To hear more feature stories, see our full list or get the Audm iPhone app. But once Louisa was there, Harp recalls, her demeanor transformed. Normally friendly and open, she started screaming and pulling out clumps of her hair. She growled and glared. Her head flailed from side to side, cocking back at odd angles. In jumbled bursts, she muttered about good and evil, God and the devil. According to Harp, Louisa seemed to vacillate between this unhinged state and her normal self. One minute she would snarl and bare her teeth, and the next she would beg for help.
But she knew that Louisa had occasionally experienced episodes in which she felt something indescribably dark overtake her, and that she would read scripture to beat back these states. Her bearing still frantic, Louisa picked up her smartphone and began looking up passages. As she read, she started to calm down. Her flailing diminished; her frenzied affect ebbed. She vomited in a trash bin, and after that she was her old self again, full of apologies, her eyes wet, her face red. For Louisa it had a more profound effect, prompting a search for answers that would ultimately lead her away from modern medicine and its well-worn paths for mental-health treatment, and toward the older, more ritualized remedies of her Catholic faith.
The conviction that demons exist—and that they exist to harass, derange, and smite human beings—stretches back as far as religion itself. In ancient Mesopotamia, Babylonian priests performed exorcisms by casting wax figurines of demons into a fire. The Hindu Vedas, thought to have been written between and b. For the ancient Greeks, too, demonlike creatures lurked on the shadowy fringes of the human world.
But far from being confined to a past of Demiurges and evil eyes, belief in demonic possession is widespread in the United States today. Polls conducted in recent decades by Gallup and the data firm YouGov suggest that roughly half of Americans believe demonic possession is real. The percentage who believe in the devil is even higher, and in fact has been growing: Gallup polls show that the number rose from 55 percent in to 70 percent in Though the Church does not keep official statistics, the exorcists I interviewed for this article attest to fielding more pleas for help every year.
Father Gary Thomas—a priest whose training as an exorcist in Rome was documented in The Rite , a book published in and made into a movie in —said that he gets at least a dozen requests a week. Several other priests reported that without support from church staff and volunteers, their exorcism ministries would quickly swallow up their entire weekly schedules. The Church has been training new exorcists in Chicago, Rome, and Manila. Thomas told me that in the U. Today, he said, there are well over Other exorcists I spoke with put the number between 70 and Again, no official statistics exist, and most dioceses conceal the identity of their appointed exorcist, to avoid unwanted attention.
In October of last year, the U. Conference of Catholic Bishops had Exorcisms and Related Supplications —a handbook containing the rite of exorcism— translated into English. The rite had been updated in and again a few years later, but this was the first time it was issued in English since it had been standardized in The inescapable question is: Why?
Or rather: Why now? Why, in our modern age, are so many people turning to the Church for help in banishing incorporeal fiends from their body? And what does this resurgent interest tell us about the figurative demons tormenting contemporary society? In , a German psychologist named Traugott Oesterreich collected historical eyewitness accounts in his book Possession: Demoniacal and Other.
One incident that crops up again and again involves a young woman named Magdalene in Orlach, Germany. Late in the winter of , Magdalene began seeing strange things in the barn where she tended cows. By the following year, she was being tormented by voices, sensations of physical assault, and, according to witnesses, spontaneous outbursts of flames. According to some accounts, a priest conducted an exorcism on Roland at Georgetown University Hospital, a Jesuit institution in D.
Roland and his parents eventually left their home in Maryland to stay with extended family in St. There, priests carried out at least 20 exorcisms over the course of a month. He reportedly vomited so profusely that the exorcist performing the rite had to wear a raincoat, and he fought so violently that 10 people were required to hold him down. In April , several hours into an exorcism, Roland finally surfaced from his trancelike state.
Louisa had recently given birth to their first child, a son, who was tucked between his parents in bed. At one point during the night, she awoke and found herself paralyzed. All she could move were her eyes, and they darted around the room in horror. When Louisa told friends and family about the episode, most shrugged it off. Some suggested that it might have been a lingering effect of having just undergone a strenuous delivery she had needed a cesarean section. Louisa decided they were probably right. For a required internship that fall, she chose to travel to Kathmandu, Nepal, to work for an organization that provides aid to impoverished women and children in the region.
After a month in Kathmandu, Louisa became infected with E. When she was discharged, she debated flying home right away. But now she was drained and weary of her surroundings. The night after she left the hospital, Louisa locked the door to her apartment, secured the window with a wooden bar, and went to bed. It seemed close: She could feel the hot exhales on the back of her right ear and her neck. How is this possible? Her grandmother, who was both an American Indian and a devout Catholic, had warned her about them. If Louisa ever encountered evil spirits, her grandmother had told her, she should do her best to ignore them, because they feed on attention.
