Whether your own cat is an outdoor cat, or you have noticed cats roaming your neighborhood that may be strays, it’s important to take extra care during the cold winter months to ensure they stay safe and healthy. Maryland winters often bring harsh temperatures, snow, and ice, which are unfavorable conditions for many outdoor cats. Here are some tips for caring for cats who live or spend time outdoors this winter:
Provide them shelter
Many outdoor cats can seem unaffected by the cold due to their relaxed attitude and their fluffy, thick fur. However, it isn’t a pleasant experience for them when snow, rain, or ice is falling, so creating a space for the cats to take shelter is key to their health and safety during the cold seasons. You can also insulate the shelter with blankets and/or straw, which repels moisture (unlike hay) which will allow them to burrow and stay warm.
Make a feeding station
If your outdoor cat eats meals outdoors, or you want to care for outdoor stray cats in your area, it’s important to provide a covered place for them to eat and drink. Unexpected snowfall or ice can quickly compromise their bowls, making it difficult or impossible for them to reach their food. If you don’t already have a covered area where you can feed your outdoor cat, make a small, covered feeding station to ensure the cats will be able to enjoy their meals as easily as possible.
Prepare for big storms
If the weather forecast calls for a major snowstorm, be sure to make appropriate preparations so that your outdoor cat or neighborhood stray(s) will stay safe. Leave out extra food and water, in case you are unable to return daily to replenish them during the storm. Insulate shelters to keep outdoor cats warm and dry during the storm and if possible, ensure their path to the shelter is always clear.
Avoid using harmful winter products
Many homeowners use salt and other chemical melting products to combat or remove ice and snow during the winter time. However, these products can be dangerous to cats and even lethal if they ingest the chemicals from puddles of melted snow or from licking them off their paws. Antifreeze is also poisonous to cats and other animals, so avoid using it at all costs.
Caring for a pet is vital to keeping them healthy and happy, and when winter brings harsh temperatures and snow, it can cause issues for outdoor cats and strays who spend time in winter weather. If your cat is showing signs of declining health due to cold temperatures or any other factor, contact the professional doctors and feline care experts at Catonsville Cat Clinic as soon as possible. Our staff has the knowledge and expertise necessary to ensure the very best health for your cat and can give you great advice for caring for your furry friends this winter.