Not Just Dangerous for Humans: Cold Weather Can Be Fatal for Your Cat

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.22 - 2023 10:13 AM CET

There are 5 tips you should follow during winter.

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Many believe that cats can easily survive outdoors in all kinds of weather, but this is not necessarily the case.

Even though many cats like to go out in the cold, snow, and darkness, it can be dangerous and in some cases even life-threatening.

Hypothermia, urinary tract infections, and frostbite on paws, tails, and ears are the most common injuries seen in cats during winter.

It's okay to let your cat out in winter, even in sub-zero temperatures. However, cat owners should keep an extra close eye on their furry friend during the winter months.

If you have let your cat out, it's important that it can find shelter from snow, rain, and wind to avoid frostbite.

According to Agria Animal Insurance, Cats that don't have the opportunity to come in and warm up regularly can suffer frostbite on their ears, tail tips, and paws. Therefore, you should not leave your cat outside all day without the possibility of coming in, while you are at work, or overnight.

Young or sick cats are especially vulnerable

Many cats have thin fur, and the wet winter weather is especially dangerous for them as they struggle to generate enough body heat to dry their fur.

Sick cats with conditions like diabetes, kidney diseases, or weak hearts are particularly vulnerable in winter, as they struggle to regulate their body temperature.

The same problem affects kittens and young cats, making them more vulnerable.

Create a cozy spot in the garage

If the cat doesn't have a cat flap, create a warm place outside the house.

For example, place a basket with blankets or a styrofoam box with straw in the carport or a shed. This gives the cat a warm place to stay while waiting to be let in.

The basket should be sheltered and not placed directly on the ground, but a little higher, for example, on a pallet or box.

Do not rub the cat warm

If your cat has been outside in frosty weather for a long time, and you suspect it has frostbite, do not rub the affected body parts.

The cat should warm up at its own pace at room temperature - preferably under a blanket. Very young cats can be warmed by holding them under your blouse.

Contact the vet if the cat's general condition is affected.

Reflective collars can save lives

Everyone who has an outdoor cat should consider giving the cat a good reflective collar so it can be seen in the dark.

Remember to use a model with a so-called quick-release buckle, so the cat can get loose if the collar gets caught in a branch or something.

You don't need to have a name tag on the collar, but you can instead write your name and phone number on the collar.

Reflective collars can be purchased at most pet stores and veterinary clinics.

5 winter tips for cat owners

It doesn't have to be hard frost and snow before a cat can freeze. Even cats with a lot of fur can feel the cold if they get wet or are outside for a long time.

Therefore, as a cat owner, you should always be aware of these precautions. This way, winter can be safe and good for both the cat and the cat owner.

  • Be careful about letting the cat out when it's raining, windy, or snowing.

  • Check ears, paws, nose, and tail tip for frostbite.

  • Lubricate the cat flap - so you are sure that the cat can come in when you are not at home.

  • Create a cozy outdoor spot for the cat.

  • Possibly give food with extra calories in winter if your cat is outside a lot - ask your vet for advice.