Note: Nips & Snips of Paulding County, which provides a low-cost spay/neuter program for cats, offers these winter tips for cat care, from the group Alley Cat Allies:

No doubt about it – outdoor cats are tough. They can survive and thrive in locations from Alaska to Arizona. But when winter rolls around, even these resilient creatures can use a helping hand.

These winter weather tips can help pet owners and cat lovers on how best to keep outdoor cats warm and healthy this winter:

• Cats need extra food during the winter and fresh water twice a day. Wet food freezes, so put out dry food as well (or just feed dry food).

• Use bowls that are deep rather than wide and place them in sunny areas to keep water from freezing.

• Cats tend to congregate together – which is why you always see “cat colonies” but bigger shelters aren’t always better because heat disperses quickly. Two to three cats per shelter is OK. And be sure to clear snow away from shelter entrances and exits so the cats don’t get snowed in.

• If cats still aren’t using the outdoor shelters, try to find where they are sleeping and then do what you can there to “upgrade” the spot, such as adding straw. Also, try providing a shield to protect cats from harsh winds.

• Before starting your car, give a firm tap on the hood and check between the tires – sometimes cats crawl into the engine or hide under the car for warmth.

• Don’t use salts or chemicals to melt snow. Some are toxic and can hurt cats’ paws. And don’t forget to clean up any antifreeze you see spilled on the ground. Cats are attracted to the taste, but antifreeze can kill them.

• Most importantly, you can help cats this winter with Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). Not only is TNR humane and effective, but cats who are spayed or neutered and vaccinated live healthier, better lives.

Visit alleycatallies.org for more information on helping cats.