It is the first winter of the Pupicats in Berlin. And although they are all indoor cats, I often ponder about outdoor cats and how they deal with the cold. My mother in law told me a story about their neighbor’s cat, who they often see outside, all night, in the cold. They felt so sorry for the cat that they built him a shelter in their backyard, in case the cat gets cold and can’t go in his own house. Aside from the obvious that this neighbor is an irresponsible pet owner, we don’t know the entire story why they often keep the cat locked out in the cold all night long. Although, I’ve heard that they think the cat, being an independent creature, can withstand cold because of its fur. That is not entirely true.
Cats may seem to be able to tolerate the cold weather in our eyes, because they don’t shiver like us, and they don’t normally demand for a sweater or a coat if they want to roam outside. But as any other domesticated animal, they have lost their wild instinct. They have lost that extra layer of fur or fats that they would have possibly developed if they were born and raised in the wild. And even so, they still can freeze and starve to death in the wild on cold/winter times if they don’t find a shelter. Their needs are basically the same as ours – get warm and dry. They may seem to get by cold weather outside better than us, but that doesn’t mean they are comfortable. If you let your cat out, make sure that he/she have an access back to the house in case you can’t wait for him/her anymore.
Bottom line, with or without snow, freezing or not, do not leave your cats outside the house. Just like you and me, they feel cold and lonely. They need warmth and a comfortable place to chill.
As for Sylvia, being a summer loving cat used to the tropical weather, here’s how she’s coping:
I never thought that a little creature will change my life forever.
Mark and I were walking to the restaurant when I heard a weird noise. It’s like a crying bird. The street was still busy so I couldn’t really tell where it’s coming from. Mark didn’t hear it so I thought I was nothing and proceeded to dinner.
After 2 hours, we headed back home taking the same street and I heard the same crying bird again. We tried to look for it, and there, we found this tiny calico kitten, about 2 weeks old, crying non-stop while laying in a small ditch at the middle of the walk way in Leviste St. Imagine, it was a busy evening, and yet nobody gave a shit to even pick up and put this little creature somewhere safe. Mark panicked and immediately picked up the kitten. She was very weak and filthy with street dirt. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to touch the little kitten as it freaks me out. I never had a pet before. We both didn’t know what to do with her because our building admin doesn’t allow pets in the condo. But we couldn’t just leave her like that. We took her to our building and was immediately stopped by the guards. We talked to them and promise to take her to a shelter the next day, and that we are just going to feed it.
Since Mark have experience with cats, he knew that cow’s milk is not good for them so he just cleaned the little kitten, and then googled for a milk substitute just to get through the night. Then we took the shade off our lamp and used it to warm the little kitten up. Everything improvised.
I was very stressed that evening because I was afraid the kitten might not make it through the night. I was also stressed that we don’t know any shelter that would take in the cat. Plus, this kitten cries so much and so loud – I was stressed to be confronted by the guards again and get me pressured to get rid of the kitten.
The next day, we took her to the vet for check up. She was a strong kitten. She didn’t even sip the improvised milk that Mark prepared for her, but she seemed to be OK. She was checked up, got her nails trimmed, and got kitten replacement milk for her. She also had been tested for worms etc.
And that’s where it all started. We then decided to keep her, and kept her a secret :). I fell in love with Nishi. This little cat changed it all. She has awakened my sense of compassion and my total mindset about animals in general. For a person who has never had a pet in her whole life, you’d think it would be difficult to adapt. But I did. She has opened my eyes to become a better human being living in this world. Nishi will be my forever inspiration.