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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, that sounded like a stupid question, but I'm really second guessing myself right this moment, at 12:30 am. My feral cat, Arwen, who I have been caring for for several years now, and who has been the resident feral cat in my neighborhood for 5-7 years, well, she trusts me now. She loves me and I absolutely adore her. I'm in Florida, and I know our Florida winters here seem horrendous to us thin skinned Floridians, but it is supposed to get cold tonight, 40's. We are having some pretty big wind gusts too. Arwen has gotten used to coming into my garage with the door cracked, during the day, and will sleep on a cozy little bed I have in there and leave when the sun comes out, since she would prefer to bask in the sunlight. She sleeps by my door, but at times, other strays in the neighborhood will run her off or fight with her. She is not a confrontational cat, and she is small. She will step aside to another cat who tries to eat her food. She is a bush dweller, prefers to lay on the ground, which scares me to death.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, after I could see she had been in a fight and had not been sleeping by my door, I presume she was hiding from the aggressive cat, I trapped her inside my garage and had her sleep in there for the night. She mewed a little bit, eventually must have settled down, because I didn't hear her, and I let her out promptly at 5:30 am, when I get up. She ran out right away, but as soon as she heard me open my front door to feed her, she ran right back, so all seemed well, she didn't seem too trauamtized.

So tonight, I have her in the garage again, she's been in there for about 30 minutes. I have her chair she likes to sleep in, her cozy bed, my shoes she loves to rub her chin all over, and I've been out there several times, and every time I go, she starts purring and kneading her bed, I can tell she is very sleepy. This girl is not young, she likes her sleep :) I just wonder if I'm doing the right thing. I figure, if she were really distressed, she would be a wild woman, screaming and thrashing at the garage door to get out, right? I slept so good that night, knowing she was safely in my garage and couldn't get in a fight. I haven't heard any mewing for a few minutes now, so maybe she'll be ok. Sigh. I hope she just settles down in her chair or bed and goes to sleep. Does anyone else have this dilemma, or is it just me? If I leave the garage cracked, the cold air blows right into the garage and it's as cold as if you are outside, but with it down, it's very comfortable. Plus, no other cats or critters can get in there to harass her.

Some feral expert tell me if I'm doing ok doing this, or if I should just let her be free to go find her own place to be safe. I'm doubting myself right now. I just love this cat so much. She does have a litter box in there too, just in case, not that she would know what to do with it, but I put it out there just in case. Plus, our cars are in there, another place she is very used to hanging out under.
 

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Howsefrau, Arwen will be totally fine in your garage for the night!
Just as you slept better knowing she was safe...
Arwen has probably figured it out that your garage offers safety for her...
and She can sleep better to!!
Close the door and you both can sleep better!
And don't be surprised if she does use the litter box!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much for the response. The mews are still there, but less frequent. I swear she is just lonely and wants me to come pet her, because every time I went out there, she purred and calmed down. I think I can try to go to sleep now. Thank you :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You guys were right! Arwen survived being confined to my garage. I did hear her mew a little, but she was all purrs and happiness when I went out to see her this morning. She did right out the door again when I opened it. I fed her by the front door, as usual, and now I have the garage door cracked so she can come and go as she wants. It's chilly this morning, but not too bad. Hopefully we can do this again tonight, and that she will get used to it. I'm hoping.
 

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I wish I could get mine to stay in the garage! Atticus will come in to eat, but he freaks out and will not stay in. Mr. Kitty wouldn't set foot in the garage, and just stays on the front porch. It's supposed to be down to 13 Tuesday morning here (in Atlanta!!), with wind chills below freezing. I have heating pads in both of their makeshift houses, but I'm really worried about them.

You could try putting a heating pad in her favorite chair (with a towel or something over it), they usually gravitate to the heat. I hope it doesn't get as cold for you next week!
 

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Ooooo - down to the 40's?! Poor baby might just freeze to death. Just kidding. 40's sounds pretty darn good to me right now. It's 29 here. Yes, I know you guys further north are a bit chillier and probably laughing your heads off at us down here. I read yesterday that Halifax has a feral population of 100,000!!! WHERE do they all sleep or go to get out of the weather - really, I'd love to know.

Howsefrau32, you have a wonderful heart to worry about Arwen but really, she'll be fine as you've found out. My heart goes out to any kitty trapped outside in the cold though.
 

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Marcia - yeah, cold is definitely relative. They Northerners make fun of us in the winter, but as soon at it hits 90 in the summer, they're complaining how miserable it is (which is balmy for us)! We got a little snow here last night (nothing stuck), but it was in the 20s this morning, which is definitely cold for us. Next week it's supposed to get below ZERO with the wind chill. It really breaks my heart that these kitties are outside. I don't know how they stay warm in a box with a heating pad, some leaves, and straw. I've tried everything I can to get them to come into the garage at night. :(
 

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Hurrah for Arwen! Would you think about making this night time routine a permanent thing?
 

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I'm picking up some more straw to add to three places where I made shelters for any stray who wants to get out of the cold. My elec water dish has frozen. The Governor is closing the schools statewide on Monday due to severe cold and wind chills in excess of 50 below in the N. half of the state. In the Twin Cities we will be looking at a high of minus 15 F on Monday and lows will be -30's or more in the North part of the state.

This will be tough on all of the animals who must live outdoors in our state. Not to mention the unfortunate people. Shelters are already full.

I'm expecting I will need to go out on at least one 'no heat' call in one of the rental units I service for an owner. Brrrrr...Time to dig out my snowmobile suit and Boots, I guess.

