Katniss and Winter Storm Helena

diy-cat-shelter

DIY Cat Shelter

As most of you know, we now have an outside feral cat – Katniss (picture below). We have a large deck which she uses most of the year with all the other critters but Winter Storm Helena is bringing a hard frost. I need to interject – why do we name every stupid storm? Back in the old days it was just bad weather. As usual, Houston is reacting as though winterpocalypse had arrived. To be fair, homeless people and critters are going to struggle over the next couple of days. What to do?

I checked out cat houses on Amazon and we could certainly get one eventually. In the meantime, I created a nest with an old cat crate covered in a tarp for hurricanes. It is off the deck to feel safer and there is a clean fleecy blanket in there with a catnip toy. Then I went to the supermarket to look for a hot water bottle – the assistant looked at me as though I came out of the Ark. “I don’t think they make them anymore”. Kerry Macgyver thought about it and created this.

glass bottle filled with hot water

glass bottle filled with hot water

Wrapped in two old t-shirts

Wrapped in two old t-shirts

I threw out some 10 year old Pimms (British drink) and filled it with hot water, sealed with the love of my life – duct tape. Then I rolled it in two of Teddy’s old t-shirts and put it under the blanket.

Katniss, the feral cat

Katniss, the feral cat

I doubt very much if Princess Katniss will use this shelter but perhaps there will be a warm family of possums? One of my neighbors kindly allows Katniss to sleep on their covered porch which is warm from the house, so she has some options.  A few days ago, I spotted her waiting for breakfast in the corner of the garden. She suddenly looked behind her, clearly askance but not terrified, into the reserve. To my astonishment, two fat possums (Betsy and Peggy Sue?) came thundering out aiming directly for our deck. It was 8 am so they were late going to bed (under our deck) but they had been digging for grubs by the looks of their snouts. It looked like the scene in the film Fifth Element where the elephantine aliens came thundering out of the pyramid. I burst out laughing and went out to reassure Katniss.

She ran off (to return at a later time) and I startled Possum # 3 – the baby who had been following the other two. I saw him sleeping on the flowerbed a couple of hours later and entreated him gently to go under the deck to sleep with his family. He seemed to understand and went to bed like all good little critters should.

Thank you to Wikipedia for the links – what did we do before Google??
PS
No need to comment about our love of alcohol, with the bottle and 6 pack door… 😆

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26 thoughts on “Katniss and Winter Storm Helena

  1. Kerry, you are very sweet – those critters certainly are liking you! And this being my first winter in Pensacola, I totally understand the term ‘winterpocalypse’, they are reacting the same here. Stay warm this weekend! 🙂

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  2. They still make hot water bottles in Scotland! The rubber ones are still here, but of course after a few years they do spring a leak in your bed. You can also get the ones with wheat inside that you heat up in the microwave. I used these when I was taming feral kittens. They loved it and I think it helped the softening up process as well as the roast chicken every night.

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    • I just checked my Pimm’s bottle and it was still warm after 6 hours outside in almost freezing temperatures. You can actually get cat heating pads but I don’t think they are using the crate yet. Katniss did come around for her evening meal an hour ago so her tummy is full.

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    • I noticed them on Amazon but realized that my bottle might be better because little claws can’t pierce it. It stayed warm for 6 hours at a time but it is now 19 degrees. I remember similar water bottles from when I was young, along with utility blankets from WWII.

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  3. Shame, I hope Katmiss will be okay and is able to stay warm. I feel so sorry for the ferals, at least she knows a loving place to go to for food and some shelter. Wouldn’t it be nice if she would venture inside 🙂 x

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    • It is 19 degrees this morning and the critter water is frozen solid. Aaaaargh! No one is in the crate so I hope they are all snuggled somewhere. I put out warm water and food. I don’t think Katniss will come in for years, if ever. The raccoons and possums would come in today. 😆

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  4. We can still get hot water bottles here in NZ, where they are colloquially referred to as “hotties”. This can cause confusion if you have American house guests on a cold night. As in, “Would you like a hottie to take to bed?”

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  5. Okay, so I had to Google hot water bottles and to my immense relief they do in fact make and sell them. I don’t know if I ever told you but the condominium community I live in has two separate feral cat colonies on opposite sides of the property. Each colony has little cat houses and they never cross into each other’s territory. When I bought my condo in my paperwork from the management company talked about the kitties. They even have dedicated people who come and feed the kitties.

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    • That’s wonderful, Steph. We also have a feral cat community but it isn’t usually talked about. One of my neighbors feeds half of them on her porch and I think a volunteer tries to trap them and leaves dry food. Only one neighbor has a problem…there is always one! My deck is critter central and when they replaced a plank last week you could see wonderful nests thick with pine needles that they all sleep in. (Possums, raccoons, cats and a woodrat)

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      • Yes, I love it and I forgot to mention the people who volunteer to care for these cats have them fixed as well. The community is animal friendly but like your neighborhood I’m sure there’s a few “special” folks who can’t tolerate animals especially cats. And I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a real possum at least I can’t remember if I did. Googling woodrat now.

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      • Our group tries to catch and neuter, too. I am certain Katniss has been neutered or she is very good at avoiding the tomcats. Our possums are the cutest critters you have ever seen. 🐁

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