Snow and Feral Cats Not Always Beautiful

It snowed here in Chicago last night. Not much, just an inch or two. It is the most snow we have had in a long time though, and it reminded me of the mixed feelings I have towards the white stuff, especially in relation to my feral girls. The snow makes it difficult to care for them. Since they only accept towels and blankets for their house, I have to check to make sure they aren’t wet. Wet blankets would not be a good thing. Snow also means I have to keep their food from getting wet. This proves difficult as well, since some unknown cat insists upon spraying their feeding shelter. It is now covered in frozen cat urine, which, understandably, makes others reluctant to eat out of it. The snow also makes their toes cold and wet, so they don’t hang out outside much. Which means I feel more like their servant, only seeing them at meal times.

I have to make sure their tent is arranged correctly to ensure a minimum amount of snow gets in by their living quarters, this wasn’t such an issue last night since it was a light snow. Heavy snowstorms make this quite difficult. Snow also means taking extra time to clear a path for them and a place for their food. Thankfully this time the snow didn’t come with bitter cold (we had that earlier in the week).

Generally snow makes caring for feral kitties icky and messy. There are a few benefits to the snow though. Kitty tracks are one benefit. Marius has been showing up and I am curious to know where he lives. I was able to follow his prints yesterday morning and they lead a different direction than I was expecting. I will have to investigate this further. It also is helpful when trying to get an idea where the rest of the cats in the neighborhood live. If I have extra time right after a snowfall, I love to just walk down the allies trying to trace kitty prints. I am going to try using them to see where Poosh goes for food, maybe I can actually make a connection with a neighbor.

I have tried to follow tracks a few times before, and it has proven interesting. I have never actually found a cat this way, but it gives me a few ideas as to where they hang out. Quite helpful when trying to trap new cats, or at the very least, preparing to trap come spring.

Another thing I love about the snow is the way it looks on Little Black. The white flakes stand out so beautifully against her thick black coat. She lets me get close enough I can actually see the patterns of the flakes as they land on her. She looks simply adorable with one or two flakes on her nose or back. When it is a gentle snow fall and the flakes drift down softly from the sky to rest on her fur as she prances and meows at me, there is something so simple and peaceful about it. I can’t resist the beauty of it!

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