Monday, July 15, 2024

How Cold Can Cats Be Outside

Don't Miss

How Cold Is Too Cold For Barn Cats

Same as any cat freezing is dangerous and below 45°F, they are at risk of hypothermia. Often barn cats like to sleep in groups and sleep together for warmth, often off the ground and in a sheltered spot but they are no less vulnerable to bad weather just better at finding survivable spots! 

They still need water and food that doesnt freeze over and enough shelter to maintain their body heat.

Q: How Do Cats Get Cat Flu

A: A cat can be a carrier of cat flu without necessarily showing symptoms. Its transmitted through sneeze or saliva droplets, or eye discharge. While kittens are usually most at risk of catching cat flu, older cats with weakened immune systems may also be susceptible. If your cat is a golden oldie or has a pre-existing heart or lung disease , youll need to watch her carefully and you might need to speak to your vet about possible treatments.

Introduce A New Cat Or Kitten To The Family

If your cat is missing his social activities outside during winter, and you have considered getting a second cat before, then why not bring a new cat into the family. This way both cats can socialise together in the safety of the warm indoors.

This might not always be the right option, so it shouldnt be a decision you make lightly. Cats are social animals, and a new playmate will certainly keep them more active during the winter months and throughout the year. However, cats can also be very territorial which could cause problems when introducing a new cat.

How Cold Is Too Cold For Indoor Cats

Indoor cats often spend their days lounging on soft beds, cozy cushions, and freshly-washed laundry. Given how unused they are to cold weather, they tend to be less resilient than outdoor kitties when the temperature drops.

However, as long as the ambient temperature of your home is hovering somewhere around 60 to 70°F , your indoor kitty will be fine during the cold winter months. Just make sure theyve got plenty of cozy, warm spots to curl up in.

Neither indoor cats nor outdoor cats should be outside for long periods when the temperature drops below 45°F . This is even more important for kittens, as well as old and sick cats. 

Looking After A Cat In Winter With Arthritis

How to Keep Your Cat Cool This Summer

Does your cat have arthritis? Arthritic and elderly cats can suffer in cold weather as it severely affects their joints. Offer plenty of warm places for your cat to sleep in, as well as making sure they are easily accessible. If you are concerned about your cats health, or there are any changes then seek veterinary advice.

Find out more about spotting the signs of arthritis in your cat in our visual guide.

Why Is My Cat Grumpy In The Winter Weather

Animals get the winter blues too, according to veterinary charity PDSA who say that affected pets want to eat more, avoid exercise and are grumpier during the winter months.

The PDSA say that according to a poll they have previously carried out, some pets display similar symptoms to the human disorder Seasonal Affective Disorder , which include fatigue, depressed mood, and lack of energy.

Why not try to cheer a grumpy cat up by providing cardboard boxes as hideaways, create newspaper ‘tunnels’ for your cat to hide and play in, play with your pet each day, rotating toys, and talk to and cuddle your cat?

Help Feral Cats In Your Community

Feral cats are resilient, adventurous, and accustomed to living outside. They dont want to be around people and dont want to live inside a home. Since they live in colonies in a territory they know well, theyre able to cope with below zero temperatures. While it’s often difficult for some animal lovers to accept feral cats really are happier living outdoors, unlike their domesticated counterparts.

Feral cats seek out abandoned buildings, deserted cars, and even dig holes in the ground to keep warm in winter months . If you have feral or community cats in your neighborhood, here are a few ways you can lend a helping hand:

  • Set out extra food during winter. Increased food portions help them conserve energy. Wet food takes less energy to digest, but should be served in heated pet food bowls, which can be found at most pet stores. Providing dry food, which wont freeze, works for frigid temperatures as well.
  • Set out fresh water twice a day. Heated pet bowls are perfect for this as well.

How Do I Know My Cat Is Cold

Since cats tend to hide their discomfort, youll need to be extra observant to detect these subtle signs that your cat is cold.

1.Cold extremities: Your cats ears, paws, and the tip of his tail will lose heat first. If these body parts feel cold, your cat is probably uncomfortably chilly.

2. Snoozing on direct heat sources: If you catch your cat routinely heading to the radiator for his midday siesta, you can bet hes trying to boost his body temperature.

3. Curling into a ball: While this could just be one of your cats go-to sleeping positions, sometimes its a clue that hes too cold. A cold cat will tuck his paws and tail beneath his body to preserve heat

4. Always wants to cuddle: If your cat is permanently fixed to your lap, its fair to say hes trying to get warm. Chilly kitties will huddle together for warmth.

If your cats body temperature dips below 90°F, they are at moderate risk of hypothermia. lays out the following signs of mild to severe hypothermia in cats.

Signs of mild hypothermia in cats include:

  • Weakness

Any of these symptoms warrant a trip to the vet for immediate treatment.

