Adapted from Alley Cat Allies

Picture of a feral cat colony in the snow.

Fall and winter provide special challenges to our outdoor feline friends. Here are some helpful tips to remember during the cold-weather seasons.

Share this information with family, friends, and neighbors, especially the safety tips below.
Helping cats starts with you!

Winter Safety Tips

  • Use pet-safe antifreeze in your car. Look for brands containing propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol, which tastes sweet to cats but is poisonous.
  • Feral cats like to curl up under car hoods on warm engines during cold days. By banging on the hood or honking your horn before starting the engine, you will scare any hitchhikers out before driving away.
  • Stay away from salt and chemical melting products. These products can be toxic to animals
    and harmful to their paws.
Picture of a cat in an outdoor food station.

Winter Feeding of Stray / Feral Cats

  • A simple, partially enclosed feeding station will shield cats from the elements and protect food from getting wet and spoiled during rain and snow. Keep feeding areas as clean
    as possible.
  • Dry cat food doesn't freeze. Supplement adult food
    with kitten dry food which has extra calories for winter nutrition. Feed daily.

Picture of a cat in a barrel shelter with hay.

Winter Shelters for Stray / Feral Cats

  • Provide dry, warm shelters in the winter. To make one, visit for several options and instructions (as well as additional cold weather tips).
  • Make sure to provide bedding inside the shelter(s). Straw is best for insulation, warmth and comfort. Avoid using blankets, towels and carpets as these will retain moisture.
  • Add a door flap to the shelter to keep winter winds out.
    The inner space will be warmer and cats will still be able
    to get in and out easily.

• Other shelter options and related suggestions:

You can help.

Please visit our Resources for Helping Pets page for links about pet care and behavior, pet health, advice on what to do if you find a stray cat or dog, and other useful pet topics.

To help Colony Cats with our life-saving work, please donate now.

Thank you.

back to top