Cats love a warm patch of sunlight or a cozy blanket-covered lap even in the hottest months, but in the winter they will do just about anything to stay warm. Here are some tips to keep pets and community cats warm and safe until Spring.
For indoor cats, help them stay warm by providing lots of comfy bedding throughout your home. Cats appreciate elevated locations in warm spots, so place beds off the floor and out of drafty areas. Our very own Roo has a favorite spot on a bookcase where we keep a couple of bunched up Magic Carpets. These kinds of cozy nooks will also encourage them to stay off of heating vents and space heaters, which can be dangerous to pets. If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s got a screen or other cover to keep a curious feline from getting too close.
For indoor pet cats who like to explore the great outdoors, it’s best to keep them inside when temperatures get near freezing, especially overnight when it’s the coldest. But if they demand outside time, you can give them an extra boost of warmth—inside or out—with a Snuggle Safe. These handy disks can be heated in the microwave and stay warm for several hours—with no unsafe wiring or electricity. Just make sure to follow the guidelines for heating and only use them with healthy, alert cats.
Community and feral cats face unique challenges to stay warm, but it’s easy to help if you know what to do. Providing shelter is a great place to start. You can easily build one out of a couple of storage containers and some straw. If you know a cat that needs a favorite place to hunker down, slip a Little Puff with some silvervine inside the shelter to attract them to the new spot. Cats can’t resist it.
Remember, when you park outside, cats may be tempted to cozy up to your car for warmth. Providing safe places to sleep can help prevent this, but it’s a good idea to check on tires and near the engine for cats and kittens just in case.
Other options for both indoor and outdoor cats include mylar survival blankets like this one. These inexpensive sheets are great because they reflect kitty’s own body heat back at him and don’t require electricity or pre-heating to help him stay warm. They work really well on top of or under the straw in outdoor containers, but they are great in the home as well. Slip one inside your Hide and Sneak or inside any box. It creates a nice, cozy spot and makes a fun crinkly sound that cats will love.
For community cats, the survival blankets are the best alternative to fabric towels or blankets, which can get wet and soggy. And even indoors, blankets are only good if someone is lying under them to trap the heat.
However you choose to keep warm this winter, please remember: never leave a pet unattended with a heating pad, space heater, or open flame. These can easily injure animals even when used properly. It’s best to stick to items made specifically for pets.