How to Prepare Your Cat for the Cold, Hard, Winter

snowy weather is not good for cats unprepared for it

Fall officially began just a few days ago, and that means it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare your cat for winter. Why do we do this to ourselves, you’re asking? Well, it’s always better to be prepared than it is to allow things to sneak up on you without warning. Additionally, winter always seems to show up earlier than planned – much to the annoyance of everyone who would rather spring and summer and fall show up early and winter take a hike and show up late and leave early, but whatever.

We plan ahead because we want to be careful that our pets are cared for when the temperature begins to drop. Cat owners understand that their cats have to be protected in the winter, and our job is to do just that. Our job is to ensure that we are able to care for our cats, keep them safe and prepare them for the harsh drop in temps. Cats are just as likely as the rest of us to develop colds and other health issues, and it’s up to us to ensure that this does not happen to our cats. That’s why we prep for winter so early. If you aren’t doing it already, here’s how you can begin to prepare your cat for the harsh winter months that plague so many of you.

Start Clothes Shopping

One of the things that you might not do for your cat is provide him or her with the appropriate clothing for this time of year. Before you scoff and say that you’re not dressing your cat up for winter, just hear me out. If your cat is used to spending time outside, you need to do just that. Your cat’s paws can freeze very quickly and very easily and you might not even be aware of this. For example, did you know it takes only moments for your cat’s paws to freeze when the temperature is below freezing? If your cat needs to be outside during the day for any reason, little boots and things of that nature are completely necessary.

Keep the Temperature Inside Comfortable

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that our cats need the air in the house comfortable, too. We like to think that we can keep the heat down while we’re gone so that we don’t use too much electricity and run up the bill. The truth is that we have to be very careful about the fact that our cats are home and we need to keep them comfortable, too. We like to keep our heat down when we are not home so that we can keep utilities down, but we cannot keep it down too much for fear that our cat will end up sick. Keep it around 68-72 and you should be good to go as far as your cat is concerned.

Keep the Windows Closed

Cats love the windows, but you cannot leave them open all day and all night long when the temps drop significantly. It might leave a nice cool feeling in your house just propped open a bit, but your cat could become very sick and very cold sitting on a windowsill experiencing temperatures at or below freezing. Your cat can spend time sitting in the window during the day when it’s warm outside and he or she does not have to worry about the temperature being quite so cold and dangerous.

Transition Outdoor Cats Inside

It takes some time to do this, but it’s important. One of the easiest ways to do this is to start leaving doors and windows open so that the cat can get into the house when need be. Do this in the evenings and mornings, especially, so that cats have the opportunity to keep themselves warm as temperatures drop. Your cat might not take to this right away, but give him or her time and he or she will learn to come in when it is cold so that illness is not something that will happen.

Move Food and Water Dishes

Do you feed your cats outside or on a porch? If you do, start moving the food inside. This is going to help you keep your cats safe when the temperatures drop. If the cat knows his or her food is inside, he or she will be more likely to come inside and stay warm. Additionally, your cat could go hungry if you are leaving things outside and the cat doesn’t want to go out there during the day. It’s so imperative to keep food and water inside.

Furthermore, food and water can freeze. If you use wet food for your cat and you leave it outside overnight, your cat might not be able to eat since the food is frozen. These are just a few of the things that you have to look out for when you have a cat that spends some time outside.

See the Vet

If the weather is getting cooler and your cat seems to be suffering from that, do yourself a favor and see the vet. Sometimes your cat could have a cold – the same way that you develop ac old when you spend time outside in bad weather. Go ahead and take the cat to the vet, have him or her checked out and talk to your vet about what you can do to prepare your animal for this kind of weather so that he or she does not get sick again.

Many people feel that it’s not really that important to learn how to prepare their cat for the weather, but it is. Winter is harsh and can kill animals that aren’t properly cared for. The most important thing you can do for your cat is make sure that it’s inside each night before you go to bed. You never know when it might decide to take a break and head outside while you’re otherwise preoccupied. Check for the cat’s presence in the house, lock up and go to bed knowing your cat is safe inside.

Photo by Getty Images

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