Cold weather care for cats in Northamptonshire
Typically, your cat’s fur coat will thicken up during winter to protect them against the elements. However, all cats can still suffer when it’s freezing in Northamptonshire. Discover the winter hazards cats face and learn how to keep your cat warm in cold weather by reading Cat & Rabbit Clinic's advice below.
If you have any concerns about your cat or just want to make sure they are coping, a winter health check with one of our Vets is ideal.
Winter cat hazards
Freezing cold weather can bring all kinds of problems for your cat including:
Painful joints and increased stiffness (typically in old/arthritic cats)
Antifreeze poisoning from licking sweet-tasting spillages
Salt & grit irritation on paws
Dehydration if outdoor water sources are frozen or if they get trapped when looking for a place to shelter.
Hypothermia from prolonged periods in the cold
Frostbite on paws & ears – cats with heart disease, diabetes, and conditions that cause a reduction in blood flow to the extremities are at greater risk
Increased risk of road traffic accidents – freezing & wet conditions can cause drivers to skid
Some cats like to curl up under car bonnets or on tyres for heat – not the best idea!
How to tell if your cat is struggling in the cold
Things to look out for include your cat being less alert and unusually lethargic; if they have been outdoors or in an extremely cold place, they could be hypothermic. More obvious signs of feeling the cold include shivering and trembling, which cats do to warm up. Your cat might cry or look for warm places to sit with their paws tucked under for extra heat.
Cold weather care tips for cats
Our Northampton team have pulled together some helpful cold weather care advice to make winter less problematic for your cat:
If you don’t have a cat-flap yet, provide somewhere they can go for shelter outdoors. Put bedding in a shed, greenhouse, or outdoor kennel but don’t leave them out for long periods.
Encourage (don’t force) your cat to stay indoors in extreme cold weather. Cats that want to go outside should be able to, or they may get stressed. Focus on indoor playtime and enrichment to avoid your cat becoming bored and unsettled. Treats may help too.
Get your cat fitted with a microchip. If they do wander off or are involved in an accident, you have a better chance of being reunited with them. Book a cat microchip.
Provide indoor litter trays (1 per cat if you have multiple) for when it’s just too cold to go out!
Help them with grooming to remove dirt and debris from the winter wonderland.
You may need to feed your cat more over the winter months as they will be using up more energy staying warm. Talk to one of our Vets before changing your cat’s diet as even the smallest change can affect their health, and not always in a good way.
Give your cat a ‘once-over’ when they come back indoors to look for any of the ‘cold signs’ above, or anything unusual.
Don’t make your cat wear a ‘winter coat’ as this may restrict their movement, stress them out, and even cause them to overheat.
Book a winter check-up if you have any concerns, or just to make sure your cat is coping this season.