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Please help--can't tell if cat abandoned and is COLD outside

January 17th, 2005, 03:01 PM
There is a tabby that has been around for a week and she often is in the cat house (I built an insulated cat house for our own cat cause he likes being outdoors during the day, but he never uses it, prefers to come inside!). On several mornings we found this tabby sleeping inside the cat house. I talked with the neighbour who also noticed this cat and thinks it's lost or abandoned. So we both decided to leave food out. The tabby is very afraid and completely unapproachable. She eats the food and drinks water we leave for her. But during most of the day she is not to be seen! She does not seem thin either (she has a belly, though might be pregnant?). I called the SPCA because tomorrow morning it will be -30 degrees celsius (windchill -40). I am afraid for the cat in case it is a stray. They told me they can rent me a cat cage to catch her. But here is my question--how can I tell if this cat is actually a stray? Would a cat ever act this way if it had a home? I don't want to trap an animal who has an owner. But I don't want the cat to freeze. The cat house is insulated but it does not have a door obviously. Any advice appreciated!

January 17th, 2005, 03:50 PM
Have you see any tags or a collar if you have been close enough? Personally, I think that you would be doing the cat and the owner, if there is one, a huge favour by possibly saving this cats life! I would not be at all angry at anyone but myself if my cat was left out overnight in weather conditions as cold as you have stated. By catching the cat, and feeding it as you have been, you have given the cat fuel to keep warm, a house that keeps it out of the elements and a safe place to "hang out". I would trap it and hand it over to the SPCA or cat shelter and hopefully, the owner has been searching frantically for it. It could have been lost during a move. You never could be a happy reunion and you will have performed a great service! Go for it! and don't feel guilty at all. If it were my cat, I would be so pleased that someone out there cared enough to make an effort to help my buddy. You and your neighbour should be thanked hugely! :grouphug:

January 17th, 2005, 03:59 PM
I agree if it were my cat I would appreciate it. Meanwhile either way you will be saving its life and that is what is important these temps at night are just to cold for an animal to spend outside. If you dont catch it you can put hot shots under a blanket they will warm the cat if he comes into the cat house. Hot shots are the things you bend and they heat up for gloves and boots. They are not expensive I think they last about 4 hours

January 17th, 2005, 04:12 PM
If this cats has been around the same area for a week,she most likely is lost or abadonned and thank's for feeding her and being concerned.
I would trap her and bring her to the SPCA,unless you are in Montreal where they will most likely kill her :sad: (that is what I've been told)!
A temperature of -30C could kill her,or give her serious frost-bite,even a cage at a no-kill shelter is better than that.
Where are you located?

January 17th, 2005, 10:47 PM
ditto, where are you? This is a great site to use to find other rescue and no kill shelters that can help you as ferals generally are not given a chance at the HS and SPCA because they are seen as unadoptable. :sad:

And the belly may be winter weight, I know that the ferals I feed here really packed on the pounds at the end of this fall to get ready for the cold. (I also have a shelter out that I feed them in.) And for safety's sake, because you never know what this other cat could have illness wise, I would keep yours indoors to avoid a confrontation.

Good luck to you, yours, and your visitor! :angel:

January 18th, 2005, 07:15 AM
I checked back and it looks like Oliver is somewhere in Ouebec :sad:

January 18th, 2005, 01:30 PM
Hi all, thanks for your advice. I am in Gatineau by the way. Last night we saw she was in the cat house so it's confirmed she's a stray. She is so afraid she ran away from the cat house (which is 5 metres away from the door) when I opened the door just a centimetre. This morning she came out of the shelter and seemed fine, incredibly. I was really worried it would be too cold during the night (it was -30 C, with windchill -40). She came back in the afternoon and ate and then left again! It's bizarre, where could she be during the day? Anyways, I rented a cat cage from the SPCA. (These can't hurt them right? They seem to slam so fast.) This is the third stray we've seen in the past 6 months in the neighbourhood (none before we've seen), it's sad. The others were adopted (by my parents and a friend), but I may have to bring this one the SPCA. I have very mixed feelings. First however, there is a lady who lost her cat who will come over to see if this is hers.