Louisa tried, but the breathing continued, a heavy, rhythmic rasp. Then, after a minute or so, she felt a hand brush against her collarbone. At that sensation, which to this day she cannot account for, Louisa leapt out of her sleeping bag and ran to turn on the light. She swears that as soon as she flipped the switch, she heard a pack of stray dogs break out in wild yelps. By dawn Louisa had cleared out, walking several miles to the U. Embassy in Kathmandu. She took the next flight back to Orlando. Louisa had yet another incident in , just after giving birth to her second child, a daughter.
This episode was more like the first—she woke up abruptly, only to find her body locked in place—but with the added shock of what seemed to be visual hallucinations, including one of a giant spider crawling into her bedroom. Louisa was so jolted that she barely ate or slept for three days. So Louisa turned to the internet. Sleep paralysis seemed like a promising explanation. Hovering near full consciousness, the person can experience paralysis and hallucinations. She started to wonder whether something was pursuing her. Amid consuming fear, she waded into some darker internet waters: elaborate descriptions and YouTube testimonials of people who claimed that a demon or some other evil entity had dragged them down to hell.
When she told him that she had used a Ouija board after her grandfather had passed away a couple of years earlier, he told her to get rid of it, along with anything else that could be construed as occult: tarot cards, amulets, pagan symbols, even healing crystals and birthstones.
Any of these things, he told her, could serve as a doorway for a demon. It may surprise some Catholics to learn just how literally the modern Church interprets Satan and his army of demons. While many people today understand the devil as a metaphor for sin, temptation, and unresolvable evil in the world, the pope consistently repudiates such allegorical readings.
In sermons, interviews, and occasionally in tweets, Pope Francis has declared that Satan—whom he has referred to as Beelzebub, the Seducer, and the Great Dragon—is a literal being devoted to deceiving and debasing humans. Exorcisms also occur in some Protestant and nondenominational Churches, but the Catholic Church has the most formal, rigorous, and long-standing tradition.
The Church sees the influence that demons and their leader, the devil, can have on human beings as existing on a spectrum. Demonic oppression—in which a demon pressures a person to accept evil—lies on one end. In a crucial step, the person requesting an exorcism must undergo a psychiatric evaluation with a mental-health professional. The vast majority of cases end there, as many of the individuals claiming possession are found to be suffering from psychiatric issues such as schizophrenia or a dissociative disorder, or to have recently gone off psychotropic medication.
For some, being told they do not suffer from demonic possession can be a letdown. Father Vincent Lampert, the exorcist from Indianapolis, remembered a young man who came to him seeking an exorcism but was told he was experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia. At this point he may begin looking for what the Church considers the classic signs of demonic possession: facility in a language the person has never learned; physical strength beyond his or her age or condition; access to secret knowledge; and a vehement aversion to God and sacred objects, including crucifixes and holy water.
Only a very small number of exorcism requests make it through the discernment process. The Catholic exorcists I interviewed—each with more than a decade of experience in the role—had worked on only a handful of cases deemed to be true possession. The ritual begins with the exorcist, who is typically assisted by several people, sprinkling holy water on the possessed person.
The exorcist makes the sign of the cross and kneels to recite the Litany of the Saints, followed by several readings of scripture. He then addresses the demon or demons, establishing the ground rules they must abide by: to reveal themselves when called, give their names when asked to identify themselves, and leave when dismissed. Because the exorcist is working with the full authority of God and Jesus Christ, Catholic doctrine stipulates, the demons have no choice but to obey.
For those few people the Church believes are truly possessed, a half-dozen or more exorcisms may be carried out before the priest is confident that the demons have been fully expelled. According to Catholic doctrine, in order to take possession of a person in the first place, demons rely on doorways—what the priest in Orlando warned Louisa about. These can include things like habitual sin and family curses—in which an act of violence or iniquity committed by one generation manifests itself in subsequent generations.
But the priests I spoke with kept coming back, over and over, to two particular doorways. Nearly every Catholic exorcist I spoke with cited a history of abuse—in particular, sexual abuse—as a major doorway for demons. Thomas said that as many as 80 percent of the people who come to him seeking an exorcism are sexual-abuse survivors. But from a secular standpoint, the link to sexual abuse helps explain why someone might become convinced that he or she is being menaced by something sinister and overpowering.
The correlation with abuse struck me as eerie, given the scandals that have rocked the Church. The second doorway—an interest in the occult—might offer at least a partial explanation. Most of the exorcists I interviewed said they believed that demonic possession was becoming more common—and they cited a resurgence in magic, divination, witchcraft, and attempts to communicate with the dead as a primary cause.
According to Catholic teaching, engaging with the occult involves accessing parts of the spiritual realm that may be inhabited by demonic forces. In recent years, journalists and academics have documented a renewed interest in magic, astrology, and witchcraft, primarily among Millennials. After listening to the priests and poring over news articles, I started to wonder whether the two trends—belief in the occult and the rising demand for Catholic exorcisms —might have the same underlying cause.
