A lot of cat owners worry whether their cat gets too cold during frigid winter months. That’s a perfectly reasonable concern, especially since we all want our cats to feel as comfortable as possible.
Do cats get cold?
Every animal can become cold or be affected by colder temperatures. Even the animals most capable of withstanding freezing temperatures eventually feel cold if the temperature drops too low. Most cats generally do well in colder temps. Snow doesn’t stop them if they are outside cats.
But how cold is too cold, and what can you do to make sure they stay warm? Understanding your cat and what’s too cold for them is the first step.
Cats generally don’t have as thick of a coat as many cold-hearty animals do. Some breeds, in particular, have very short coats, so they don’t have the insulation to keep them cozy in the winter.
Let’s explore what makes cats cold and what you can do to keep them warm.
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Cats and Winter
Cats are amazing animals. They can adjust to a lot of different environments including the cold. They will even naturally change their fur to accommodate colder weather.
It’s amazing to see cats change with the seasons, and they become more fluffy and take on size when colder weather approaches.
However, if you’re living somewhere cold that’s rainy or gets a lot of snow, the odds are that your cat will still feel cold.
That’s why you’ll find them getting as much sun as possible and doing things like hiding in your covers or sticking by heating vents in your house.
That’s not to say, if your cat is an outside cat, that they won’t want to still get out and explore. They will, but their time outside will likely be shorter, and they may not stray as far from the house.
One thing to keep in mind is that older cats will also feel colder. Just like people, cats get more sensitive to the cold as they age.
The same goes for young kittens who haven’t yet had the time to build their coat that insulates them from the cold.
Things You Should Worry About
Everyone wants their cat to be happy and comfortable. That’s partly why we try to keep our cats warm when it’s cold outside.
But there is more on the line than their comfort. When temperatures plummet, your cat’s safety and health can be at risk.
Cats can suffer from hypothermia, the technical term for when a body’s temperature drops. When hypothermia is serious enough, it can be fatal.
The body gets so cold that critical functions stop working and health breaks down quickly. It’s serious for anyone, including cats.
Also, pet owners who have outside cats need to worry about frostbite. If your cat is walking around in freezing temps or stepping in snow for hours a day, they could start to get frostbite in their limbs.
Frostbite happens when skin and tissues freeze. Left alone for too long, frostbite can lead to serious infections.
Keeping your cat warm enough to avoid these conditions is very important. If your cat is too cold and you sense something is not right, do what you can to get them out of the cold and, if necessary, talk to a vet for help.
If your cat has been exposed to freezing temperature and their condition looks serious, warming them back up should be done gradually. If you rub them too much or put frostbitten limbs in hot water, even more damage can happen to their tissue.
How to Keep Your Cat Warm When It’s Cold Outside
When it’s cold, your cat is also likely cold. As a cat parent, you should realize that your cat can get cold even when you’re not. They’re smaller animals, so it only makes sense that temperature changes will impact them more.
Cats can’t tell you they are cold with words, so it’s on us to decipher their behavior and look for signs that they need more warmth. We should also be proactive to protect our cats from the cold.
Whether you know your cat is cold or you’re worried about them, here are some steps you can take to ensure they are comfortable.
Leave the Heat On
If you leave the house all day for work and your cat is at home, think about heating things before you go.
You may not need to keep your house as warm as when you are home, but don’t just turn it off and leave for the day when your cat is there. Keep the house reasonably warm so your animals don’t get too cold.
Place Blankets Around the House
Most pets, including cats, will have parts of your house or apartment that they prefer. They have their favorite sunbathing spots, and when you need to find them, you will know where to look.
You can help your cat keep warm by putting blankets, stuffed animals, and pillows around your house to create small spots of warmth they can go to when they are feeling a bit too cold.
You don’t have to do anything too special. Leave warming items in a spot, and your cat will do the rest. They’ll move the covers around until they can get in there for a snuggle and stay out of the cold.
Open Access to a Bedroom
Cats love to get under the covers when things get too cold. Whether it’s your bed, one of your kid’s beds, or in a guest room, cats can often be found burrowed deep in blankets and pillows in the winter.
Don’t forget to keep your bedroom doors open to let your cat find their favorite warm spots while you’re away for the day. When things get particularly cold, cats will spend hours inside bed covers.
Groom Them Properly
Make sure to keep your cat’s fur clear of any matted fur. Matted fur won’t keep them as warm because it’s not working the way it’s supposed to.
Brush them from time to time to keep their coats looking good and protecting them from the cold.
Consider Keeping Them Indoors
If the weather is super cold, think about keeping your cat inside until you are home or things warm up a bit.
You never know what could happen while you’re away, and something could happen to prevent your cat from getting back indoors when things get too cold.
If you’re worried, restrict access to the outdoors and keep them inside to keep them safe and warm.
These are just some tips to help you get your cat through the winter. It’s all about finding ways to keep your cat cozy and happy when it’s snowing for frigid outside.
By following these steps, your cat will avoid getting too cold and will find its way around your house to stay warm.