Just like us humans, cats need a little more TLC in the wintertime. The change in weather comes with a few more hazards and things, as cat owners, you need to be aware of to be able to protect and take care of your cat.
Most cat owners allow their cats to leave the house on their own accord, meaning they could be around some of these hazards without you knowing. It is important to be monitoring your cat’s health and behaviour closely to note any changes that may happen. Here are some of the most important things you need to know and look out for in order to take care of your cat this winter.
Watch out for antifreeze
Antifreeze can be fatal for cats if they ingest it, and this is a particular issue because they are attracted to the taste of it. It is commonly used for cars (found in radiators, screenwashes and de-icers) but it is also sometimes wrongly used in garden ponds and water features. Cats tend to be attracted to drinking out of ponds, meaning it could be a real threat to their lives.
Signs and symptoms to look out for relating to antifreeze poisoning are:
- Increase in urination or drinking
- Seems uncoordinated
- Fast heart rate or fast and shallow breathing
Check your car
A habit to get into during the colder months, even if you don’t have a pet cat of your own, is to tap the bonnet of your car before you start the engine and drive off. Cats commonly crawl under car bonnets and wheel arches to try and warm up. They may fall asleep under there, so tapping the bonnet will wake them up and get them to move.
Check your cat’s paws
During the winter, it’s common for roads and pavements to be gritted with salt. This salt can get stuck to your cat’s paws, so when they come in from outside, it is important to always wipe down their paws with a damp cloth or towel to remove any residue. You should also be checking your cat’s paws regularly for any cuts, irritation or signs of frost bite.
Keep your cat warm and dry
If your cat comes in wet from being outside, dry them off with a towel. You should always provide your cat with somewhere nice and cosy to curl up in, ensuring there is no draught. Cats with medical conditions such as arthritis, older cats or cats that have become inactive may have issues controlling their own body temperature, so this is particularly important for them.
Update their microchip
It is a good idea to check that your cat’s microchip has all of the correct and up-to-date contact information for yourself. If you know your cat’s microchip number, you can easily check the details online by going to Check a Chip. If you don’t currently have your cat microchipped, we strongly suggest you book them in for it at your local veterinary practice.
Keep dangerous objects out of reach
The home in winter time tends to be a much more dangerous place for cats, with lots of hazards around that you might not even think of. For example, lit candles, hot radiators, open or gas fires and even Christmas decorations can become potentially dangerous for cats. Have a wander around your home and check over each room, making sure there are no hazards that could cause your cat harm.
Book an appointment with your vet
It’s a really good idea to book in a bi-annual health check for your cat at your local vet. They will be able to have a look over your cat for any health problems that you may have missed yourself, as well as offering you valuable advice on caring for them. If you have any concerns at all over your cat’s health, you should seek veterinary help immediately.