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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over the past 35 years that I have lived out here in the country area, several wild cats have lived under the porch. I have fed them all and have provided insulated houses for them. The question is: WHERE DO THEY GO?

Once they get these amenities, they still venture out into the below zero cold. One of them - Bon Jovi (named by my then 5 year old granddaughter) wouldn't even use the house I provided. Did he have a better place in the woods? Here he is.



He was here for 8 years and never let me touch him. What kind of a "safe" place could he have out in the woods? An old fox or woodchuck burrow?

Even Midnight, the current resident, who uses his inside and outside houses, leaves during very inclement weather - below zero, blizzards, thunder, etc. to go WHERE?

Remains a puzzlement to me.
 

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Yeah, I have some insulated boxes filled with straw, that are approved by the local TNR group for keeping cats warm. Do they ever get used? Noooo. Nice waste of $30!
Well, they did use them a bit in December when it was really snowy. But I don't think they've been in them since mid-January. Granted, I should probably put fresh straw in by now, but it should still be better than other places!

There are a few old sheds around, with junk in them. I don't imagine a drafty clap-board wall and hard ground (or sitting on something hard like old toilets or "house for sale" signs & other junk) would be very warm!
Maybe there's some spots on the ground that have natural insulation like a pile of leaves or a 'nest' of sticks, or something? Though I've heard the whole reason people use foam pads when they camp, is that the ground can suck the heat right out of you and you can risk hypothermia at night without some sort of extra layer between ground and sleeping bag - I figure the same concept would be true for cats?
 

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We had 2 rubbermaid insulated cat houses filled with straw along with a nice wooden shelter my DH made for our feral cat. I think he went in the rubbermaid houses and the house DH built only a few times. I did follow his tracks this winter when it was really cold outside as I wondered where he would go to get warm and he was under one of my neighbors screened in porches. It was low to the ground and completely covered.

I was so upset he never used the shelters we made and built. Yet, I did find a raccoon in the house DH built. It scared the crap out of me. I then knew it was time to retire the house to the garage.
 

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Do you guys have two entrances on your shelters? Sometimes they don't want to use them if there isn't an escape hatch.
 

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I bought mine (well, "donation") for $10 each from the local TNR group, and they made them with only one hole.
But yes, I have heard that they should have a "back door". Though I would think that wouldn't be as warm? I am sort of wondering if I should get some thin plastic and use as a door flap to keep the wind out and the heat in? I've tried to position them all kind of facing each other, as that hopefully deflects some of the wind a bit... here the wind switches direction every 5 minutes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Midnight, the wild cat, likes his houses and sleeps in the outside house all the time. But then he leaves and is gone all night even in the cold, rather than stay in his heated house in the garage. At least he is around more than the others were and actually uses the shelter.
 

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I am sort of wondering if I should get some thin plastic and use as a door flap to keep the wind out and the heat in?
Absolutely. I've tried this on a few and it always seems popular with the kitties. Try putting the flap on the outside so it can only be used as an exit. That will keep other animals from coming in as easily when the cats are in there.

It probably will let a little more cold and wind in, but if they aren't using it otherwise it's worth a shot. Still better than sleeping on the cold ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Midnight's insulated, fleece filled house under the porch. South side of the residence in a corner, sheltered from the wind, rain and snow.



 

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Fascinating thread...

And thank you Goldtanker for these last photos, as I hadn't seen Midnight's house under the porch, only the one in the garage.
 
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