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Does My Cat Get Cold?

Lillee Rhose has been a cat parent and writer her entire life. Her heart's passion is to share her love for and knowledge of cats.

I'm cold, Mom, and I need more blankets!

I'm cold, Mom, and I need more blankets!

Is My Cat Cold?

Winter is upon us – the temperatures begin to drop. The smell of hot apple cider fills the air, and a warm fireplace lifts the chill. Home sweet home . . . wait! Is my cat cold?

Do cats get cold?

Well, as you are aware, a cat has a better coat than we do, but did you know that if your cat is rolled up in a ball or covering their face with their paws, there is a high probability they might be cold? Although nature prepares a cat's coat to become thicker during the winter to fight off the cold, a thick coat doesn't always mean a whole lotta warmth. Why?

Protecting Feral Cats

There are a few indications that cats are cold outside and are trying to find some place warm to sleep. Outdoor feral cats, on the other hand, seek far more dangerous places to get warm:

  • Hot cat engines
  • Chimney's
  • Sheds
  • Dog Houses

Although there are many ways to provide warmth for all cats, we must take into consideration breeds who have fur that's dense and thin and take the proper actions to help get them warm.

I'm walking on a bunch of snow cones... unflavored on top of that! Where's my catnip?!

I'm walking on a bunch of snow cones... unflavored on top of that! Where's my catnip?!

Taking Action

We need to act not only for our indoor cats but feral cats as well. Your indoor cat will seek warmer areas of your home such as:

  • Under blankets
  • Near heating vents
  • Lay next to space heaters
  • Inside your bed covers

Protecting Felines Above 7 Years Old

Felines over 7 years old are more sensitive to the cold and steps should be taken to provide them with the warmth they need. This includes cats that are leaner or senior cats and those with thyroid/medical conditions, taking the appropriate actions to secure their survival during the frigid winter months is extremely important.

Items That Keep Cats Warm

  • Electric heated cat bed
  • Heating pads for pets
  • Small space heater
  • Comfortable warm blankets

Warm thick blankets or quilts (with insulation features) on their bed shield them from the cold floor, preventing them from catching cold. Cats will instinctively conserve heat in one way or another as the temperatures drop.

Aww yes... this is pawsome and oh so cozy... think I'll hang out here for a cat minute!

Aww yes... this is pawsome and oh so cozy... think I'll hang out here for a cat minute!

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Read More From Pethelpful

My Cat Doesn't Like Their Winter Bedding

Cats don't like change and changing their bedding isn't any different. Cats love the feel of soft fabric, make sure their blanket is soft to the touch and can absorb natural body heat, this will ensure they stay warm.

Another way to integrate your cat into the new winter bedding is to put it where they already sleep, a favorite spot or area they frequent during other seasons. This enables your cat the familiarity of their bed they are already used to and will eventually accept the new bedding.

When your furry child curls up and sometimes covers her head with their paws it's a good indication she is cold..

When your furry child curls up and sometimes covers her head with their paws it's a good indication she is cold..

How to Tell If My Cat Has Caught a "Cold"

It is often said that if cats have a cold, "wet" nose they are healthy and if they have a warm, dry nose then they are sick. However, this is not true.

According to Dr. Wolfe on PetCentral:

"Sometimes clients report to me that the cat’s nose was warm or the cat ‘felt warm or hot,’ but that is not a reliable indicator of fever [a] cat’s normal temperature range is 101.0-102.9[sic] Fahrenheit. I consider 103.0[sic] and above to be ‘fever.’ Also, in summer and under stressful situations (i.e., veterinary visits) a cat’s temperature may be elevated, the only true way to diagnose fever is to take the cat’s temperature."

The most common symptoms are:

  • Dehydration
  • Panting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sluggish Behavior
  • Lethargic
  • Decreases grooming
Yes, Mama, I'm warm now . . . I don't need any more covers!

Yes, Mama, I'm warm now . . . I don't need any more covers!

