Winter Cat Advice - How to Care for Cats in Cold Weather
Winter Cat Advice: How to Care for Cats in Cold Weather
With winter on the way, it’s time to think carefully about how to care for your cat in cold weather.
Plummeting temperatures as well as snowy and icy conditions pose serious risks to cats, especially those who like wandering around outside. However, following a few simple tips can help keep such dangers at bay.
We take a look at some of the best advice regarding winter cat care to make sure your pet is safe and well throughout the harsh winter months...
Avoid Antifreeze Poisoning
This is a very real problem for cat owners. Cats learn lots about the world around them by tasting things, including antifreeze that may have dripped onto the ground after being added to the engine of your car.
Ethylene glycol, the chemical name for antifreeze, is highly toxic to animals if ingested. Even worse is that your cat is more than likely to lap it up as it tastes sweet to them!
The early symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include:
- Muscle spasms
- Walking unsteadily
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
Whenever your cat goes outside, you should be mindful of what they might try to taste. Keep your antifreeze in the house, ensuring it is out of reach and has not spilt anywhere.
If you believe your cat has antifreeze poisoning, or is ill in general, have them examined by a vet right away.
Check Paws Regularly
Paw health in the winter time deserves having some extra attention. If your cat has long hair, as they are more prone to snow compacting between their toes and turning into ice balls – a very painful experience for your cat. It may even be worth giving your feline friend a cat pedicure before winter gets fully underway, just so their paws are properly prepared for any prolonged cold snaps.
Keep an Eye Under Your Car
Cats often crawl beneath car bonnets when it’s cold to soak up the warmth from the engine. Unfortunately, this can lead to very serious injuries, or worse.
Be vigilant and always tap the bonnet of your car loudly before starting the engine to give any sleeping stowaways the chance to get clear.
Provide Plenty of Toys
As it gets colder, your cat will doubtless be spending a lot more time indoors – and in need of entertainment similar to that which they would find outside.
Now’s your chance to be creative and fill your home with an overabundance of interesting cat-friendly toys and games. Let your imagination run wild while taking playtime to the next level. Just remember to consider the space you have before sending them whizzing excitedly all over the place.
Ensure They Stay Warm and Dry
It should go without saying but keeping your cat warm and dry is essential during winter. Always have a towel to hand after outdoor play and let them curl up somewhere cosy. These measures will go a long way in preventing conditions like hypothermia and frostbite, which are prevalent when there’s cold weather.
Even with all the care in the world, though, your cat still risks developing hypothermia in winter if left outside too long. Mild symptoms include:
- Lack of mental alertness
- Feeling weak and tired
As time passes, new or more severe symptoms may appear, such as muscle stiffness and short, shallow breathing. Suspect your cat has hypothermia? Take them to the vet immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Don’t Let Their Bowls Freeze
Does your cat like to have food and water left outside for them? If so, you’ll need to make sure that their bowls don’t freeze.
Many cats prefer this option because it allows them to quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger even while wandering about the neighbourhood. As such, it’s imperative that you monitor your cat’s feeding and drinking behaviour, as well as keeping a close eye on any changes to their eating and toilet habits. It could be that their “routine” is out of sync because their bowls have frozen over.
An easy workaround is to always have clean, fresh sources of food and water available inside in case the outdoors is inaccessible due to cold weather.
Any other advice about caring for cats in winter? Let us know in the comments below...