Even in mild climates, your cat could be at risk outside in the winter. Don't be fooled by thinking that their fur will keep them warm in any season, as they lack the metabolism, body-fat, and coat to keep them warm and comfortable when the temperature dips. Help your cat stay happy and healthy this winter with some cold-weather tips offered by the professionals that offer pet boarding and care.
It is always safer to prepare your cats to become indoor cats in the wintertime. Make sure that they have warm, dry bedding, and check out some of the cool electric-heated beds available for your feline. Position your cat's bed, toys, and dishes in areas of the home that receive natural light and heat from the sun; also, never confine a cat to a basement or garage as it is simply too damp and cool for them to be comfortable during winter.
There are some inherent risks when cats and cars come together, particularly during chilly months. Tap the hood of your car before getting in, slam the door, and even honk the horn before starting it up; this gives any cats that may have sought refuge in or under your vehicle a chance to escape. Make it a habit of peeking underneath your car, giving the cats time to wake-up and move before you turn the ignition.
Keeping your cat inside during winter months doesn't just protect them from the cold. It also prevents the risk of your pet becoming injured, lost, and even stolen. Furthermore, it keeps them out of harm's way in rural areas where hungry predators, like coyotes, could be lurking.
Keep Them Dry
One of the most important winter safety tips for your cat is to keep them dry, especially if you can't keep them indoors. When a cat's coat becomes damp, it loses its insulation, making your cat even more vulnerable to the cold. Short-haired cats are particularly at-risk, and owners should know that your cat's nose, toes, and ears are especially susceptible to frostbite.
If your cat does go outside in the winter, or if you spot feral cats in your neighborhood, set up a cat shelter in the garage, under a carport, or near the porch. Use a wood or cardboard box lined with blankets or towels, and insulate the sides well with foam board, newspapers, cardboard, or old clothing items; also, make sure that there is plenty of food and water nearby, out of the way of any drafts. This will provide a bit of protection during extreme conditions, but make sure to check it regularly to ensure the bedding isn't wet or frozen.
Light Them Up
Another way to keep your cat healthy and happy in the winter is to make sure that you can see them during this darker, drearier time of year. Use reflective collars, LED-lighted tags, and blinkers on leashes so that your cat is visible when they are roaming the neighborhood - especially at night.
Watch for Frostbite
If your cat does become exposed to the elements and you think they have frostbite, call your vet immediately. In the interim, apply not-too-hot water to the area that is affected and handle your cat gingerly. Don't ever use heated blankets or pads as these can cause a nasty burn, and don't massage or rub the area, which can create pain and permanent injury.
Reach out to Longview Boarding & Grooming Ltd. for services, and for overnight boarding during the winter, or any time of the year! Implement the same tactics as professional pet boarders do, and keep your cat happy and healthy all winter long.