Freezing Temperature Is Too Cold
This misconception both is and isnt true. Freezing temperatures of 32°F or 0°C mean that there is an increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia, but your cat may be uncomfortable even at higher temperatures. It depends on the individual cat. Younger cats may be able to withstand colder temperatures than older cats or cats who are unwell or have arthritis. It will also depend on how much access to food the cat has. They will need more calories if theyre going to be outside in cold weather. It also depends on whether the cat has regular outdoor access, or is an indoor only cat. Cats who go outside are probably more familiar with the area and will know where the best shelter is. Indoor only cats wont have any such knowledge and can be more likely to panic if they find themselves outside.
Caring For Outdoor Cats During Cold Weather
Most of the time, barn cats and outdoor cats capably fend for themselves, scavenging and hunting for their meals and sheltering wherever they can. But regardless of how resourceful these cats are, they can use some help to survive winter months, especially in areas where winter brings brutally cold temperatures and plenty of snow.
Heres what you can do to help outdoor cats.
What Are The Signs That My Cat Is Too Cold
Hypothermia can come on quickly for cats, creating extremely detrimental or possibly fatal results for even the healthiest of felines. You may notice your cat snuggling more in the winter, or curling up in tighter sleeping positions to stay warm. While these are not immediate warning signs, there are many indications that your cat is too cold:
- Feeling cold to the touch, especially around their footpads, ears, and tail
- Weak, lethargic movements
- Slow, shallow breathing
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The Outside Temperature Has Dropped
One reason that your cat gets cold is that the temperature outside has dropped. Many cats, especially feral or wild cats, naturally develop a thicker coat for the chillier winter months.
The winter coat is usually shed in the spring. A winter coat is natures way to protect cats from the cold. However, if the temperature plummets, outdoor cats will still feel very cold as there is only so much protection that the winter coat can provide.;
Keep Your Cat Calm During Firework Season
The autumn and winter brings with it the promise of fireworks and Bonfire Night. Unfortunately, this can be a stressful time for cats as they become distressed at the loud noises and lights. Ensuring they feel safe and happy is particularly important:
- Keep them in after dark, providing them with a litter tray, food and water bowls as well as a place to hide.
- Make sure all doors, windows and cat flaps are closed so that your cat doesnt panic and escape.
- If you know your cat is fearful of fireworks, speak to a vet or qualified behaviourist prior to the start of firework season so you can put an actionable plan in place. Your cats need not suffer if youre prepared.
See also: Fireworks and Bonfire Night
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How Can I Make Sure My Cat Is Safe Outside In The Cold
- Cats keen to venture outdoors might still want to brave the temperatures even during a harsh winter. If your cat has access to the outdoors, provide them with a shelter to ensure they are safe. A sturdy cardboard box covered in plastic sheeting should do the trick
- If youve got a cat flap, youll need to make sure your cat can get easily in and out. A heavy snowfall or icy patch might result in the cat flap becoming stuck, or blocked
- Ensure that your cat has plenty of fresh water indoors, in case any outside sources freeze
- Always make sure your cat comes inside at night, locking the catflap once they are inside. Provide them with warm, comfortable and safe places to sleep
- Regularly check sheds, outhouses and garages to ensure your cat isnt locked inside. Remember, you can use our handy Look before you lock door hanger to remind you
- Make sure your cat is microchipped, and the details are up to date. If they do wander off in search of a warm place, theyll be easily traced back to your address
- If the weather becomes particularly cold, keep your cat indoors. While they might seem bored or restless, pet cats arent used to extreme temperatures and can even develop frostbite or hypothermia. Keep them entertained and exercised with enrichment toys and feeders
See also: Keeping your cat safe outside
Tips For Keeping A Cat Warm
There are a ton of precautionary measures you can take to ensure your feline friend stays as cozy as possible during cold months. When the weather turns cold, please take a few extra minutes to prepare your home to make it extra toasty for your Bengal.;
If you live in a home with tile or hardwood floors, you may notice your cat avoiding sleeping directly on these surfaces in cold weather. Consider putting down some extra rugs or cushions on the floor in rooms where your Bengal cat spends most of its time.;;
Turning your heater on as much as possible will also help your cat stay extra warm, especially during the night when temperatures are at their lowest.;
If running your heater all day is not an affordable option, consider investing in a smaller space heater or getting a heated blanket you can put out for your cat in a secure area.;
You may also consider getting your cat a winter bed. Look for a cozy cat bed with a fluffy thicker wool lining that will keep your cat extra warm in the cold months. While this bed may be too warm for your cat to comfortably sleep in year-round, they will appreciate the extra warmth in the winter.;
Another item you can invest in that will make the winter months more pleasant for both you and your cat is a humidifier. Running the heater in the winter makes the air in your home extra dry, which can be uncomfortable for both you and your cat. A humidifier will help add some moisture back into your home.
