Initially, the winter started somewhat as a joke here in New England but it has proven to be one of the worst winters in years. And I’m sure that mostly everyone is tired of seeing snow, tired of going on Facebook and seeing more pictures of snow. But as bad as this winter has been for me (lost many work days because of it), I can’t even begin to imagine how rough it’s been for animals.
There are a number of homeless animals living in my neighborhood (cats, I should say). For every homeless dog, there are ten homeless cats. While cats are independent and excellent hunters, Mother Nature is a force that humbles us all no matter how well we can adjust with the climate. So what can we do to help animals in the winter? If we’re getting down to the basics; food, shelter, and water are all great starting points.
My first idea was to build a cat shelter (do not call it a “cat house”, I found that out the hard way). After browsing the web, there are a couple of easy options that are relatively easy to make. What you are going to need:
• Two thick bath towels
• Two large plastic containers (one larger/one small enough to fit in the larger one). They’re pretty durable and crazy cheap.
• A small cat bed
I drew a circle where the entrance would be for the kittens/cats and aligned it with a smaller container that would go inside the bigger one. I used a regular kitchen knife and a circle that wasn’t the most beautiful circle around and left behind jagged edges. Just to make the entrance smoother, you can either try sanding it down or using duct tape to cover the sharp edges.
You want to fold up one of the towels and lay it at the bottom of the larger container. The other towel should be used to wrap up the smaller container (but not to where the cat can touch them because towels absorb moisture). The towels will be used to create insulation, keeping the smaller container’s inside warm. Put the cat/dog bed inside the little container (I bought mine for 9 bucks). Put the lids on and you have yourself a warm place for homeless cats!
Don’t forget to leave some food and water out. The water freezes relatively quick, so keep in mind that you need to plop out the ice and add drinkable water throughout the day.
There are a lot of homeless cats because many people don’t bother to get them fixed. Sadly, in the state (“common wealth,” I hear somewhere in the back of my mind) that I live, we do not have a trap and release program, but many states do. Dogs and cats that are looking for homes are put down every 11 seconds in the U.S. (http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/#.UwZwIp0o5hE). It doesn’t have to be this way. Contact your local Humane Society or the ASPCA to see how you can help with the trap-neuter-return program, either through volunteering or donating money.
Have a safe remainder of this harsh winter!
About The Author: I am a native of Washington State, and even though I have been living outside of Boston the past three years, I will always be a Washingtonian at heart. I’m a recent graduate of English and Philosophy. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up and how to get “there.” In my spare time I read, work on my vegan baking skills and write on postcollegeprogression.