Updated: Jan 16
Ah … the beautiful snowflakes twirling down from the sky, covering your entire universe with white and fluffy snow. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your feline companion with you at that moment to enjoy the wonders of life? I would say so!
Last year was Archer’s very first time being on winter explorations, and he has enjoyed and embraced every moment of it; including doing his business in the snow. I know, he just enjoys making yellow and brown snow, so my first advice for you is don’t let your cat go near the snow that looks funny. Seriously!
In order to ensure we don’t miss out on all the winter fun, I have came up with some tips which may help you to circumvent the colder temperature, and make your cat more comfortable with the climate.
Tip #1: Layer it up
You heard it right! Layering of clothing is your friend when it comes to colder weather.
The first time Archer was outside in the cold, I thought one layer of winter jacket was for sure enough, but I was totally wrong! Archer ended up shivering the entire time, and we immediately put him inside his backpack and went back home.
Learning from that experience, I would recommend to adjust the layering of clothing based on your cat’s fur type and the temperature they can tolerate. Of course short-haired cats naturally have less fur compared to their long-haired fur friends. Therefore, make sure you put on the appropriate layers to keep your cat warm.
Depending on the weather, I usually put on a variety of clothing on Archer. If the temperature is below 10°C (50°F), I would put on up to three pieces of clothing on him consisted of a base layer, sweater or thin jacket, and a full winter jacket. If the temperature is above 10°C (50°F), I would put up to two layers of clothing with a base layer plus a sweater or jacket.
In terms of clothing Archer currently owns:
Base Layer - RC Pets Baseline Fleece
Tip #2: Bring extra items for warmth
If you are planning to go on longer adventures in colder temperature, I would recommend to bring an insulator for your cat backpack to keep the interior warm.
An extra blanket, heating pad, or reusable hot pack are great options to keep the interior warm and cozy in case your cat needs a rest during the adventure.
I usually place a reusable heating pad underneath a blanket inside the backpack as a source of heat for Archer outside. One time Archer felt so comfortable inside the backpack that he refused to get out, and just peeked from the top opening of the backpack.
Tip #3: Protect the toe beans
While you are outside having fun, don’t forget to protect those tiny little toe beans from the salt or anti-freeze materials.
As these substances will irritate the toe beans and are toxic to cats, ensure you wipe your cat’s paws at the end of every adventure to avoid their further contact.
I have established a good habit of wiping Archer’s paws every time we come home, to ensure any dirt or toxic materials are gone. I wouldn’t want him to be in contact of any of those as he cleans himself!
Tip #4: Observe your cat’s body language for cold feelings
While you are out with your cat in the cold, make sure you constantly check for signs of shivering or frost bites.
If your cat starts to shiver, immediately put him/her inside the backpack until their body temperature regulates to avoid hypothermia. You can also avoid your cat’s contact on the ground by picking him/her up more frequently as you continue your exploration.
Frost bite can occur in the cold, frequently check your cat’s ears, nose, tail and toe beans for signs of colour change to light or grey.
As cats tend to be quite sensitive on their toe beans with temperature, apply paw wax prior to leaving the house to keep those toe beans from cracking in the cold.
Tip #5: Keep your adventures short in duration
Same as humans, cats do have low tolerance to extreme cold; therefore, consider keeping your adventures short in duration.
We usually keep our adventures to 30 minutes during colder temperatures, with a maximum of 1 hour if Archer is dressed warm or is willing to stay longer.
Tip #6: Indoor adventures are also fun
If all fails during extremely cold weather, consider staying inside!
There may be some stores which allow cats to explore, and trust me! They would be as excited and intrigued as they are outside.
Another activity I have been doing with Archer is to take him on errands, so he could observe the world in the car. Of course, if your cat has not been trained or accustomed for car rides, try to contain the activity to their comfort level.
As a final note, each cat has their tolerance and limit with colder temperature. Ensure you dress them appropriately for the environment, and always check on their body language.
Sometimes the weather may not allow us to go outside, but there’s still so much you can do with your feline companion to enjoy your moments together!