Is He Really Feral

Good question. Not having a lot of experience with ferals, once the litter box was out and I saw that he was using it, I wondered if a feral cat will use a box. Readers, can you help? I did a quick browse of online articles, which suggest that a feral might need to be trained to use a box. However, I thought that all cats had the inclination. However, maybe hes not feral and just a very scared stray? I cant be sure. I cant get anywhere near him. Hes not interested coming in to the heated house.

How Cold Is Too Cold For Cats Indoors Vs Outdoors

If your cat is strictly an inside cat, a good rule of thumb to follow is if your home is too cold for you, itâs most likely too cold for your cat. While it may be important to you to save money on the heating bill, moving your thermostat up a few degrees could be the difference between a happy, healthy cat and an unhappy, sick one.

Keeping cats outdoors is a different story. Outside cats generally live shorter lives than cats that live indoors because they face a higher exposure to dangerous situations. Outdoor cats run into problems when temperatures fall below freezing. Without shelter, they can develop hypothermia and frostbite, and their chances of surviving the winter grow slim. There are many ways you can help ensure your outdoor cat has a safe place for the cold nights, but the important thing is to be proactive so your cat is protected.

While a snuggly fleece bed is great for an indoor cat to keep warm, it wonât do well for an outdoor cat. Building shelters or providing a warm space in a barn or garage are great ways to get outdoor cats ready for the winter. Along with warmth during the winter, donât forget about food. Making sure that food and water are placed somewhere they wonât freeze are necessary to making sure your outdoor cat is well-nourished. If youâre wondering how cold is too cold for your cat, itâs probably too cold. Making sure you have a well built shelter can be the difference between life and death for your cats.



Indoor Cats Might Have More Troubles In Cold Temperatures

Indoor cats are not used to these extreme temperatures and should stay in when it dips down that low. Sometimes, cat parents like to let their cats outside so they can get fresh air and sunshine. But when it gets too cold, they should not go outside. Even when its a bit warmer than the temperature limits, indoor cats might have more difficulty staying warm outdoors.

This is because they are not used to cooler temperatures and havent adapted to them as outdoor cats have. If its above freezing outside, your cat might like a little fresh air now and then, which is fine. Remember to let them come back in when they get enough fresh air.

Another thing you might do is to set up a pet door on your entrance door, so they can come in and go out as they please. If your neighborhood is unfriendly to cats, you may not want to do that.

What To Put In Your Outdoor Cat Shelter

Straw allows cats to burrow. Pillowcases loosely stuffed with packing peanuts and shredded newspaper also work.

Keep things clean: Replace straw and newspaper if moist or dirty, and wash and re-stuff pillowcases as needed.

However, if it’s really cold where you live and you can’t check on the shelters regularly, dont use the above insulation. Instead, “wallpaper” the shelter’s inner walls and floor with Mylar. It reflects back body heat, and it’s okay for cats to lie on it.

Making Your Dog Comfortable Outdoors

Will My Cat Get Too Cold in the Winter Outside?

Spending a little time outdoors is a great way for your dog to get some exercise. In your pups outdoor area, youll need to provide some fresh food, water, and appropriate shelter from the cold, heat, wind, and rain. Shady shelter is especially important for dogs with very short hair or white hair who can easily get sunburned, recommends Dr. Sara Ochoa, a veterinary consultant for .

Of course, when your dog is outdoors, try to spend as much time with them as possible. Too much loneliness and they may become bored which could lead to digging, destructive behavior, or escape attempts, says Mühlenberg.

Most importantly, never put your dog in outdoor conditions where the health and safety of the pup is at risk. And always monitor your pooch for signs of discomfort like panting, shivering, shaking, or extreme fatigue. Remember, your pup is part of your family and its up to you to ensure your furry friend stays safe both indoors and outdoors.

Cats Sleep A Lot In Any Season

Cats sleep 15 to 20 hours a day no matter the season. As predators, theyre predisposed to be active around twilight the time of day when their prey is most likely to be out and about. Out in the wild, survival means most of their energy has to be spent on hunting.

All that stalking, running, pouncing, and digesting requires a lot of sleep to build up their energy reserves. Thats why youll find most cats either napping or in a deep sleep throughout the day or during the darkest hours of night.

In other words, they adapt their sleeping pattern around mealtimes. For domestic cats, this means sleeping during the day when their humans arent home and being active at night.

In fact, you can use this knowledge to minimize your cats hardwired need to zoom through the house when youre sleeping. Cats will adjust their behavior for a number of reasons, including their humans schedules, how much theyre fed and how often, and even the amount of light they receive during the day.

Appetite, sleep pattern, and energy can all change from season to season.

