Winter is rapidly approaching, whether we like it or not! For us humans, it's easy to shut ourselves indoors, turn the heating up and bundle ourselves under blankets in our best attempts to keep ourselves warm and safe from the biting winds outdoors. While we can do our best to prevent colds and illness as well as keep ourselves warm, our feline friends cannot. So, if you have a kitty companion, make sure you do your best to keep them safe in the cold this winter using these simple tips.
Be aware of your cat's coat
Most long haired cats such as Maine Coon cats have thick, fluffy coats of fur which offer them good protection from the cold. Likewise, most shorthaired breeds have thick enough hair to keep them warm during winter. However, breeds such as Siamese cats, with their very short fur, or the hairless Sphynx cat, will benefit from an added layer. In this case, we'd recommend putting a jumper on your kitty. There's a huge range of options out there, from soft jersey to thick wool, try and find one that is purr-fect for your cat.
Keeping your kitty warm
Undoubtedly, one of the easiest ways to protect your cat is to keep them indoors as much as possible, and usually, given the colder conditions, most will prefer the comforts of being inside. However, cats do love to wander, so the best thing you can do is allow their freedom whilst ensuring your home is easy for them to re-enter freely. A cat flap is usually the easiest way to achieve this as it lets minimal chills into the house for us humans compared to an open door or window. If your cat sleeps inside, give them plenty of cosy bedding and blankets, preferably near a radiator, so that they can stay warm and safe. You can even get special cat beds that attach to the radiator for maximum warmth!
Be mindful of frostbite
Whilst it is uncommon, frostbite in cats can happen. If your cat is regularly outdoors, be sure to check them over regularly for any signs of illness. Frostbite tends to affect the tips of the ears, paws and tail, so be sure to check these areas. If there is frost, ice or snow outside, consider keeping your cat indoors. If this isn’t possible, keep a close eye on how long your cat is exposed to icy conditions.
Protect your cat from poisoning
Cats often lick objects around them as a method of exploring the world around them and sadly this can lead to antifreeze poisoning. Antifreeze can leak from cars and is toxic to cats if ingested. The substance tastes sweet to cats so they are often drawn to it. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, twitching muscles and increased urination. If you are worried your cat has suffered antifreeze poisoning, you must go to the vets as soon as possible.
Look out for hypothermia
Hypothermia can happen, no matter how careful we are. It is important to watch for tell-tale signs of hypothermia such as shivering, weakness, muscle stiffness, low blood pressure and short and shallow breathing. Again, seek advice from your vet as soon as possible. Monitoring the amount of time your cat is spending outdoors is also a good idea to try and avoid any nasty accidents.
Keep in touch with your vets
Cat flu is more common during winter months so it’s vital that your cat's vaccines are up to date. Book an appointment with your vet and make sure he or she gives your cat a thorough check for any signs of illness and let you know if any vaccinations have been missed.
We hope you found these tips helpful for keeping your kitty safe and sound these coming winter months. What are your top tips for winter? Let us know in the comments below!