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Meeting your cat's needs in winter

Changing weather means changing needs for your cat, especially during the winter. If you keep your cat indoors (or keep her in just for the winter) she won't be affected by the drop in temperature or the hazards of cold weather. But there are still a few things you can do to give your cat a little extra help.

Indoors

  • If she normally sleeps on the floor, consider moving her bed somewhere higher to avoid drafts
  • If you have an older cat, or if your cat has arthritis, the cold weather may make her joints stiff and uncomfortable. She may find jumping difficult, so you'll need to help her find ways of getting to her favorite sleeping places, especially if they're high up. Consider moving a chair or other piece of furniture to make a 'ladder' so she won't have to jump as high

Outdoors

  • Outdoor cats should be encouraged to keep spending time outdoors to get used to the changing weather. The dropping temperature will encourage your cat’s body to adapt by growing a thicker coat and building up winter immunities
  • If your cat has an outdoor shelter, raise it off the ground. Frozen earth will draw out more heat from the shelter than moving air
  • Turn the entrance away from the wind and consider laying down extra-bedding. Be careful to avoid anything that will retain moisture and freeze or become moldy

Cars and Garages

  • If your cat has access to your garage or car be careful when starting it up. Cats will sometimes sleep on top of the engines of parked cars because they provide shelter from the wind and are sometimes still warm
  • Never leave your cat unattended in the car in the winter. The cold weather can quickly turn the inside of a car into a refrigerator

Feeding time

  • If you leave cat food outside for your cat, check it a couple times a day to make sure it's not frozen
  • It is particularly important that your cat has unfrozen water. If she can't get clean water she could easily drink from sources contaminated by household cleaners, road-salt and anti-freeze. Anti-freeze is especially attractive to cats and extremely dangerous, so makes sure to clean up any spills on your driveway