So many modern social ills feel dark and menacing and beyond human control: the opioid epidemic, the permanent loss of blue-collar jobs, blighted communities that breed alienation and dread. Maybe these crises have led people to believe that other, more preternatural, forces are at work.
But when I floated this theory with historians of religion, they offered different explanations. But more described how, during periods when the influence of organized religions ebbs, people seek spiritual fulfillment through the occult. Adam Jortner, an expert on American religious history at Auburn University, agreed. But just after my visit to Tacoma in March, I spoke by phone with Steven, with whom Louisa had recently reconciled, and he told me that she had been suffering for years from daytime episodes, too.
The incidents in the middle of the night frightened Louisa more and felt, to her, more supernatural, but Steven found these daytime experiences much harder to explain. One of these episodes occurred on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Louisa had followed the instructions of the priest at Saint James Cathedral, throwing out her Ouija board and some healing crystals.
She and Steven had moved back to Washington State with their two children, hoping that proximity to family and friends would do her good. They settled into a routine—Steven worked at a nearby warehouse; Louisa looked after the children—and for a while, Louisa all but forgot the nighttime incidents in Orlando. She came home in the early evening and spent some time upstairs in her bedroom. She eventually returned to the living room and spoke briefly with Steven. Then she fell silent. When she began talking again, a new persona emerged.
Igloo is inside the barn up in ay loft. Great comment on an inexpensive way to keep cats warm during winter. If you look thru all the comments and the links on this Hub, you'll find more inexpensive ways to do shelters. Depending on your budget, there are some alternative ways to keep cats warm during the winter months some ranging from "cheap" to pricey.
It's all up to what you want to do, and how much "do it yourself" you want or can do. I just wanted to share a really good, CHEAP shelter I learned about from an organization in Michigan that specializes in helping ferals. If you go to PetSmart or one of those types of stores, they will give you a Styrofoam container that their fish shipments come in. It looks like bubble wrap but it's silver. Both the mylar and straw will cover multiple shelters.
The mylar reflects that cat's heat to help keep the shelter warm and the straw allows the cat to "nest". If you have absolutely NO money, at least setting out one of the styrofoam containers will provide protection from moisture and wind. Just remember to weight it down since an empty styrofoam box will easily blow around. You're certainly welcome! As I said above, just remember Who knows what will transpire over time? After a while, your lovely "wild girl at heart" just might decide that outside is for younger cats and start wanting to come inside more and more. Just keep your options open.
Jean, thanks so much for your reply! My close friend just adopted her own cat he was indoors for a short while with his first mom, but sadly, she passed away and he got loose in the complex and we came up with using her outdoor chair cushions in the form of a "teepee" Buddy seems to take to it more every day. He's loving the outdoors at the moment, so this seems to be working out. As for my girl The best place would probably be in the bushes in front of our units. She is VERY much an outdoor cat and the elements don't seem to faze her.
I would love to make her an indoor kitty, but the look in her eyes says "wild girl at heart.. Feral cats are normally skittish - it's an excellent protective characteristic to have. With ferals and strays, you have to have LOTS of patience and love. After some time, your adopted feral will see that the warm shelter is still there for him, as well as food and I hope water somewhere close to the shelter, too. Once he sees that he has what he needs to better survive, he will use the shelter. Remember, cats are secretive Luckily for us and cats , cats like their comfort and will seek to be as comfortable as they can be.
I've no doubt this includes using the warm shelter you've provided. I too have adopted a feral cat. I recently set up an warm outdoor kennel for him but he will not go inside. I"ve put bedding and food in there to lure him. He will eat but quickly leaves. Will he instintively go in and stay in when it gets cold? Kudos to you! You might want to look at the comment I made just above your first comment here on my Hub. You might want to make your shelter smaller, but still accessible so your adopted kitty doesn't feel trapped "inside.
The only other suggestion I have is perhaps you might want to camouflage the shelter Hope all this helps you. Hope you and your kitty have a long, happy and healthy life together. Hello, Jean. I live down in South Florida and we have many stray and feral kitties in the complex where I live. I adopted one last year, she's since had her first and only since we got her spayed litter of kittens who have been successfully adopted as housekitties. She's still very much an outdoor cat and it gets cold down here too during the winter season, albeit not as cold as up north!
How can I make as inconspicuous as possible shelter for my girl? Thanks for your compassion! Good for you wanting to help stray cats stay warm this winter! You can get a great overview of how you can help the cats by reading all the great comments in this Hub. There are some inexpensive ways to keep cats warm in winter. Also very good information on how to build winter shelters for cats, but also has great info on other alternatives for shelters, insulation, and what to do in extreme cold.
