Outside cats enjoy a fulfilling life of fun and excitement, but you can make their lives easier with these tips. As cold weather settles in, cats that live outside may become exposed to the elements. To boost their winter safety, consider offering fresh food, water, and shelter.
Freezing temperatures are dangerous for any animal that is not built for it. Outside cats are acclimated to temperamental weather changes. However, they still need proper shelter. Building a shelter can be incredibly simple. A good size shelter should be two feet by three feet and at least 18 inches high, and able to accommodate three to five cats, depending on their size. If fewer cats will use the shelter, you can make it smaller. Small spaces are easier to insulate and will retain heat better. Keep the doorway of the shelter a few inches above the ground to keep out water and snow. Additionally, the entrance should only fit cats. Straw (not hay) is an excellent insulator and will stay dry through inclement weather. Check the shelter regularly for any damages. If your outside cats are not interested in the new shelter, find what they are using and upgrade it with straw.
Food and Water
Winter is a hard time of year to find food for any animal that lives outside. Fortunately, you can give your outside cats fresh food and water every day to ensure they always have access to it. Wet or canned food takes less energy to digest, so it is advisable in harsh conditions. The downside to wet food is that it will need to be changed daily. Dry food is less calorie dense, but can be left out for several days. They will need access to food and water, even in freezing temperatures. Here are a few ways to keep the food and water from freezing:
- Use bowls that are deep rather than wide and place them in sunny areas to keep water from freezing.
- Spray insulation foam on the bottom of plastic feeding dishes.
- Avoid using metal dishes.
- If you have a water spigot or any outdoor water source, you can turn it on to always have water flowing. Moving water is less likely to freeze than still water.
Always Check Under Your Car Before Starting It!
Despite having a proper shelter for your outdoor cats, you may find them under your car. Many outdoor cats will spend the night under cars to hide from the wind and other inclement weather. A warm engine is also very alluring to a kitty trying to escape the cold. When the temperature drops, make sure to always check under your car before starting it.
Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!