Growing Feral Cat Population a Concern During Bitter Cold Weather

By Seth Daniel

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and one local woman are putting out a warning to watch out for feral (or stray) cats during the bitter cold weather that has hit the Town, and will linger for at least another week.

Rosemarie Boucher of Charlestown, a volunteer on the organization’s President’s Council, said the ARL is greatly concerned about the growing feral cat population in Boston. She said many people might want to help, but it’s always best to consult the ARL before taking action.

She reminded everyone that they will respond to concerned residents.

“I became a volunteer member of the Boston Animal Rescue League’s President’s Council five years ago after rescuing a young outdoor feral cat along with her litter of kittens,” said Boucher. “This was done through the strong, supportive efforts and guidance of the League’s Rescue Team. Life can be very tough for outdoor cats, especially in an urban environment and in these dangerously cold weather conditions.”

Boucher said upon the advice of the ARL Rescue Team, the mother cat was spayed and medically cared for by the ARL. Then, Boucher and her husband adopted the mother cat, while the younger kittens were put into foster care. Later, they were found permanent homes.

With the frigid temperatures now, the ARL and Boucher said there are things that can be done for feral cats in Charlestown, which are believed to be on the rise.

“I am currently supporting an older outdoor feral cat through these frigid temperatures with a heated water bowl and a pet igloo,” said Boucher. “If you see an animal in need/distress, please reach out to the ARL at 617-426-9170 or Animal Control 617-635-5438.”

The ARL suggested that residents be alert to their vehicles during the extreme cold. Feral cats often retreat to the engine of a car to try to find residual warmth, a practice that can be dangerous when the car is started.

“This method of warming up can have dangerous consequences, such as severe burns and other grave injuries,” read a release from ARL. “Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check before starting the engine.”

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