Get Your Cat Ready for Colder Weather

American Humane offers tips for cats, dogs as winter approaches.

Posted Nov. 11, 2008, 3 a.m. EST

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The American Humane Association offers ways to keep your pets safe during the cold season
As cold weather approaches, take precautions to keep your cat safe and warm, such as keeping her indoors.
Cold, stormy weather has already wreaked havoc in certain parts of the country, including a recent blizzard in South Dakota that knocked out power and stranded motorists. Cats and dogs require special attention during the winter months, and American Humane Association urges pet owners to take precautions.

Here are some tips:

  • When it gets chilly, wild animals and cats left outside may seek a car engine for warmth. Before starting the engine, bang on the hood a few times to make sure you won’t be traveling with an extra passenger.
  • Cats and dogs might have fur, but that doesn’t mean they can withstand extreme temperatures. Pets should be kept inside if possible.
  • If dogs are left outside, they should have a draft-free shelter large enough to stand and turn around in, yet small enough to retain body heat. American Humane suggests a layer of straw or other bedding material to help insulate pets against the cold.
  • Typically, outdoor animals need more calories in the winter, so it’s best to feed them accordingly when the temperature drops. Talk to your veterinarian for advice on a proper diet.
  • Some pets like to go outside to play in the snow, but many people use powerful salt and chemicals on their sidewalks to combat the ice. Clean paws after each outing to prevent pads from becoming dry and irritated. Signs of ingestion include excessive drooling, vomiting and depression.
  • Remember to keep pets on regular heartworm, flea and tick preventive medicines.
  • Medications used to treat the sniffles can be harmful to pets. Keep prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of a pet’s reach. Do not medicate animals yourself unless under the direction of a veterinarian.
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Reader Comments

ML    Montoursville, PA

12/30/2008 7:44:27 AM

When I firt met my husband he could not believe I never let my cats out of the house, he thought that freedom was the most important thing. He also did not like the idea I had collars with info tags and vaccinations and such. Over the years he has come to my side of thinking that it is much safer for them and they live longer healthier lives. He had never had a cat live into their 20's and I have had several. Now he has bad dreams that the cats get out and he cannot get them all back into the house. He has become a devoted cat dad. I am a very fortunate wife.

mk    n haven, CT

11/11/2008 11:36:19

thats why my cats are inside cats i pray for all the outside ones

me    me, ME

11/11/2008 10:53:55

Pray for all the outside kitties this winter, may God watch over them

Elizabeth and Emmy the Cat    White Mts, NH

11/11/2008 8:05:03

Stay warm outdoor kitties. We help feed Feral Cats. We leave out straw beds in barn for them. We worry about them!! Extra food too!! Wish there could be no homeless people or pets!!

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