Tips on Caring for Cats During the Winter Months
Winter has arrived and for many cat owners, colder temperatures, unpredictable bad weather and longer, darker nights have already started to have an impact on the care you provide your kitty. It is safe to say that the winter months are definitely not a favorite of our domestic pets, and in particular cats that like to spend a great deal of their time roaming their neighborhood.
Winter also presents a variety of hazards – many of which you may not be aware of if you haven’t owned a feline before. To help you keep your kitty safe this season, here are our top tips for caring for your cat during the winter months.
Make sure your cat can get inside
Your furry feline might decide that she prefers to spend time indoors if it is particularly cold, but if she does venture out, it is essential that she can get back into your home even if you aren’t in. If you don’t have a cat flap yet, get one installed pronto. If you are worried about local neighborhood animals getting it, rest assured that you can purchase some styles that only open when they detect a signal triggered by a microchip inserted in a key fob on your cat’s collar.
Dry her and check her paws when she comes inside
If it is icy or snowy outside, it is crucial that you dry her off and check her paws when she first comes in. This is especially true for long-haired breeds as their coats can trap cold moisture that makes them more likely to suffer from hypothermia or frostbite. Long-haired cats are also prone to snow and ice compacting between their toes and turning into ice balls – something which can be very painful for your furbaby to experience.
Ensure her microchip is up to date
Cats that roam outdoors when it is cold can easily be persuaded to curl up and snooze in any warm spaces that they find, and this can make them more likely to get lost. Treacherously slippery ground, fences and other climbing areas also put your kitty at increased risk of an accident or injury. By making sure her microchip is up to date, you will substantially increase the likelihood that she will be returned to you should she become lost or hurt and then found.
Keep antifreeze locked away and clear up spills immediately
During the winter months many of us put antifreeze, also known as ethylene glycol, into our vehicles to prevent parts of the engine containing liquid from freezing. It is also often used in garden water features to stop them from freezing over. Unfortunately, the sickly-sweet smell and taste of this chemical can be very alluring to cats and if your feline ingests even a little, she can quickly become seriously unwell. In some cases, antifreeze consumption can prove deadly to animals, so make sure your stores of it are inaccessible and that you clear up any spills as soon as you notice them.
Check the hood of your car before driving off
Cats are well known for crawling under the hood of cars that have recently been driven so that they can enjoy the warmth from the engine. Unfortunately, they are especially good at hiding away – something that could prove deadly if you try to move off with them still under the hood. Make sure you check your vehicle for furry stowaways before your drive off!
Keep her in as much as possible
If the temperatures drop really low or the weather becomes concerning, the best thing that you can do is to keep your cat indoors. This is the safest place for her to ride out the bad weather. Just remember to keep her entertained with some toys and treats so that she doesn’t become too bored.
Need more advice and support on the best way to care for your cat this winter? Please contact our offices where our dedicated veterinary team will be delighted to provide you with the guidance you need to keep your kitty safe this season.