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How To Tell If My Cat Has A Cold
We are often taught that if our cat has a cold, “wet” nose she is healthy and if they have a warm, dry nose then they are sick. However, this is not true.
According to Dr. Wolfe on PetCentral:
“Sometimes clients report to me that the cats nose was warm or the cat felt warm or hot, but that is not a reliable indicator of fever cats normal temperature range is 101.0-102.9 Fahrenheit. I consider 103.0 and above to be fever. Also, in summer and under stressful situations a cats temperature may be elevated the only true way to diagnose fever is to take the cats temperature.”
The most common symptoms are:
- Breathing through mouth
- Clogged nasal passages
One condition to watch out for is a URI . URIs are usually caused by bacteria or a virus and sometimes allergies. Make sure you take your cat to the vet if you suspect they may have URI.
Adult cats who have a regular cold can usually wait it out as it will last only a few days and then will be back to normal again!
“Mama, I’m scared!” the vet says, “It’s o.k. little one, I’m here to help you!”
What To Do If Your Cat Isn’t Getting Better
Now, if their cold isn’t going away, start to wheeze, become increasingly weak, and don’t want to eat, take them to the vet right away! They might have pneumonia, which is profoundly serious; they need antibiotics from the vet to get better.
Aww yes… this is pawsome and oh so cozy… think I’ll hang out here for a cat minute!
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Treatment Of Low Body Temperature In Cats
The main treatment goal in a cat with low body temperature is to warm her up and increase her core body temperature. There are two treatment options for increasing the body temperature in a cat: passive external and active internal methods.;
Passive external treatment is used in cats with mild to moderate hypothermia. The feline is warmed from the outside through the use of blankets, heating pads, and heated water bottles. Heating pads and heated water bottles will be covered by protective blankets to prevent burns to the cats skin. A hair dryer should NEVER be used to restore a cats core body temperature.;
Active internal treatment is used in severe cases of hypothermia, as the veterinarian will warm the feline from the inside out. Intravenous fluids and heat ventilation are commonly used during active internal treatments, but your veterinarian may choose one or the other.;
How To Take A Cats Temperature In The Ear
Most cats arent too comfortable with having their temperature taken. Taking their temperature should be a two-person job. One person should hold the cat in their lap. The other should insert the thermometer lightly into the horizontal ear canal. Hold the thermometer at a 90-degree angle with your cats head. If your cats body temperature is high, try to cool them down and reach out to your veterinary provider.
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Help Your Cat With Grooming
Cats are usually fastidious about grooming themselves, but cats with colds may need your help with hard-to-reach areas. Dr. Carol Osborne,;an integrative veterinarian and authority in traditional and alternative veterinary medicine, suggests using a clean, warm, damp washcloth to clean their nasal passages and eyes.
Gently massage your kittys face with a washcloth to clean out his mouth and nose. You can also use an infants bulb syringe to wash mucus out of your cats nose, she says. If you use the syringe, be gentle and dont force it on your cat if hes uncomfortable.
Is My House Too Cold For My Cat
Your feline friend will not walk up to you and say Please turn on the heater human.
But he will start showing signs that indicate he is trying to keep warm.
Signs that your cat finds your house chilly include;
- Cold ears and tail. This means your feline is finding it hard to regulate body temperature
- Lying in a catloaf position with the paws tightly tucked underneath the belly. Some cats will also try and make their bodies small as possible. It is their way of preserving energy to keep warm.
- Finding warm places in the house to sleep. This can be a pile of clothes, near the fireplace or heater, behind pillows, or on your chest.
