Helping your cat cope with the cold this winter
There's no mistaking that winter chill in the air, and cats feel it too. Even if your cat loves being outside, when temperatures drop to around zero, you need to bring your cat indoors. If your cat is ill or old, ensure they're inside with you and your family well before temperatures drop this low.
General preparations for winter
To help your cat stay happy and healthy over winter, here are a few handy suggestions:
- To help your cat grow a thick winter coat, supplement their diet with nourishing fatty acids by adding a dash of fish oil (a cats favourite), soybean oil or canola oil to their pet food
- Another way to help your cat bulk up their coat is to bulk up their food intake (marginally)
- Screen fireplaces to keep your cat safe from soot, flames and embers
- Before driving your car bang the bonnet to check your cat hasn't curled up for a sleep on a warm engine
Fleas in winter
You'd think over winter fleas would have the courtesy to give you a break. No chance. Though they're harder to find, they're still around. One reason fleas often escape the eye over winter is because they're in the cocoon stage of their life cycle. So it's important to continue treating your cat for fleas right through winter to help prevent an outbreak when the weather warms. To find out more about fleas and how your choice of Advantage or Advocate gives your cat the best protection against fleas, visit here.
Arthritis in cats
Cats are masters at disguising their discomfort. But if your cat has even mild arthritis, joint pain and stiffness generally worsens over winter. Unfortunately lameness is not that commonly seen, even in fairly advanced arthritis. Nevertheless, so you can promptly consult your vet, it pays to be aware of possible symptoms for arthritis in cats. Some cats may be less active; other cats may be more restless. Some cats may hesitate longer before jumping, or they may reduce their grooming resulting in an unkempt coat. Arthritic cats may also be irritable especially when handled, or have difficulty accessing litter tray and so may urinate or defecate elsewhere. Cats with arthritis may also have a reduced appetite. While it's important to consult your vet as soon as possible, you can also help in several ways. The first is by managing the cat's weight to make sure it's not putting undue pressure on arthritic joints. Gentle exercise such as playing with pet toys (or even a short walk) helps keep weight down and, importantly, helps warm up and loosen stiff joints. If your cat lets you, try massaging its joints and associated sore muscles.
Frostbite and hypothermia
If a cat is accidentally left outdoors in very cold weather, hypothermia can develop. This is when a cat's body temperature falls below normal due to the cold. Mild hypothermia makes cats weak and inactive, and they can't stop shivering. As hypothermia gets worse they become unresponsive, and their breathing and heart-rate slow. If you notice any of these symptoms, get your cat into a warm place immediately, and take it to the vet. To help keep your cat warm during the journey, use a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.
Another common problem for cats left in the cold is frostbite on their paws, ears or tail. The tissue in frostbitten areas should not be rubbed; in fact rubbing makes frostbite worse. Veterinarian help is needed immediately. If it's unavailable, here are a few basic tips for mild frostbite:
- Warm-up frostbitten areas fast by dipping them in warm water or by daubing them with warm towels
- As frostbitten areas return to their normal colour, use a bandage or soft clean cloth to gently dry the affected area
- Take your cat to the vet as soon as possible
Severe frostbite can cause gangrene and all kinds of infections. Urgent veterinary assistance is needed. To help your cat cope with the colder weather, follow these simple tips and you'll keep them happy and healthy throughout winter.
If you have a question on anything from parasites to pet health, ask us we don't bite!
Call The Advantage Pet Care Line on 1800 678 368.
Advocate for catsAdvocate not only controls parasite infections but monthly treatment can help protect your cat against fleas, heartworm and gastrointestinal worms.
Cats love to groom. Give them a helping hand.
Advocate for cats
Cats love to groom. Give them a helping hand.Treats