In this past week, I've seen Stranger probably twice. The others I haven't seen at all. It's a bit disconcerting, but I'm chalking it up to the cold. It seems to have gotten a bit warmer these last couple of days, but going out to feed them earlier in the week was harsh. I can't even imagine what it is like to have to live out there.
I have been going around the fenced-in backyard because the back gate is frozen. I couldn't jam the pin up to open the gate for the life of me! I even took a hammer out with me to attempt to knock the frozen-ness out of the pin, but it was stuck like stuck likes to stick. Therefore, I walked around the gate for a few days. It only takes about five minutes, but let me tell you: five minutes in this weather is not pleasant. My lips have been extremely chapped because of the trips outside to feed the cats - which means I have to wear chapstick now. Ugh. Those cats. = )
On Sunday, Ryan took the food out for me. Nice boy, he is. And somehow, I don't know how, he got the gate open. Must have been luck. Or maybe it was three degrees warmer and the pin decided to be nice to him. He was all proud of himself, however. Here I am proclaiming, "You have to go around, the gate is stuck, you're wasting your time," etc. And he gets it open. I suppose it's good, though. Shows the gate who's boss.
Every day that I take the food out, I check for kitty prints around the area. This last week, I haven't noticed many fresh prints. I'm not sure whether they are disappearing due to our trapping and neutering or because of the cold. I just hope that wherever they are, they're okay. The cold has made me realize that we need more shelters as well, especially for those that would prefer to sleep alone. The igloos were a very good start, but we need something a little more tailored to our cats. I would love to purchase the shelters sold by http://www.feralvilla.com/, but they are a bit bit pricey for our budget. I am always on the lookout for more inexpensive igloos on Craigslist, but I think what we need is to make the tote shelters as seen on http://www.pacthumanesociety.org/core/WinterShelter.htm. There is an Ebay seller who makes them and uses the profit for her own feral cat program, which is pretty nifty. I should buy one or two online and then attempt making a few in the summer.