Cats, originally from desert regions, have adapted to various climates worldwide. Despite their adaptability, extreme temperatures can be challenging for them. Here’s what you need to know about cats and cold weather:
Normal Cat Body Temperature:
- Cats have a normal body temperature ranging from 100.5°F to 102.5°F.
- If a cat’s temperature falls below 99°F, they may start showing signs of hypothermia.
- Cats prefer temperatures similar to humans, but slightly warmer.
How Cold Is Too Cold for Cats?
- Temperatures below 45°F are generally considered too cold for cats.
- Below this temperature, cats can experience hypothermia and are at risk of frostbite.
- Windy or wet conditions increase the risk, even before temperatures drop below 45°F.
Differences in Cats:
- Factors like age, health, breed, and coat type affect a cat’s tolerance for cold.
- Older, sick, or hairless cats are less likely to cope with colder temperatures.
- Long-haired or double-coated breeds tolerate cold better, while hairless breeds need to stay indoors.
Signs That a Cat Is Too Cold:
- Cold paws and ear tips
- Curling up tightly
- Severe hypothermia signs include weakness, shallow breathing, and dilated pupils.
How To Warm Up Your Cat:
- Provide warm blankets, hot water bottles (with covering), and adjust the thermostat if needed.
- Use electric heating pads cautiously, and never leave them on when unattended.
- Feed your cat more to compensate for the extra calories burned when they’re cold.
- Keep outdoor excursions to a minimum in very cold weather.
Feral Cats in the Cold:
- Encourage feral cats to seek shelter in garages, sheds, or insulated kennels.
- Provide warm bedding and plenty of food during colder months.
In summary, while cats are adaptable, temperatures below 45°F can be uncomfortable or even dangerous for them. It’s essential to take steps to keep your cat warm and comfortable during cold spells. If you suspect your cat is suffering from hypothermia, seek immediate veterinary attention. Remember, if you feel cold, your cat likely does too.