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Any ideas to keep water for outside stray from freezing?

Started 1260496514 in Viewpoints | Last reply 1260581760 by sgraham30
I've been looking for a heated water bowl for the stray kitty that I'm feeding.The only ones that I can find are for huge dogs,which means that the bowl is big enough for the poor cat to swim in.Any ideas where I can find a smaller heated bowl or how I can keep the water in it's dish from freezing?

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oneWhiteSp­arrow12604966171756 PostsRegistered 7/25/2008
What do the animals do in the wild? How do they get water?

sgraham3012604972382879 PostsRegistered 6/2/2006
I would assume clean streams,which I don't have any of.All I have is a nasty creek in front on my house.This isn't a wild cat,it's a cat that was abandoned by some idiot that moved out.

pjoy12604974751601 PostsRegistered 7/27/2005
I just got home from work a little while ago & thought I would post the recipes I talked about last night (& stay out of the Oreo truffles). I am waiting for dh to drive home from IL. He has been working in Atlanta this week & had to fly out from an airport in IL. He should have a real shock when he hits the subzero windchills!!!
Graduation BBQ Pork
1 can tomato soup
1 (20 oz) bottle ketchup
1 C water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
½ C chopped celery
4 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp dried mustard
2 bay leaves
Salt & pepper, to taste
4 lb boneless pork loin ( pork sirloin)
Could you just use a regular cat bowl and fill it up with warm water everyday? Can't imagine it freezes that fast, but I'm not sure. I love my kitties. I'm so amazed by all the nice people here who seem to be taking care of strays lately. You're very kind!

Snowpuppy12604982067084 PostsRegistered 12/2/2005Up North, MI
I'm having the same dilemma trying to keep water out for a couple of strays that I've been feeding.
I've just been putting out warm water and changing it when I see it freeze. Cat's don't take kindly to deep dishes like a dog will and shallow water freezes quickly. It was in the teens today and single digits tonite.
I think these cats were drinking out of a small pond which has frozen.

CLEM126049822712576 PostsRegistered 9/1/2008PA
9 parts vodka 1 part water.

oneWhiteSp­arrow12604983151756 PostsRegistered 7/25/2008
Sit the bowl on a tiny heating pad.

Jen-PT12604983461797 PostsRegistered 9/14/2007West Coast
Antifreeze would keep it from freezing. But it would kill the cat. J/K, I'm actually a big softy with strays myself.
To whom much is given, much is expected.

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they are sexy.

LovetoCook126049855019 PostsRegistered 9/12/2007
My cats don't seem to drink all day like the dogs do. I would guess that if you put fresh water out when you feed the cat (and the cat is right there to eat) that it will drink enough water for the day when it is through eating.

sgraham3012604993952879 PostsRegistered 6/2/2006
> Could you just use a regular cat bowl and fill it up
> with warm water everyday? Can't imagine it freezes
> that fast, but I'm not sure. I love my kitties. I'm
> so amazed by all the nice people here who seem to be
> taking care of strays lately. You're very kind!
I do give the cats fresh warm water multiple times every day.Because it was so darned cold today,I had to keep going out every hour or so to break the ice crust that kept forming on the water.When I'm here,I can do that but there will be times that I won't be here for several hours at a stretch.It's a pain in the a$$,but the kitty needs to be able to access water.(I pull the food/water dishes in at night so that I don't get any unwanted/unwelcome nocturnal visitors)
pjoy,I have 6 indoor cats of my own so it's not an inconvenience for me to feed the outdoor kitty since I already have cat food in the house.I would love to bring it into my basement for the winter,but it's terrified of me and runs whenever I get close to it.I set up this litterbox for it outside as shelter:
and I lined the litter compartment with this faux fur heating mat:
The mat is bigger than the litter compartment so the cat will be laying on the mat and partially enclosed by it.....IF I it uses the shelter.
Edited by sgraham30 at 12/10/2009 5:44 PM PST

Last edited on 12/10/2009

RainbowBaby1260499475636 PostsRegistered 8/29/2008

Sunshine K­ate126049962512984 PostsRegistered 11/13/2006The Beautiful Mountains & Western Sky
If it's that cold outside, isn't the cat going to freeze to death?

shopperqvc126049977167 PostsRegistered 8/18/2008Bradley, Illinois
I bought a heated bowl at Farm & Fleet. It's big across, but not too deep. Don't get a plastic bowl as they crack in the cold weather. The stray cats, squirrels, birds and anything else drink out of it. You can also find the at Menard's. The only problem I've had is mice drown in it. I guess they think they have to get into the water. (Hot tub anyone?).
"Just outside Chicago, there's a place called Illinois!" - IL Dept of Tourism

"Just outside Chicago, there's a place called Illinois!" - IL Dept of Tourism

sgraham3012604999902879 PostsRegistered 6/2/2006
> I bought a heated bowl at Farm & Fleet. It's big
> across, but not too deep. Don't get a plastic bowl as
> they crack in the cold weather. The stray cats,
> squirrels, birds and anything else drink out of it.
> You can also find the at Menard's. The only problem
> I've had is mice drown in it. I guess they think they
> have to get into the water. (Hot tub anyone?).
> --
> "Just outside Chicago, there's a place called
> Illinois!" - IL Dept of Tourism
Thank you,shopperqvc.I need to go to Staples tomorrow and I go right past a Menard's.I'll stop in and see what they have.Petco had the bowls but they were sized for HUGE dogs.

sgraham3012605000352879 PostsRegistered 6/2/2006
Thank you,RainbowBaby.All I was able to find was huge ones and all I really need is one quart,if they come that small.

