill for down comforters, sleeping bags or anything made of down. I bought a large down jacket there once for only $2.

This is my set-up for my ferals for winter: Inside my barn I have a hut made out of straw bales. The bottom has an insulation board and loose straw spread over it. Over the loose straw is a down comforter that they can burrow under. The roof is another insulation board. It is a snug little nest.

By the way, where do you live?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 12:19 AM
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Greenport, I'd love to see a picture of your straw "hut"!

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And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 11:23 PM
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Me too. It sounds great, but I'm really bad at visualizing things.

Of course, I really hope not to need a shelter, but who knows. I lived in upstate NY for 12 years and only 3 times saw feral cats, and never once saw a stray. I've been in Virginia for a little over 4 years, and two cats have appeared literally on my doorstep in that time.
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