Cats and the Cold Weather

Updated on November 23, 2019
Donna-Rayne profile image

Donna has been a cat parent and writer for many years and her passion is to share her love for cats with others.

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

Preparations for Winter

Before long, everything around us is about to change. The leaves change their colors as they fall gently to the ground, animals and nature prepare for long hibernation, and humans prepare their homes and cars for the winter months ahead.

During preparations, we can't forget about our felines. Cats don't like change . . . it makes them feel uneasy, scared, and on top of that, they can see and feel the weather changing and their environment as well. Therefore, we mustn't forget that if the change in weather affects us, it certainly will affect them.

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.

Prepare Feral Cats as Well

Do you take care of feral cats (unsocialized to people) that roam outside and do you provide them a soft place to sleep as well as provide them with fresh water and food to eat? Feral cats need help during the cold months just as much as indoor cats do.

Providing shelter guarantees a feral cat a warm place to seek shelter from the cold 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/or add a pinch of sugar to prevent the water from freezing.

Loud Noises Can Be Scary!

Cats dislike the cold and all the loud noises can be scary. Warm shelter is exactly what they need to seek refuge to feel safe! If they don't have such places they seek shelter in some pretty dangerous places.

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 which could create a harmful situation for both the unsuspecting cat and dog
  • Chimneys that 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.

Feral Cat Feeding Tips:

  • Keep the cat's food and water from freezing by putting their water in bowls that are deep rather than wide
  • Fill the bowls with warm water and/or add a pinch of sugar—both prevent the water from freezing
  • It's a good idea to feed feral cats wet food because it takes less energy for their tummies to digest than dry food, therefore, this will conserve their needed energy to stay naturally warm
  • Feral cats have the skills needed to survive the weather, however, with a little help from their indoor humans, they can be more comfortable and a lot warmer!
  • Make a cold-weather DIY Cat House

Feral kitty taking refuge in a insolated box!
Feral kitty taking refuge in a insolated box!

Cold-Weather Tips for Cats

This is perfect for cold winter nights (pictured above). Not only is this a safe place for feral kitty to get out of the elements, but it's also easy to add a kitty heating pad to it (they are inexpensive). The heating pad will hold heat from the warmth of your feral cat and there is enough room for their food which makes it less likely to freeze.

Struggling Felines

It's a struggle for kitty to adapt to changes around them, therefore, we must provide them:

  • Comfort
  • Warmth
  • Toys to keep their inquisitive minds active

During cold, dreary, tiresome, and bluesy weather, try not to get too grumpy because your cat senses your emotions and it probably scares them too.

Bonding Moments

Take this time to bond by doing the following:

  • Make sure you have interactive toys and plenty of them—this will make both you and your fur baby happy and stimulate their mind; it's good for their health and enriches their quality of life.
  • Playing also gives them entertainment, exercise, and satisfies their hunting and stalking instincts.

Did You Know?

Cats tend to play the most in the evening; perhaps you've noticed this with your kitty. The sun starts to set and the evening is winding down, then all of a sudden your cat is spazin' out running around the house like a cat who just ate too much 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!

Helpful Tips for Indoor Cats:

  • When you're away for the day, leave the radio or television on it's soothing and helps fight their loneliness.
  • Provide a tall scratching post/cat condo that your cat can play on, sleep in, hide, scale to the top to observe their home while providing them with a sense of security.
  • Cats love to climb as high as they can although this is an instinct, this also allows them to look out windows and keeps them entertained.
  • This also keeps them from getting into trouble due to boredom.
  • Leave boxes and paper bags (without handles) within reach so they can play with them.

Did You Know?

When you're away for the day, leave the radio or television on; it's soothing for your kitty and it helps them not to feel so alone.

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.

Tips to Help Cats Fight the Blues

  • Cats are clean creatures, so make sure to 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.
  • This is the perfect time for a vet check-up, vaccinations if needed, and a nail trim
  • Keep your cat inside when the weather gets cold and don't forget the feral cats outside.

Tips for Senior Cats

  • Senior cats and kittens are more vulnerable to the cold, heating pads are the best option for those arthritic joints that need the extra heat!
  • Like humans who have arthritis, we know very well what the cold does to us—so keep in mind that it affects senior cats the same way.
  • The cold can leave elderly cats' joints stiff and tender, causing pain when they walk or lay down also makes it difficult to get around the house make sure to provide low spaces where they have easy access to nap in.

Did You Know?

A cat's winter coat comes in thick to help provide warmth during winter months.

Cats Purr for Cuddles

We prepare for the winter months where the cold weather is hard on the entire family, however, we mustn't forget that our cats need preparing too. From our indoor cat to the feral ones outside, they too, depend on us for every need and even more so when the seasons change.

Sometimes it's hard for cat parents to adapt to the cold and the dreariness it brings. It's even harder on our felines, so keep them in mind and take the time to have playtime which provides exercise for their minds and bodies. This allows everyone in your home a warm comfy place to play, eat and be merry during the cold season, where hearts are warm and cats purr for cuddles!

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

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