I was busy building last night. Over the past few weeks, at about 4am, I have been repeatedly woken up by a cat yowling outside. I live in the Midwest. It’s the dead of winter, the temperatures have been in the single digits and the wind chills have been well below zero! Luckily, we haven’t had much snow.
…And each day that I hear the yowl, I run downstairs in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the kitty that has been trying to get my attention, but to no avail.
A few days ago, I left some dry food out on the deck and thanks to a light dusting of snow, I was able to clearly see kitty paw prints! My suspicions were confirmed. It isn’t a raccoon, another animal or a figment of my imagination – it is definitely a cat. My friend had eaten every morsel and had walked to the back door, to the windows and all around the deck. I wonder if s/he might be a neighborhood cat. I’ve seen this cat before – during the summer and fall.
Last night, we had our first real snow with about two to three inches forecasted and the thought of my little mysterious feline friend out in the cold snow was too much to bare. I decided to take action and set up the best outdoor kitty motel that I could. I went to Petco, and I must say, the staff there was extremely helpful and patient and we figured out how to make a small oasis in my yard without costing a fortune. Here’s what I did and I’ve included links to the products I used:
First, my friend needed clean, drinkable, unfrozen water, so I purchased an outdoor heated water bowl that plugs into an outdoor outlet and prevents the water from freezing.
Next, I wanted to put some sort of warm shelter together, but doggie igloos can cost hundreds of dollars and aren’t heated. I decided on a large transparent covered litter box… but how to keep it warm? I found an indoor/outdoor heated mat for small pets that fit perfectly inside the litter box. The cord has steel wire around it so the animal won’t chew on it. Then I bought dry kitten food for the high caloric content – this kitty is going to need lots of calories to stay warm through this frigid weather!
Here is the result:
While it’s not the Four Season’s Hotel, it works! You can see the water bowl is at the top of the picture. I put the dry food in an airtight container with the green cap. The dry food for the cat is in the lower right with two compartments. The litter box has a clear top so that I can see if the cat is in there and so that the cat can see if there is any danger or another animal around. The heating pad is inside the litter box and everything is plugged into the wall.
I put some wet food inside of the litter box since taking this picture, because it would quickly freeze if I left it outside (9 degrees today) and my little friend came by, went into the little warm house and ate most of the wet food. Since setting this up, I have seen the cat twice today already! S/he is a beautiful black cat and looks very healthy and plump. I pray that it isn’t a pregnant female!!
Anyway – Mission accomplished! I can now rest easy tonight knowing that my little friend outside has fresh water, plenty of food and a warm dry place to rest if s/he wants to!