THWACK, THWAck, THWack, Thwack, thwack, the pet door flaps as the cat comes bounding in from the lanai. His Siamese heritage evident as he caterwauls loudly, complaining or warning us that it is 46 degrees outside and the winds are gusting to 30 miles per hour. To a Tampa born native, this is cause for alarm. This is supposed to be sunny Florida so what’s up with the wind, cold and rain?
Global warming sounds like a relief when your ears are numb and the only way to warm your paws is to fly into your caregivers’ beds and scoot your freezing feet under the covers. At least this cat, and hopefully your cat, has access to the warmth of a human’s home.
There are plenty of street cats who are not as fortunate and now is the time to help them out by adopting one or more as your part time pet. Providing a box full of warm bedding and a healthy meal is usually all it takes to start a wonderful relationship that can end up with another special cat in your heart and home.
At Big Cat Rescue, in Tampa, FL Sr. Keeper, Julie Hanan says, “Jamie and Jennifer F. gave Freckles the liger a home holiday makeover on Christmas Eve. Joel and Marie spent lots of extra hours at the sanctuary helping me build "mangers" for the little ones, stuff dens with comfy Christmas tree boughs, and built windbreaks to make dens comfy cozy. As the weather turns cold again, it was fun playing Santa on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, delivering bags of soft, freshly cut boughs to their cat-a-tats making sure they’ll have warm dens to snuggle in, if that’s what they prefer.”
While all of the cats at this world class sanctuary have dens and the daily attention of more than 100 dedicated volunteers, the winterizing of their dens is an annual event that the cats enjoy thanks to donations of unused Christmas trees from local vendors. Last year the trees came mostly from Mike’s Trees and Target and this year Dr. Greenthumb, Inc. – Lance McCullers – donated 3 tree lots worth of pine scented heaven for the big cats. If you need lawn maintenance or landscaping, you can give him a call at 813-245-2141. Be sure to say thanks to him for helping make this time of year extra special for the cats!
Julie went on to say, "Thanks so much to the volunteers and staff members who generously gave up their holiday and family time to cover the huge amount of visitors we had, to come in to feed when we were short-handed, to cover the gift shop, etc. They, our hard-working interns, and coordinator Jennifer F. allowed us to be the busy elves we were and accomplish so much."
As long as your Christmas tree doesn’t have any sprays or tinsel on its boughs, you could cut it up into bedding for your cats on the screened porch or for feral cats to use instead of blankets. Just be sure to check the bedding you provide regularly to make sure it is dry, and pest free.
See this on Examiner.com where it ran on the front page of the Tampabay section on 12/26/2010