Walking A Cat On A Leash: How Cold Outdoors Is Too Cold

My shelter-rescue Bengal cat has been enjoying almost-daily walks with his harness and a leash for a couple of months now.  He never wants to come in, and has been known to be out with his cat-walker for almost two hours, exploring the streets and yards of Hyde Park .  I expect he’ll still want to do it when it gets cold, and I think he’s quite capable of staying out well beyond the limits of health and safety.  Does anyone know how cold is too cold for a cat to be walking/running/climbing around?  He doesn’t have much of an undercoat, if any.  His orangey-brown markings suggest that his Asian Leopard Cat ancestor was from the southern range of the distribution–India rather than Siberia.  Thanks.

  • 85 friends
  • 63 reviews

I would say cats can handle as much as cold as you can. My cats love snow but they usually don’t play in it more than 30 minutes at a time.

I think they can tolerate pretty cold temperatures, my parent’s tabbies will sit on the screened in porch in the middle of winter. But if you’re walking the cat when there’s snow on the ground you may want to purchase booties . Salt thrown on sidewalks is very hard on the foot pads so I’d be more concerned with that.

  • 242 friends
  • 320 reviews

I try to walk my cats on a leash and it’s pretty funny!  Tho I do put them on one when they want to just go outside and sniff around…You can get a Harness at any pet store in the cat section

  • 146 friends
  • 491 reviews
  • 0 friends
  • 24 reviews
  • 400 reviews

Keeping Indoor/outdoor Or Outdoor Cats Warm

According to what veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker told , there are two main components that will keep feral cats warm in the winter: shelter and food.

You can buy an insulated shelter at a pet store or go the DIY route if youre handy. Make sure the openings arent large enough to accommodate other animals such as raccoons, skunks, or opossums, and a plastic flap can go a long way toward keeping warmth in. Hay and mylar blankets are best for insulationavoid fabrics that retain moisture like everyday towels or blankets.

Place shelters away from high-traffic areas. Try to keep them raised a few inches off the ground to conserve heat and do what you can to position the shelters opening against a windbreaker such as a wall or a fence to reduce windchill.

When it comes to food, conscientious cat people can place warmed canned food outside at scheduled intervals. This will teach the cats to arrive on time for a warm meal. Serve dry food, too, because canned food will freeze if not eaten immediately.

Dont forget the water! Be sure to check it periodically to make sure it hasnt frozen over.

Above all, rememberif youre cold, its likely your cat is cold too. Just a few simple changes are all it takes to keep him safe and cozy all winter long.

Provide Fresh Water Frequently

Many animals, including cats, become dehydrated in winter when most of the available water supply is frozen. If you can safely provide water in a , by all means, do so. Heated dishes are available in most pet supply stores or . If you need to use an , make sure it is one that is made for outdoor use. If a heated dish is not a viable option, use a thick plastic container, insulated if possible, and change the water frequently. Some people place a microwavable heating pad under the container to help keep it from freezing a little longer.

For indoor cats, frozen water is usually not an issue, but dehydration due to the dry air indoors may be. Be sure to change the water at least daily, and wash your cats water dish. Clean, fresh water will tempt your cat to drink more.  Feed your cat wet food, which has a higher content of water than does dry food and provides some hydration.

If You Have An Outdoor Cat You Need To Know Their Limits During The Winter Months And When You Should Let Them Inside

Cats might have thick, fluffy coats, but that cant fully protect them when the temperatures start to drop. Most people keep their cat indoors all year round, but for those that let their cat outside to explore youre going to want to keep an eye on the temperature during the winter to make sure its safe for them to be outdoors. If you also have a dog at home, heres when its too cold for dogs to go outside.

Cats And Cold Weather


Cold weather can be hard on cats, just like it can be hard on people. When the thermometer dips below freezing, it is important to protect your cats from the cold spell. The most important is to keep your cat indoors. Probably the best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your cat inside with you and your family. Being outdoors, unattended does nothing to improve the quality of your cats life.


Myth #2: How Cold Is Too Cold For Cats Freezing

Photo Credit: Christa Gampp via Flickr

The Myth: I am perfectly comfortable when it is 50°F outside, therefore my cat is comfortable at that temperature too.

The Truth: There isnt really a set temperature at which the weather becomes too cold for all cats. Generally speaking, when the temperature hits freezing the risk for severe hypothermia and frostbite are high. However, there are a variety of factors that determine which temperatures are comfortable for a cat and which are too cold. These factors include:

Outdoor Cats Might Be Able To Survive Cold Better

When Is It Too Cold for Cats to Go Outside?

Cats on the farm or who live most of the year outdoors are used to living in the cold, but that doesnt mean that they can survive bitter cold like some parts of the world experience. They still need to find warm places to sleep overnight and access to fresh, not frozen, water.

