Keeping Your Cat Warm During Winter
Protecting your cat from the cold
Just like us, cats are accustomed to a nice, cozy and warm home environment, and don’t really appreciate being left outside on cold days. Even if cats are adapted for life outdoors, during winter, you should provide a nice and warm shelter for your pet.
There are many steps you can follow to keep your cat warm, healthy and safe during winter time. Here are some tips on how:
- You can actually make your cat’s coat stronger. A cat’s coat will become thicker if you add some more essential fatty acids to your cat’s diet. Supplement your cat’s food with vegetable oils such as canola oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and butter or fish oils for the best results.
- Furthermore, provide your cat with protein rich foods. Additional meals will keep you cat healthy and warm during the winter.
- Vitamins E and B-complex will make their tissues stronger. These vitamins increase resistance to illness. Nevertheless, be very careful when providing additional vitamins as they may cause medical problems. Always consult with a veterinarian on additional vitamins for your cat.
- Your cats bed should be located in a warm place. A basket or a cardboard box with a warm blanket inside is a perfect solution. Avoid having your cat’s bed directly on the floor.
- Keep you cat away from an open fire. Cats like to get close to the heat source, and if you have a fireplace, secure it, as your cat will most probably try to get as close as possible.
- Groom your cat’s coat regularly. Matted fur is not the best isolation from cold.
- If your cat likes to spend time outside, keep it outside as the weather starts getting colder so it can adapt. Cats need time to adjust to temperature change, so they should be exposed to the gradual seasonal change.
- When a cat spends time outside in winter, it needs to be fed more often. More food keeps you cat warm, therefore be prepared for couple of extra meals for your pet.
- Don’t leave water outside in metal bowls. A bowl may freeze and cat’s tongue may accidentally stick to the bowl. Change its water regularly, so it doesn’t have time to become frozen.
- If you don’t keep your cat inside of the house, make a nice and warm shelter for it. A shelter has to be insulated and big enough so that a cat can move inside. Still, it should not be too big, as it should conserve body heat. Turn the shelter away from the wind and cover the entrance with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
- Make sure you cat has no access to antifreeze, as it is poisonous, and can actually be deadly. Therefore, keep your cat away from the places you store it or other poisonous chemicals.
The consequences of leaving a cat outside in cold and freezing temperatures may cause a series of health problems, such as:
Hypothermia – This happens if the body temperature of a cat goes below normal due to exposure of extreme cold temperatures. It can even happen if a cat with poor health or poor circulation spends only short time outside. If you notice signs of depression, lethargy, weakness, slow heart rate and breathing or lack of response to stimulation, get your cat warm and contact a veterinarian immediately.
Frostbite – If your cat is left outside for longer periods of time, this problem may occur. It is very important that frozen tissues are never rubbed, as this may result in tissue damage. What you can do in such a case is to warm the affected area with warm moist towels (towels should never be hot). When affected tissue becomes flushed, you should stop warming it. The next step is to dry the affected tissue and cover it with clean bandage. Nevertheless, the best is to take your cat to the vet, as frostbite may sometimes result in gangrene and infection.
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