Frosty Feline Fundamentals
– Keeping your feline friends healthy and cozy in winters
The chilling winter months are here and it’s essential to ensure the well-being of our beloved feline companions. Bring in the festive cheer with love, care, and warmth for your beloved pets as you keep these winter safety tips handy!
Cats may have fur coats, but they can still be susceptible to the cold weather and its associated hazards. Depending on where you live, winter can be severe. Bitter cold, deep snow, ice and biting winds are the norm in most regions of north India. Most cats prefer to stay indoors where it’s warm rather than venture out in the cold and wet, yet as a pet parent you have to take extra care of your pets during the winter months. If your pet likes to go outside during the winter, you need to be aware of the seasonal hazards that can threaten her safety.
Enjoy the cuddle weather, but indoors
Extremely cold temperatures can be dangerous to exposed skin, especially delicate ear tips. Try keeping your pet indoor as much as possible on the coldest days, especially when it’s windy. Even a light wind can make the air feel much colder than it really is.
Purr-fectly protected paws
Ice-melting agents and salt on sidewalks can be harmful for your pet’s paws. Wipe her paws after they’ve been outside to prevent them from ingesting any chemicals while grooming.
Take ‘car’e of the cozy comfort
Some cats like to climb up underneath and snooze on warm engines. Bang on the hood of your car several times before starting it up. Do this even if your cat stays inside most of the time — it could save the life of a neighbourhood stray who might have sheltered there during the night.
All they need is love and a coat!
Unlike dogs, most cats don’t like the idea of wearing a sweater or coat. If yours does, great – but only let her wear it when you can stay outside to supervise her. Otherwise, she might get it snagged on a fence or hedge and injure himself or even freeze to death trying to get free.
Winter sun and long walks – a match made in heaven
If your feline friend is trained to a harness and leash, take her out for short walks on mild or sunny winter days, preferably in an area that’s sheltered from the wind. This will allow you to keep an eye on her and prevent her from treading in road salt or sampling anti-freeze that someone else in the neighbourhood might have spilled. Stay with your pet at all times when she’s on a leash — never tether him outdoors alone, especially in winter.
Ti’s the season of snuggle stations
Invest in heated cat beds or use cozy blankets to provide additional warmth for your beloved pet. Cats love to nap, so having a warm and comfortable bed can make a significant difference during colder days.
Whisker wellness, but not away from home
When the weather is severe, wild predators may find it difficult to find food. In case you live in the wilderness, hungry coyotes, fishers and other wild carnivores may pose a threat to outdoor cats. Try and keep your kitty close to home, and have her stay indoors especially at night.
Good grooming goes a long way
Maintain your pet’s coat by grooming it regularly. A well-groomed coat provides better insulation, keeping your feline friend warmer during the winter months.
Superpower of setting limits
Never force your pet to stay outdoors if she doesn’t want to. Allow her to decide when it’s time to come back inside.
Power of protein
If your cat likes to spend a lot of time outdoors during the winter, she might need a bit more protein in her diet. Give her an extra spoonful of food at mealtimes, or have some healthy treats on hand for when she comes in. And be sure to provide her with some cozy places around the house to warm up in when she’s done with exploring and ready to take a nap.
By taking a few extra precautions and providing a warm and safe environment, you can ensure that your feline friends stay happy and healthy throughout the winter season. Alittle extra care goes a long way in keeping your pet comfortable during the colder months.
(Dr. Shivika Gupta – M.V.sc Scholar, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Science, Hisar, Haryana)