Winter is approaching rapidly and you need to protect your cat from the inconveniences caused by the snow and cold weather. Since they were domesticated and began spending their time inside our houses – and inside our hearts -, cats became sensitive to weather changes. Hypothermia and frostbites may occur if you don’t take proper care of your cat in the wintertime. Let’s see what we can do to prevent that and other difficulties that they might encounter during those cold snowy days.
Since the chilly days of autumn are sneaking in, you should start giving your cat some oils. This will prepare her coat for the cold temperatures of the winter. Cats are suckers for any fish oil, so you can start adding it to her daily meals. You can try canola oil, soybean oil or even butter. They’re all very useful. Furthermore, vitamins E and B are excellent for protecting their tissues, so you can try mixing those with the oils and making a great frost-be-gone combination. All the other cats will envy her thick and shiny coat. Be sure to consult a veterinarian before giving her the vitamins, though. He will give you a proper dosage in order to keep her meals balanced. Another thing to make sure of is that your cat’s fur is properly groomed during the winter. The grooming will ensure a suitable protection against cold temperatures.
The safest thing to do for preventing the winter troubles is to keep the cat inside the house. It seems impossible to keep a cat trapped in the house since she has so many escape routes; we all know that. But if you offer her all the conditions – food, water, a nice litter box and plenty of hiding places, she might not want to go out in the cold snow because she has everything she needs inside the house.
If you’ve managed to convince her to spend the winter inside the house, keep an eye on the fireplace - if you have one. The fireplace is a nice piece of heating device and there’s nothing like having a cup of hot chocolate in front of the burning fire on a cold winter night. But that’s not the kind of eye-keeping we were talking about. Cats love the heat and will get as close as possible to a heat source. Their definition of happiness is a warm butt, so... The fireplace is a very dangerous heat source for their fluffy butt. That’s one of the reasons why you should keep it screened or at least extremely well supervised.
Heavy snowfall may cause roadblocks, so you will need to make sure you have enough supplies for everyone in the house. Assuming your cat has decided to stay in the house, this includes her provisions too. She doesn’t need a lot of things; food, water, litter, and any medication she might be taking are just about all the basic stuff a cat needs to survive. If you consulted with her and decided she will spend the winter outside, don’t use a metal bowl for water, as her tongue may accidentally stick to it. Also, make sure her water is not frozen. Having frozen water in her bowl could cause her to drink from other sources that might not be very clean.
Even if your cat likes to spend her time outside regardless of the atmospheric conditions, a kitten or an old arthritic cat will have trouble dealing with the cold temperatures and the snow. Even a pregnant cat is at risk in the winter time, so you will need to pay close attention if this is your cat’s case. Try to keep her inside the house as much as possible, especially if the temperatures drop below freezing level.
During the cold weather, lots of outdoor cats sleep under the hood of a car or on the wheel. Simply because it feels warm and it protects them from the wind and snow. This is a very risky habit and it is closely related to an even riskier one: antifreeze ingestion. The antifreeze has a sweet taste and this makes them want to lick it. Unfortunately, it can be lethal; so you should keep your cat from coming into contact with it. You could prevent these accidents by making sure your cat stays inside during the harsh winter days.
But if she’s a stubborn outdoor cat, provide a dry and windproof place to rest. An insulated house placed above ground level is a very good idea. Fill it with straw instead of towels or blankets. Her bed may look like a manger, but straw maintains a constant temperature. On the other hand, the fabric gets cold fast and takes longer to warm up. Furthermore, remember to bang the hood of your car loudly a few times before starting the engine to avoid any accidents. And advise your neighbors to do the same.
During the cold weather, cats – just like us - need to ingest more calories to transform them into body heat. If you have an outdoor cat, you will need to make sure she eats enough food – especially protein - in order to maintain a constant body temperature. Besides being picky about the kind of food they eat, cats are quite intuitive when it comes to establishing the right amount of food; unlike dogs, who eat until they puke. So you can leave her with plenty of food and trust that she’ll eat as much as she needs to get her through the cold temperatures of winter.
By now you should know that helping your cat get through the winter is not a complicated job. You just need to pay attention to a few details during the freezing period. As always, consult with your cat before taking any decisions for her. You know how much they hate that!
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