BETHESDA, MD – As the coldest time of the year approaches, many people may wonder how to help community cats, or unowned cats who live outdoors. Alley Cat Allies, the global leader in protecting cats and kittens, offers extensive resources for those who feel called to lend a helping paw to cats in the winter.

Coryn Julien, Communications Director of Alley Cat Allies, explains that cats have always lived and thrived in a variety of outdoor climates. “Community cats know where to find food and shelter from the elements, but compassionate people can still help ensure their comfort and safety during the coldest months.”

Whether you’re new to caring for community cats or a seasoned pro, Alley Cat Allies recommends these cold weather care best practices:

  • Do not bring cats or kittens to animal shelters. Many lack humane, nonlethal policies and programs, and the cat may be killed. Contact a local veterinarian about any illness/injury.
  • Allowing community cats to remain outdoors is the best way to protect them. Help them stay warm by providing outdoor shelters insulated with straw, not hay.
  • Provide extra fresh food and water to cats daily in an area sheltered from the elements, and take steps to prevent freezing.
  • Check your vehicle before driving. Cats may seek shelter and warmth under your hood and between your tires and wheel wells.
  • Don’t use salt, chemical melting products, or antifreeze, which can be lethal when licked off paws or ingested from melting puddles.
  • Winter Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is fine if conditions aren’t too dangerous. Be vigilant when setting traps and immediately move cats into a temperature-controlled vehicle or building.

Read Alley Cat Allies’ Top 10 Winter Weather Tips for Community Cats.

About Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Allies believes every cat deserves to live out his or her life to the fullest.

Founded in 1990, Alley Cat Allies is the leading advocacy organization for cats with a mission to transform and develop communities to protect and improve the lives of all cats and kittens. Together with our over 1 million supporters, we work toward a world where cats are valued and every community has humane and effective programs and policies to defend them.

Through our fearless advocacy, humane care, education and outreach, and law and policy activism, we empower and mobilize citizens, advocates, grassroots groups, shelters, veterinary professionals, and elected officials across the United States and around the world to improve their communities for cats through nonlethal, evidence-based approaches.

Our website is, and we are active on Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, Linkedin and YouTube.