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What Happens to Homeless Pets in the Winter?

By: Brittany Engelmann-- 2016-11-04 7:00 am --

Come wintertime, few people want to spend their nights outdoors, instead taking comfort in snuggling up beside the fireplace. Around that time, homeless people usually make their way to shelters or to sunnier states in search of warmth. For homeless pets, however, many have little choice but to search for warmth on the streets, struggling to stay alive. So, what happens to all these pets come wintertime?

Where Do Homeless Pets Go in the Winter?

The homeless problem among animals is complicated, and come wintertime, animals are faced with a variety of new circumstances. Here are some of the fates that befall homeless pets in the winter.

  1. Some are taken in by homeless people. Given the high rates of homelessness in the U.S., many homeless people choose to adopt homeless pets as companions, so each can live a little more comfortably and be a little less lonely. It’s estimated that about 5 to 10 percent of homeless people have a dog or cat as a companion.
  2. Some end up in shelters. Both no-kill and kill shelters are flooded with cats and dogs come wintertime, as the problem of animal homelessness becomes even more apparent. Stray cats are much more likely to begin nesting in people’s garages or under their decks when the weather becomes cool, resulting in more people bringing pets into the shelters.
  1. Some don’t manage to survive. Statistics show that homeless pets are far more likely to die in the winter than summer, and dogs are significantly more vulnerable than cats. The most common reason for death is exposure to the cold, as well as starvation.

How Can You Help?

These facts are disheartening to many, but there are actually a lot of ways you can give back and help to ensure the animals in your community are better provided for.

  1. Always adopt. Never buy. You’ve probably heard that before. The fact of the matter is, the animal homeless problem is hugely exasperated by animal breeding. With about 7.6 million companion animals residing in shelters, you’re certain to find a loving friend who needs you as much as you need them.
  1. Participate in a catch-neuter-return program. If you notice a high rate of homeless cats in your neighborhood, you can help combat the issue for little time or money, simply by participating in a catch-neuter-return program. Humane societies will provide volunteers with live traps to lure in the cats. You can then spay or neuter the cat at no cost through the program, and release them back where you found them. This will help to stabilize homeless animal populations in your area.
  1. Donate to your local shelter. Since hunger and cold are the two primary reasons that animals die, those are the biggest needs that shelters seek to meet. By donating bulk supplies to your local humane society, you’ll increase their capacity to provide for animals, while improving the life-quality of animals in need. Shelters are particularly in need of bulk dog and cat food, toys, and bedding, as well as cat litter and dog leashes.

Animal homelessness is a tremendous problem in the U.S., and pets are particularly at risk in the wintertime. There are a lot of ways you can contribute to the cause and help to lessen the struggle with homelessness for animals. Consider making a winter donation of bulk animal food or supplies to your local humane society. At low bulk prices, you can make your gift go further and help more animals. Visit our website today to get started.