Also, Emily - you mention the cats run when they see you. Whether they're strays or ferals, they are scared of human contact for whatever reasons. The main thing is to be as patient with them as possible. It's mostly a matter of time. After a passage of time, they should come to trust you more. This subject alone is a huge topic and I could go on for a long time. The bottom line is - love and patience are the major factors in whether or not you gain the cats trust.
Day by day, with good food, clean water, warm shelter, and being patient and loving, they should see you as someone they can get closer to. I too love cats! There are several stray kittens that run around my apartment unit and winter is finally here. I am worried about the poor things getting cold. I am a college student living off of loans so I cant afford to buy heated beds. What is the cheapest way to keep these kitties warm? Also, they run when they feel like I have came to close to them.
How can I gain their trust? First of all - my most sincere apologies for not replying to you sooner. All I can say is that it's been WAY too busy at work, so I am sorry it took me a long time to respond to you. As far as finding a solution - you might want to see if anyone in your family or neighborhood would like to adopt the cats. Also, you might want to ask your Vet if they are aware of any "No Kill" shelters in your immediate area.
That way, if there are no people who are willing to adopt the cats, then you can feel better about putting them in a shelter that won't kill the cats. Thanks for your kind words. Arizona cats are fortunate to not have extreme cold in the wintertime, but I'm sure it's a challenge to keep them cool in the summer. Just remember, cats DO need daily, fresh water - especially in the summer. This helps them stay cool. Also, that kitty closet will help provide some needed shade. Its like my state has own natural heater.
Here in Arizona, its always hot for the current season, OH summer is miserable!!!!!!!! But 57 degrees in the winter! Still, my cats are freeezing on our cold tile floor! Thank you so much for the advice! I'll set up a kitty closet. I suppose there is one good thing about Arizona. My cats automaticly stay warm in the winter! Thank you for sharing this information and I'm sure my cat's will too. I just stocked up on canary supplies in case my heat shuts off again.
I have a horrible house for the winter months! That being said, it's now Springtime, and more than likely, the kittens are completely weaned from the Momma cat. Most feral cats keep their kittens for a while after they're weaned. Cats of any age, don't always fair well outside. The statistics say feral cats only live from years, depending on several factors.
While I personally dislike to be pessimistic, these are the facts of life outside. While there are horror stories about cats and other animals being used as lab experiments, I also know there are people who honestly care about animals. Since I don't know where you are getting your info about "no such thing as a no kill shelter" I can't really respond appropriately. God bless you for taking in a "lab tested" cat and taking care of her. I've no doubt her last little bit on this physical, Earthly plane was made much better for your care.
Also, kudos for taking care of the stray cat in your area. I was told there is no such thing as a No Kill shelter;what they do is;their doors are always open to all or any animals but they are automatically put to sleep because of the over abundance of animals being brought into the shelters daily. I adopted a lab tested cat and she was some suffering sickly sweet little cat. She only lived for six weeks because her kidneys collapsed,all of her teeth were removed. I always say;where there's a will there's a way. God bless Your suggestions are fantastic! This will give the readers of this Hub even more ways to help their furry companions warm.
I have provided care to many outside stray cats that have found me here in the Chicagoland suburban area during the past several years and I wish to share what I have found to be a good insulating material for lining the insides of outdoor cat shelters, whether they are cardboard boxes or storage containers my favorite because they're waterproof or other fabricated shelters. The sporting goods stores sell 2' x 2' exercise puzzle mats that are made of a high density foam, which can be purchased in a 6-piece package 24 total sq. They are very easy to cut and shape with a pair of scissors and do not leave any styrofoam-like clinging particles.
I lay several down on my backyard deck near my patio door, interlocked end-to-end, year-round and found that the cold of the winter and the sun's heat in the summer does not radiate through them. Snow will brush right off and they do not absorb rain water. I also assembled some of the mats on my unheated attached garage floor and I can walk on them in my stocking feet without feeling the winter cold coming through the concrete, and it is -4 F.
It makes for a more comfortable place for my current feral cat, who found me 10 months ago, to come in from the elements for his daily meal, although after he is done eating he still prefers to return outside and curl up on one of the mats out back. Wow - both of your links are wonderful! Went to both of them and each one has outstanding suggestions.
The second website link mentions one of my favorite products - the SnuggleSafe. I recommend having at least 2 - one in use for the night and then in the morning, you heat the other one up and use the newer, warm one for the daytime. Yes, I did visit your link. Another thing I have found that works great on those extremely cold night for those that don't have a lot of money to spend are hand warmers that you can buy at many different stores.
I even have baked a potato and placed in the corner of a house with the straw hiding it. My dad used to tell us how he had to walk a long distance to school and how his mom would put baked potatoes in his coat pockets to keep his hands warm. Very good point! There are some great resources for cat shelters by Google-ing them. Have you visited the following link? It's got some outstanding ideas. If you know of any other excellent links, please let me know.
