Frozen and starving: the plight of stray cats in Alberta

Frozen might be an iconic Disney movie, but for stray cats in Alberta, it’s their life. And it’s no fantasy. Frostbite and starvation are the reality for these cats.

The boom of cats from the summer has translated into an endless number of cats needing help this winter. SCARS has brought in some of the thinnest, sickest, most pathetic cats that many of the volunteers have ever seen.

Rescue groups and shelters are all running at capacity, yet trying to fit in the most serious cases. We need your help. Cats need your help. If there is a stray cat around your home or place of work, please provide it with shelter, water, and food. There are many sites and YouTube videos showing how to make a simple shelter for stray or feral cats. As a caring compassionate human being, you have the opportunity to relieve the suffering of vulnerable animals. Please take the time to make a change in your community.

As always, if you’re a cat caregiver, please spay and neuter your cats.

If you’re a business, or have a barn, farm or acreage that has a place for a stray or feral cat for our Mousebusters program, you can contact us at We can only intake feral cats if there is a suitable home waiting for them. The pictures are two of our most recent frost bitten cat intakes.

Story 1 -This from our community volunteer: I’ve been around cats all my life, and have never seen one this thin. Hard to tell with the long hair but her hip bones and ribs stick right out. Her ears are puffy, red and she’s flinging her head, so they are frozen. But worse are her back feet. They are huge. The people that took her in said she had big snowballs on her feet. She’s barely walking on them. I‘ve just talked to the vet on call. Sometimes swollen paws like that break open and ooze but worse case scenario, with feet this frozen , sometimes the legs themselves are frozen. The prognosis for the cat is not good if its legs are frozen. Vet advised some cat metacam, small meals every 3-4 hrs. Update Friday AM: She ate and drank overnight. Her left foot is more swollen today, but she is moving better. Have a vet app’t for her. Despite all this, she purred. So forgiving aren’t they? Note: This is the cat with three photos.

Story 2 – This young cat was found in the nick of time. She was brought into the vet clinic as a stray. A lady found her outside with ears red and swollen. She’s SO skinny. Our volunteer was at the clinic picking up another foster cat and blurted out “I’ll take her” not really needing another cat. But that’s what we do when we’re able. Time will hopefully bring this nice girl. Note: This is the cat in front of the food bowl.

Story 3 – Another case of frostbitten ears on a sweet young cat. Note: This is the cat in front of the chain link gate.