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Cats and the Cold Weather

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Heating pads insulate your cats body heat to help keep them warm!

Heating pads insulate your cats body heat to help keep them warm!

Well, folks, winter is finally here. I don’t know about you, but the snow will be here soon, whether you have snow, rain, or a big chill on the horizon. The fact is we’re going to get cold! But have you ever thought about if your cat gets cold when it’s freezing outside?

We all know that preparing for long chilly winter months is a chore and something everyone must do. We make sure to bring out our winter clothes, heaters, and blankets.

During these preparations, we must remember our felines. Cats don’t like change; it makes them feel uneasy and scared. They are creatures of habit like us humans. And they can see and feel the weather changing and their environment.

Cats don't like change; it makes them feel uneasy and scared.

Feral cats seeking warmth by body heat between them. Please provide shelter to keep cats out of the cold.

Feral cats seeking warmth by body heat between them. Please provide shelter to keep cats out of the cold.

Taking Care of Your Outdoor / Feral Cats

Let me ask you two questions to think about-

  1. Do you care for feral cats (unsocialized to people) that live outside?
  2. Do you provide them with food, fresh water, and a quiet place to sleep?

Feral cats need as much help during the winter as indoor cats do.

Providing shelter for feral cats gives them a warm place to get out of the freezing weather, such as:

  • Snow
  • Rain
  • Fierce stormy weather
  • Scary thunder and wind


Did You Know?

Fill the cat's water bowls with warm water and add a pinch of sugar to prevent the water from freezing.

Feral Cats Seek Shelter in All the Wrong Places

Cats dislike the cold, and all the loud noises outside can be scary. A warm shelter is what they need to seek refuge to feel safe! If they don’t have such places, they seek shelter in all the wrong places, which can be dangerous.

Shelter in All the Wrong Places:

  • Vehicles with warm engines and tire wells.
  • Sheds they get stuck in (or get trapped in and killed by an angry human).
  • Under houses where they can get stuck or worse.
  • Dog houses could create a harmful situation for both the unsuspecting cat and the dog.
  • Chimneys are warm yet dangerous.
Feed feral cats wet food, this helps them stay a lot warmer in the cold months.

Feed feral cats wet food, this helps them stay a lot warmer in the cold months.

Feeding Outdoor Cats - Tips to Remember

Outdoor cats have the skills needed to survive the wintery weather. But they may need help to stay much warmer and more comfortable during this time of the year.

Extra tips:

  • Keep the cat’s food and water from freezing by putting their water in deep rather than wide bowls.
  • Fill the bowls with warm water and add a pinch of sugar — both prevent the water from freezing.
  • Be sure to feed your feral cat wet food because it takes less energy for their tummies to digest than dry food. Wet food also conserves the energy needed to stay warm.
A feral kitty is taking refuge in an insulated box!

A feral kitty is taking refuge in an insulated box!

Tips to Help Your Cool Cat Stay Warm

An insulated cooler (pictured above) is perfect for making a warm home for outside cats. All you need to make an insulated house is to get an insulated cooler. And put either a heating pad or a self-warming thermal cat bed mat. Or you can buy a premade insulated cat house at several pet stores.

And there is enough room for their food, making it less likely to freeze.

The kitty heating pad is inexpensive and holds the heat from the cat’s warm body. And there is enough room for their food and water, making it less likely to freeze.

Both are perfect for chilly wintery nights. A container is a safe place for feral kitties to escape the elements.

Cats tend to play the most in the evening; you may have noticed this with your kitty. The sun starts to set, and the evening is winding down. And then your cat starts spazin' out running around the house like a cat who overate some catnip!

The Battle of Winter Boredom

Make sure to provide shelter for feral cats because you might find them hiding in your engine or tire wells and this could be deadly!

Make sure to provide shelter for feral cats because you might find them hiding in your engine or tire wells and this could be deadly!

Your Cats Battle with Winter Boredom

We all get bored during the winter because the weather is so dreary and cold. Humans look for inside activities to fight winter boredom, and we must do the same for our pets.

Helpful tips to ward off boredom:

  • When you’re not home, leave the radio or television turned on. It’s soothing and helps fight loneliness.
  • Provide a tall scratching post/cat condominium that your cat can play on, sleep in, hide, and scale to the top. Cats love climbing as high as possible, so they can look out windows and keep themselves entertained.
  • Leave boxes and paper bags (without handles) and lots of toys within reach so they can play with them. Playing with toys keeps them happy, so they don’t get bored. And it keeps them out of trouble as well.

Keep your cats indoors when it's chilly outside. And don't forget about your feral cats, who also need extra warmth.

Cats get the blues too, provide warmth, food and cuddles to help through the winter months.

Cats get the blues too, provide warmth, food and cuddles to help through the winter months.

Help Your Feline Fight the Blues

Winter is the perfect time to take your feline to the vet for check-ups and vaccinations (if needed). Cats are clean animals, so keep their litter boxes clean and free from debris.

Keep their water topped off and provide them with lots of food to keep them nourished. Keep your cats indoors when it’s chilly outside. And don’t forget about your feral cats, who also need extra warmth.

A cat’s winter coat grows thick to help provide warmth during winter.

Let's Talk About Senior Cats

Senior cats are most vulnerable during the winter months and need extra warmth. Their arthritis acts up as a human with arthritis does. So, their arthritic joints need that excess heat. I know it happens to me. I wouldn’t say I like the cold because it hurts my body more than usual.

So, what’s the solution? Well, buy your senior cat an electric heating pad or one that absorbs its body heat.

The cold can leave your elderly cats’ joints stiff and tender. Which causes pain when they walk or lay down. It also makes it difficult to walk around the house. Ensure their bedding is in a low-to-reach space where they have easy access.

You both will be merry during the cold season, where hearts are generous and cats purr for cuddles!

Cats Purr for Cuddles and So Do I

We love our pets and want to do what’s best for them no matter what season. I know that I do. So, I’m getting my sweet cat, Nala, a new fluffy cat bed, blankets, and heating pads to keep her extra warm!

Make sure your cats have warm blankets and toys to keep them entertained. And lots of food and water. Do whatever you can to keep them warm and happy!

So, bring out that hot mocha, sit your lovely cat on your lap with lots of treats and snuggle. You both will be merry during the cold season, where hearts are generous and cats purr for cuddles!

Season greetings, lots of love, and hugs from my cat to yours!

Resources

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2019 Donna Rayne