How to keep your cat happy and healthy in winter
Winter is here and the weather outside is frightful indeed, even for our floofiest of friends!
Cats have unique care needs and like us, our feline family members are affected by the temperature drop in December.
Cats can get weakened immune systems, frostbite and even hypothermia from the cold, so keeping them warm is a must.
Once the cold weather kicks in, there are some changes you need to make to your cat’s usual daily routine.
Doing so is the best way to ensure your buddy stays healthy and happy throughout the entire winter season.
Check out our care tips to keep your cat protected from head to tail this winter.
Christmas might be a hectic time for us humans with all the fun and festivities, but this is why it’s so important to keep a closer eye on your cat!
An end of year check-up at the vet can ensure that your pet is healthy going into the new year.
If you’re unable to make a vet appointment, it’s a good idea to give your pet an at-home exam to look for anything out of the ordinary.
You can book a free consultation with one of our vet nurses for tips on how to do this, what to look out for and more!
Winter is also a good time to give some of your cat’s specific health problems some extra care and attention.
For instance, cats with arthritis might suffer from stiff or inflamed joints due to the changing air pressure and cold.
Gentle play and exercise, combined with Joint Care supplements can help keep your kitty comfortable.
Our Joint Care range is designed to support joints, cartilage and synovial fluid integrity in senior pets with decreased mobility, or active pets of all ages!
It combines Glucosamine HCl, Chondroitin, two natural anti-inflammatories and three antioxidants.
For cats with allergies or asthma, a humidifier can also ease the discomfort of dry winter air. L-Lysine for cats can also be used to support respiratory health in cats and kittens, support immune heath and manage periods of stress.
Skin and coat
Dry winter air can affect your cat’s skin and coat in many of the same ways it affects our own skin and hair.
Some cats will develop red, dry and flaky skin as a result of reduced moisture in the air.
Adding an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to your kitty’s diet can help improve moisture retention and reduce any itchiness
Thankfully, our Omega Care supplement for cats and dogs supports good skin health all year round. It contains high levels of EPA and DHA; which play an important role in the healthy functioning of the brain, heart, joints, skin and coat.
You should also brush your cat's coat regularly when it's winter time to evenly distribute natural oils throughout the fur.
Diet and nutrition
You may have heard that cats eat more during winter because they need more energy to stay warm.
While this may be true for outdoor cats, it may not necessarily apply to indoor cats, who are protected from the elements.
Especially for the cuddlier cats that like to spend most of their time snoozing and snuggling.
Overfeeding your cat over winter time could lead to problems like obesity and diabetes.
Pet obesity is on the rise in the UK and it can cause a whole range of other issues including heart disease, breathing problems, and even cancer.
Before you increase your cat’s food intake or make any nutritional changes to their diet, it’s important to consult with an expert first.
Speak with your local vet or if you are unable to for whatever reason, you can consult with one of our vet nurses for free!
If your cat is already more on the chonky side you can also book a free weight clinic with our qualified vet nurses.
Our pet-loving professionals can support you with a plan to manage safe and controlled weight loss to ensure your cat is as healthy as can be!
Keep your cat warm and dry
If you have a sphynx cat or one that has little to no fur, it’s a good idea to get them a jumper.
That way you can be sure they’re insulated from the cold during winter.
For all cats, be mindful of your home’s temperature—what seems slightly chilly to you might be really cold to your kitty!
Set up cozy, safe spaces for your cat to relax in, such as blanket piles or a bed with a pet-safe heating pad inside.
Also be careful that your cat can’t access potentially dangerous warm spots they might be tempted to curl up near!
Fireplaces, radiators, wood-burning stoves and similar objects should be gated off to prevent your cat from being burned.
And watch out for any lit candles as a curious cat may get burned or worse, swipe them off the counter!
The freezing winter temperatures bring added risks for all cats.
You might find most cats will want to spend more time indoors to keep warm in winter.
However, if your cat is climbing the walls and fussing to go out, don’t force them to stay in.
Doing so can cause stress, anxiety and inappropriate urination.
Ideally cats should have access to an indoor litter tray all year round so that they always have somewhere accessible and safe to go to the toilet.
Even if your furriend usually prefers to do their business outside, during the Winter months you should give them the option of a litter tray so that they don't have to adventure out in freezing cold.
This is particularly important for more elderly cats or those with medical conditions or disabilities.
If snow starts to fall and outside gets icy, it can be difficult for your cat to navigate which might even lead to them getting lost!
If you don’t already have your cat microchipped, winter is the purrfect time to get this done, just in case.
It’s no secret that our feline friends love warm spots and you will often find your cat basking in the heat or curled up in a cosy spot.
When winter comes, your furriend will still try to find warm spots to enjoy in when they are outdoors.
And this can be dangerous for a number of reasons!
Cats are drawn to the warmth coming from a car engine and will often lie on the bonnet, or even curl up behind warm, recently driven tyres.
Before getting into your car, be sure to give the bonnet a good knock and double check for dozing kitties.
Antifreeze also poses a huge risk at this time of year! Unfortunately, some cats actually enjoy the taste of antifreeze, but this can be fatal to them if ingested.
Don't leave antifreeze or any other de-icing chemicals lying around the garage or on the floor.
Be sure to clean up any spills straight away and get in touch with your vet if you think your cat may have been exposed to or ingested any antifreeze.
Even a little bit can quickly damage their kidneys (signs include vomiting, lethargy and seeming uncoordinated).
Always check your cat’s paws when they return home after a winter wander to see if there’s any road salt/grit.
Giving them a wipe to remove any salt/chemicals will avoid your cat ingesting anything dangerous when they groom themselves.
Cats only need one-sixth of the amount of light that humans do and they can see in very low light.
They are only able to see in low light by dilating their eyes widely, which causes blurrier vision.
If a car's headlights suddenly come into view, this can be dazzling and disorientating.
Winter is the perfect time to get comfy on the couch with your feline friend and enjoy the warmth of your home.
With a little extra attention paid to your cat’s health and wellbeing, you can both enjoy a safe and holly jolly winter.