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How can you tell if your cat is cold?

Approx. 4 minutes read

Winter is creeping up on us, so now is the perfect time to make adjustments to the colder climate and consider whether your pets are getting cold as well. Cats like to come across as though they’re purrfectly alright – they hide their pain and discomfort well – so it’s up to you to figure out exactly how your cat is coping with lower winter temperatures. See if your cat’s behaviour fits these descriptions and follow the tips to make sure she’s as comfortable as can be this cold season.

1. She’s shivering

Outdoor cats are more susceptible to the shivers, especially if they’ve spent a cold morning gallivanting in the garden. Since shivering is not normal in a cat, it will be easy to spot a shivering kitty.

2. Her ears, nose and tail tip are chilly

When cats need to retain their heat and keep themselves warm, it’s their bodily extremities that suffer first. They reduce the blood flow to their extremities so that less heat is lost and more blood circulation can be focused on their vital organs. If you think your cat is experiencing the cold, touch her ears, nose and tail tip to confirm your suspicions.

3. She looks like a puffy loaf of bread

Cat people will know the ‘cat loaf’ position – a hunkered-down cat with her paws and tail tucked under her. When cats are cold, they may also puff up their fur a little to provide additional insulation.

4. She’s more affectionate than usual

You may think your cat is a mobile, purry little heater that can keep you warm in winter, but the truth is, you’re actually her large, two-legged, food-providing heat radiator. If your cat is more lap-bound and cuddly during winter time, it’s likely that she’s getting cold (and you’re just being used for your warm blood and consistent stroking).

5. She seeks out the warm spots

Your cat may bury herself under the couch cushions or the throw on your bed, or she may make a little nest in her cat blankets. She may even find the most convenient sunny spot in the house and migrate as the sun’s position changes throughout the day. If you find your cat cosying up to the oven, the fireplace/heater or any other source of heat in the house, this is a tell-tale sign that she’s feeling a little cold.

If your cat is more of an outdoor roamer, she may seek out warmth from car engines and other dangerous places. Always be mindful of this – speak to your neighbours to warn them of your cat’s tendencies and to ask that they check their cars before driving off.

Tips to keep your cat comfy

If your cat stays too cold, she runs the risk of becoming hypothermic, which displays as more shivering, physical weakness and mental disorientation. Hypothermia in cats becomes dangerous when it causes a slow heartbeat, low blood pressure, shallow breathing and stiff muscles. She will need vet care at this point, so be aware of these symptoms!

1. Keep the ambient temperature up

Keep your cat nice and warm by being aware of the ambient temperature in your house. If you have underfloor heating, a fireplace or a panel heater to keep things toasty in winter, it’s possible your cat will be found near to the heat source. Encourage her to nap in the sunny spots by the window too.

If yours is an outdoor cat, try to coax her indoors more often in winter. Be more proactive in playing with her and offering her treats so she reaps the rewards of indoor warmth when it’s cold outside.

2. Make sure her bed is warm

Line your cat’s bed with lots of warm blankets and let her make a cosy little nest in them. Consider buying your cat an enclosed bed like the Rosewood Round Cosy Cat Cave, or the Rosewood Snuggle Plush Pyramid. Each of these options looks super cute and very warm!

3. Elevate your cat’s bed

Not that she needs any other reason to feel like the queen of your castle, but by elevating your cat’s bed, you’ll keep her off the cold floor and ensure she has a warmer spot to sleep in.

4. Keep her active!

If your cat is otherwise healthy and active, spend some extra time playing with her on wintry days. The extra movement while expending energy will increase her body temperature (and your bond). If she is more active in winter, remember to increase her calories by upping her feeding amount or offering her some yummy cat treats.

5. Groom her regularly

Your cat’s fur has an insulating purpose, but it can’t do this job properly if it’s matted or untidy. After playtime, spend a bit of time brushing your cat to keep her coat in top shape so she can keep out the winter chills. If you have any concerns about your cat’s health or condition during the cold winter months, phone your vet for advice, especially if she’s a senior cat with stiff, achy joints or if she has a fever or gets the sniffles.

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