Donna has been a cat parent and writer for many years and her passion is to share her love for cats with others.
Is My Cat Cold?
Winter is upon us while the temperatures are dropping as the seasons are changing. The smell of hot apple cider fills the air and a warm fireplace lifts the chill. Home sweet home . . . wait! Is my cat cold? (Are you serious?) Do cats get cold?
Well, my cat has a better coat than I do plus she's all rolled up in a ball over on the floor, so why do I need to worry about that? We do need to worry about our cats getting cold. Let me show you why.
How to Tell If Your Cat Is Cold
Nature naturally prepares a cat's coat to become thicker and denser to fight off the cold, however, a thick coat doesn't always mean a whole lotta warmth. Why?
In cold temperatures, your cat feels colder than we do, therefore, we need to take some action to help kitty get some warmth. Besides tender hugs and warm cuddles, we need to get a few things for our kitty for the cold winter months ahead. So, here we are in our homes where the fireplace is fired up or the heat is on in the house. We are warm and toasty . . . let's check on the kitty . . .
We need to take action not only for our indoor cats but our feral outdoor 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
Indications Feral Cats Are Cold
These are all indications that they are cold and are trying to find someplace warm to sleep. Outdoor feral cats, on the other hand, seek far more dangerous places to get warm:
- Hot cat engines
- 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.
Felines Above 7 Years Old
Felines over 7 years old are sensitive to the cold and steps should be taken to provide them the warmth they need. Including cats that are leaner or older senior cats and those with thyroid/medical conditions, we need to take the appropriate actions to secure their survival during the cold winter months.
Items That Keep Cats Warm
- Electric heated cat bed
- Heating pads for pets
- Small space heater
- Comfy warm blankets
- Cuddles and hugs—these are free
Put a warm thick blanket or quilt on their bed to shield them from the cold floor with insulation features, this prevents them from catching a cold. Take comfort in that your feline will automatically conserve heat in one way or another as the temperatures drop.
My Cat Doesn't Like His/Her New Bedding
Cats love the feel of soft fabric, not only should her blanket be soft to the touch it needs insulating properties or the ability to absorb natural body heat.
Does kitty already have a favorite spot to nap during the other seasons? Well, if she does, then add the blankets to her bedding. This enables her the familiarity of her bed in which she sleeps, and she will nap there due to how warm and comfy it is.
How to Tell If My Cat Has a "Cold"
We are often taught that if our cat has a cold, "wet" nose she is 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:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sluggish Behavior
- Decreases grooming
Symptoms of Respiratory Issues in Cats
- Eye discharge with watery eyes
- 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. Make sure you take your cat to the vet if you suspect they may have URI.
Adult cats who have a regular cold can usually wait it out as they generally will last only a few days and will be back to normal again!
What to Do If Your Cat Isn't Getting Better
Now, if their cold isn't going away, start to wheeze, become increasingly weak, and don't want to eat, take them to the vet right away! They might have pneumonia, which is very serious; they need antibiotics from the vet in order to get better.
By no means should you give your fur baby "people" medicine because it could be poisonous to them! Remember that whatever you do, consult a veterinarian before you take extreme measures to help your baby.
Just like how we enjoy the soothing taste of chicken noodle soup when we have a cold, feed your feline "wet" food because it's easier to swallow and it takes less energy to digest, thus allowing their body to use the saved energy to keep them warm.
You can also use L-Lysine, which is an amino acid that offers immune support and is available at your local pet store. I've given my cats L-Lysine 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. But remember most of all, the warmest and most comfy place for your cat is in the comfort of your hugs. Everyone stays warm, happy and healthy!
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 Greenwood, In on March 26, 2020:
Thank you, Audrey, I was surprised that my cat gets cold too. Thank you for reading my article.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. 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 Greenwood, In 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!
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 Greenwood, In 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 Greenwood, In 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:
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 Greenwood, In 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.