Feral Cat Fridays: Cats On A Hot Dry Hill
Our indoor cats love to find a spot in a sunny window and take a nap, no matter how hot it may be outside. It’s a different world for the ferals and semi-ferals in the great outdoors, though. They love a sunny spot on a cool day but it’s deep shade and cool, damp ground in a hot Texas summer.
We only have 2 feral cats remaining from the large colony we tended, but the onset of hot weather reminded us of the days when we worked to make the hot summers as comfortable as possible for the larger colony. We made sure water was always available and routinely hosed down shady areas. When the cats saw us grab the hose they would gather in a crowd, waiting for a damp, shady spot to rest.
This photo was taken in the midst of a drought several years ago. You can see the cats clustered in a small spot of grass we kept damp. One other cat is cuddled up to the water tub. The angle of the tree trunk shadows shows it was late evening on a mid-summer day, so it was right after my evening tub filling and ground dampening. The effects of the drought are clearly visible in the otherwise brown yard.
Occasionally a female cat would deliver kittens up on the deck and keep them there despite the heat. We did our best to keep the kittens cool. Here you see Stoney and Wally napping in the shade of a potted Comfrey plant, lying on a towel we kept damp.
Other cats clustered in the shade of the oaks, sometimes with deer as company. It’s hard to tell, but I’m betting that it’s The 3 Musketeers (Duff, Robin, and Scamper) in the grass with the deer.
Rosemary plants were favorite places to seek shade. Here you see aptly-named Sage taking an afternoon break. I’m not sure where Parsley and Thyme were at the moment.
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Hot is becoming the order of the day; it’s wonderful to see how you helped the cats cope with the heat. I know how effective those damp towels and wet grass can be. In high summer, if it’s necessary to be on the deck of a boat, I’ll often get out the hose and water the wood.
The photo of the cats in the patch of green grass is my favorite, and the most evocative; it brought to mind this oldie but goodie.
I was in your area last weekend, but decided that, given concerns about the pandemic, I’d forgo getting in touch. Once this all is over with, it would be fun to meet you and your wife.
The cats really appreciated the water. We had a few that kept getting hosed because they couldn’t wait to flop down on the wet ground. I didn’t post a photo of it, but we also had a few that loved to sit or crouch on a concrete block we kept in the water tub. If there was a half inch or so of water on top of the block they were in heaven.
I’d forgotten about Green, Green. I always liked the song, and still do on rehearing it. I’m always surprised when I remember how many well-known singers passed through groups like the New Christy Minstrels in their early days.
Be sure to let us know the next time you’re in the area. We’d love to meet you.