23rd January 2023
With the dark, cold days quickly turning into long, cold nights. Winter can take its toll on us humans as well as our cats. Despite their thick coat, our furry friends can still be affected by the cold weather.
We surveyed our cat customers asking them if their cats behaviour changes and how their cat feels about the cold, wet, dark weather. Based on our findings we’ve compiled a list of hints and tips to help you tackle the season we all love to hate!
Buy a Radiator Bed
Let's face it cats love to snooze, on average a cat sleeps 15 hours a day*, which is why you might offer them multiple sleeping spots for their daily naps. 30% of surveyed cat customers found that during the winter, their cat will sleep more as part of their winter routine. A further 24% suggested that their cat will seek out warmer places to sleep making a radiator bed potentially a good addition to your wintery home.
Provide an outdoor shelter
Not all cats want to be indoors all the time, you might find your cat needs their space or is willing to brave the cold to get their outdoor fix! When the weather is cold outside, providing a safe warm space away from the elements in a covered shelter like a garden shed, greenhouse or car port allows your pet to have time away outside if they choose. Leaving an old blanket, towel or bed in this space could provide a warm retreat from the cold, in situations where the cat isn’t able to come in and out of the house freely.
Don't forget, cats are curious creatures so always check your shed or garage for uninvited guests before locking the door!
Build a den indoors
Cats love nothing more than cardboard boxes, small spaces to explore and hiding underneath blankets. Building a DIY den out of old blankets, towels or bedding is a great way to keep your cat entertained when they are indoors but also gives them another warm, soft place to sleep in.
Make use of old towels
Don't throw out old towels just yet, apart from making dens for your cat, they might come in handy should your pet get wet. It is well known that cats dislike water, so having something easy to grab to remove excess water and warm them up can be useful. 37% of surveyed cat customers suggest they with use an old towel to clean up their cat and 38% suggest they will grab anything to hand should their beloved cat suffer a drenching. Based on a few customers comments they also advocate that their cat may be grateful for the help!
Keep an eye on their behaviour
Winter is the time anti-freeze becomes more commonly used in households and cats are drawn to its sweetness despite it being highly toxic. If ingested, it can lead to kidney failure or if left untreated, death. Keep an eye out for signs and symptoms such as vomiting, sleepiness, incoordination, difficulty breathing and seizures. If you suspect your cat has swallowed anti-freeze speak to your vet immediately.**
Have a mat by the cat flap
Cats are generally clean creatures, but they can sometimes bring their mess inside with them on their paws and fur. Having a mat by the door acts for a cat in the same way as for a human wiping their feet before entering the house. A mat can help prevent your cat walking in unwanted mud, moisture, leaves and even gravel. Remember winter can also be tough on your cats’ paws, always check them regularly to ensure they are free from any cuts, abrasions or debris.
Make use of any sunshine
If you have a window or a door that lets in natural light, you can make use of this well-lit area by setting up a bed or hammock. Cats not only love to be high up, but it gives them the opportunity to laze in the natural light or even sunshine, should it make an appearance.
Share body heat
Cats are drawn to sit in warm spots, this includes your lap! Not only do you get to share body heat and keep each other warm but it allows you to spend time together and bond.
Enjoy the extra cuddles
According to cat customers surveyed, 72% suggest that their cat is less energetic, more affectionate or more docile/calmer during the winter months. This means that winter is the perfect time for additional cuddles and loving from your four-legged friend, so make the most of it!
For more tips on cat health, behaviour and safety, why not head on over to our cat advice page.
This article is based on responses from 107 Animal Friends cat customers who participated in a survey run in November 2022.