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08.11.2018

Winter Cat Care


Black cat in the snow

As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, it is important to be mindful of our feline friends. To help, we have put together our top tips to Winter Cat Care to ensure we take appropriate precautions to keep our cats happy and healthy this winter.

Ensure they have access to warmth

If you don’t have a cat flap, be thoughtful about when you are shutting your cat outside; temperatures can fall pretty low in winter, leaving outdoor water sources frozen and your feline friend struggling to keep warm. Ideally let them enjoy the warmth of the house; give them options of beds near radiators and heat sources to help them keep warm. Provision of somewhere warm is even more important in elderly cats, who may struggle more to maintain their body temperature due to concurrent diseases. If you do have a cat flap, regularly check that it is moving freely and has not frozen shut.

If your cat elects to sleep in a conservatory or shed, then provide plenty of blankets and cosy beds, maybe even heat pads, to help keep them warm; and don’t forget to regularly check that their water has not frozen. Leave doors to outbuildings/ sheds wedges open, so that cats do not become trapped inside.

Provide a litter tray

Being shut inside, freezing temperatures outside or stiff joints may prevent your cat from venturing outdoors to their normal toileting place. Rather than finding accidents in the house, or risking them developing stress-induced cystitis, provide them with indoor litter trays so they can toilet as and when they need to.

Check their feet

If your cat has been out in the snow or on gritted roads, check their feet regularly as snow and grit can get compacted between their pads, which can become painful and troublesome if left in situ.


Keep them in after dark

Short winter days, mean long hours of darkness. It is sensible to keep your cat in after dark to reduce the risk of injuries from road traffic accidents. If you do not feel that this is a feasible option for your miaowing mate, then try and find a reflective, quick release, cat collar, to increase their chance of being seen.

Indoor stimulation

To minimise boredom, when our purring pals are spending more time shut inside, give them plenty of opportunity to play. Toys, scratching posts and time spent actively playing with them can help to keep them active and occupied.

Check bonnets and bonfires for cats

Before driving off in the morning, check there are no cats hiding under your car. Some cats have even been known to crawl under the bonnet when warm, so give it a bang to check there are no cats hiding before driving off.

If you’re planning on lighting a bonfire, make some noise and rustle up the leaves before lighting the fire to give any hiding creatures a chance to escape. You may save a few hedgehogs in the process too!

 

Cat playing with decorations


Be wary of nearby celebrations

Keep an eye out for local events such as firework displays and parties. It would be sensible to keep your cat inside on these evenings, so they do not get scared away by all the people or the fireworks themselves. See our last post on pets and fireworks for more help on how to look after your cat during firework season.

If you are hosting the party, ensure your cat has somewhere to hide away from the noise and visitors.

Tidy away tinsel and ribbons

Throw away string which has been used in cooking, and tidy away tinsel and ribbons. These long items can cause serious problems in the intestines if ingested.

Be cautious giving rich food as treats

A morsel of turkey or salmon may be fine as a treat, but don’t overdo it. Sudden, large amounts of rich food can cause digestive upsets which are not pleasant for you or your cat.

Avoid using Anti-freeze 

Ethylene glycol, present in anti-freeze, is extremely toxic to cats. Anti-freeze can be found in screen-wash, defrosting sprays and some garden water feature additives. Cats seem to like the sweet taste, but even at small doses ingestion can be fatal. It is best not to use these products at all around cats. However, if their use is deemed essential (e.g. screen wash) then take extra care when filling up to avoid spillages.

Seek veterinary attention immediately if you suspect your cat may have come into contact with anti-freeze.


Ensure their microchip is up to date

Cold weather, fireworks and large gatherings of people may encourage your cat to wander further afield. Whilst we hope it won’t be required, it is a good idea to get their microchip checked as we go into winter, to ensure you would be able to be reunited should they end up getting lost.

 

Cat in the snow


Winter treatment considerations

It is well known that arthritis can be exacerbated by cold weather. If you notice your cat becoming stiffer this winter, it would be prudent to make a trip to the vets. They may need some support in the form of joint supplements or perhaps a stronger pain relief.

Don’t be fooled that in winter it’s ok to stop preventative treatments such as flea control. Yes, the weather outside may be frightful… but a heated house creates a perfect environment in which fleas can breed. Keep on top of regular house and pet flea prevention as advised by your vet.

 


We hope you and your feline friends have a lovely winter and take into consideration our top tips, to ensure a healthy, happy festive period!