Winter Pet Care
\\\ Winter Cat Care
You may be one of the million or more new UK pet owners that haven’t experienced a winter with your cat. Just like humans, your cat needs to stay warm in winter to avoid possible hyperthermia.
“My cat licked antifreeze – ethylene glycol – from a puddle caused by a car radiator- whilst sheltering under the car, fortunately my cat survived after an emergency trip to the vets”.
Winter arrives and our re-homed cats elect to stay indoors. They take one look at dreary cold wet days or the white stuff and that’s it! They take to the settee and snooze through the day, taking themselves outside for just a few minutes to relieve themselves and shoot back indoors to the warmth.
Approximately two thirds of the eight million or so cats that reside in the UK are free to come and go from their homes. There are some winter weather hazards for new owners to be aware of.
Low visibility and darker evenings of winter see more pet accidents on the roads. Typically, these can be dogs being walked and not seen and cats crossing roads in the dark being knocked over, both hit by vehicles.
It’s important to consider your cats movements more during the winter and possibly curtail them from going out late afternoon and night from your home, providing them with a litter tray and letting them out during daylight hours can help to keep them safer.
Cat hatches where entrance and exit can be controlled are a perfect solution.
Most cats will go outside and explore snow and frost. These temperatures are too cold for them to survive outside for long periods of time and they need to have access to a shelter.
If using a shed then this must have a safe way in and out and all chemicals stored out of their reach, safely put away, remembering cats can climb.
Sheds should be checked regularly in cold weather, that no other animal has become locked in accidentally.
Freshly parked cars that have warm engines cooling down parked outside are a bonus to cats that are seeking warm shelter. This is very dangerous for both cats and owners. Cats are know to even climb under the bonnet seeking warmth. Its imperative to check your car before driving off that no animal has taken refuge.
Vehicles can leak antifreeze from their engines and screen washes which contains ethylene glycol being life-threatening to pets. Filling up and spilling these chemicals from our cars whilst parked on our driveways become notorious trouble spots for cats. It can kill them if they lick the chemical or get the chemical on their paws and lick it off. Extensive damage can be caused to their kidneys and the signs are vomiting, lethargy, seizures, difficulty breathing and incoordination becoming unsteady on their feet. If this happens, contact a veterinary practice immediately.
Paths and roads are highly salted in the UK when poor weather arrives which contains chemicals. Cats walking on these run the risk of chemical burns if their paws are not cleaned off and will attempt to lick the chemicals off when settling down back at home. When your cat returns from outside, take a few moments to check their paws and clean off with clean water and towel dry.
Indoors Cat Beds
As temperatures plummet cats head for the rooms that have cosy fires or kept continuously warm with radiators. Some cats are quite content to curl up on the settee or chair, some owners buy a cosy cat bed, which can be placed near to a safe heat source such as a radiator, or even the clip-over radiator style bed (as featured image above).
Dogs and cats jostle for best position in front of open fires, but never leave these rooms without a sturdy fire guard in place for both your and pets safety.
Locate the cat bed away from draughts at night, near to a safe heat source, so they can sleep in comfort.
Perhaps you’ve never bought one for your cat or it’s a great time to renew your pet’s old one. Scratch pads help prevent your cat ruining your home interiors with sharpening their claws but also provide important exercise, particularly stretch exercises when posts or pads are sited in a raised position. A new pad or post will provide your cat with a new interest. Check out the hundreds of different styles, shapes and sizes available from all good pet stores.
During winter is a good time to introduce more toys that you can interact with your cat, keeping them occupied during the longer winter days.
Cats need to keep warm and just because they have fur coats doesn’t mean they do. It’s important that cats maintain their body weight and fat during the winter months helping them to keep warm. Regular balanced meals are essential. Just because they are not so active, doesn’t mean that one should reduce their meals, quite the contrary. However, do not overfeed and keep an eye on weight by using free weigh-in services at your local veterinary practices if in doubt.
If you have an expensive cat breed or your cat considerably roams, there are now various affordable tracking systems that may work for you and your pet, involving wearing a dedicated collar tracking device. (Image featured below demonstrates). It may be worth researching and signing up giving you peace of mind.
- Everypaw Cat Dog Rabbit pet insurance
- Lifetime or Maximum benefit cover with benefits
- Vet bills paid for illness or injury
- Third-party liability (subject to acceptance) and legal costs
- Boarding fees if you are hospitalised for more than 48 hours
- Holiday cancellation costs. If your dog has a life-threatening illness and you’re about to go away, we have it covered.
- Advertising and reward costs for missing dogs
- Claims payments can be made directly to your vet
- Unique access to qualified vet and nurses via Petcall live chat
- 5-star Defaqto rated products
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