Winter Cat Care Tips
There are indoor cats and outdoor cats and then there are those felines that enjoy the best of both worlds. During the cold winter months, and even in the later part of the autumn and the early part of spring, carefully monitoring your outdoor cats, or those that spend some time outdoors, is really important.
While cats may have naturally had all the protection then needed to survive cold winters outdoors today’s domestic and pampered cats are not in the same league. However, with just a bit of care it is very healthy and very natural for your cat to spend some time outdoors in a safe, secure area even in the winter.
Cats are always a concern when it comes to proper hydration and water intake. This is why many vets and cat breeders recommend feeding canned food to help to boost moisture intake.
In the winter months both indoor and outdoor cats may have even more problem with hydration. Cats outside will not have access to fresh water if temperatures are below freezing, which means that it is essential to encourage them to drink as much as possible indoors. A small amount of sodium free chicken stock or a bit of liquid from water packed tinned tuna or fish is a great way to encourage them to consume more water.
Cats indoors may be in very dry air, further causing issues with chronic dehydration. The same tricks and feeding tips apply to the indoor cats when the heat is on.
Foot and Coat Care
If your cat goes outside in the garden to play or has a play cage outside, be sure to carefully clean their feet and coat when they come indoors. Snow can pack in between the toes and in very cold conditions it can even form ice balls that irritate the tender skin between the pads.
A warm cloth that is held on the foot to melt the snow and ice is a painless way to remove the accumulation. This is also a good way to naturally remove any grit that may be collected in the snow.
Be very careful if your cat’s coat becomes wet in the cold weather. This can easily create the conditions for the body core temperature to drop. Keep your cat dry at all times when outside and always have dry, covered shelter in their play area so they can get out of the snow, drizzle or sleet.
Even if your cat is hardy and loves being outdoors, limit his or her outside time to the afternoon so that they are outside in the hottest part of the winter day. Do not put the cat out if the conditions are windy, wet and cold as these are the conditions that are most likely to be dangerous for your cat. Avoid allowing the cat to stay out at night as this is when the temperatures are the lowest.
Heated Bedding for Senior Cats
If you want to really pamper your senior cat, or just your special companion, you may want to consider indoor, or outdoor, heated bedding. There are a variety of specialty cat beds that will not overheat or become dangerous should the cat chew or play with the cord, the bedding or the heating system.
Being kind to your cat and just using good common sense will help you both enjoy the winter. You certainly don’t have to keep them in all the time, but be selective when they are allowed out.
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