Much like us, cats love nothing more than being cozy and safe as the nights draw in. But, as the colder months approach, you need to know how to keep cats warm in winter.
Whether you’ve got an indoor cat or an outdoor cat, keeping a cat warm in the winter is an absolute necessity, and can be done with a few easy tricks and tips.
In this article:
- The Dangers of Cold Temperatures for Cats
- How to Keep Indoor Cats Warm in Winter
- How to keep Outdoor Cats Warm in Winter
The Dangers of Cold Temperatures for Cats
No matter how vocal your cat is they probably won’t be able to tell you when things get too cold for them. But if you are careful, you can recognize symptoms that they might be suffering. This advice is relevant for both indoor and outdoor cats.
So you might be wondering, what are cats at risk of in cold weather?
Frostbite normally occurs in freezing or sub-zero temperatures. It occurs in cats the same way as in humans. Contracting blood vessels reduce the flow of blood to certain tissues, which can cause freezing and severe injury.
You should look out for blackened or otherwise discolored areas of skin, as well as swelling, and pain when the affected area is touched.
Hypothermia is a more common, potentially more hazardous side-effect of your cat getting too cold. Cats normally have a body temperature between 100.5 and 102.5 Fahrenheit. Cold weather may see that plummet, and if it does they may be in danger of contracting hypothermia.
Warning signs for hypothermia include:
- Trouble breathing or shallow breathing
- Decreased rectal temperature, or cold skin in general
- Stiff muscles, cold ears or feet
- Low heart or respiratory rate
- Fatigue (including collapsing or falling into a coma)
These may sound severe, and they can be. But you can take steps to avoid any discomfort for your cat. In fact, learning how to keep cats warm in winter is very straightforward.
How to Keep Indoor Cats Warm in Winter
Below are some tips on how to keep indoor cats warm come wintertime.
Check Your Heating
Your heating will keep you warm and help maintain a good, healthy temperature. The same is true for your cat.
Cats will naturally gravitate towards heat sources anyway, so you may want to keep your cat bed by the radiator, or give them additional space to stay by your heater.
You may also need to invest in a thermometer or a heating system which allows you to manually adjust the temperature. This will help you find the perfect temperature for both you and your cat!
If your heating is insufficient for your cat, or if they cannot access it, consider adding an additional heat source. These cat range from heating pads, to equipment like specific electric heaters.
Never use a human pad as these may use additional wires or electrics which can be dangerous if chewed up or urinated on! Check out heating pads for cats here.
As well as the above, you should try to make your cats bed as comfortable and appealing as possible. Consider adding additional blankets, or even replace it with a newer, more cozy bed that has enclosed sides. How much your cat enjoys this will, of course, depend on the preferences and personality of your cat.
At all times, make sure that your cat can remove themselves from a hot area if they need to. You should take care to make sure they are never confined next to a heat source.
How to Keep Outdoor Cats Warm in Winter
See below for how to keep outdoor cats warm in winter.
Consider An Outdoor Cat House
Outdoor cats homes are available in a number of different options. These suit all types of cat, and the best ones will be multi-purpose, for warmth in the winter and cool shade in the summer.
A properly insulated outdoor cat house like this will be a wonderful way for your cat to keep warm when outside, particularly if their regular places may be frosted up or otherwise unavailable. It’s a great way to make sure they are safe, and you know where they will be at all times.
Keep Fresh Food + Unfrozen Water Available
One of the best ways a cat can keep their body temperature up, and stay warm, is by eating and drinking normally. Therefore, you will need to keep fresh food and water available outside at all times.
Water is something to be very careful about, particularly in the very cold weather, as it may freeze over quickly and be undrinkable for your cat. This will mean they can avoid frozen puddles or other potentially unsafe water sources.
Check on Them
When wondering how to keep cats warm in winter, you should note that the cold weather presents dangers beyond just the temperature. Toilet areas may disappear under snow, and any natural shelters may become unsafe or buried.
One of the best things you can do is make sure your cat is not suffering a lack of amenities, and check on them regularly to make sure they’re not exhibiting any warning signs.
Check Your Car
Cats without a sufficient heat source or the ability to find one will often curl up in the warmest and most sheltered place they can find.
Often, this can mean under the car. This can often be hazardous if the car is started and the cat doesn’t have time to escape. So in colder weather, just be careful to check your car for any stowaways!
Allow Your Cat into the House
If all else fails, you might want to consider giving them some space in your home. At least during the night, when temperatures drop most drastically.
If the temperature is very low, they may be in danger and will need somewhere nice and warm to stay safe until the weather improves. A realistic assessment of the temperature outdoors and the suitability of your preparations will let you know if this is necessary. Your cat will thank you!
Indoor cats are happier cats, anyway!
Final Thoughts: How to Keep Cats Warm in Winter
Now you have learned some of the basic methods of how to keep cats warm in winter, a very important part of keeping both indoor and outdoor cats safe.
Even though cats have their own fur coats, they are just as susceptible to getting cold as the rest of us.
As careful cat owners, we need to take care of them when the colder months approach, to be able to recognize any warning signs and take necessary action as soon as possible.