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Press Release

For Immediate Release: November 15, 2007
Contact: ELIZABETH PAROWSKI, eparowski@alleycat.org or 240-482-1984; FRANCIE ISRAELI, fisraeli@johnadams.com or 202-207-1134

ALLEY CAT ALLIES OFFERS WINTER SAFETY TIPS FOR FERAL AND STRAY CATS

WASHINGTON, DC – Alley Cat Allies, the national organization devoted to issues affecting stray and feral cats, today issued a list of five simple ways to help neighborhood cats during the winter months.

“We know that millions of people already help to care for the cats in their communities each day,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies. “Feral cats, who live their whole lives outside in cities, suburbs or farms, are accustomed to life outdoors. But even these hardy feline neighbors can benefit from simple and inexpensive efforts by caregivers to give them a warmer, safer winter this year.”

Five Easy Ways You Can Help Stray and Feral Cats This Winter

1. Provide outdoor shelter and a feeding station.
A properly constructed shelter should be insulated, with a door about 6 to 8 inches square in size. This is small enough to keep out most common cat predators. A flap on the door helps keep snow out and protect against the wind. You can build an inexpensive outdoor cat shelter using the plans available at www.alleycat.org/shelter. Dog houses can be insulated and used as outdoor cat shelters. In addition to a shelter, build a simple feeding station with a roof and sides to protect cats from the elements while they eat.

2. Insulate the shelter against moisture as well as cold.
Straw is the best insulation and bedding for a shelter. Blankets are not suitable, as they absorb moisture making the cats colder. Keeping cats dry goes a long way toward keep them warm.

3. Prevent food and drinking water from freezing.
During the winter use dry food, rather than canned, as wet food can freeze. Place water bowls in a sunny spot, and use a water bowl that is deep rather than wide, which will keep water from freezing as quickly. You can also find electrically heated bowls in many pet shops. When changing drinking water, use water that is cold or room temperature. It is a misconception that hot water freezes at a slower rate – it actually freezes faster.

4. Help prevent another “kitten season.”
Although spring is the time of year when most litters are born, action during the winter is the key to preventing those litters. Cats have around a 63 day gestation period and usually mate in winter. End the cycle of breeding and help the cats lead better and healthier lives by humanely trapping them and having them spayed or neutered by a veterinarian. A local volunteer group practicing Trap-Neuter-Return may be able to help. See www.alleycat.org for more information.

5. Educate family and friends.
If there are feral cats in your area, make sure your family and your neighbors know to check under the car before starting the engine. Cats will sometimes crawl into car engines, or hide under them for warmth.

Americans Care About Outdoor Cats

Alley Cat Allies estimates that millions of Americans help care for outdoor cats every year. A recent survey for Alley Cat Allies conducted by Harris found that more than two in five Americans have put out food or water for a stray cat at some point, with more than one in five respondents reporting to have done so in the past year.

Since its founding in 1990 as the first and only national organization dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of stray and feral cats, Alley Cat Allies has provided education and materials to caregivers and the general public about innovative, humane approaches to outdoor cat management and care.

More information about winter safety for outdoor cats can be found online under the “Resource Center” at www.alleycat.org.

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About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the nation’s leading advocate for stray and feral cats. Their website is www.alleycat.org.