Winter Precautions

[Winter Precautions]

Cutie pie Jimmy Anderson doesn’t have to worry about a cozy bed, now the only thing missing is his furrrrever companion! AARCS ID # A40115097

Written by Ioana Busuioc, December 2018

As the weather continues to get colder and colder, we have to consider that not all animals have a home with a warm bed to sleep in this winter. It is our job to make sure that when the temperature drops we remain vigilant with the outdoor animal population because just like humans, they too can get frostbite, suffer from hypothermia, and even die of extreme cold.

Some animals may be used to the outdoors, but that doesn’t mean they are equipped for some of the freezing temperature drops Alberta experiences in the wintertime. Kitten Lady on YouTube has an amazing tutorial on how to build winter shelters for cats that I highly recommend watching. These are quick and easy to make, and can provide shelter from the cold to a cat in need. All it takes is a medium sized Rubbermaid container with straw for insulation and warmth and a small opening size; the smaller the size, the better, as it will help retain an animal’s body heat. Towels and blankets can get wet and freeze, and thus they are not recommended. Keeping food and water available on a set schedule (morning and night) will also prevent the animal wandering out for sustenance, thus defeating the purpose of the shelter. Though there are not typically many feral or outdoor cats in the suburbs or inner city areas in the city, Alberta has many small communities spread out in the province, many of which may not have easy accessibility to shelters or organizations that can readily come pick up an animal. Winter shelters are crucial to the survival of feral and stray cats living in these freezing conditions. Ideally if someone sees an animal out in the cold, it is best to call it in and notify authorities, but if the animal cannot be recuperated, a winter shelter will at least protect it from the cold.

Something else to be aware of is antifreeze. Antifreeze is poisonous to animals, and though it is very common to in the wintertime, along with other ice-melting chemicals it can pose a serious threat to your pet’s safety. Pet-safe antifreeze is available for purchase, and for dogs in particular, it is important to wipe their paws after walking them outside or investing in winter boots to avoid certain chemicals burning your beloved pooch’s pads.

Additionally, cats in particular can seek out the warmth and protection of car hoods. A light slap to the hood or simply a quick look around can avoid any surprises for both you and the cold animal trying to warm itself up.

It only takes a moment of your time to check your surroundings and ensure no animal is left behind in the cold this winter. A few minutes of your day could make the difference for their entire lives!

"Stay safe and stay warm over the cold winter months", says Gunther!

“Stay safe and stay warm over the cold winter months”, says Gunther!

Thank you kindly for reading, I hope this was helpful and informative!


Ioana Busuioc
Blog and Website Content Creator

Got ideas for our next blog? Email me at!

2018-11-29 AARCS VOTM - Kaila-02513 (2)

Featured Volunteer: Kaila Gillespie

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers

Photos courtesy of Gone Muttz Phodography


AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Kaila Gillespie

A word from Kaila:

I have always been very passionate when it comes to animals. It started early for me, when I was about 4 years old, my mom decided to foster our very first cat with the “Street Cats Program”. We instantly fell in love and ended up adopting him for good! I have since passed this onto my daughter Ryllie, who is also very passionate about animals the way I am.

I started fostering for AARCS in July 2016. Our very first foster came in from the Fort McMurray wildfires. Since then we have helped 34 kittens/cats find their forever home! With the exception of one… Our handsome Sammy. I was so excited to go home and tell Ryllie and Sammy that he has been home all along!

I have always loved giving back and I wanted to do more and help many more animals that so very much need our support! AARCS posted that they were hiring a Third-Party Fundraising Coordinator and of course I was very eager get on board! In October of 2016 I became part of AARCS Events Team as a Third-Party Fundraising Coordinator. My first task was the 2016 Christmas Wreath Fundraiser and have been doing this fundraiser every year since as well as helping others raise funds for AARCS.

Ryllie is my five year old sidekick when it comes to attending events. Her favorite thing to do is setting up the booth and visiting all the puppies that help us fundraise! If you ever see us at an event, come and say hi!

My absolute favorite thing about AARCS is all the people I have met and seeing the abundance of smiles when adopters come to meet their new family member! It is so amazing to be part of such a wonderful organization and I couldn’t imagine my life without AARCS.

Thank you
Kaila Gillespie
AARCS Volunteer

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

Our Volunteer of the Month for December is the wonderful Kaila! In the over two years Kaila has been with AARCS, we have witnessed her incredible passion for saving lived and been lucky enough to have her on our team! Our events and fundraising team is where we have see Kaila shine! She currently coordinates AARCS Third Party Fundraising initiatives, and our Annual Christmas Wreath Campaign! These events require a large amount of time, organization and enthusiasm! In addition to working tirelessly to support the costs associated with caring for so many animals, Kaila and her daughter have also fostered a number of cats over the years. They have both spent countless hours cuddling kittens, bringing them out of their shell and finding them a forever home!Kaila, thank you so much for working so hard to provide a better life so so many animals that have come through AARCS doors! We couldn’t be doing it without you and I truly hope you will be part of the AARCS family for many, many years to come!!

Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager