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Do Cats Get Cold Easily? How Do You Know If Your Cat Is Feeling Cold ?

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Feeling Cold?

Do cats get cold? Cats tend to hide their discomfort but they do have signs that will alert you to the fact they are feeling the cold.

Most cats are naturally equipped to handle cold weather, but if you notice that your cat is hiding or sleeping in unusual ways and seems excessively uncomfortable then it may be time to rethink how to provide warmth for the cat.

If the cat is cold, his extremities will feel cold, in particular his ears but also the paws and tail which lose heat first.

You will also notice that the cat is gravitating to any sources of heat. He’s trying to stay warm as best he can. Cats are great warmth seekers at any time however the difference is notable when the temperature dips in colder weather.

Cats can catch the highly contagious cat flu, sometimes called a cat cold as the symptoms are similar. Cats catch the cat flu from other cats.

Can cats catch colds from humans? This article explains how cats catch colds or the cat flu!

a white cat in the snow
A cat sitting in the snow!

What Is A Cat’s Normal Body Temperature?

The normal body temperature of a cat ranges anywhere between 100-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. It is regulated by factors such as the heat outside, how much water they drink, their metabolism rate, genetics and the time of day in which they are active.

How Cold Is Too Cold For Cats?

As a general rule don’t allow your indoor cat outside, without the ability to return inside, when average daily temperature is below 40F.

An outdoor cat that lives outdoors 24 hours a day is better suited for coping with the cold than an indoor cat that may venture outdoors in winter for short periods of time. Senior cats and kittens will be more susceptible to the effects of cold weather.

Determining what temperature is too cold for most cats also depends on their breed (whether they have short or long coats), health, and body mass.

An average daily temperature below freezing can lead to frostbite-especially when coupled with freezing rain/snow conditions outdoors. 

Signs of Hypothermia In Cats

When temperatures dips below freezing, 32 F, cats are vulnerable to frostbite and are at greater risk of developing hypothermia.

Hypothermia is a condition in which the body’s core temperature drops below its normal level. In cats, symptoms of hypothermia can include lethargy and drowsiness. The skin may feel cold and clammy to touch. Without treatment, hypothermic animals will go into a coma before eventually dying from complications related to their low body temperatures.

What Should I Do If My Cat Has Hypothermia?

Take your cat to a veterinarian who will provide intravenous fluids or other supportive care. Keep cats warm when travelling. Use a warm water bottle with a towel wrapped around or a microwave heat pad (which is portable) to provide some external warmth for the trip to the vet.

What is The Most Comfortable Room Temperature For A Cat?

In general, if you are comfortable with the temperature inside your house, your indoor cat will be also. If you do like to keep the thermostat very low, provide somewhere warm for the cat to retreat.

Hairless cats such as the Sphynx cat, as well as any cat with short fur like an Abyssinian, Egyptian Mau or Siamese can be more susceptible to the cold and prefer warm climates.

Other breeds like Maine Coons or Siberians originate from frequently below zero climates. That is not to say that these cats need to live in a cold climate. It’s hot where I live in summer and the winter is mild. There’s also no shortage of happy Maine Coons.

In Summer, our thoughts turn to keeping the cat cool and what we can do to ensure that the cat does not get too hot.

a Maine Coon running through the cold snow
A Maine Coon in the snow!

Create A Warm Place For Your Cat

To keep an cat warm while you are away at work or away for extended periods, requires some forward planning. If possible leave the heat on for the cat’s comfort. If it is a little colder than the cat would like there are some basic things you can do to create a cozy place.

Create a space for your indoor cat can that he can retreat to when it is cold. See the ideas below for simple DIY cat beds.

A cheap, washable carpet square is excellent to place underneath a cat bed if your floors are tiled or boards.

The cat’s water bowl with fresh water and food bowl and litter box should be nearby (although not all together) .

Keep Your Cat Warm With A Heated Cat bed

A heated bed is like a magnet for indoor cats when it is uncomfortably chilly. This article answers all the questions you may have about heated cat beds for indoors. It covers safety of leaving the beds turned on, how hot they get, the different types of heated beds and so on.

Heated Cat Bed

A heated cat bed usually has a removable heating unit so that the bed can be washed. The unit is a smaller size then the base of the bed. These beds are often circular and give more support than a heated cat pad or mat. They have supported sides. This makes them excellent for older cats who like that bit of stability in the sides of the bed.

RIOGOO Pet Heating Pad, Electric Heating Pad for Dogs and Cats Indoor Warming Mat with Auto Power Off (M:18

Self Warming Cat Bed

Self warming cat beds use the cat’s own body heat to warm the area. The construction of the bed can include several layers and sometimes one of these layers includes Mylar or some insulating material so that the heat is reflected back to the cat to keep the cat warm. This article show some of the many different self warming cat beds that are available

Heated Cat Mats/Pads

A heated cat mat or pad enables the cat to fully stretch out on a warm pad or mat. There is more information here about heated cat pads and a comparison of different products plus reviews. These cat pads have a removable heating pad and a cover that can be removed for washing.

Pads That Can Be Heated In the Microwave (For Cats)

A microwave heating pad, that is specifically for cats, is placed in the microwave to heat. The length of time they stay hot depends on the unit. Read this article for more information about microwave heated cat pad. The beauty of these microwave heating pads for cats is that they can be placed in any pet cat bed and can be used outdoors also.

DIY Cat Beds For Warmth

The T Shirt bed shown in the video is a simple way to create an enclosed space for the cat. This will remain warmer that a bed with no cover. Pop in a comfy blanket. A pad that is for cats and be heated in the microwave will help to keep the cat warm for hours.

Along similar lines use a cardboard box, that we already know cats love, turn it on its side. This will provide a semi enclosed space for you cat. Add some soft comfy blankets.

cat keeping warm in a cardboard box
Cat in a cardboard box. He just needs some soft warm blankets to help keep him warm,

Provide Shelter For Outdoor/Feral Cats Without Breaking The Bank

Outdoor cats can refer to cats that spend some time outside but have easy access to go into warm environment if it becomes too cold. These cats usually have access to a cat flap so they can enter the warm house when the temperature dips.

Rescue cats that have been tossed out of homes, sometimes struggle from being inside, if most of their previous life has been outside.

And then there are feral cats who are outside all of the time and spend all of their time looking for food and a sheltered place, from cold temperatures, to sleep.

Feral cats huddled together to stay warm
Feral cats trying to stay warm.

dIY Outdoor Shelter For cats

If it is possible, have an outdoor shelter for feral cats during the colder months. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. A common approach is to use a large insulated cooler, cut a cat door in the lid then flip it on its side. The low-priced foam coolers made from polystyrene foam are easy to cut.

Straw acts as an excellent insulator to place inside the house. Place the straw on the floor of the polystyrene box. The straw will act as an insulator using the cat’s own body heat. To raise the structure from the ground a little, use some piece of wood or bricks something similar.

The polystyrene box can also be placed inside a larger plastic tote to give even more protection.

Placing the shelter in a covered location will protect it from snow and rain and provide an outdoor cat with some warmth. Even just a few degrees warmer will be a bonus for the cat and perhaps protect the cat from severe hypothermia.

This will be heaven for a feral or stray cat. If you wanted to up the ante, a microwave heated cat pad can stay warm for hours. There are different types as explained in this article and once again it is not spending big dollars.

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