I was hoping to get in a little ice fishing with my son but may have to put that off till later in the week when conditions are more humane.

ah, Marble just jumped up in my lap...her little feet are cold from the tile floor so she warms them on my lap...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We are most definitely hoping to make it a nighttime routine for Arwen, even when it's not cold. Just to protect her from predators. My husband is going to put a cat door on the door to our garage, and see if we can get her to use it.
 

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Its very safe to keep a cat in your garage. I cant remember who had built a cat shelter in their garage. Had its food and water in there too. I think they had a heating pad? Might of been midnights dad from Minnesota. It was a success!

Of coarse Minnesota winters are brutal. It suppose to be minus 40 wind chill tonight in Minneapolis. That being said, even Florida winters are cold and damp.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I feel so bad for kitties in the really cold places, like MN :( I know my poor Arwen has it good, and she'd be fine outside curled up by my front door. But. I am so glad that she is safely in my garage once again tonight. I think the fact that I have left the door cracked during the day, and she could come and go, and I have spent much time sitting in a chair with her all day long, she must have felt it was safe enough to come in again tonight. I just walked past the door, I hear the occasional mews from her, but they are not really distressful cries, so I know she's ok. I have even discovered the place she likes to sleep most. Of course, it's not on the warming bed, or the regular bed, or the chair that she sometimes sleeps in. It is under the front of my husbands truck, right on the concrete. Go figure. I did put a comfy small blanket right there, but didn't take up the whole space, so she can choose the concrete again, or the nice blanket and still have that spot she likes. She was so warm and toasty this morning when I went to greet her, and all happy, purring and leaning on me. Of course, she was ready to get out of there too, but she ate and then came right back in, and at that point, I just left it cracked for her. We are hoping to put a cat door in the side door to the garage this weekend, although I don't know how likely she is to use it, but we shall see. If this continues to work, I'll keep doing it, and make it her normal routine, and I am really hopeful that we can make it a nightly thing. My biggest fear is the other cats in the neighborhood picking on her, since she is not an aggressive cat at all, and she is very small. Did I mention how much I love this girl?
 

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I'm right there with you howsefrau32. I'm so worried about my ferals right now. We're supposed to have the coldest weather in 10 years here! I can't even imagine if they had to deal with several feet of snow too. It just breaks my heart. Mr. Kitty is a seasoned outdoor kitty and pretty aggressive, and is the protector of my porch - no one messes with him. But Atticus is really sweet and not the least bit aggressive, so I worry about him fending for himself too. He came in the garage a couple of times, but mine is completely enclosed (no external doors other than the garage door itself, and no windows), so I'm sure that freaked him out. Yesterday, I had the door open, and he sat right in the threshhold while I was petting him. He kept slowly inching over towards me and ended up about 3 feet inside. Baby steps...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yes Emilayatl, baby steps. Maybe Mr. Kitty will eventually see that it's not so bad in that garage, but Arwen would barely take two steps into our garage for years, even when we were in the garage just hanging out in there, or my husband, using his work bench. She'd walk in and turn right around and walk back out. What I kind of did, to get Arwen used to the garage being a good place, was I fed her in there a few times. With the door open, I'd just feed her her dinner in there, and give her some treats in there.

It was funny. This morning when I opened to the door to say hi, she did opt to lay on the blanket that I put in the spot she had picked to lay, and was still on it, got up, did her big lazy cat stretch and yawn and came over to talk to me. She's usually outside my front door, and our morning routine is that, I let the dog out, put up Beep (I have to catch her first) in her room, let the two boy kitties out, feed everyone....which is a HUGE ordeal with 3 cats and a dog, all eating canned food. When I'm all done with them, I go out and feed Arwen, who usually just then gets off of her blanket by the front door (she refuses to sleep in a bed) does the big yawn and stretch, and I feed her. So she is used to the sounds of the flurry of activity of me getting everyones food ready, so it probably just sounded like a typical morning to her, she was just about 6 feet over from where she normally lays, inside my garage. It did take a long time to get her to this point, where she would come inside the garage. And last winter, when we had temps in the 30's, I made her a feral house.....she would not even touch it. I ended up leaving a heating pad by my front door, on low, and she did huddle near it.ttp://www.petco.com/product/117548/KAndH-Round-Comfy-Sleeper-Self-Warming-Pet-Bed-in-Tan-And This is the company that makes a warming pet mat that I got for her, this shows the bed, but I just got the mat, because she won't sleep in a bed, it has to be flat. It is really nice, it only warms up when they lay on it, and it heats to 102, their body temp, and it is very low watt and safe to leave plugged in. The thing is, she likes it, and she will get on it and do the kneading thing, but if I leave it by my front door, she won't even go on it at all, only for a while in the garage and then she moves to her blanket. I paid $39 for the one I have. It has a removable cover, and I think I'll end up washing it and giving it to Beep, my indoor cat is always looking for a warm place to lay, she will love this. But the company makes a little house also, and it has a front and back entry specifically for ferals, since they won't allow themselves to be trapped in something with only one door. I thought about ordering it if this garage thing didn't work out.

I'm sure Mr. Kitty will find somewhere warm. Maybe even putting an old sleeping bag, something he could snuggle into (if he would even) and the heating pad near part of it, where he could crouch near it or on it. When it got really cold, Arwen would sit right near it with her feet on it.

My heart broke last night, my daughter and I ran into a Wawa store, and there was a little black kitty in the parking lot, and I saw it climb up onto a tire of a car. We walked over to try to give it some food and it ran into the woods. The car did look like it belonged to a Wawa employee(it had a sticker) so we went in and found the owner of the car to let him know that he should smack his car before he got in since the kitty was hiding on his tire and might climb even further. Every kitty I see out in the cold just kills me. But they are pretty resilient creatures, I'm sure they will do fine, they always do.
 
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