Cats in the Winter and How to Protect Them

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Winter is coming and it’s going to be a cold one! Are you and your cats prepared?

Here are a few helpful tips to helping your indoor or outdoor cats be happier, healthier, and warmer this winter season:

 

warm cat curled up on fuzzy yellow pillow indoor cats

Indoor Cats:

  • Cold weather can make joints stiff and painful, especially if your cat has arthritis or other degenerative joint issues. Some cats won’t be able to jump as high. Observe them and make sure they still have access to comfortable sleeping places. A warming pad can be a great addition for stiff, elderly pets in the winter.
  • Supplements like fish oils can really help stiff joints, as well as improve the quality of the cat’s coat so that they are better able to keep themselves warm.
  • Regular grooming will ensure that your cat is mat-free, keeping their coat thick and insulating.
  • Invest in a bed that your cat can burrow into or use warm blankets to make a little nest for them to cuddle up in.
  • Try to keep beds and sleeping areas up off the floor and away from doors to avoid drafts.
  • Make sure all entrances and exits are secure. Indoor cats can make a break for it and end up frightened in the cold.
  • If you are in a location that experiences power-outages throughout the winter, keep a extra blankets and sleeping bags to keep you and your cat warm when the temperature drops.
  • If you and your cat get snowed in, it’s a good idea to keep a stock of food and treats in case of road closures.

 

Black cat outside in the snow outdoor cats

 

Outdoor & Feral Cats Living in Your Area:

  • Shelter: Cats can survive in the cold, but it is best to set up a shelter that will allow them to escape the cold wind and to get up off the ground. A damp kitty’s fur can quickly freeze to the ground when they lay down, effectively trapping them.
  • Cats require more calories in the winter to keep their bodies warm, don’t be surprised if your cat is meowing for more food than usual over the colder months.
  • Straw makes great bedding for outdoor cat shelters. Cloth bedding can absorb moisture and can make the inside of the shelter colder.
  • Make sure there is warm water and warm food available for outdoor cats.
  • A big concern for outdoor cats is the exposure to puddles of anti-freeze with the ingredient “ethylene glycol”. Once the water freezes these are the only puddles that cats can drink from, but it only takes one teaspoon of ethylene glycol to do serious damage. Signs to look out for include: lethargy, disorientation, increased thirst and urination, vomiting, and ulcers around the mouth and tongue. If you notice any of these behaviours in your pet, take them to the vet immediately.
  • In the winter, kitties tend to seek out warm places like the underside or roofs of cars. Tap the hood and side panels of your car before you start it to scare off any cats curled up for warmth.
  • On the coldest days of the year, try to keep outdoor cats inside. Extreme cold can be very dangerous to the delicate skin on the ear, and paws.
  • Use non-toxic products to de-ice sidewalks and driveways. Harsh de-icers can be rough on cats’ pads and poisonous if licked off their fur.
  • In bad weather wild predators may find it difficult to find food, and may pose a threat to outdoor cats. Try to keep your cat indoors, or close to the house at night when predators are hunting.

 

So go ahead and pamper your favourite snuggle buddy with a soft new bed, a heating pad, or a new shelter for outside! They will thank you and be a lot happier this winter season. Stay warm out there!

 

Lindsey Eadie, CNP
Lindsey Eadie, CNP
Lindsey is a Holistic Nutritionist who graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver, BC on the Dean’s Honors list where she learned the true healing abilities of whole foods, herbs, and supplemental nutrients. After graduation she worked as a Natural Health Advisor for an integrative pharmacy where she used her nutrition and orthomolecular knowledge to promote the wellbeing of all her clients, including the furry four-legged ones. Her passion for natural health has directly benefited her allergy-riddled female Pyrenes/Bernese Mountain dog named Astro and her anxious Golden Retriever/Bernese Mountain Dog Bella.

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