Also, I couldn't agree with you more - blankets can draw heat AWAY from a cat's body, especially when wet. Thanks for leaving this reminder for the readers of my Hub. Thanks for leaving some great ideas for keeping cats warm during the winter. Also, I appreciate you pointing out that cats need good food sources so they can stay warm during wintertime. It takes extra calories to do this. And, of course - kudos for keeping a heated water bowl for them! Those Canadian winters can be brutal, but you seem to have all the bases covered for keeping our cat companions warm.
If you google feral cat shelters there are many affordable ideas for shelters for cats. I have made a few with the 2 inch styrofoam. I also paint and glue a big piece of plywood onto the shelter to give them a "roof". I also have built a couple from the Rubbermaid storage containers, the only difference is I don't use the second storage bin. I find a sturdy cardboard box and glue using low odor glue the thinner sheets of stryofoam I found them at Home Depot all around the box then stick it into the bigger Rubbermaid container.
I always use straw too. Blankets can actually draw a cats body heat away from them especially if it gets wet. You can also make windbreaks with the stryofoam sheets by making them longer on one side. Styrofoam is a good insulator. You can also glue the mylar found this at Walmart in the camping department for 2 dollars to the walls and ceiling of the shelters, this will not make noise and will reflect the cats body heat back to the cat.
You can make a shelter from something like an old wooden cabinet that you can easily find in a dump or curbside. I converted one into a shelter for an outdoor cat and fitted it with an electrical socket so I could install an ordinary incandescent lightbulb. Depending on where you live the wattage will have to compete with the outdoor temperatures.
For example here in Montreal in winter it gets really cold like today is celsius and when you factor in the wind chill it's Inside the shelter I have a watt lightbulb to heat it. Inside the shelter I divided it off into 3 sections for sleeping, entering and an area dedicated to just the light bulb to heat the shelter. I should mention that the shelter is located on my balcony that has an outdoor electrical socket that works the light that heats the shelter.
I made a rubber coated dormer roof to allow the snow to slide off to cover the cabinet. It also can be lifted off to open the cabinet to change the lightbulb usually lasts 4 weeks before needing to be changed again. I also added a small entrance hallway structure to the house to divert the wind from the cabinet's main entrance. The cat is healthy, happy and warm. I purchased a heated outdoor water dish to keep water from freezing to ice.
It's amazing what you can do to beat the elements and give a kitty a fighting chance. Many cities now provide low cost sterilization if you do an internet search. Many colleges and universities do such procedures as a teaching forum for veterinary students. Check it out. A few days shouldn't matter, especially if the cats are in good health to start with.
Thank you for your reply. I was not aware of the difference between straw and hay. I have been rescuing independently for 15 years but did not know about the problem it could create for these kitties. Would a few days have harmed the cats? Good for you for taking care of stray cats. FYI - You might want to look at the following link - it's got some great ideas for keeping cats warm in winter. All the designs are VERY affordable to do, even on a very limited budget!
Are you sure it's straw and not hay? If it smells moldy more than likely it's not straw but hay. Please, if it smells moldy, replace it immediately. FYI - straw is dried, golden colored, primarily hollow stems of grain mainly used for bedding for the animals, weaving baskets etc. It's beginning to get very cold in Austin, Texas. When I got back from work at PM, I fed the stray cats some hearty canned food, dry food and provided them with fresh water.
I then simply placed a cardboard box on its side and put a blanket and some towels in it. I can see them from my livingroom window! I am feeding two outside cats for which I made a shelter out of a Rubbermaid container I purchased and my son cut an opening for the cats to go inside. This year instead of using cat beds inside the shelter I used straw but I noticed it has a moldy smell. Will this hurt the cats? At least the kitties will be out of the direct cold in your garage. Since you have limited funds, you might want to at least look into getting some straw.
It's the link with "wintershelter" at the end of the link. This link gives you some great ideas to keep cats warm in winter with very little funds. Thanks so much for this site. Will it be ok for the 4 homeless cats that I have been feeding to be in there? I can give them some old blankets and plenty of food and water, No heat source as I am afraid of fire but i will leave the light on. Also limited funds so I can't go buy heat pads and such.
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Will this be okay? Be aware, cats are territorial, so some fighting is to be expected. This is also how cats sort out who's "top" cat. The following is a very good link for introducing cats to each other -. These will fit into most any budget, especially if you have limited funds. And the last suggestions I have for you would be to remember that STRAW is an excellent insulator, so you might want to invest in some of that whatever shelter you provide for him. And also you might want to consider the SnuggleSafe heating pad s. One use only, unfortunately. But it does last up to 72 hours.
