Cold weather safety tips for cats
Read time: 3 min
Think only hairless cats need help staying warm in winter? Think again. As a hardcore cat parent, keeping your cats safe in cold weather is vital. Whether they’re an outdoor explorer or a firm homebody, let’s talk cold weather safety tips.
Provide warm, cosy places
Whether it’s a bed hanging on the radiator or a warm draft-free corner, make sure your cats have plenty of places to snuggle up in winter. If you’re cold in the house, they are too – and they don’t have a woolly jumper they can put on. Blankets, cosy beds, and heat pads are this season’s must-haves for your cat.
Provide an indoor litter tray
If your cat usually goes to the toilet outside but it’s too cold for them to want to go out, make sure you’ve got a clean litter tray in the house. Pop it in a quiet space without too much through-traffic. (Cats like their privacy, just like we do.)
Not used to your cat using a litter tray? Read our Litter Tray 101 blog to get started.
Watch out for signs of hypothermia
Cats can develop hypothermia in very cold weather – especially if their fur is wet and it’s particularly windy or frosty outside. It can start with shivering, but in more severe hypothermia, the real telltale signs are pale lips, unusual sleepiness and a lack of coordination. If you spot those, call your vet right away.
Be careful with sheds and garages
In cold and stormy weather, outdoor cats often seek shelter in tool sheds and garages. If you don’t notice you’ve been followed in, you could unknowingly trap them. Double-check you don’t have company before locking up.
Check their paws
Grit is great for avoiding nasty slips on icy pavement – but it’s not so great for your cat. If there’s grit and salt around, check their paws when they come inside. Not only can it cause chemical burns if left long enough, but if they lick their paws to get it off, it can be toxic.
We all get dry, chapped hands in winter – cats are no different. When they come in from the cold look for any signs of soreness or dryness. There are cat-safe paw balms available to help, like BeLoved.
Watch the weather
Between dark nights, rain and even snowstorms, drivers can’t see so clearly. And that makes roads more dangerous for your cat. Set a curfew when the sun goes down: don’t let them out after dark and lock your catflap. Remember – they’ll need a litter tray and fresh water available indoors.
Antifreeze is toxic for your cat. Unfortunately, the smell can attract cats and ingestion can be fatal. The first signs of trouble include staggering and vomiting, and the effects will be quick: the faster you can get help for your cat, the better their chance of survival.
There are pet-safe types of antifreeze available or natural methods of defrosting your car. But if you have to use antifreeze, clean any mess immediately and keep your cat away.
Got more questions about how to help your cat in the winter months? Talk to our Cat Experts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can ask our in-house vet (and the rest of our community) by joining the KatKin Club House on Facebook.