**Expected sub zero temperatures arrive this weekend, with possible significant snow totals**
For some of you, this will be the first year you have cared for cats outside during extreme cold. We want to remind everyone that cats are SMART. They have natural instincts and certain behaviors that may worry us as humans who love them. So let's talk about normal community cat behavior during weather events, and how you can help them, but also harm them unintentionally.
Wind is a huge deterrent for cats to be out and about. Add blistering cold to that and most cats will shelter in place until they need to find food/water. We need to let them do this. It is their survival instincts. Those instincts have been in place for thousands of years. We all worry about our friends outside but sometimes intervening can be a danger to the cats.
You can help them by leaving fresh water many times a day and using the same tips below.
Do not call your cats out. If they are hunkered down, there is a reason for it.
Do not put food in shelters. Cats will not sleep where there is food smell present. Every creature outdoors will be looking for resources. By placing food inside shelters, you may cause the cat to leave and look for other shelter when their normal shelter has been tainted with food smell.
Fresh water is life saving for cats. Go refresh water several times a day, if you are able.
- Also some cats may hunker down for a day or two rather than venture out - this is normal.
- If there is significant snow, take a shovel to create a path for the cats or you may need to dig them.
Mix kitten dry food with cats meals for extra calories, if possible.
Feeding at the high point of the day will give the cats the longest duration before wet food freezes.
Do not mix wet and dry food together in winter months. Dry food freezes but cats often swallow whole.
Remember ping pong balls floating in water bowls keeps the surface moving and delays freezing.
A small spoon of table sugar will also delay freezing.
Very important: Do not dump ice from water bowls at the feeding area. When ice melts, it will create dangerous wet / muddy ground, exposing cats to frigid water.