You'd probably need a couple for even a small box in freezing weather. The only question I've got is - can you re-heat the pad? If it's only a "one" use pad, then it might get a bit expensive. Pay once, use many times. I received a package in the mail from a pharmacy that had a heat pad packed along with the prescription medication. The pad was for good for 72 hours and still quite warm. Hm, another source of heat for kitties? About a dollar a pack.
You might want to try adding a thick layer of straw you might need a bigger box to start off with. If they are staying longer - then you might want to invest in a couple of SnuggleSafe. They're kinda like the rice in the socks, but they stay warmer for much longer many hours at a time. Then do this all again at night.
My parents wouldn't allow me to take them inside , so I put them in the garage. I took a box and put old towels in it , then I pored rice into old socks and heated it in the microwave. Then placed one In each corner of the box. We are planning on taking them to a shelter. If they have to stay any longer , is there another way I could keep them warm That won't make my parents mad? You are most certainly welcome! Thank you so much Jean, your words really help me. I will talk to them like you suggest, hopefully we'll be able to work together. You have a very kind heart, and that's a wonderful thing.
That being said Because of this, I don't think you should take such strong action such as taking the cat into your house. I'd suggest you first see if you could talk with the owners. You never know about another person until you walk for a while in their shoes i. During your talk, you might want to first mention you've grown fond of the cat Also, you might want to depending upon their response to your talk tell them about other ways they could keep the cat warm in the winter. Example: using straw as an excellent insulator. There is a cat in my neighborhood, he seems to be very old because you can see the skin kind of hanging in his stomach.
The ownwers keep him in a igloo type of house in their porch.
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There is a heated pad inside. Anyway every time I go see him he feels very cold, the igloo has some little holes and I am afraid the cold and wind are coming through there. When he sees me he inmediatetly comes to me for some petting. Right now it is very cold 29 degrees with strong winds of 32mph, it feels like 10 degrees outside. I am having such a hard time with this, I have been even thinking about just go there and get the cat and bringing into my house. I have a small dog and one of my boys is allergic to cats, but I couldn't sleep last night thinking the wind is going to blow away his house and he is going to freeze.
He really likes me because it seems I am the only person that touches every once in a while. You can tell he was an indoor cat and they just decided to put him out there. I don't know what to do. Please give me some advice, thank you. Thanks for letting us all know what was successful for you in keeping your outside cats warm.
I had 1 outside mother cat that had 7 kittens in the fall of ' What I did for them was to get some plastic storage bins, put basement insulation all around the inside and on the cover then filled it halfway with straw. The cats loved it and there are two cats in each of the 4 bins I made. They got fresh food and drank water from our humidfier drain pipe in the yard which doesn't freeze.
The weather last winter was ferocious. It stay below 20 deg and snowed every day but the cats survived in good health. Good comment - the Havaheart traps are extremely humane ways of capturing animals, especially feral cats. It does take some time to "tame" a feral cat, but you are right, it takes less time if it's a feral kitten. Try the Havahart live trap regular size--like for raccoons. I had a litter of kittens living in an abandoned house near me a few years ago.
I trapped the whole family and took them to a shelter except for one kitten who wouldn't walk into the cage I had built. I bought a squirrel sized live trap but he escaped every time. Finally I used the big one even though I thought he was too small to set it off and he was caught the same day. Once I had him, I let him out in my bathroom and have never seen a more terrified and angry kitty. I did some research on the internet searching "how to tame feral kittens. Within three days he was falling asleep in my husband's arms.
If you catch him young, it's pretty easy to tame a baby. Personally, I think the money is better spent on a trap and getting one more cat off the cold streets. If you're worried about the cold, you could set the trap on some straw and cover it with a heavy blanket in case he gets trapped at a time when you can't get to him right away like while you're asleep. See of remaining comments. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners.
HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others. HubPages Inc, a part of Maven Inc. As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so. Jean Keith more. What temperatures can cats still survive outside? Another good guideline to follow is that if your home feels too cold for you, your indoor cat probably feels the same.
In which case, it's probably a good idea to turn up the thermostat or think about getting some space heaters. Outdoor Cats: If your cat spends most of its time outdoors though, then it can potentially be alright down to nearly freezing temperatures. How to Help Outdoor Cats Make It Through a Cold Winter Whether you're taking care of your own outdoor cats or just want to help some ferals or strays make it through a freezing winter season, these helpful tips will make all the difference: Build or buy a cat shelter.
Set up heaters or warming pads. Provide cats with plenty of fresh food. Make sure the cats have fresh water every day. Build or Buy a Cat Shelter The best way to keep your outside cat warm in winter is to have a safe place for it to sleep. Your shelter doesn't have to be elaborate to be effective.
Click thumbnail to view full-size. How to Build Your Own Cat Shelter Cat shelters can be made from a host of different kinds of materials, can come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, and boast a wide range of interior designs. Here are a few guidelines to help you get started though: Size You want to keep the size fairly small so that it can only fit one to five cats—depending on your need.
