How to Keep Your Cat Safe During Winter?


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As the mercury starts to drop, your feline companion needs more help from you to survive, especially if he is an outdoor cat. Yes, his thick furry coat shields him from the winter chill, but that does not mean he doesn't need a dry, warm, appropriately-sized and well-insulated shelter.

Why does the size of the shelter matter?

A shelter is designed to trap the body heat of your cat so that his interior stays warm. If it is too large, then it will be difficult for your cat to use his body heat to keep the space warm. If you want to pack in excess space, then stuffing it with straw is a good option as it allows your cat to burrow. Alternatively, you can also go for pillowcases stuffed with shredded newspaper and packing peanuts. If the newspaper or straw gets moist or dirty, replace it. And most importantly, do not forget to wash and dry the pillowcases regularly.If it can get really cold where you live and you cannot keep checking up on the shelter regularly, ditch the above insulations and wallpaper the shelter with Mylar instead. The material is an excellent reflector of body heat and it is also safe for your cat to lie around in. But no matter what you do, do not use towels, blankets or folded newspaper as they absorb body heat. Also, stay away from hay as it can irritate your cat's nose and cause an allergic reaction.

What about food and water?

If you can do it without compromising on the security and privacy of the shelter, then place food and water right next to the shelter so that your cat does not have to travel far to get it. One way to protect the food is to make sure you have two shelters facing each other, just a few feet apart. You can then fashion a canopy of sorts between the two with a wide board and place the water and food under the canopy. The container you put the food and water in also makes quite a bit of difference. Go for a thick plastic container and stay away from ceramic and stainless steel. Alternatively, a solar heated bowl is a good option if you want to keep the water and food from freezing.If the shelter is well insulated, then you can put moist or dry food inside them, away from the entryway. Even if the food freezes, your cat's body will defrost it when he hunkers it down. Just make sure that you do not put water inside the shelter. It can be spilled easily and a wet shelter is closer to a refrigerator more than anything else.

How to Tell If Your Cat is Cold?

Aged, sick, and hairless cats and those with thinner coats are more susceptible to cold than other cats. Cats that have undergone surgery are also at greater risk. This is because of the anesthesia administered during surgery, which slows down blood circulation, heart rate, thereby causing low body temperature in cats.

Low body temperatures can lead to hypothermia in cats, which can be serious and even fatal if normal body temperature is not restored in time. The normal body temperature in cats is between 1000 F and 1020 F. Anything below this temperature is considered low body temperature.

Timely treatment can be life-saving for cats that experience low body temperatures. It is therefore crucial to identify the signs of low body temperature and take immediate remedial action.

Here are some key signs of low body temperatures in cats:

Your Cat is Shivering

Cats do not usually shiver. So, spotting shivering should be easy. Shivering should be taken seriously because it is often the initial symptom of hypothermia. Shivering occurs because cats contract their muscles to keep themselves warm.

It is important to bring back your cat's body temperature to a normal level as soon as possible. Otherwise, this condition can soon lead to reduced blood flow and heart rate, and in the worst case, death.

Your Cat is Seeking Hotter Places

The first thing a cold cat does is to seek hot places to keep itself warm. If your cat is lying on top of a radiator or resting next to a fireplace, then he is probably cold.

Your Cat is Running for Shelter

If you see your cat desperately seeking shelter under blankets, beds, curtains, and cushions, then it could be cold. Just like human beings, cats want to warm themselves up when they are cold, which is why they resort to hiding under objects that can give them warmth.

If your cat keeps snuggling in your lap or spends a majority of its time in heated places such as a vent, then your cat is most likely cold.

Some cats may want to snuggle up their masters all the time. If this behavior is normal with your cat, then he may not be cold. But if he is snuggling up to you and seeking hotter places frequently and this is an abnormal behavior for your cat, then warm him up immediately.

Abnormal Changes in the Body

Touch the tips of the nose, ears, and tail, of your cat. If they are cold to the touch, then your cat could be cold. Additionally, if your cat seems lethargic, it is highly likely that your cat is cold.

Left unidentified, these symptoms could lead to more serious symptoms, including shallow breathing and dilated pupils, in which case you'll have to contact your vet immediately.

If you find your cat cold, take preliminary steps such as draping him in a duvet. Protect him from the coldness of the floor with soft, warm cushions. Using a thermal blanket is good. Some preventive measures to protect your cat from cold include giving him high-fat foods and removing mats regularly. A high-fat diet puts a thicker coat on your cat, which provides good protection from cold. A cleaner matt-free fur offers greater protection too.

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