Image Credit -Wikimedia.org/
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
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
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
and 1020 F.
Anything below this temperature is considered low body
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
Your Cat is Seeking Hotter
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
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
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
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
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
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.