Not only does this help trap the cats' body heat better, but it also helps reduce the chances of other animals trying to take over the shelter for themselves. If you think you might need to provide shelter for more than four or five cats, however, it's probably best to just make another shelter. Similarly, it's important to make the doorways only large enough for a single cat to fit through at a time to avoid larger predators from invading the shelter. About 5—7 inches should just about do it.
If they can get their head through the hole, then they can probably fit their whole body through. You can also add a door flap to further help trap the heat inside. It's also important to make sure that the structure is weighed down enough to not blow away during a strong wind. Interior Design Non-absorbent insulation is crucial as well.
The most common choice for insulation and bedding is straw because it repels water and cats enjoy burrowing into it. But a lot of people also like to just go with Styrofoam for insulation, which is totally fine, as long as you make sure it's of the thicker and water-repellant variety. You can also further reinforce the interior walls with shiny, heat-reflecting materials such as Mylar blankets or Mylar bubblepack—which you can often find at pet stores sometimes for free. If you decide to use an upcycled Styrofoam container for your base, be sure to line the walls with contact paper or something similar to prevent cats from accidentally clawing through it.
Note: Do not use hay for insulation or bedding. It soaks up moisture, is susceptible to mold, and it is just generally uncomfortable for cats. Blankets or towels are also a bad idea for the same reasons, and they can quickly become more of a detriment than a benefit. Placement and Maintenance Keep the shelter raised up off of the ground by at least a few inches. This helps conserve heat and also reduces the likelihood of insects crawling up into there or rain and snow ruining your shelter.
Even something as simple as putting your shelter on top of a wood pallet will do. Make sure to place the shelter in a safe place, away from high areas of foot and car traffic. Ensure that the shelter is both level and sitting on stable ground. You don't want it wobbling around every time one of the cats moves a little inside. If you can, try to reduce the effect of wind by facing the entrance to the shelter toward a wall, fence, or other windbreak. You should routinely check in on your shelter to make sure it's still dry.
If the cats don't seem to be very interested in the shelter, try luring them over with catnip, silver vine, or cat treats. Set Up Heaters or Warming Pads Depending on your budget, another great way to help keep outdoor cats warm is by having one of those enclosed oil-filled radiator heaters in your cat "closet. How much food should I give a cat in the winter? How to Build Your Own Cat Feeding Station Rather than just putting out some bowls of food, setting up an actual feeding station can help entice your outdoor cats and feral ones to stop by for some tasty meals. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind once you get to work on making your own: Location If you situate your station on an incline, rainwater and melted snow will drain out of the front.
Simply adding an additional board to the back can easily achieve this. Place your feeding station away from areas with lots of foot traffic and loud car noises. It's also important to avoid placing your feeding station too close to your cat shelter if both are outside and not in your carport or garage. This might invite competition and lead to fights among cats over dominance and potentially leave less aggressive cats to fend for themselves.
Maintenance You should check in on your feeding station frequently so that you know how to adjust the amount of food you're putting out to avoid waste or empty bowls. Regularly cleaning your feeding station often is important to prevent diseases and insects, as well as to maintain a more enticing atmosphere for the cats. Here are a few tips to help avoid ending up with useless bowls of ice: Fill bowls with hot or warm water to help stave off freezing. Try to place the water where it won't freeze.
Put the bowl somewhere it will be at least partly protected from wind and will get at least some sunlight. You can also position it next to heat sources like grates and pipes. Consider investing in a heated bowl. There are a number of great heated bowls out there, some of which plug into an electric power source, while others are solar powered. If for budgetary reasons, you can't see your way clear to buy a heated bowl, then you need to put out fresh, clean water in the same place and at the same time. The cats will learn your schedule and will come to drink the water at those times.
Cats do like having routines. If you end up using a non-heated bowl, it's probably best to go for a thick, dark-colored one that is deep but has a small opening. Another option is to go with silicone camping bowls. That way, if the water in them does end up freezing, the ice can be easily popped out and replaced with fresh water. Use Heated Bowls for Water and Wet Food Making sure outdoor and feral cats get enough to eat and drink is very important, and using heated bowls will help prevent water and wet food from freezing before the cats actually get to drink or eat them.
How to Get Feral and Stray Cats to Use Your Shelter and Feeding Station If you're having trouble getting feral and stray cats to use your shelter and eat at your feeding station, here are a few tips to help: Try putting out food and water at the same places and same times every day. Sticking to a routine not only helps them know when to come by, but it also increases their level of trust in you. Some cats feel threatened whenever they see humans nearby. So you might want to try putting out the food and water and walking away to help them feel safer to come over and eat.