January 18th, 2005, 02:03 PM
Well I hope you catch the cat it is too cold out there and hopefully this is the owner.

January 18th, 2005, 03:43 PM
Oliver,I fed a feral or abandonned cat for 3 yrs,without even getting close to him,he would come morning and night for his meals and then dissappear to somewhere....I too got a cage from HS,but he was too smart to go in there and all the HS wanted to do was to neuter him and drop him off here at my house,they do that here at my HS.They figured he had survived for 3 yrs by me feeding him,he would be ok...they just did not want him to be out there making babies.Sadly one day he just did not come back :sad:
Here's a pic of"my"George..

January 18th, 2005, 04:06 PM
That's a cute picture! Thanks for the messages, they are helping. I finally set the cage outside with tuna. I almost don't want the cat to go in however. The SPCA here will euthanise her if she is not adoptable, that is what they told me. On the other hand, I am not even certain it is a feral cat! She is very afraid, though she sees me with food she runs away. She only comes when there has been no one around for hours. That is why I think she is feral. If I bring her to the SPCA I will definetly tell them she is a lost cat rather than assume she is feral. In the meantime, I will try to build a better shelter. I just don't want her to suffer.

January 18th, 2005, 04:44 PM
if you have any spare blanket, the you could part with , you could put them in the cat house, i live in the yukon and the cold is a huge issue for strays up here too, we had an old dog house in our yard and at the beging of this winter we found a stray sleeping in it we put some old blankets out there and eventualy put a smal ceramic space heating in there pluged into the wall, i know tha tis a bit extreme but we could not get neat ythe thing and he already had lost heis ear to frost bite so i tried to give hima warm place to stay, eventuly we got him indoors , he was to freal for us thought and we gave him to a freidn on a farm who built it a house outsiide and does the same thing witha space heater for the thing, i mean even if it is just for a few month it will most likely help alot,
it did in our case anyway. good luck

January 18th, 2005, 06:13 PM
Thanks, a heater is a great idea. Did you say a ceramic heater? What is that? I looked for hot shots another person mentioned but couldn't find. The cat house is made of wood with styrofoam insulation covered inside with carpet. I put a fluffy old scarf and an old coat hood with down inside also. The cat house is under a patio table with a plastic tarp to keep wind out, surrounded by snow except the entrance. The problem I guess is the door lets in a lot of cold I think. The cat did not come back since this afternoon. I don't know how it survives like this (it's -23 C now).

January 19th, 2005, 11:40 AM
a ceramic heater is just another name for a small space heater

it gets pretty cold where i am to it's been -30 or better for the past week, and lot of them don't make it. it so soad i wish i could resuce them all, lots or them crwal up into car engines, we have ahuge problem with strays in the area so it common practice to cheack you car before you start it.

-20 is to cold for me and i weigh 130 , a 8-10 lb cat is who is outside all the time has it rough,

January 19th, 2005, 12:04 PM
That's so sad...but thank's for doing what you can :sad:
It's only -5C here today and snowing,my cats come out with me while I fill the bird-feeders and birdbath(have a birdbath-heater :thumbs up )but they cannot deal with the snow and cold,they are back in in 5 minutes,I can just imagine how stray cats are feeling...always being cold :sad:

January 19th, 2005, 01:06 PM
Hello Oliver! You are so wonderful for looking out for this little girl. If the SPCA euthanizes... have you thought of checking out the other shelters in your area? I live in Ottawa... If you would like, I can research facilities to help you out and let you know. So far, I would suggest Friends of Abandoned Pets ( If you would like me to help please let me know :)

January 25th, 2005, 12:45 PM
Thank you Tyr, I am interested in learning about shelters in Ottawa. I took down the number from the website you suggested.

The cat comes when the sun goes down and leaves in the morning, and visits during the day once or twice to eat and drink. I think he is okay for now, but it will continue to be a process of figuring out what to do.

Thank you everybody for your advice.