Keeping kitty warm and safe during January’s frigid temperatures is important for indoor kitties as well as the ferals.
Today’s post will focus on 10 things you can do to keep your indoor cat safe as the temperatures plummet below freezing.
When the wind is howling and it’s zero degrees, the best place for kitty is inside in a nice warm bed, away from drafts, off the floor, and in a nice sunny spot with a cozy blanket. Exposure to wind chills that dip down to minus 20 or 40 degrees can quickly lead to frostbite. It also won’t be so pleasant for kitty’s human to go searching for the cat that just didn’t come back, or the cat that will never come back because he succumbs to frostbite.
Paws for Reflection recommends:
# 1 Keep Your Cat Inside
Cats can become disoriented in deep snow and blizzard conditions, and as a result, they can freeze, become lost, stolen, injured or killed.
Paws asks, why should this be any surprise? Even with the best gear, many humans – mountain climbers and lost skiers to name a few – die each year from frigid temperatures. Remember, if the weather’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.
#2 Never leave your cat alone in a car
A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. In summer, the car acts much like an oven, causing heat stroke.
Paws asks, Would you like to sit in a cold car without the heater going? NOT.
#3 Zero exposure to antifreeze, a lethal poison for cats
Cats love sweet taste cats of antifreeze which is toxic to cats, and can be deadly. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, whether in the garage, our outside in the driveway. Better yet, consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
Paws asks, how would we humans do if we ingested even a teaspoon of poison? And think how much smaller our cats are than us, so the impact of just a drop can be deadly.
#4 Make sure your cat has plenty of water
Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime, sometimes causing dehydration. Making sure kitty has plenty of water to drink will prevent dehydration, and prevent dry, itchy skin.
Paws asks, how well would humans feel if they drank insufficient liquids. The dry skin for lack of fluids and cold air would just be intolerable.
#5 Give kitty a little extra nutritional food
Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm in wintertime, and a little extra food will compensate for the extra calories they are burning. A well-nourished pet is better equipped to cope with harsh weather.
Paws asks, how we humans would feel if outside in the harsh elements when we were really hungry and undernourished. Even us humans burn a few extra calories to stay warm, but many of us, avoid the outside extremes as much as possible, preferring a spot in front of the fireplace, and packing on a few more inches around the girth.
#6 Microchip your cat
Even the most conscientious cat owners can find themselves unable to foil Houdini’s tricks as kitty darts out the door. If your cat doesn’t immediately come back, and goes missing, there’s a better chance of a happy reunion.
Paws asks, how else can cats let people know where they live, especially if that nice collar, was blown off in the wind. Most humans are able to communicate and let people know where they reside. Cats can’t.
#7 Wipe off salt on kitty’s paws before he licks his paws
Cats’ paws pads can become burned and irritated by the ice melting salt products on sidewalks and driveways. To protect outdoor animals, consider switching to a pet safe ice melt product, instead of using traditional rock salt. You should also wipe the cat’s feet before he has a chance to begin licking his paws because it’s not healthy to ingest the salt.
Paws asks, how would you humans feel if you had to eat all that salt and dirt off your hands and feet? It wouldn’t be so yummy, nor would it be all that healthy.
#8 Brush your cat frequently
Brushing your pet regularly not only gets rid of dead hair, but also stimulates blood circulation, and improves the overall condition of the skin.
Paws asks, can a human imagine not brushing their hair but once a week? Really!
#9 Elderly & young kittens need special attention especially in cold winter
Kittens as well as older cats don’t have the fat, metabolism, or the full fur coat they need to stay warm when temperatures plunge.
Paws asks, how safe is it for elderly humans or babies to be out in the frigid temperatures? The same applies to felines.
#10 If kitty must go outside, slowly acclimate to temperature changes and keep him dry
Cats’ fur coats vary in thickness, and that can make a huge difference in the ability for kitty to keep warm. As cold temperatures set in and the winter solstice approaches, most coats are just starting to thicken up from the natural thinning process that takes place each summer. It can take a few months after the temperature drops for their coat to offer real protection. If your dog or cat starts shivering when he’s outside, either bring him in or bundle him up with a sweater, maybe both. Becoming wet will increase the potential of hypothermia, which depending upon how severe it is, can result in death.
Paws asks, how would humans feel if they had to endure subzero temperatures with a coat better suited for the 40’s of late fall? Or even worse, how would those same people feel if that coat was soaking wet, and you were stuck outside?
In Paws for Reflection’s next post, we will look at 10 ways to keep the ferals safer in winter.
Do you have some tips to share on how you help keep your cat safe in winter. Please share and weigh in on this very timely discussion as we kitties hunker down beside the wood stove as the temperatures dip down to well below zero again tonight?