Cat Care During Cold Weather

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In spite of the fact that a cat has an external covering of fur coat which is supposed to keep it warm, the fur coat may provides little protection during the cold winter. Have you ever experienced the coldness during very cold weather even with your winter coat on? If yes, you should be able to understand how freezing cold your cat could feel if you leave it unprotected for some time. This is not something that can be taken lightly as the coldness may leads to hypothermia, and when such medical condition get worst, it can be life threatening.

General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home
You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.
General Cat Care #2: Feeding
An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).

Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.

It is important for you to be aware where your feline is during very cold winter. If your cat has the habit of answering to the call of nature outdoor, make sure it is back in the house within minutes. Kittens, cats suffering from any illness or cats with thin covering of fur coat should be restricted from getting out of the house. Try using litter box in the house during cold days. Make sure your feline’s fur coat stays dry during this period, and if for whatever reasons it get itself drenched, make sure you dry it immediately even it happened indoor.

It is the best option to keep your pet indoor during cold days. Make sure it cannot find its way out to the cold world because if it gets too far and the visibility is down to a few meters due to heavy snowing, your pet would stand a high chance of losing its way home. And if it is out in such freezing environment for too long, the risk of capturing hypothermia will definitely be high.

General Cat Care #3: Grooming
Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs
General Cat Care #4: Handling
To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.
General Cat Care #5: Housing
Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.

So what exactly is hypothermia? Well it is a medical condition resulted from extreme coldness which could lead to malfunction of organs in the body. If your cat is exposed to extremely cold temperature, frostbite might occur as its body needs to warm up the important organs by shutting down less important body parts. Observe your cat carefully and if its movement starts to slow down, body begins to shiver and breathing becomes shallower, it most probably suffering from hypothermia. Do what it takes to gently warm your pet up or else, it would eventually pass out and die.

To make your cat warm will be good for it but it is best advice not to do it too quickly like putting directly into warm water. A quick sudden increase in temperature will only do more harm. Warm your feline’s body slowly by covering its body with warm blanket and providing it with warmer environment. You may also use a hairdryer, but make sure you turn the setting to a lower mode and do not get too near to avoid burning its body. Ensure that your cat has really warm up and that you have covered its body with enough protection from cold before you take it out of the house to visit the vet.

You may have ensured that all doors and windows are closed, but cats being cats still stand a chance of getting out of the house. Remember to check out your pet cat frequently and observe its behavior to see if it is shivering from the coldness. If your feline is showing any symptom of being cold, warm its body slowly by using the tips as mentioned. This advice is crucial to the life of your pet.

General Cat Care #6: Identification
If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.
General Cat Care #7: Litter Box
All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).
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