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Discussion Starter #1
The basic question is, do I "fluff" or add more straw, after the initial amount has been packed down by the cats laying in the bedding for a while?

I put my shelters out about the middle of November. Now all the straw is packed down and smooshed where the cats have been laying in it. The TNR lady who gave me the shelters told me this would happen...though now I can't remember if she said to do anything about it.
A couple of the cats have been shivering when they come to the feeding station, so I'm wondering if the shelters are warm enough with "flat" straw... or if they're even bothering to use them anymore (granted, the one cat always shivered/trembled/wobbled, but I think she has brain damage).
I know one cat puked in a shelter, and I had cleaned that little bit up and put new straw in. Should I reach in and "fluff" the straw, or just add more in (I have a whole bale, and used maybe just barely 1/4 of it for initial filling).
Should I just be changing the straw to all fresh straw about every month or so anyway??
It's been 20F during the middle of the day for the last week, and not looking to get much warmer any time soon... I want to be sure my kitties have as much warmth as possible! (too bad I don't have electricity to get them warming pads!)
 

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I have a straw bale 'house' for my ferals that is inside my barn. It has walls of bales and a roof of insulation boards, covered with a quilt.
I take the roof off and fluff the straw up. It does get flat. I've only added a little since it seems to stay dry and clean.

One thing I did add was a huge old down parka in the bed of straw. I can tell they burrow under it to stay warm. They say not to use blankets, since they will get damp, but since the bed is in a building, that hasn't been a problem.

So yes, I would fluff the straw for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
*face-palm*
Disco is out there now, sitting on top of the shelter...sigh! I guess I will go see if the straw needs fixin' somehow, if she's not using it anymore. But probably tomorrow, since I now have to leave for work.

AND! Last night I saw Rune in the shelter on my patio, which had previously been used by my ex's cat (but I brought her in, since it's so cold). So I'm glad that one's not being a "waste" like I thought it was.
 

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I got a travel blanket where one side is fleece and the other side is that thermal shiny side. So i folded the blanket(so it could fit into the cat house)shiny side up and put into the house...then i put some straw on top of that. So im hoping that smokey will be warm when he sits on that thermal blanket. :)
 

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Staw is warm because the stems are hollow and when loosely piled, create even more air-pockets to trap body heat around the kitty. When the straw get flattened (the hollow stem part and the loose pile) it needs to be fluffed and/or replaced.
 
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