How to Keep Your Outdoor Cat Safe During Winter
15 February 2021 — Miscellaneous | Cats
Most people keep their cats indoors all year round, but for those who let their feline friends venture outside, it is important to keep an eye on dropping temperatures in the winter. Even though most cats have thick coats, it doesn’t protect them completely from winter’s chilly weather. Problems such as frostbite and hypothermia can occur as soon as when the temperature drops below 32°F (0°C).
Although all cats can suffer from the cold, their tolerance and sensitivity threshold are not the same. Indeed, different factors can have an impact on their capacity to withstand the cold. Here are a few of them as well as some tips on how to ensure your cat stays safe during winter.
Some cats, particularly those that don’t have much or any hair such as the Sphinx or the Rex, don’t like the cold very much. While others, such as the Norwegian, the Maine Coon and the Siberian, are mostly unbothered by it. That said, even cats that are the least sensitive to cold can have a hard time withstanding extremely chilly temperatures.
A cat’s thermoregulation system’s efficiency does not stay the same throughout their lifespan. Indeed, it is particularly weak when cats are born, and it reaches its full potential once they attain adulthood. Furthermore, the thermoregulation system ages and loses its efficiency over time. For this reason, a senior cat will be more sensitive to cold.
Type of Coat
It goes without saying, the thicker their coats are, the better cats can withstand cold temperatures since they have a greater capacity to preserve body heat. Also, there is less risk for their skin to become damp from exposure to moisture such as snow.
If your cat is used to going outdoors, they will easily find spots away from the cold to stay warm and comfortable. However, if your indoor cat successfully escapes outside during cold temperatures, they are at a greater risk of being exposed to potential dangers.
- Install an area where your cat can find shelter from the cold and wind. You can build them a slightly elevated waterproof shelter and add straw as bedding. Avoid using hay, blankets, and towels as these can become damp and very cold for your cat.
- Make sure your cat is back in the house for the night when temperatures are low, and risks of frostbite and hypothermia are high.
- Feed them a diet that is very rich in protein.
- Ensure to give them fresh water because cats need to stay well hydrated even in winter.
- Check their overall health each time they return from outside, making sure to examine their pads and ears, and whether they are coughing or sneezing. Rinse their paws to remove any salt that could get trapped between the pads.
Even though cats may look well protected from the chilly winter conditions with their thick coats, they can still, just like humans, suffer from the cold. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep an eye on your feline friend during harsh winter months. Limiting their outings when temperatures are frigid can also help reduce their risk of injury.
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