The cosy apartment has become much cosier over the last week with a blizzard that dropped several inches of snow on southern Alberta and reduced temperatures to double digits below zero (Celsius). There are a number of stray cats in my neighbourhood, and several others who have homes but who are allowed outside. For these, I have been placing a bowl of water on the patio (concrete ditch) outside my apartment for some months. Now, that water freezes every night.
I bought a heated water-bowl this weekend. It’s actually a dog’s dish, but I have placed it outside for the benefit of the neighbourhood’s cats; I hope they don’t disdain it because it was originally meant for canine drinkers. I ran into a problem immediately, as our apartments do not have outside electrical outlets. As strange as it is, there is no way to have barbeques, radios or other appliances outside during the warm months, unless an extension cord is used to connect them to a power-supply inside. And in the cold months, even that solution cannot be used, as it is far too cold to leave doors open, even by a slender amount, for the passage of a cord.
However, conversing with a fellow tenant, who has a similar water-bowl put out for similar purposes (though on another side of the building), I learned of a means around this problem. I followed his example and purchased a light-bulb socket with integral outlets, and plugged my new bowl’s cord into that. I must remember to leave the outside light switched on at all times, but simply loosen the bulb enough so that it does not shine continuously.
Furthermore, I can place the bowl on the parapet of my ditch, thus obviating the need for an extension cord to the socket. This morning, after a night of water being left in the bowl, I noted that the water had not frozen. It was cold, but definitely liquid. There were no paw-prints in the snow around the bowl, however.
To be honest, I don’t know if any cat ever took advantage of the refreshment I made available. But several times at night, I noted my beasts staring into the darkness, at the spot where I had left the bowl. They were staring in the way cats do at other cats, intruder-cats, so I think some thirsty animals have visited the bowl in the past. If they choose to do so in the winter, they will find it filled and ready for them.