Chapter contents

9. Making a stray cat shelter - Monty

Stray cats struggle to find warm & secure places to sleep.

We can help by providing simple shelters outside in our gardens and outdoor spaces.

Many cat carriers split into halves, these halves can make good beds when filled with blankets or straw (available in pet shops - rabbit bedding).

Straw may be best for outdoor (covered/sheltered) use as it is a natural material with great insulation properties that animals are attracted to.

Alternatively if you have a wooden box or a storage shed, you can make a nest inside it for them.

Vetbeds are also very good for these shelters as they are designed with synthetic material to prevent microorganisms - mould etc - from forming. They also have great insulation properties and reflect body heat back at an animal. 

Polystyrene boxes can offer good insulation and shielding from ground water, and are especially good when equiped with a vetbed.

It is not recommended to leave food in these shelters as it can attract unwanted creatures, stray/feral cats are especially in competition with foxes in the cities for both food & shelter, not to mention the potential vermin the smell of food can attract.  

A bowl of water (which ideally would be kept fresh) is however a good idea.

Cats can go for several weeks without food but only days without water. 

It is not only in the hot dray summer months that a supply of fresh water is important, but in the cold - potentially frozen conditions of winter.

Monty the semi feral - pictured right - was lucky enough to have been noticed scavenging around city suburb bins. A cat-flap was cut in the storage shed - also pictured - and slowly a relationship was built using titbits of food. Gradually he learned to trust the human trying to feed him, & food was left in the shelter (empty bowls were retrieved immediately afterwards). The cat-flap was propped open & the main door was closed. He soon worked out how to go in to get his food. Gradually, he learned that the shelter was secure, the aperture of the cat-flap was gradually reduced until he was pushing it open with his head & he soon learned to use it properly. A vetbed was placed on a dry floor, & it wasn't long before Monty had moved in permanently.

Urban city semi - feral & stray cats - behaving naturally

Urban city semi - feral & stray cats - behaving naturally

Semi-feral Monty slowly gained trust in the human offering him food

Semi-feral Monty slowly gained trust in the human offering him food

Once he had gained confidence in the situation, he was fed near to his shelter to introduce him to it

Once he had gained confidence in the situation, he was fed near to his shelter to introduce him to it

It wasn't long before he had moved into his cabin shelter

It wasn't long before he had moved into his cabin shelter

An infra red camera transmitting to its own television channel, provided information about the cabins occupancy & food consumption - bowl removal etc

An infra red camera transmitting to its own television channel, provided information about the cabins occupancy & food consumption - bowl removal etc

Chapter contents