- Not moving around much. Because the floor and air feels too cold to do anything
When you notice these behavioral changes, you must attend to your cat immediately.
Here is what you can do to prevent hypothermia in your cat;
- Limit your cats movement outside. It is best if your cat stays indoors during winter
- Ensure your cats coat is dry. A wet coat in the winter coat is a recipe for hypothermia
- Provide your cat with warm bedding. A blanket is perfect for Whiskers to snuggle into. You might want to invest in a cat winter coat as well.
- Adjust your heater to suit your cats temperature needs. As we said, a room that is warm enough for you is warm enough for your feline friend. But continue monitoring your cats behavior, especially if it is a shorthair or hairless breed.
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How Can You Tell That A Cat Is Cold
When temperatures drop sharply, the first symptoms that show that a cat is really feeling the cold are usually:
- loss of appetite
- changes in behavior: weakness, isolation, lack of energy
When their body temperature drops below 96° F, symptoms of hypothermia in cats may appear. Furthermore, this includes complex symptoms that usually advance rapidly and the cats health will deteriorate rapidly.
The main signs of hypothermia in catsare:
- blank stare
Myth #5: Feral Cats Cant Be Helped
Photo Credit: Jean van der Sluijs via Flickr
The Myth: Since feral cats wont come indoors during cold weather, there is no way that they can be helped.
The Truth: It may be true that you cant provide feral cats with some of the luxuries that you can provide for your indoor cat, but there are things you can do to help them. Feral cat shelters can be made simply and inexpensively with rubber totes, styrofoam, and straw. Alley Cat Allies has free instructions and tips for making shelters. These give feral cats clean, dry places to seek shelter in cold weather. They can even use the cats own body heat to keep the shelter at a livable temperature.
Providing food and fresh water for these cats can help them too! Remember to change these often as water can freeze in cold weather. Heated/insulated bowls can be purchased to help keep water in its liquid form too.
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Do Cats Get Seasonal Depression
We can’t tell exactly what’s going on with our cats emotionally, but you may notice your cat is less engaged, sleeping more, and even looking a bit sad in the winter. Maybe they’re down because they have less time to bask in the sun. Or perhaps they’re responding to our own winter blues. Cats can be very in tune with our emotional states and may reflect back your feelings of restlessness or listlessness in the winter.
There are lots of ways to help keep your cat happy and engaged during the colder months. For instance, buy them a new toy or sprinkle a little catnip on an old favorite toy to renew their interest in it. Teach them a new trick like waving, shaking hands, or lying down. It can take patience and effort to train a cat, but it can be a fun bonding experience that’s worth the time.
Another idea is to set up a bird feeder near a window for your cat’s entertainment. Add a sturdy perch to the windowsill where your cat can sit comfortably and watch the birds come and go. Make sure the window is secure so your cat can’t harm the birds or get hurt trying.
Cats can suffer from mental conditions, like depression and anxiety. Find out what you can do to look out for your cat’s mental health.
Recovery Of Low Body Temperature In Cats
Low body temperature in cats can have a positive result if immediate treatment is sought by the pet owner. The longer a cat remains hypothermic, the greater the chance for permanent tissue damage to result as the blood flow was slowed for that length of time. Your veterinarian may ask to hospitalize the cat for a couple of days or for you to keep the cat isolated to the indoors to monitor her condition.;
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Low Body Temperature Average Cost
From 588 quotes ranging from $200 – $6,000
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Top 9 Cat Winter Safety Tips
These tips can help you keep your cat happy and safe during the winter.
Myth #3: The Garage Is Fine In Cold Weather
Photo Credit: Clara S. via Flickr
The Myth: My cat will be fine if I leave him/her in the garage overnight when it is cold outside.
The Truth: Your garage may hold some hidden dangers for your cat. Antifreeze being stored in the garage or leaking from a car is toxic to a cat if ingested. Unfortunately, antifreeze is an attractive treat to many animals and even if they dont drink it directly, they may lick it off of their paws or fur as a part of grooming. Also, chemicals used to melt ice can be toxic to cats. These may be stored in your garage or tracked in by people or cars.
Be sure to give your cars engine a few good knocks before starting it in the morning. If a cat gets cold overnight, he/she may seek shelter in the cars engine or wheel coverings. It can be pretty warm in those areas!
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