It’s that time of the year where many areas see temperatures dipping below the freezing making it pretty cold outside and sometimes inside as well. Keeping cats warm can be difficult in the cold due to age or breed, but there are some simple things you can do to ensure your kitty stays warm and cozy all winter long!
Avoid the Cold Outdoors
If it is below freezing, it’s not a good idea to take your cat out in the cold if they don’t have to be out there. The only reason to take your kitty out into the cold is for a vet visit. If you are concerned about them getting sunlight, opt for a window perch in a sunny window for the chilly months. While cats who have longer and thicker fur can handle colder temps, their ears, paws, and eyes are not protected enough to endure long periods outdoors when it is below freezing.
Put a Hoodie or Sweater on Your Kitty
For cats who are cold around the house or must go outside, buying a fleece pet hoodie or sweater is a great option to keep them warm. Most cats adjust to wearing them even if they have never worn pet clothing before. Make sure to size slightly up so they are longer and have more wiggle room. The average cat will fit a size SMALL in dog branded sweaters and hoodies. If your cat is 15 to 25 pounds, opt for a MEDIUM size one. Just remember to NEVER leave a sweater or hoodie on your cat when you are not there to supervise. Cats are a lot more active than dogs and risk injury if they are not accustomed to wearing clothing. This is the best method for keeping cats warm.
Keep Fleece Throws Around
Throw blankets aren’t just enjoyed by us when we want to snuggle up on the sofa with a book, cats enjoy them too! Keeping a few extras around where your cat enjoys laying will be appreciated. It is best to make a nest-like shape so they can snuggle upright in the middle and be surrounded by soft warmth. Do not use electric heating blankets with cats. Because many cats like to knead blankets, this can be disastrous.
Use a Heating Pad
Electric heating pads make a great option your cat may enjoy when it is especially cold outside. I recommend having one on hand for senior cats to nap on. You will want to only ever use the low setting and never allow them to use it unsupervised. A great place to keep one would be on the sofa or bed when you will be sitting nearby. Remember to unplug it when it’s not being used. Most come with an auto-off switch after one hour but you can never be too careful. If your cat has short or thin fur, be sure to use a towel as a layer between the pad and your kitty to prevent areas from getting too warm. For when you are unable to watch over your cat or need to run out, self-heating pet pads are a great alternative.
Warm Food Up
This is something you can do all year round to encourage eating but it is especially appreciated in the winter, especially by older cats. The easiest way to warm up the food is to add a bit of hot water to the wet food they enjoy and mix it together before serving. It also helps to allow their bowl or plate to sit under hot water for 60 seconds to keep everything nice and warm. It is best to only use glass or ceramic as plastic bowls can leach chemicals more easily into food that is warm. Adding water increases risks of bacteria forming so be sure to discard any remaining food after an hour or two, or put the leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for later use. Make sure to use it within 48 hours!