|The top of one of the feral cat shelters from Ohio Alleycat Resource.|
Ever since moving into our apartment in July, my husband and I have found the stray cat problem in our part of Cincinnati troubling. When we first arrived, there were several baby kittens (which we tried, unsuccessfully, to catch), and it seemed that each day we'd see a new cat.
We knew that we couldn't adopt them, as our apartment only allows for one cat, but we didn't know what to do to help them. Taking them to the pound was out, because we all know what happens when feral cats go to the pound, and the no kill shelters are always full. Plus, a cat living the rest of its life inside a cage (because no one would want it) doesn't seem fair.
As soon as the cold weather started rolling in, I knew we had to do something. Our meager income right now (thanks to graduate school) doesn't allow us to buy or build a nice shelter for them, but there's no way the poor cats could survive the freezing temperatures.
This morning, as I was getting ready for work, my husband called up the stairs to me, "Look out at our deck."
"What is it?" I asked.
"Just look. Look at the poor cat."
Outside, on this freezing cold Ohio morning, was a cat sleeping on a pile of leaves on our deck. The poor thing looked so cold and lonely, and my heart broke looking at it. Then, I noticed another cat lying on a tall table, which stood in the other corner of our deck. As I looked at the cats, I felt terrible, yet helpless. What could I do?
Thankfully, just a few minutes later, a dear friend of mine posted about feral cat shelters (thanks, Em!). So, I called several shelters, and I finally found a place that provides them for free. Not only that, but they provide a $10.00 spay/neuter and tetanus shot for any trapped feral cats, and they'll rent traps for free (a $50.00 deposit is required, but it is returned when the trap is). They rely on grants and donations, so be sure to give whatever you can to help them help more cats. You can always donate the materials, too, in place of the shelters you take.
The shelter is called Ohio Alleycat Resource, and it's located at 5619 Orlando in Cincinnati; their contact info is .
Below are some photos of the shelters they provide. All shelters are made by volunteers from donated styrofoam coolers and other materials.
This is one of the shelters, which we placed in the corner of the deck, near the leaves the kitty was sleeping on top of this morning. Notice that the lid of the styrofoam cooler is glued on, and it seems to be covered in some sort of paint, which I assume is water resistant.
|The styrofoam is lined with aluminum to keep the cats warm, a bed is made out of hay, and a hole is cut for the entrance (see above). I'm guessing the size and height of the entrance helps keep other wild animals, such as possums and raccoons, from entering the shelters.|
|We placed the other shelter near the table the other cat was sleeping on this morning.|
|The cat didn't end up going into the shelter, but she was thinking about it! Let's hope she uses it tonight.|
Can't get enough of the strays? Read the "Ode to Feral Cats Everywhere," and learn why I'm so in love with stray cats.