Urgent Warning: Feral and Stray Cats Will Die During Winter Storm Jonas

As Animals Are Found Frozen, PETA Urges Everyone to Take Cats Indoors and Give Feral Cats Access to Barns, Heated Areas, or Other Shelter

For Immediate Release:
January 22, 2016

Lauren Rutkowski 202-483-7382


Every year, PETA receives reports about homeless cats and kittens who have been put outside, even by some animal shelters, and are found frozen, suffering, and starving in the bitter cold. Already this winter, a kitten was found with her leg frozen to a storm drain, another was found with his paws frozen to the ground and his eyes frozen open, and a third was found in the snow without a pulse, a heartbeat, or respiration. Countless more will freeze to death before the season is over. That’s why PETA urges anyone aware of homeless cats—including feral cats in so-called “managed” colonies and trap-neuter-abandon programs—to get those animals indoors immediately or provide access to a heated shelter if at all possible.

“Throughout the Mid-Atlantic this winter, countless cats who’ve been neutered and then abandoned back outside to fend for themselves will suffer greatly, and many will succumb to frostbite, dehydration, and hypothermia,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “This crisis is exactly why PETA opposes trap-neuter-abandon programs, and it’s why we urge everyone to take all cats indoors now—or try to help them in some other way—before Winter Storm Jonas hits.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—emphasizes that although cats and dogs are equipped with fur coats, they still suffer from deadly frostbite and exposure, especially those with thin hair coats and those who are elderly, young, or debilitated from illness. They can also become dangerously dehydrated when water sources freeze for days at a time. Unidentified, tame animals should be taken indoors until their guardians are found, and animals left outside without adequate shelter from the elements—such as “backyard dogs”—should be reported to the authorities and have action taken to save them. Cats should never be left outside. For information on what constitutes minimal necessary shelter for dogs, click here.

PETA’s cold-weather public service announcement is available to link to or download here. Authors Anonymous star Tricia Helfer also appears in a PETA public service announcement urging guardians to keep cats safely indoors—it can be seen here.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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