Winter Safety Tips for Cats

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, discusses ways to keep cats safe during winter.

By Jeanne Adlon | January 14, 2011, 3 a.m. EST

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Q: Are there winter safeguards I should follow for my cats?

Great question. Every winter, I am asked about safety tips for cats, and I am happy to share them with you and all readers. If your cat goes outside — and I will say again that I do not recommend that in any season, let alone winter — please be very careful about antifreeze; it is extremely poisonous. Unfortunately, antifreeze must have a sweet smell or taste because some unlucky cats will lick spillage left on garage floors and driveways. Make sure your cats are not near any areas with antifreeze, and clean their paws as soon as they come inside. If they stepped in antifreeze and lick their paws, they could be in deep trouble.

Indoor cats have seasonal problems as well. Many can develop really dry skin and bad dandruff, as I discovered the hard way. Brushing you kitty stimulates their body oils, which is good, but I remember giving my sweet, black cat, Magic, a really good brushing one cold winter’s day and then seeing massive white specs coming to the surface of his coat. I was terrified I had done something wrong, but a groomer assured me that it was just very serious dandruff. With patient brushing and determination, I now have a beautiful, shiny, dandruff-free cat.

To help with coats and dry skin, I suggest a humidifier. You might also place a bowl of water on top of a radiator to put some moisture back in the air. Also, pet stores sell products to help with dry skin problems.

Also watch for rock salt and chemicals that can be tracked in on your shoes and boots. These can be very harmful to your cats if ingested. I suggest taking off your boots as soon as you enter the house and vacuuming frequently to make sure rock salt does not stay on any floors.

Lastly, if you see your cat starting to suffer from violent vomiting or diarrhea, call your vet or the poison hot line right away.

A little safety goes a long way to ensure a cozy winter season for all. As always, I welcome your stories and comments.

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Reader Comments

Judy    Elmira, NY

1/20/2011 6:42:23 PM

I us a product called "Safe Paws" for melting ice around my house - my own cats are indoors only, but neighborhood cats hang around my house, as do birds and squirrels. We put out food for all of them.

Joe    Newark, NJ

1/19/2011 7:44:11 PM

Good tips.

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