It’s November, which means that the days are getting colder. Preparing us for the winter that is about to come. Even here the temperatures are getting lower and lower each night and it’s time we find our gloves again. Yes, winter is coming. So it’s important to keep your cat warm.
Even though most cats have a thick fur, cats can develop frostbite or hypothermia, this is a potentially deadly condition that happens if their body temperature drops even a few degrees. And even ice balls can form between their tiny toes. But with a few simple tips you can keep your kitty warm.
Depending on the length of the fur, some cats don’t mind going outside in the cold wind. Their thick fur will most likely protect them. Short-haired cats might gel chilly, even when its balmy. Check with your vet if you are not sure if your cat is bred for chilly climates. If your cat is not, it’s better to keep her inside.
Some cats grow a thick winter coat. Make sure it doesn’t get matted. Wet and matted hair can cause diseases of the skin because the dead hair traps dirt and debris.
Your cat has enjoyed the sunny season, and used to warm himself up in the yard. So he might not be prepared for the winter and it’s coldness. It usually takes three to six weeks after the temperature drops before your cat’s winter coat gets thick enough to protect himself against the cold winter wind. Give your cat some time to slowly get used to the environment, by letting him outside for periods, and make those periods longer slowly.
Winter air can be extremely drying, and just like us cats can get a dry and itchy skin too. Especially if they have never set a paw outdoors. To prevent this, give all pets a B-complex vitamin that has fatty acids in them. Which will help to keep their skin from drying out. Maybe we should do that too, hmm?
If it’s going to be minus 20 degrees for the next week, make arrangements to bring your cat inside, into the garage o other warm places for a few days. Even if your cat is an outdoor cat. If the temperature drops below ten or single digits they should have shelter.
For example, a small dog house with blankets where you cat can warm up when they are cold or wet. Or just when they feel unsafe.
Keep an eye out on the thermometer, because even if the thermometer reads a relatively comfy 25°, a breeze can make it feel much, much colder. With the windchill factor it could feel like 25 below, so be ready to bring your cat in when it’s blowing.
If your cat lives outdoors, he’ll burn up a lot more calories during the winter trying to stay warm. And you may need to give him some more calories. Your cat needs those extra calories. Not only for energy but also to get a thicker coat.
Keep her water dish full and fluid. When the temperature drops, water freezes and a cat can go for only 20 hours without water before becoming dehydrated. So make sure there is always fresh water around throughout the day to keep the water bowl filled.
If your cat has ice balls between his toes, you can melt them quickly with a hair dryer. Hold the dryer about six inches away and keep it moving until all the ice is melted. Just keep it on a low setting so you don’t burn them. And while working on their toes have a look to see if ice has scraped or cut the pads. If it has, apply a little first aid ointment containing an antiseptic, to prevent infection. Then rub on a little hand lotion or aloe vera to keep the pads soft.
During cold months many outdoor cats will look for warm places to sleep. One of those places can be the engine compartment of cars. They can get hurt when someone starts the car. So before starting the car in the morning, it might be a good idea to check under the hood.
While you sleep under an extra blanket, make sure your cat also gets the warmth he needs during the colder days. Think about a low-wattage heated bed, fleece blankets or a thermo-blanket. Or give your cat an extra blanket as well.
Put a sweater on your cat. I know it sounds silly, Although your cat will be able to conserve some body heat in his or her fur, it’s always a better idea to keep warm. You can buy special sweaters for small dogs at your local pet store.
So their little paws won’t get cold in the snow you can try little booties for your cat. Remember that if you decide to let your cat wear booties on all their four paws, they won’t be able to use their claws. Which can be dangerous, especially if they need to defend themselves (Also, jumping can be a problem too). Your cat should be able to protect itself at all times while outdoors. So I suggest not leaving your cat unsupervised outdoors with boots on.
If your cat has been outside too long, and your think he might have frostbite-symptoms (flushing, swelling and itching of the affected part), rub him gently with a blanket or your hands to raise the temperature of the frozen parts. But beware, if you do a lot or rubbing you will cause more damage. Frostbite is serious, so you maybe want to get your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
Also go to the vet if you think your cat has developed hypothermia or low body temperature (shallow breathing, a weak pulse or shivering muscles – Sometimes shivering isn’t necessary)/ You need to warm your cat up as soon as possible.
Avoid heat from lamps, heating pads or open ovens (right, open ovens?). Because your cat can get burned. Instead, wrap him in a warm blanket and hold him close so your body temperature will help raise his. Then get him to the vet as soon as you can.
Resource: My Pet Health Guide.
And thank you Bassa for making a good point about the boots!
And I don’t know if there were more that had noticed a small error if they clicked the link below my ‘gravatar‘. It is fixed now!