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How to Tell if Your Cat is Cold

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

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 the warmth of the fireplace lifts the chill out of the air. We are warm and comfortable in your home-

But have you ever wondered if your cat might get cold? Your cat curls up by the fireplace sleeping in its bed and looks happy.

But The question is

Do Cats Get Cold?

Well, as you are aware, a cat has thick fur to keep them warm, but did you know that if your cat is rolled up in a ball or covering its face with its paws, there is a high chance that it might be cold?

Although nature prepares a cat's coat to become thicker during winter to fight the cold, thick skin doesn't always mean a lot of warmth.


Protecting Feral Cats

There are a few indications that cats are cold outside and are trying to find someplace warm to sleep. Outdoor feral cats seek out 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 breeds with dense and thin fur into consideration 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?!

Actions that You Can Take

We need to act not only for our indoor cats but also for feral cats. 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 Seven Years Old

Felines over seven years old are more sensitive to the cold, and steps should be taken to provide them with the warmth they need. For 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 essential.

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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 a 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!

Did You Know?

Cats can handle heat up to 122° F (50C) against their skin, which is why you find them resting against hot surfaces.

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, ensuring that your cat stays warm.

Another way to help your cat get used to their new winter bedding is to put their blankets where they already sleep or in their favorite spot or area.

Since they are already familiar with their regular bedding, eventually, your cat will accept the winter bedding, where they can be happy and warm in their new beds!

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"

Some people believe that if a cat's nose is wet to the touch, it means that your cat is healthy; on the other hand, if they have a warm, dry nose, it means that it's sick.

But this isn't always the case.

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

A URI (upper respiratory infection) is one of many conditions that affect some cats. URIs are caused by bacteria or a virus and sometimes can be if your cat has allergies. If you suspect your cat may have a URI, take it to your veterinarian for a checkup to ensure it is healthy.

Remember that adult cats with a regular cold can usually wait it out because a cold usually will last only a few days.

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 immediately! They might have pneumonia, which is profoundly severe; they need antibiotics from the vet to get better.

You should not give your cat "people" medicine because it could poison them! Remember that you should consult a veterinarian before taking 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 takes less energy to digest, allowing their bodies to conserve energy and keep them warm.

Immune Support

You can also use L-Lysine, an amino acid that offers immune support and is available at your local pet store. L-Lysine is great during the winter to help them recover from a cold and is 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, 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 Donna Rayne


Donna Rayne (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.

Donna Rayne (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.

Donna Rayne (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 :)

Donna Rayne (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.

Donna Rayne (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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