Heeeeere Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!!

Well, it’s happening again.  The weather is turning colder and winter is coming!!!  So what are you going to do with that stray cat you’ve been feeding all summer?

 

Fall is the time when it gets very obvious that the stray cat population needs HELP.  Many people feed these critters all summer long, knowing that they’re ok (or as ok as they can be) outside (or in garages, barns, sheds, etc) but now that the weather is turning colder, plans need to be made.

 

Shelters across CT are filling up (or are completely full) by now and it will probably be a wait before the cat you’ve been helping all summer can be surrendered to them.  So it is with that in mind that I’ve come up with a “waiting plan” of sorts…

 

First, if you’ve been taking care of a stray cat (feeding, etc) I thank you.  You’ve taken the first step in helping a forgotten population.

 

NOW is the time to start getting your name on a shelter’s waiting list.  Start calling ALL shelters that take cats and get on their list for intakes.  Go to www.Petfinder.com and look up “cats” in “CT”.  It will give you a listing of shelters that have cats.  CALL THEM NOW.  You may have to call on a daily basis but CALL THEM!

 

Once you’ve gotten your name on a waiting list, it will be, well, a waiting game until your stray can get into the shelter.  So the next step is to ensure that this cat has a shelter of its own while it waits.  Get a small dog carrier (any pet store or place like Wal-Mart will have them).  Make sure to take the door off the carrier.  Place the carrier near where the cat stays and make sure it’s up, off the ground (this will ensure it stays dry and warmer).  See if you can put something over it so that it stays out of the cold winds or rain.  Lastly, make sure you give the cat some sort of bedding to snuggle into during these colder nights.  If it’s a colony, see if you can get a plastic dog house and do the same – Tacking a towel or something over the opening is a great idea and will cut down on the drafts.  This way several cats can keep each other warm while they all wait.

 

Know that the shelters are doing their best to house every stray they can.  Getting angry at them will do nothing but get everyone in a bad mood.  Everyone gets anxious this time of year and everyone wants every stray cat in a warm, safe place.  Understand that all these volunteers (and we would be nothing as shelters without volunteers!) are trying their best.

 

If you notice that the behavior of the stray you are caring for has changed, BEWARE. Spring and fall are peak times for the Rabies virus.  ANY change in an animal’s health or behavior (sudden aggression or looking like it’s been hit by a car) can signal that the cat has contracted the Rabies virus.  There is no cure for this deadly disease.  If you do notice that a stray cat is acting in a manner that suggests it might be ill, CALL THE ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER IMMEDIATELY.  Animal control officers need to be notified so that the affected cat can be tested and, if it is rabid, the word can be spread about the issue to the neighborhood.  Advise the animal control officer if you or your pets have had contact with the stray.  Follow their instructions and let them take charge of the situation.  NEVER PICK UP A SICK STRAY ANIMAL.  I can not emphasize this enough. 

 

So the long and short of it is this – Shelters are trying to do their best to help the stray cat population.  While they’re trying their best, they also understand your desires to get your stray kitty some help.  Working together, you all can end up with a greater appreciation of rescue work and the cats will benefit, too!

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