Over the last couple of years I rescued and adopted four stray cats. Two males required medical attention: one had giardia and needed weeks of medication; the other was badly beaten and cut up and required a vet to patch him up. Of course, all four were taken to the vet and given shots, cleaned up, treated for feas, and--ouch--fixed.
What rewards we have reaped by rescuing these four little guys and gals! They are now very loving members of our family, very appreciative of us and our home.
I feel for all of those little guys and girls out there on these subzero freezing nights. Today I once again erected my cat shelter for a stray cat to come in and keep warm. How? Easily.
I took a box that formerly housed a computer; turned it on one of its sides and placed five (5) pillows within, on its floor, top, back, and two sides; and then inserted an electric blanket within the interior, draping the box opening like a tee-pee, allowing the cat to go in and out. And it works: it saved Murphy's life two years ago. We were eventually able to trap him and bring him inside our home. Murphy and I are now inseparable buddies. He sits by me at work and sleeps on my legs every night. He just jumped up on my printer: he must be psychic.
I put my cat shelter in the garage, leaving the garage door up just enough for a cat to crawl in. I believe heated cat shelters are now sold for about $70. And there are a number of shelters that you can build with plywood and place outdoors with straw as a bedding for feral cats. More important than food is providing shelter for feral cats since they are more likely to die from hypothermia than starvation.
Yes, I know, I am certifiably nuts to go to all this bother about stray cats. Yes, I know, I deserve to be put away or put to sleep for feeling sorry for those poor strays out in the cold without food and water. But the precedent has been established and I find myself doing it every winter, in hopes of helping another little guy or girl make it through another very cold winter.
Hey, if St. Francis could do it, so can I.