Crow Go Br­agh12605000801992 PostsRegistered 5/15/2009Vacationland
I found this on petfinder:
How to Prevent Freezing Water
The ideal solution, though only plausible in secure circumstances, is an electrically heated water bowl. The water will evaporate relatively quickly, so the bowl needs to be filled with a gallon of water in order to last 24 hours. The bowl also can be used for wet food, though it will quickly dry the food up.
A 5 quart dish with 6 foot protected cord is available for $24 from KV Vet Supply (item #86041) - www.kvvet.com, or call 1-800-423-8211. Ask about their other heated bowls.
The Solar Sipper. It's a water dish that uses solar heat to stay warm and keep from freezing, available for $22.95. It's only good at 18 degrees and above but that is an improvement. The link:
Contact info:
Happy Bird Corporation
P.O. Box 86
Weston, MA 02493
Tel 781 899 7804
Fax 781 899 8447
Email solarsipper@cs.com
"Snuggle Safe." It's a disk about the size of a frisbee intended to keep pets' bedding warm. Under normal indoor conditions, you put it in the microwave for 5 minutes and it stays hot for 12 hours. For outdoor use, it has been reported that the discs can be safely heated up to 8 minutes in a 1,000 watt microwave to last as long as possible outdoors. Depending on the microwave, the discs can conceivably melt so you have to do a little trial and error to see how hot you can go.
The discs are just the right size to fit inside the under r im of some large dinner plates and water bowls. In the frigid outdoors their heat lasts 2-3 hours. If you can afford it, it's convenient to have two sets of discs - that way you can heat and bring one set to the colony, and pickup and bring back the set used the last time you were feeding.
Snuggle Safe is also great (wrapped in cloth the cats can't open) for providing warmth inside their shelters. Available for $20 from Foster & Smith (item #9B-9599). The link is:
or call 1-800-826-7206
Place the water bowl inside a styrofoam cooler - one of the cheap white ones used for soda and the like. Cut a hole for the cats to enter on one end of the cooler and put the bowl at the other end. The styrofoam's insulation will slow down the freezing process.
Use a thick plastic, thermal-type of water dish. It's amazing how long it takes for water to freeze in one of these. I use the bottom of a tupperware container - it's shaped like a large cup and very thick plastic.
Wider and deeper is better for the water dish than narrow and shallow. This keeps the surface water from freezing longer.
If the cats come to eat right away while you're there, put a little extra water in their wet food. Also, you can put some in the dry food you know they'll soon eat.
(From Susanne Mahar of Noah's Kingdom in Albany:) A few months ago, I ordered some vaccines for my own cats, and they came in a thick (probably 1 1/2 inches) Styrofoam box about 8 inches square and about 4 inches deep. A friend of mine had the idea to cut a whole in the top, big enough for a cat to drink from of course, line it with a plastic bag, and fill it up! We change the bag every couple days, and fill it with hot water every night. The water usually is fine for at least a few hours when the temperature is above 15 or so, and fine all the time when it's warmer.
Get an old tire off the r im, and stuff it with rocks. Wedge a container (like a large bucket) in the hole in the tire and put the water in there. The black tire will absorb the light from the sun during the day and heat the rocks within the tire. The rocks will radiate the warmth enough to keep the water from freezing. This suggestion comes from a horse magazine, to keep water for the horses in the fields in winter. The barn manager piled a few rock-filled tires on top of each other and then inserted a water bucket in the center of them. She said this actually prevented the water from freezing for a period of time.
(from Phyllis V., Gloucester Township, NJ): We have a number of birds and squirrels in our backyard, and for them we put a large, deep plastic dish underneath the outside spout where the water drains every so often from our heating system. We put rocks in there too. The water is warm coming from the pipe. Also the sun warms the rocks. By the time the water cools enough to freeze, another splash of water comes out. We've been doing this for years and we like to watch the animals come close to get a drink. In springtime they go back to the birdbath!
For wet food only, one trick is to place the bowl inside the cats' insulated shelter, assuming you're using one. Their body heat will often keep the food from freezing or defrost it enough for them to eat. BUT NEVER PUT WATER IN THE CATS' SHELTER!!! - cats can get sick in winter from getting wet and then not having any warm, dry place to go.
Good King Wenceslas phoned for a pizza.
The salesgirl asked him, 'Do you want your usual? Deep pan, crisp and even?'

