Winter officially starts on December 21st in much of the Northern Hemisphere. For many of us, the season brings a few challenges and dangers. When we plan for hazardous winter weather, it’s important to keep our whole families in mind, including our cats!
Some areas of the country have already seen snow storms and blizzard conditions. These winter storms can be spell disaster for humans and pets alike. We still have a lot of winter weather ahead of us!
Here are a few tips on how to prepare and keep your cats–and feral cats–safe during winter storms.
Provide Shelter And Food For Outdoor, Feral Cats
Although the ideal solution is to bring any pet inside during winter storms, this isn’t always possible for feral cats. So the next best thing is to provide an insulated shelter where several cats can huddle together. You can check out a tutorial in the video above.
Since storms can bring high winds, make sure your feral cat shelter is in a safe place, away from inclement weather, such as in a garage. Provide plenty of food and water close to the shelter, and place it reasonably near a heat source, if possible.
When you’re outside, shovel out cat shelters and potential hiding places, so cats don’t get snowed in. For more details on how to care for your feral cats during the winter, please see this article.
Watch Out For Car Hazards
During a winter storm, any cat caught outside will be looking for some place safe and warm to hide. This means they may hide under the car or near the engine block to stay warm.
Always bang on the hood of your car before starting the engine in case a cat is huddled there. In addition, invest in antifreeze that has bitters in it, so it’s not as tempting for your cats. Antifreeze is toxic to cats and dogs, so you’ll also want to wipe up any spills.
This is another good reason to just keep your cat inside during a winter chill.
Make Your Cat Part Of Your Emergency Plan
There’s always a chance you’ll have to leave home in an emergency, so make sure you have carriers and vaccination papers on hand for your cat.
Don’t leave your cat at home alone if the power goes out and you have to leave; if it’s too cold for you, then it’s too cold for kitty!
Be prepared in case the power does go out and you’re snowed in. Keep an emergency bag with portable litter, cat food, water bottles, bowls, and a cat harness.
If you have a fireplace, keep the cat’s water near the warmth so it doesn’t freeze. Have a soft cat bed or blankets on hand for your kitty to snuggle in.
Take Extra Care Of Special Needs Pets
If your cat has health problems, you’ll want to take extra precautions for them when a winter storm is on its way. Make sure you have all their medicines stocked up.
If they have arthritis, they’ll likely feel more discomfort when the temperature drops. Handle them extra gently and provide a heated bed, if possible.
When a winter storm is looming, the best thing you can do is bring your cats inside and snuggle with them against the chill. Keep plenty of supplies on hand in case you’re snowed in and can’t get to a grocery store for refills. Then ride out the storm with a cup of warm hot chocolate in hand and a warm, purring cat in your lap.
What do you do to keep your cat safe in winter? Do you have an emergency plan? Let us know in the comments below!