Winter Tips for Felines

Rachel Stadler VMD

The winter season and holidays are an exciting time of year, but they have some specific concerns for cats.

1) Luckily most cat live indoors primarily and can happily enjoy snuggling down by a fire with their owners watching the snowflakes fall. Yet for outside cats winter is a difficult time, and measures should be taken to help them by providing dry shelter and a water source. Special bowls are readily available for this purpose. As for the adventurous indoor/outdoor feline, I have seen them beautifully trot off in freezing temperatures, but it is especially important to make sure they come back!

2) This tip is technically for all year, but in winter as we are thinking about heating ourselves, it is a nice time to consider cat beds. Especially for geriatric cats likely with some degree of arthritis, a heated cat bed or heat reflecting cat blanket can be just the thing for a good cat nap and perhaps a little extra spring in the step!

3) For cats that go outside please remember that the various compounds used for ice melting have different degrees of toxicity for little pet feet. There are many pet friendly options currently available. Remember to wipe those paws!

4) For many the winter holidays are a time perhaps for extra libation and celebration, so let’s take a moment to remember what our feline friends shouldn’t be enjoying! All the sparkling strings, ribbons, bows, and ornaments of the holidays can cause severe problems if ingested. It is best to keep these items away from cats. Poinsettia, chocolate, and antifreeze are all examples of items that are dangerous to ingest. Remember if you are concerned about a potential ingestion time is of the essence, so consult your veterinarian immediately and make sure you know what was ingested.