How to keep your cat warm this winter
How to keep a cat warm in cold weather
Unless you're lucky enough to live in an area with balmy temperatures year-round, you might be wondering about how to keep your cat warm this winter. Perhaps your kitty spends a large chunk of their day outside or it gets cold enough where you live to leave your cat shivering even when safely inside.
Thankfully, you'll find a range of ways to prevent your feline friend from getting excessively cold this winter, keeping them safe and warm until the temperatures rise once more.
Choose cozy cat bedding
When your cat gets cold, they need a warm bed they can retreat to. Consider buying a covered cat bed for additional warmth.
Self-warming cat beds are another excellent option. They can work in several different ways, but usually feature a layer of heat reflective material to bounce your cat's own body heat back at them to warm them up.
If even a self-warming cat bed isn't enough to keep your kitty cozy, you can buy electric heated cat beds with a built-in heating pad. Another option for households with old-style radiator heating systems are cat beds that hook over the tops of radiators, so your cat ends up lying up close to the heating system.
You might also choose to buy some cozy blankets for your cat to lie on or underneath. These are great for use on couches or parts of the floor where your cat tends to lie. If your feline friend seems to feel the cold more than average, you might even consider buying a sweater for your cat to wear at night, though not all cats will tolerate clothing.
Limit outside time where possible
If you already have an indoor cat, outdoor time isn't an issue. However, for those kitties who are used to being able to roam freely outdoors, winter can be a challenge.
Some cats naturally spend minimal time outside when it's cold, but others will happily wander off for the day even when there's snow on the ground. As such, you should limit your cat's outdoor time as much as possible. Some cat parents choose to keep their felines inside all winter, whereas others just strictly limit outdoor time to an hour or two a day. It's fine to use your judgment here. For instance, you might think it's fine to let your cat self-regulate their outdoor time on a mild winter day but keep them indoors all day if temperatures drop below zero.
We recognize that some cats are more difficult to keep indoors than others — we understand giving into a cat who will meow and wail for hours if you won't let them out. It can help to restrict outdoor time to certain parts of the day — namely, the middle of the day when it tends to be warmer than it is early in the morning or late at night. If your cat comes in wet from outside, towel them dry and make sure they have somewhere warm to snuggle up.
Consider a heated cat house
If your cat is feral, semi-feral, or simply refuses to spend too much time indoors, consider buying a heated cat house so your feline friend has somewhere warm to hang out. Choose one that's suitable for outdoor use. For extra protection, it's best to position it under a covered porch or in a garage or other outbuilding where your cat is happy to hang out. It's best if you can get your cat to come indoors and stay indoors, especially in extremely cold weather and snow. However, a heated cat house is the next best thing if this just isn't an option.
Provide activities for your cat
Your feline friend is more likely to tolerate more time spent indoors if you provide them with some fun activities. A cat dancer is great when you want to play with your cat, but you should also pick out some toys that your cat will play with alone. Food motivated felines might like a treat dispensing toy or cat puzzle toy that they need to solve to get to the treats inside.
Keep your house warm
You probably don't like sitting around in a cold house, and neither does your cat. If you keep the ambient temperature inside your home at a reasonable level, this will help keep your cat comfortably warm. You might not want your heating raging all night or when you're out of the house, but resist the urge to turn it off completely, especially on very cold days. Setting your thermostat to a mild 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night or when all the humans are out of the house will help keep the chill off. You might also consider investing in a smart thermostat so you can control the temperature of your home even when you aren't there.
Winter safety tips for cats
There's more to keeping your cat safe in the winter than simply keeping them warm. As you try to keep your home warm during the winter, it's natural that there are more hot things about, such as open fires or electric heaters. Always make sure these are cat-proofed, and avoid leaving your cat in the room with them unattended.
Chemicals such as antifreeze are also more prevalent in the winter. Be sure to keep yours shut away safely and mop up any spills right away — if your cat walks through it and then licks their paws clean, they could get extremely sick or even die. Salt and grit used to de-ice roads and pavements can get stuck between a cat’s paw pads and cause irritation or make it sick if it licks it off, so it's best to wipe your cat's paws clean when it comes in from outside.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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