"The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech." \

Tomgirl1260500119527 PostsRegistered 8/2/2009
Please try to go to the hardware store and get some heat tape for wrapping around pipes to keep them from freezing. the tape has a thermostat on it that will come on when the temp reaches freezing. You may have to wrap the tape around a steel bowl just as you would a pipe. I think this would work. they make all kinds of devices to keep tanks free of ice for horses and cows in the winter ( my sister has horses)..also-perhaps an aquarium heater would work.
Just keep up the caring...and if you can, please consider adopting that stray. I have 2 cats ( of about 30 in my lifetime) all of which have been strays or 'drop offs". My experience has been I can feed/water them when the weather is somewhat OK,but when it drops to single digits or worse, and I look outside and see them sitting all curled up and freezing, it breaks my heart. I have brought strays in to "warm them up" but I think it's even worse when you have to put them back outside because you have indoor cats that go nuts.
A food I like to make that is high in protein and also hydrates is a raw egg beaten in mild and warmed in the microwave. They get hi protein, fat and liquid in this feeding....
if you can't provide unfrozen water, keep feeding..at least they can get some moisture from the food.

And DAMN anyone who drops off ANY animal.

sgraham3012605001322879 PostsRegistered 6/2/2006
> If it's that cold outside, isn't the cat going to
> freeze to death?
No,I don't know where it goes since it only comes here to eat,but it's sheltering itself somewhere.I set up a shelter for it,but I'm not sure if it will use it.

Tomgirl1260500166527 PostsRegistered 8/2/2009
I meant "milk" with the beaten egg...

sgraham3012605007282879 PostsRegistered 6/2/2006
Tomgirl.I would love to bring her/him in and put them in my basement to start with but I can't get near the cat as it's terrified of me.Before it got so cold, I used to watch for it every day and I would put the food out when he/she was here.When I stepped out to fill the food dish,the cat would retreat across my yard and sit and watch me.As soon as I stepped back inside and the patio door was shut,then and only then the cat would come and eat.
I was watching it eat today and as you said,it broke my heart.He/she was hunkered down eating and I could see it shivering from the cold.In the past,before it got so cold,I've opened the patio door a tiny bit to see what the cat would do.It would come close to the door but as soon as my oldest cat noticed it,he came running and scared the stray away.(he's gotten out twice and scared the stray off.He doesn't want to hurt it,he wants to play with it-he's a sociable little guy)
He sits by the patio door and watches for the outside kitty.I know the cat is outside when TimTim starts fussing and crying and stands on his hind paws,with his front paws on the patio door.
I heartily agree with your last line.These people who dispose of their pets as if they were garbage really pi$$ me off.

ratdog111126050573614924 PostsRegistered 10/27/2008
Try a dark colored bowl and put it in a sunny spot.
Is it in a place where you can plug something in? What about a mug/ candle warmer? Or maybe one of those thermacare heat wraps under the bowl?

mapaki1260506323412 PostsRegistered 8/31/2008Weirton WV
I know you just asked about water, but when I read about the cat eating and seeming very cold--do you think if you bought a plastic container and duct taped the top and bottom, cut a hole for the cat to go in and placed rugs or towels inside, the cat might use it as a shelter? I like the idea of towels because they can be washed and reused if they get wet or just damp from the cold.
A friend actually put styrofoam as an insulator inside and dust tapes it.
The bird feeder heaters really do work except when it is a huge freeze--they need to be checked daily. If you call your local shelter or humane society they may be able to help with practical ideas also.
God bless you for caring and being able to do something. Some people care, but are not able to offer shelter---renters---I'm in a senior center.
You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

mapaki1260506390412 PostsRegistered 8/31/2008Weirton WV
Mug/candle warmer could cause a burn problem if the container slipped off and left the "burner" exposed.

Papillon M­om1260508714114 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
Hugs to those who take care of strays!!!:-x

shermie12605095691136 PostsRegistered 10/5/2005A Tiny Blue Dot in a Big Red State
Do you have an old heating pad that you could set the dish on? Maybe put the dish at one end and leave the other free, so the kitty has a warm place to curl up? Just put it in a sheltered, dry place and cover it with an old towel or something. :-D
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read. ~~ Groucho Marx

Trying to think of something to put here. :)

hckynut126051760021223 PostsRegistered 5/20/2006Nebraska
Many stores sell water heaters of all sizes and watts. If you have access to electricity you can probably find one at many hardware stores. Just make sure that you get a sufficient amount of watts if you are going to use a deep pan of water.
We've been using these for over 10 years for our outside visitors. For the feral cats and small birds, we found fairly large dog and cat type bowls, which have a removable electric filament on them. In warm weather we take them off and bring them into the garage. When the weather starts dropping I put them back on and the do a sufficient job of keeping the water drinkable even in the sub zero Nebraska winters.
Edited by hckynut at 12/10/2009 10:47 PM PST

Last edited on 12/11/2009


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