If your cat has been curling up on your lap more than usual, they may be trying to tell you they are cold. Cats tend to be more cold-natured than other household members and they enjoy warm cozy places to nap. Our team at Animal Emergency Care wants to help by providing tips to ensure your cat stays toasty this winter. 

#1: Ensure your cat cannot sneak outside

Secure all entrance ways to ensure your cat cannot slip outside. Cats may be sensitive to the cold, but they are also mischievous and curious. If you leave a window cracked or a screen door is loose your cat can easily find their way outdoors to explore and end up exposed to extremely cold or inclement weather. Keep your cat inside to ensure they stay safe, healthy, and warm.

#2: Feed your cat a healthy diet

Seek advice from your family veterinarian to ensure you are feeding your cat a nutritious diet. Cats can lose weight as they age which can make them more susceptible to cold. An appropriate diet can also help keep their coat thick and healthy which can insulate them from the cold. 

#3: Keep your cat active

Provide daily interactive playtime for your cat. Figure out what toy your cat prefers and entice them to run and jump which will get their blood flowing and increase their body temperature. Daily play sessions are also important for your cat’s mental and physical well-being. Older cats can benefit from spirited playtime too, but ensure the play session is appropriate for their physical condition.  For example, if your cat has a heart condition or arthritis, they should not chase balls up and down stairs. They may appreciate a more sedate game, such as stalking and pouncing on wand-like toys. 

#4: Keep your cat out of the garage and basement

You may think the garage or basement is a perfect place to put your cat’s smelly litter box, but these areas can get cold in the winter and make a trip to the bathroom uncomfortable for your pet. Putting their litter box in a more convenient location will ensure your cat does not decide to find other areas to powder their nose such as your living room carpet, and will help keep them warm. 

#5: Do not turn down the heat when you leave your cat at home

You may be tempted to turn your heater off when you leave the house in an effort to save money. However, your cat will suffer when the cold starts to set in. Ensure your heating system is reliable and keep the heat on continuously during the winter months.

#6: Provide numerous warm areas for your cat to nap

Cats enjoy a warm place to sleep and they appreciate multiple areas throughout the house they can use as nap areas. Ideas to make your cat’s bed as comfortable as possible include:

  • Providing blankets — Place unfolded blankets throughout your house so your cat can arrange the bedding to their liking. 
  • Elevating their bed — Heat rises, so your cat will stay warmer if their bed is off the floor. Ensure the bed is on a stable surface so they do not take a tumble when they are getting comfortable.
  • Seeking out sunshine — Place your cat’s bed in a sunny spot in your home so they can take advantage of the warm sunshine.
  • Trying a heated bed — Heated beds are available if your cat needs extra warmth, but ensure the product is safe for your pet. 

#7: Share your bed with your cat

Snuggling with you is likely your cat’s favorite way to stay warm and sharing your bed is pure bliss for them. As long as their presence does not interfere with your sleep, consider letting them bed down with you to share the warmth.

#8: Recognize when your cat is cold

If you see your cat is cold, you can take extra steps to warm them up. Signs your cat is cold include:

  • Seeking lap time — Your cat may be extra-needy but this behavior also may indicate they are chilly and want your body heat to help them warm up. 
  • Sleeping on heated surfaces — If you routinely find your cat sleeping on the radiator or your laptop, they may be looking for a warm place to nap because they are cold.
  • Curling into a ball — Your cat will tuck their paws and tail under their body to preserve heat when they are cold. This position not only makes them look exceptionally cute, but it also keeps them warm.
  • Puffing their coat — Your cat may be feeling chilly if they are hunched close to the ground and puffing out their coat.
  • Cold extremities — Your cat’s nose, tail, ears, and paws will start to feel cold to the touch if their body temperature drops.
  • Shivering — Your cat may shiver to generate heat through muscle activity if they become really cold. 

Watch your cat closely this winter to ensure they are not getting too cold, and take steps to provide areas where they can go to warm themselves. If your cat is experiencing a veterinary emergency, contact our team at Animal Emergency Care so we can get them the care they need. #AECprevents

Sources: 

https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/cat-winter-care/