Winter—like it or not, it’s here, and it’s not going anywhere for a while! Depending on where you’re located, winter may have a pretty big impact on the way you live, but humans aren’t the only ones who are affected by the changing seasons. Keep your cat safe this winter. It can be tough on kitties, too!
The safest place for cats at any time of the year is indoors, but indoor kitties aren’t immune to the effects of winter. They may not be directly exposed to the cold, but they still can get chilly, and the reduced sunlight on snowy days can be a real cat-bummer! The last thing you want is for your kitty to end up with a case of the winter blues!
Here are a few ways you can keep your cat safe and a-mewsed this winter:
1. Create Warm Spots for Cat Naps
Most cats are naturally drawn to warm areas where they can snuggle up. In the winter, it can be a little harder to find a cozy spot. Here are a few tips to create cat-friendly napping places:
- Know the sunny spots in your house. If the sun always shines in a certain window in the afternoon, you can guarantee that’s where kitty will want to be. So why not place a comfy chair or cat bed there to make it even more inviting?
- Make cozy spots around the house for your cat to curl up in. My cats love their Cat Balls! I often find them snuggled up inside on chilly or dreary days. There are lots of other cozy cat beds and balls, too. Some are made of wool and would be super warm!
- Try a heated cat bed. It’s best to stick to a bed made especially for pets. These are available in several styles and are designed to heat up to a temperature that won’t burn kitty’s sensitive skin.
- Watch the thermostat. If you typically turn down your thermostat when you’re away, make sure you consider your cat’s comfort. Older cats, underweight cats, and those with thin coats may be uncomfortable if you lower the heat too much.
2. Give Them an Interesting View
Cats never seem to get tired of sitting in a window and watching the birds. You can bring the entertainment up close by hanging a bird feeder outside your cat’s favorite window. Your kitty will never be bored if there are lots of birds to watch! Some birds fly south for the winter, but others will tough it out in the cold. Research which birds remain in your area, find out what they like to eat, and let the fun begin!
You can add some extra comfort to kitty’s viewing experience by blocking any drafts that might be coming in. You could also install a cozy cat bed in the window. That way he won’t have to sit on a cold, hard windowsill to enjoy the show.
3. Keep Them Moving
If your indoor cat is used to getting supervised or secured outdoor time (my cats, Turdie and Olivia, have a screened sun porch), then he'll likely see less of the outdoors in winter. But that doesn’t mean it’s ok for him to turn into a little couch potato until it warms up again! Be sure he gets enough exercise and engagement despite the weather. If you have stairs, make kitty climb them to get to the food dish. Or get him moving and engage his hunting instinct by hiding treats around the house. Help him hunt down the treats the first few times—he should start to catch on after that.
Toys are another great way to interact with your cat and help him get some exercise. Find something that he’s really crazy about and have some fun together! Some cats love feather wands, while others go nuts over laser pointers or a toy mouse dragged along the floor.
4. Run a Humidifier
We know the effects that dry winter air can have on humans (alligator skin anyone?), but it can be uncomfortable for kitties too! Keeping moisture in the air will help your cat feel more comfortable and it will cut down on static electricity.
5. Make Time For Cuddles
Be sure to give kitty extra cuddle time! In order to be happy, cats need regular attention. So take time to let him snuggle up next to you while you drink your morning coffee. Or curl up on the couch together while you read a book or watch the evening news. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to make some time just for him. After all, the bonding will keep you both warm inside and out.
The winter may seem long, but your cat doesn’t need to go stir crazy! With just a little effort, you can keep him warm, comfortable, and healthy while you wait for the warmer weather to return.
Guest post by Kristen Levine Pet Living, the place for stories, science & advice for living happier and healthier with pets.