Does My Cat Get Cold?

Updated on November 11, 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.

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 . . .

Hey, mama I'm cold and need some cuddles, like right meow...
Hey, mama I'm cold and need some cuddles, like right meow...

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

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
  • Chimney's
  • Sheds
  • Dog Houses

This is just a few signs and although there are many ways in which we can provide much-needed warmth we must take into consideration those breeds who have less fur that's dense and thin.

Also, kittens and cats over 7 years old are very sensitive to the cold and steps should be taken to provide them the warmth they need. Including those cats that are leaner or older senior cats and cats with thyroid/medical conditions, we need to take the appropriate actions for them, too. So, now we have a bunch of cold cats!

Did You Know?

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

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?!

Items You Need to Help Keep Your Cat Warm

The items that keep the kitty warm are:

  • 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 and this will help prevent them from catching a cold. Take comfort in that your feline baby will automatically conserve heat in one way or another as the temperature drops.

What If My Cat Doesn't Like His/Her New Bedding?

Well, cats love soft fabric, so make sure that her blanket is soft and velvety to her touch and, that the blanket has insulating properties or the ability to absorb her natural body heat.

Does kitty already have a favorite spot to nap during the other seasons? Well, if she does, then add the blankets there to her bedding. This will enable her the familiarity of her bed in which she sleeps, and she will be more than likely to stay there due to how warm and comfy it is.

But remember that most of all, the warmest and most comfy places for kitty are cuddles and hugs from mama or dad. Both of you will stay warm and cozy and everyone is purrfectly happy!

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 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 Fahrenheit. I consider 103.0 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 to look for are the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Panting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sluggish Behavior
  • Lethargic
  • Decreases grooming

You will find that your kitty's symptoms are kind of like ours when we have a cold!

Yes, Mama, I'm warm now... no! no! no!… more covers!
Yes, Mama, I'm warm now... no! no! no!… 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. 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! Whew! That's a relief, right?!

"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

Now, if you start to notice that their cold isn't going away and kitty starts to wheeze, become increasingly weak, and they 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!

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!

Just like how we enjoy the soothing taste of chicken noodle soup when we have a cold, feed them "wet" food because it's easier to swallow plus 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.

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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Donna L Stoycoff

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