Cold weather safety tips for cats
Keeping your cats safe in cold weather is important. In the words of Michael Bublé – baby, it’s cold outside. Winter has officially arrived in the UK, and while the weather outside is frightful, we want to make sure you and your cats are warm and safe. But how do you keep a cat safe in cold weather? 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 the winter months. Remember that if you’re cold in the house, they are too – and they don’t have a big 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.)
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
Outdoor cats can often seek refuge in small spaces like tool sheds and garages if the door is open. Double-check there are no little faces peeking back at you before you lock up – either your own cats or your neighbours’ – so that you don’t accidentally trap them inside.
Check their paws
Grit is great for making sure you don’t take a nasty slip on an icy pavement – but it’s not so great for your cat. Check their paws when they come in from outside if there’s grit and salt around, because not only can it cause chemical burns if left for long enough, but if they lick their paws to get it off, it can be toxic.
We all get dry, chapped hands in winter, and cats are no different. When they come in from the cold, as well as checking for salt, have a look for any signs of soreness or dryness, and try using a cat-safe paw balm like BeLoved.
Watch the weather
Between dark nights, rain and even snowstorms, drivers can’t see so clearly – and that makes roads far more dangerous for your cat. Try to set a curfew when the sun goes down, and don’t let them out after that. If you’ve got a cat flap, lock it once they’re inside (and remember they’ll need a litter tray and water indoors).
Antifreeze is toxic for your cat – and unfortunately, it smells and tastes sweet enough to seem tempting. So, if you defrost your windscreen and leave a puddle of it on the driveway, your cat is in real danger. 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 as well as other natural methods of defrosting your car, but if you do have to use antifreeze, clean it up right away and keep your cat out of that area.
Got more questions about how to help your cats in the winter months? You can talk to our cat-loving experts by emailing email@example.com, or you can ask our in-house vet (and the rest of our community) by joining the KatKin Club House on Facebook.