Winter is coming, and with it comes the season of snowmen and Santa. But for outdoor cats, winter is a serious threat to their health and safety.
Weather can severely impact cats’ wellbeing due to several factors. The first is that rain can wash away a cat’s food source, leaving them hungry. Cold weather can also cause prey to hide or shelter themselves, also resulting in less food.
Shelters can fill up quickly during cold weather, leaving cats out in the cold. Also, if a shelter is full, cats may be forced to stay outside even during bad weather which can be dangerous.
With the growing popularity of short-haired cats, many owners are unaware of just how cold sensitive they are. Coupled with the fact that most are indoor pets, many don’t know how to keep them warm during wintertime.
This article will discuss some ways to help keep your short-haired kitty warm during wintertime.
Get warm clothes
If you have an outdoor cat, then you should give them a few pairs of warm cat clothes. There are actually companies that make warm kitty coats, paws, and blankets!
These can be found online and even at local pet stores. If you do not want to invest in actual cat clothes, then try getting your pet a cozy blanket or two to snuggle in during the cold winter months.
Or perhaps get some furry boots for your kitty to keep their feet warm. They make these at local pet stores as well, so again, look into that!
The most important part of keeping your kitty warm is making sure they stay indoors at night. So give them the proper attire and let them know they are welcome to stay!
Chances are they will appreciate the warmth and stay anyway.
Buy a heated cat bed
If you cannot convince your cat to stop sleeping in the cold, then you can try to help them stay warm. A great way to do this is by buying them a heated cat bed.
These beds have batteries or plugs that allow for them to be heated. The ideal temperature depends on the species of cat as well as the temperature outside.
Most cats prefer a slightly warm bed, so opt for a lower temperature setting on the bed. You can always turn it up if they seem uncomfortable!
These beds can be quite expensive, but almost every cat loves them. It is worth the investment to let your cat sleep in comfort.
If you are not able to purchase a heated bed, then letting your outdoor cat into the house at night may be helpful. Let them sleep on an upper level of the home where it is a little warmer.
Keep your house warmer
While it may be tempting to let the temperature drop in the house to save on heating costs, it is important to remember that your pet doesn’t decide whether or not to sleep in a warm bed.
Cats have a naturally low body temperature, which helps them stay warm in the winter when they are sleeping.
If your cat sleeps on an empty box or shelf, they may not be getting enough warmth. By letting the temperature drop, you are putting your cat at risk for hypothermia and death.
Keep the thermostat at a comfortable level for humans and add some extra blankets or towels if needed. Check on him or her every so often to make sure they are warm enough.
Wear a winter coat
If you have an outdoor cat, make sure he has a warm winter coat to wear. You can find these at pet stores and online, and there are many discounts around the winter season.
The coats come in different colors and styles, so you are sure to find one your cat likes. They also come in different prices depending on how much money you have to spend.
Some are very expensive due to the quality of the material and how well they keep the cat warm, while others are cheaper but still keep the cat warm.
Inner jackets can also be bought so that your kitty does not have to wear an outer jacket, which may get in the way of hunting or climbing trees.
Winter coats help keep your cat warm by keeping the fur covered so it can stay fluffy. The coat also helps prevent wind from getting through, which would cause the body to lose heat faster.
If you have more than one cat, they can sleep together for additional warmth. If you have an extra cat bed, they can use that as well.
Cats are territorial animals, so it is important to introduce new cats to the colony slowly. This is why there are recommendations for the number of cats per bedroom- to avoid fighting.
If you do not know the history of your cats, it is best to start with one new cat at a time. This way, they both have a chance at territory and safety.
Boys usually do not get along, so if you have a male and female, it is best to separate them at night. If one happens to get attacked or frightened by the other, this prevents further fighting that could put one or both in the hospital.
Use heat lamps
If you do not want to spend the money on a special cat shelter or do not have the space, using outdoor heat lamps is a great alternative.
Heat lamps are sold at pet stores and online year-round. Since they are popular winter items, you should not have a hard time finding one!
Just make sure it is heavy enough to stay put in the wind and has an adjustable thermostat so you can set it at a comfortable temperature for the cats.
The best way to set up the heat lamp is to put it slightly off center of the covered area so that one side is warm and the other is sheltered. This way your cats can move around as they please and enjoy the warmth!
Heating pads can also be used if a cat prefers their bed on one thing in particular, but make sure it is fur-safe.
Get a heater
If you have an outdoor cat, you can purchase a heater to keep them warm. You can get heated beds or floor mats that stick to the wall or floor.
These require electricity, so make sure they are in a safe place that the cat will use. These are not very expensive, so it is definitely worth it for the safety of your kitty!
Outdoor cats can also benefit from lightweight jackets and blankets. While these are not adequate insulation alone, when placed on top of a warm fluffy bed, they help keep the cat warm.
Chaos said that if you find a stray kitten in the winter, you should put it in a sheltered area with a warmed bed and some extra layers and blankets, and it will be fine.
Keep windows closed
When it starts to get colder, you will need to start restricting your cats’ access to the great outdoors. By this point, most veterinarians recommend keeping your cats indoors 24/7 until at least winter is over.
Although they can adapt to cold weather, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures can be dangerous for cats. They can cause respiratory issues, digestive problems, and even death.
When you begin letting your kitties outside again in the spring, it’s important to do so slowly. Allow them to enter the yard and explore for a few minutes before you let them out of the house, and watch their behavior closely. If they appear disoriented or frightened, they may not be ready to go out full-out yet.
Keep all windows closed except for one open window at ground level that leads outside.