It’s winter on the East Coast, and likely you are thinking of ways to ensure that you stay cozy and warm. But what about your pets? How to keep your cat warm in the winter months is an important consideration, especially if they venture outside.
Hazards to Outdoor Cat Safety in the Winter
Half the battle is being prepared, and having a good grasp about what winter specific worries you should have for your cat is key.
Cold weather cat hazards include:
- Antifreeze ingestion causing serious toxicity
- Plummeting temperatures leading to hypothermia or frostbite
- Car engines and other warm but hazardous refuges
- Rock salt and ice melt that can be toxic if ingested and irritating to skin and paws
- Slippery or sharp surfaces that can lead to cuts and injuries
So what is a cat lover to do? Keeping your cat inside is often the best answer, but not always well-received by the independent feline who has different ideas.
Keeping Your Cat Warm at Night and Safe Through the Winter
Keeping your cat warm and safe during the winter is possible, even if they insist on spending time outdoors. Do everything you can to help them, including:
- Providing a safe and reliable shelter: Indoor/outdoor cats should always have the option to come indoors. When the weather turns particularly nasty, do your best to bring them in. If your cat is outdoor-only, consider building a shelter where they can warm up. A wind and weather-proofed shelter off the ground can really help keep kitty warm. Insulate with something like straw and avoid electric heaters, which can be fire hazards.
- Supplying adequate food: A cold cat needs far more calories to keep warm. Feed your frosty feline on a regular and predictable basis. Consider increasing their calorie allotment during the colder months. Good nutrition is a must. Ask us if you need help deciding what and how much to feed your pet.
- Making sure water is available: Water is essential, even when it is freezing. A reliable, non-frozen water source is a must-have for winter cat safety.
- Removing potential problems: Use pet-friendly winter chemicals like pet safe antifreeze, pet-friendly ice melt, and live traps for rodents rather than chemical ones. Clean up chemical spills or leaks right away. Be sure that your grooming routine doesn’t include a winter haircut and be sure to keep up on your parasite prevention and vaccination routines; when cats cluster together to stay warm, they can also spread disease.
- Securing unsafe areas: Cats who are seeking warmth and shelter may not choose wisely. Be sure to offer a safe area for them to stay warm and secure shed and garages that may not be so cat-friendly. Get in the habit of knocking on your car hood before starting it to scare away any critters who might be resting in a warm place.
Even if your cat stays indoors, they might appreciate a little extra coziness. Keep your cat warm at night with cozy fleeces, a heated bed or blanket, and extra snuggles. Avoid space heaters and open flames that can easily turn into fire hazards.
Keeping your cat warm and safe during the winter months is not an easy task when you live in New Jersey, but it’s not impossible, either. Following our tips will help ensure that your kitty has a cozy season.