We’ve all heard the weather reports and for many of us living in North America, we are freezing these days – hello polar vortex! While some people may enjoy the colder temperatures this winter season is bringing, it’s also a time to keep in mind those who have no choice but to endure the weather: your beloved cat! Baby, it’s cold outside… and that could spell major danger for cats, pets and strays alike. To help keep your cat safe during the harsh winter conditions, here are some DOs and DON’Ts to remember:
DO leave fresh water for them at all times. A good rule of thumb is changing their water bowl at least once or twice daily. Make sure if you leave it outside, the water doesn’t freeze.
DON’T leave your cat alone in the car. It’s like leaving them alone in the car during hot temperatures, but the opposite extreme. In the winter, the car acts like a refrigerator – your cat could freeze to death!
DO check for cats under your car while you warm it up. In cold weather cats tend to seek shelter near warm things like car engines or the hood. Tap the hood of your car and check in between tires for hiding cats. Make sure there isn’t a hidden kitty once you start moving the car.
DON’T leave out antifreeze where your cat can reach. Not only is antifreeze highly toxic to animals and humans alike, cats get attracted to the sweet smell and taste of it and will take every opportunity to sample a taste if left out. If you suspect your cat has ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately.
DO be aware that cats can develop frostbite if left out in the cold for more than a brief amount of time. If your cat begins to shiver, or its ears, tail or paws show signs such as redness (early stages of frostbite) or pale, white or patches (advanced stages of frostbite), take them inside right away.
DON’T forget to make sure your cat has a comfortable, warm bed. The floor can get pretty cold! Several pet stores carry non-electric warm bedding and (safe) heated floor mats.
DO keep poison and rodenticides out of your cat’s reach. During the winter months, rodents are usually attracted to the warmth of homes. Just be sure that the poison doesn’t end up in your kitty instead!