Winter is upon us, and just like humans, the lifestyles of cats change. Cold weather can have a negative impact on the well-being of felines in a number of ways. Luckily, there are steps we can take to help minimize cold weather effects for cats.
The combination of low temperatures, and snow/ice can expose cats to hypothermia and frostbite. The best way to avoid these issues is to keep the cat indoors. But not every kitty has the luxury of living indoors. For those cats, provide shelter from the cold, wind, and precipitation by either providing access to shelters or to an indoor environment with adequate bedding. Straw is a top choice. Avoid things like newspaper, cloth, and hay. The shelter should have a floor, to avoid body heat loss into the ground. Measures should be taken to provide fresh clean water daily and food.
Another issue to consider is automotive hazards. Warm car engines invite cats that are seeking warmth. Before getting into and starting the vehicle, thump the hood of the car with your hand to make sure a cat seeking refuge from the cold has not crawled into the engine.
Be aware of using antifreeze and clean up any spills. Pets like the taste of antifreeze, and it is deadly if ingested, even in small amounts. Additionally, ice melts can be very irritating to the skin and mouth.
If you suspect an animal has ingested any type of poison, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Above all, remember – if you’re cold, it’s likely your cat is cold, too. Just a few simple changes are all it takes to help keep him safe and cozy all winter long.