And you can always watch from afar through a window to confirm that they're the ones consuming the food and water. Regularly cleaning your feeding station and shelter might also help entice feral and stray cats to come over and visit. It's also worth trying to check in on your feeding station and shelter occasionally to make sure there are no larger predators or really aggressive cats that might be scaring away other, more timid felines. Additional Tips to Keep in Mind During Winter Before you start up your car, it's a good idea to bang on the hood of your car and check underneath to make sure there aren't any cats hiding under there for warmth that could be hurt by you revving up your engine.
Avoid using salt or chemicals to melt snow around your property. This can hurt cats' paw pads and can be lethally toxic if slurped up from puddles or licked off of their paws. Instead, use pet-friendly deicers that can be found at most pet stores. Be extra careful when using or transporting antifreeze. It can be enticing to cats, but it is extremely toxic to them.
In fact, antifreeze poisoning is an unfortunately common cause for the death of many cats, often unbeknownst to the owners until it is too late. Be sure to clean up any traces of the substance you might see around your property. Further Resources If you're looking for some additional helpful information about how to care for outdoor cats during the winter, check out these other super useful PetHelpful articles: How to Improve a Feral Cat's Life Frugal and Homemade Winter House for Stray Cats.
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Retrieved on 20 November Winter Weather Tips. Alley Cat Allies. Winter Shelters for Community Cats. How Cold is Too Cold for Cats? Retrieved on 21 November Questions must be on-topic, written with proper grammar usage, and understandable to a wide audience. Question: Projected windchill temps for Michigan can be as low as degrees Fahrenheit.
Answer: After having done a bit more research, here's some ideas for you, to safely keep the cats warm on those extremely cold Michigan winter nights Helpful Question: I set up a crate for our feral cat with a heating pad and blankets before the rain. What else can I do to keep my cat warm? Answer: I would ask you to review my article. Question: My feral cat had blood loss through their paw, what can I do about this situation?
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Answer: First of all, please make sure if your cat has any injuries. Helpful 6. Dear Alphadog, I don't have an answer for you. Penny, Thank you for caring about keeping animals warm during the winter. I'm thrilled that my page has helped you, your friend, and most especially, the cats. Good luck. Carrie, Thank you so much for your kind words, it's appreciated! Sending blessings back at ya! Love All Animals, Thanks for commenting. Bettybb, Sorry, forgot to say one more thing - perhaps you could also ask a neighbor to put dry food out in-between your visits to the cats. Bettybb, First of all - kudos to you for your outstanding achievement of helping so many feral cats over an extended time period!
Hope all goes well with the move, and Momma Cat and the kittens. Please help. I urgently need some suggestions. Do you have any suggestions? Dorothy, Thank you so much for your kind comments. Jean Thank you so much for the great advice, I have a coffee shop where I have a few cats that show up, there is a couple that have each other!
I am going try your idea to keep her warm!! Thank you so much for being such a loving and helpful person!! Hi Jonelle, There can be many reasons why your friendly stray cat now won't go near his new shelter. Hope this helps. Dear VWSouza, It's understandable your feral cat doesn't like to be confined. Wish I could be of more assistance. Marian, Wow Thank you for the quick response. Jean, Thank you so much for having this hub! Gibson, Two very good ideas.! So we came up with two ideas Not sure of what kind of box, so please check that out.
Msds12, Good to hear that you check the rugs more than once a day. PS my dogs are also treated well and know they are loved. Kate, Glad you like this Blog. Here are some ideas that should help you keep Boo warm. My solution to keeping him warm this year has been a trial but I came up with this solution: I bought the cheapest covered litter box I could find with the front flapping door. SueAnn, Great going! Hope this helps! Bridget, Great comment on an inexpensive way to keep cats warm during winter. LucyDann, You're certainly welcome! Oh, and before I forget Thanks for reading my Hub.
Thank you for this thread! Hi Emily, Good for you wanting to help stray cats stay warm this winter! This gives great ideas with details on how to build winter shelters inexpensively. Thanks for visiting my Hub. Hope this helps you. Allyssa, First of all - my most sincere apologies for not replying to you sooner.
Flower Girl, Thanks for your kind words. Misty39, While there are horror stories about cats and other animals being used as lab experiments, I also know there are people who honestly care about animals. Purrsy, Wow - both of your links are wonderful! Jean, Yes, I did visit your link. Purrsy, Very good point! David, Thanks for leaving some great ideas for keeping cats warm during the winter. Madeleine, You're certainly welcome. JC, Good for you for taking care of stray cats. Madeleine, Are you sure it's straw and not hay? Hope this clarifies things. Krazykatlady, At least the kitties will be out of the direct cold in your garage.
Hope all this helps! Marilyn, Ooh Hi Jean, I received a package in the mail from a pharmacy that had a heat pad packed along with the prescription medication. Nadia, You might want to try adding a thick layer of straw you might need a bigger box to start off with. Samorita, You are most certainly welcome!
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