Symptoms of Respiratory Issues in Cats

Such as:

  • Eye discharge with watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Breathing through mouth
  • Clogged nasal passages

One condition to watch out for is a URI (upper respiratory infection). URIs are usually caused by bacteria or a virus and sometimes allergies. A vet visit may be needed if you suspect they may have an URI.

Adult cats who have a regular cold can usually wait it out as it will last only a few days and then will be back to normal again!

Frequent Check Ups Are Helpful

"Mama, I'm scared!" the vet says, "It's o.k. little one, I'm here to help you!"

"Mama, I'm scared!" the vet says, "It's o.k. little one, I'm here to help you!"

What to Do if Your Cat Isn't Getting Better

If your cat's cold isn't getting any better and they start to wheeze, or become increasingly weak, and don't want to eat, take them to the vet right away! They might have pneumonia, which is profoundly serious; they need antibiotics from the vet to get better.

By no means should you give your cat "people" medicine because it could be poisonous to them! Remember that whatever you do, consult a veterinarian before you take extreme measures.

Starve a Fever or Feed a Cold?

Soothing Foods

Just like how we enjoy the soothing taste of chicken noodle soup when we have a cold, feed your sick cat "wet" food because it's easier for them to swallow and it takes less energy to digest, allowing their bodies to conserve energy and keep them warm.

Immune Support

You can also use L-Lysine, which is an amino acid that offers immune support and is available at your local pet store. L-Lysine is great during the winter months not only to help them recover from a cold but as a preventive measure a few weeks before the cold season.

You might need to crush the L-Lysine to mix it in their wet food (sprinkled; sometimes it comes as a flavored gel)—this enables you to get all the medication in their system.

A Loved Cat Is a Healthy Cat

Overall, just remember to take the appropriate precautions in preparing for the winter months for your cat whether they live inside or outside, provide comfortable warm, soft bedding, lots of water and food, the essentials your cat needs to stay healthy not only for the winter months but all year through.


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 Lillee Rhose


Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on March 26, 2020:

Thank you, Audrey, I was surprised that my cat gets cold too. Thank you for reading my article.


Donna Rayne

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on March 26, 2020:

Marvelous information about cats getting cold. Gee, I had no clue and I'm very pleased to know about this. Very well written and thank you.

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on February 10, 2020:

Sorry for your loss, Ms. Peggy and thank you for reading my article and I am glad people are realizing the critters outside get cold too and it only takes a second or two to provide them a way to get warm!


Donna Rayne

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 09, 2020:

Our two indoor cats are now deceased, but they did love sunning themselves in certain spots in our kitchen when the sun would shine on the floors through our windows. They were such sweeties. It is good that you are bringing awareness to the fact that cats (and dogs, for that matter) can suffer from the cold, just as we do.

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on December 24, 2019:

Oh yes they are, seems warm laundry is the go-to place for a kitten to hide and sleep :)

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on December 24, 2019:

Thank you very much, Kenneth. I love my Tuxedo Cat! She is such a blessing and keeps me on my toes! Haha she still has a lot of kitten her for sure!

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on December 24, 2019:

We have barnyard, feral cats that won't even let you pet them--they run away at the sight of us. What they do have, in addition to their fur, are straw bales to block the draft inside the barn. They have each other and get some cooked meat scraps in their diet. Protein is a "fire food" that produces thermal energy for the body upon digestion.

Indoor cats, of course, are another story. I helped a lady make a throw quilt for her daughter. The daughter's cat loved it!

By the way, cats are fond of clothes-filled laundry baskets, too!

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on December 23, 2019:

Hi, Donna,

I loved this hub. And just to share, I am a huge cat lover. The gray tabbies are my favorites. And the black and white one on this hub is so beautiful. Great job on writing and lay-out. Keep up the fine work.

Lillee Rhose (author) from Sparks, NV on December 20, 2019:

I appreciate that, Pamela! Thank you :)

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 20, 2019:

I never thought about my cat getting cold but it makes sense when you look at their behavior. This is a very good article with great information.

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