The average daily temperature that cats can survive in is about 45°F, or 7°C. If it gets much colder than that overnight, then they need to find a warmer place to stay. Frostbite or hypothermia sets in quickly for cats as it does for humans. They dont have as much fat on their bodies as humans, so they get colder faster.

While they might be better suited to colder temperatures, they still need to be cared for when it gets bitterly cold.

Should Indoor Cats Have Outdoor Time

One reason cats generally enjoy the outdoors is that it takes them back to their natural roots. It’s important for owners to remember that cats are nocturnal, and in the wild, they’d be hunting all night and sleeping all day. Sometimes an indoor cat gets bored and may get anxious being cooped up inside all of the time if it isnt given enough stimulation, says Dr. Mosoriak. Keeping your indoor cat stimulated is important to mental health. Outdoor cats get that natural stimulation they need.

Of course, an indoor cat will not be doing much hunting, but you can simulate that activity with a variety of cat toys, like the Pet Fit For Life feather wand cat toy or the Cat Dancer wand cat toy. Providing indoor cats with cat scratchers and cat trees is also a great idea. Adding levels with cat trees or a cat window perch gives cats a higher point to view their territory and their own place to explore, climb, knead and take cat naps on.

Although Christine Capaldo, DVM, The PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Virginia, noted that PETA’s position is unequivocal: All cats should be indoor cats, she agreed that supervised outdoor activity can be healthy if done the correct way. Like dogs, cats should be allowed outdoors for walks on leashes that are attached to harnesses, not to collars, she said. Let the cat get used to the harness for short periods indoors, and then pick a safe outdoor area to explore.

Introduce A Shelter For Outdoor Cats

Cats tend to explore at night. Once their owner goes to bed, outdoor cats without a cat flap cant get into their warm home until morning. Temperatures are at their lowest in the middle of the night so make sure there is a warm shelter available at all times. If your cat prefers the indoors, make sure they are home and safe before you go to bed.

An outdoor sheltered area such as a shed or an elevated box filled with blankets should keep your pet dry and warm.

If your cat normally comes back home at night and they have been missing or outside for an extended period of time in extreme weather, when they return in the morning take them to the vet for a health check.

Be Careful With Chemicals

When using antifreeze on your vehicle during colder weather, keep the chemical liquid away from pets. Antifreeze can be deadly, and pets that dont know any better will want to drink it.

If your pet displays the signs of poisoning, which include loss of balance, vomiting and lethargy, seek help from your vet immediately.

How To Create An Outdoor Cat Feeding Station

Here are some tips:

  • Designate a specific feeding area for the cats. That way, they know where to go when theyre hungry and thirsty and can access their food fast, so they spend less time in the cold air.
  • Make sure the cat feeding station is protected from the elements. Place it in a covered area or create a structure with a roof and walls.
  • Consider creating an outdoor feeding station that is off the ground, to keep the food and water warmer.
  • If possible, warm up canned food, or feed only dry food if theres a good chance the wet food will freeze. You can also spray insulation foam on the bottoms of the cats dishes to keep food and water from freezing.
  • Fill water bowls with warm or hot water, keep them in the sun when possible, and use dark-colored bowls to absorb the sunlight. Double-layered bowls are also a good choice because they protect the water in the bowl from freezing from the cold surface below.
  • Keep water from freezing by using a solar-powered bowl or by placing a heating pad thats been heated in a microwave underneath the water bowl.
  • Remember to provide lots of food and water for outdoor cats during wintertime. They need extra calories to stay warm when it gets cold, so when the temperature drops, feed them larger-sized portions.

Feral Cat Feeding Tips:

  • Keep the cat’s food and water from freezing by putting their water in bowls that are deep rather than wide
  • Fill the bowls with warm water and/or add a pinch of sugarboth prevent the water from freezing
  • It’s a clever idea to feed feral cats’ wet food because it takes less energy for their tummies to digest than dry food, therefore, this will conserve their needed energy to stay naturally warm
  • Feral cats have the skills needed to survive the weather, however, with a little help from their indoor humans, they can be more comfortable and a lot warmer!

Feral kitty taking refuge in a insolated box!

How To Keep Outdoor Cats’ Food And Water From Freezing

What you put food and water in can make a difference. A thick plastic water container that’s deep and wide is better-insulated than a thin plastic or ceramic container. A solar-heated water bowl can prevent or delay water and canned food from freezing.

If shelters are well-insulated, you can put bowls of dry or moist food inside them, far from the doorway. Even if the moist food freezes, the cats’ body heat will defrost it when they hunker down in their shelter.

Don’t put water bowls inside the shelter. Water is easily spilled, and a wet shelter will feel more like a refrigerator than a warm haven. Do your best to keep water from freezing.

More articles

Popular Articles

Brands Of Wet Cat Food

40 Lb Bag Of Cat Food