Cats

Keeping cats safe and warm in cold weather

Allie Simpson

Let’s be honest – you can’t tell a cat what to do. This is all well and good, but what happens when your adventurous feline demands to go outside during those cold winter months? And what about making sure your indoor cat is also content? It’s completely understandable to worry about their comfort, so here’s some tips for keeping your cat safe and warm in cold weather.

 

A picture of a tuxedo cat sat in a snowy field with trees in the background

How to protect outdoor cats in cold weather

Should your outdoor cat insist on braving the cold temperatures to continue their normal escapades, here’s some ideas to help keep them safe:

  1. Check their microchip is up to date. If they decide to wander off somewhere other than home for a bit of warmth, you want to be able to find them again.
  2. Make sure they always have access to fresh water. As the temperature drops, their outdoor water bowl could freeze over, so check regularly and remove any ice.
  3. Set up a shelter where they can go to be warm and dry. There are plenty of options online, including insulated and self-heating models.
  4. Look under your car. Cats sometimes sit under wheel arches and car bonnets to keep warm, so make sure they’re not using these spots as radiators before driving off.
  5. Check sheds and garages before locking up. Similar to the car, cats may take a wander into these areas for warmth, so check you’re not locking them in at night.
  6. Encourage your cat to spend the night inside the house. They still get to enjoy their adventures during the day, and you can be confident they’re safe and warm overnight.
  7. Keep an eye on the cat flap. You don’t want to accidentally lock them out, especially if it gets so cold during the day that they want to come back inside.
  8. Dry them off when they come home. They may have gotten wet from rain or snow, so gently patting them down with a towel will help get them back to their fluffy self.
  9. Clean off any road grit or salt and remove ice or snow. Licking salt grit could make your cat unwell, while compacted ice between toes may be painful.

 

> Can cats be outside in cold weather?

Yes, cats can be outside in cold weather, but this really depends on each individual feline. Cats are very self-sufficient and have a lot of natural protection against most UK elements. Their skin (which is made up of four layers) and coat keep them comfortable throughout the year.

But when conditions do get more extreme (we’re talking heavy snow, hail, and strong winds) you’ll need to be careful, particularly when temperatures drop below seven degrees celsius. You also know your own cat and their needs, such as whether they’re older or have conditions. Use common sense and keep them indoors if you’re in any doubt of their safety.

 

> Can cats get sick from cold weather?

It’s fairly uncommon for cats to get sick from cold weather, but there is a risk of your feline getting frostbite and hypothermia. These cold weather illnesses happen when a cat doesn’t have access to food or shelter.

Help keep your kitty safe by making sure they have constant access to the indoors whenever they need to warm up. You could install a cat flat (if you haven’t got one already) and invest in an outdoor cat house or cat kennel.

 

A picture of a black, white and tan cat sat on a windowsill looking out of the window at a snow landscape

Indoor cats and cold weather

Although they won’t be directly exposed to the elements, there are still things to be aware of with indoor cats and cold weather:

  • The temperature of your radiators. If your cat likes to chill out on windowsills, they could accidentally burn themselves if your central heating is turned up too high.
  • Lighting the fireplace. Many cats love a good snooze next to a fire, so think about investing in a screen to stop them from getting too close.
  • The nights getting colder. If the forecast shows a drop in temperature, check your cat still has plenty of warmth while they sleep.

 

> Creating a warm winter spot for indoor cats

Ah, it’s nice to have somewhere to relax and snuggle up, isn’t it? Setting up a cosy area for your feline may ease their grumpiness at not being able to go outside on some days.

  • Add plenty of blankets for comfort.
  • Look at getting an igloo style bed so your cat is in an enclosed space.
  • Consider elevating the area for extra warmth.
  • Add in a plush toy or two for that final soothing touch.

 

Then again, it’s not just about keeping them warm – your cat also needs lots of mental and physical stimulation. If your normally active explorer has to be kept inside during a particularly cold spell, remember to use toys and activities for stimulation. There’s lots of fun cat presents ideas to occupy them while they wait to return to the great outdoors.

During the winter months, your indoor cat will benefit from a space in the house that doesn’t rely on artificial heat. This gives them an area that is their own for them to lounge and stay warm. You can buy an indoor cat house, or create an area out of blankets or towels for them to visit at their leisure.

 

Keep your cat protected throughout winter and beyond with flexible cat insurance from Petsure.

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