How Do Different Breeds Of Cat Cope With Cold Weather? Tough Cats!

"This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links."
"As an Amazon Associate I earn through qualifying purchases."

Different breeds of cats have a higher tolerance for cold temperatures.

Some breeds are better at coping with a colder climate than others, but all breeds need some sort of warmth.

Even the hardiest of cat breeds should not stay outside in temperatures below freezing.

Even below 45F, your feline friend is best off indoors. Cats that remain outside in very cold weather are subject to frostbite and hypothermia.

How do different breeds of cat cope with cold weather? The cat’s ability to cope with extreme cold is due to the different layers of cat hair.

Interesting Fact – Cats breeds with cold tolerance, as described below, are able to tolerate lower temperatures in their indoor environments, without needing extra heating.

Explanation Of the Layers Of Cat Hair

The top layer of cat hair is called the guard coat, the secondary layer of cat hair is called the awn, and the soft, often downy layer just against the skin is called the down.

Not all cats have all three layers of cat hair. The Siberian cat has all three layers of cat hair, however, the Maine Coon, which also originated in a harsh cold climate, has two layers of cat hair.

At the other extreme, the Sphynx cat, which is often called hairless, still has a layer of down hair.

What Is Down Hair On A Cat?

The down hair on a cat, is the hair that is closest to the cat’s body. When we look at the cat, the down hairs appear straight. Under a microscope, you can see that the down hair has crimps, which is what makes the down hairs such good insulators and keeps the cat warm in cold weather.

What is Awn Hair On A Cat?

The awn hairs on a cat, make up the middle part of the cat’s coat. The awn hairs on a cat protect the undercoat and also help to provide insulation for the cat.

What Is Guard Hair On A cat?

The guard hairs of a cat are the protective topcoat. The guard hairs are longer and thicker than either down or awn hairs. The guard hairs protect the layers underneath from rain and snow. The guard hairs are what we typically see and call, the coat.

vector of cats with lots of guard hair
Have we got lots of guard hairs Mum?

Best Cold Weather Cat Breeds

1.The Siberian Cat

a Siberian cat sitting in the snow
Siberian Cat

The Siberian Cat, sometimes referred to as the Siberian Forest Cat or Moscow Longhairs, has a thick and luxurious triple coat.

This thick coat helps the Siberian cat to survive the subarctic weather in Russia, where the cat originated.

The triple layers of the Siberian cat’s coat provides insulation and protection from the wind plus water resistance.

The first layer of the Siberian’s coat is the down hair. The down hair is the undercoat. The down hairs are short and flat.

Next come the awn hairs, which protect the down hair by providing insulation. The awn hairs are shorter than the longer and top layer of guard hairs.

The Siberian cat has long guard hairs, which make up the outer part of the coat.

The large ears of the Siberian cat are covered in fur which helps to protect the ears from the cold.

The coat of a Siberian is somewhat glossy which helps to stop the fur from getting matted.

The Siberian cat, has a strong and sturdy build, which helps them navigate through snowy terrain with ease. The large paws of the Siberian cat also act as snowshoes, allowing them to move around easily and avoid getting stuck in the snow.

2. The Maine Coon Cat

a Maine Coon with snow dusted on his coat
Maine Coon

The Maine Coon cat breed are definitely cats bred to survive in very cold climates. Even though the Maine Coon cat can cope with harsh weather, they don’t necessarily like to be out in cold weather.

Maine Coon cats have incredibly wide paws, with a large surface area, which enable them to walk cross-country in snow. Big tufts of fur on the paws of the Maine Coon help to keep the paws warm. The Maine Coon has a long, bushy tail which provides extra insulation from the cold as the tail wraps around the body to conserve body heat.

Like the Siberian cat, the ears of the Maine Coon are large and covered with fur for protection in cold and snowy weather.

Their luxurious coat of the Maine Coon acts as insulation against rain and snow.

The guard hairs of the Maine Coon (the top coat) are as long like the Persian cat, however they are uneven and coarser than a Persian Cat.

The undercoat of a Maine Coon is very dense with no awn hair!

When the days get shorter, the coat of a Maine coon will thicken in preparation for winter.

Maine Coon cats also cope well in warmer climates, but they need access to cool areas of the home.

Maine Coons and other long haired breeds of cats do need regular grooming to keep the coat in tip top shape.

3.The Turkish Van Cat

a Turkish Van eating outdoors in the snow
Turkish Van

The Turkish Van cat is a different cat breed from the Turkish Angora cat. The Turkish Van cat originated in Türkiye and copes well with cold weather.

The Turkish Van breed is quite rare and often has a coat of white fur with specks of color.

Turkish Vans are known to be intelligent, good hunters, and independent cats. Turkish Vans generally have an outgoing personality and can make great companion animals.

Turkish Vans tend to get along well with children and other pets, making them an ideal choice for families.

Turkish Vans have medium to long hair with soft, silky hair and an absence of a woolly undercoat.

The coat of a Turkish Vans gets thicker in winter and does requires reasonably regular maintenance.

Conversely, the Turkish Van sheds the winter coat in the warmer months, giving the appearance of being almost short haired in summer.

The coat of a Turkish Van is water repellent and this is the cat that is often pictured swimming, as Turkish Vans love the water.

Related: When do cats shed their hair? Is it due to the weather or the seasons? This article explains more.

4.The Turkish Angora Cat

a Turkish Angora cat sitting in the grass
Turkish Angora

The Turkish Angora breed probably originated in the mountainous regions of Türkiye. The Turkish Angora has a very soft, medium long coat for protection in the winter months.

The Turkish Angora is a different breed from the Turkish Van. The Turkish Angora and the Turkish Van both originated in Türkiye and have similarities, hence the confusion.

However, the Turkish Van is a semi-longhair breed while the Turkish Angora cat has short fur. The Turkish Angora also has different markings and its eyes are more distinct than the Turkish Van’s.

One similarity between the Turkish Van and the Turkish Angora, is that the coat thickens in the winter, to keep the cats warm and sheds to become almost short haired in the summer.

The Turkish Angora is a smaller, more fine boned cat than the Turkish Van.

5.The Scottish Fold Cat

a Scottish Fold Cat
Scottish Fold

The Scottish Fold has soft, thick fur that is suited to harsh environments due to the exceptionally dense and warm fur they possess around their toes, ears, thighs, and tail.

The Scottish Fold can be long or short haired.

The recognizable feature of a Scottish Fold is the way in which they fold their ears against their head, to help retain body heat. Now that’s a handy adaptation.

Most Scottish Fold cats have short hair, and they are easy to groom.

The Scottish Fold cats were originally bred in Scotland and cope well with winter weather.

The Scottish Fold is intelligent and affectionate, great around children and other animals.

The Scottish Folds don’t require much maintenance or grooming and their coat is very low shedding.

6.The Manx Cat

the Manx cat
Manx Cat

Manx cats are mainly short haired, although a longer haired Manx cat is sometimes referred to as a Cymric cat.

The Manx cat is from the Isle of Mann, and you may know it as the cat with no tail. This breed of cats is often sought after due to its unique feature, a short or no tail.

In addition to this unusual physical characteristic, Manx cats are known for their intelligence and easy going personalities, making them wonderful companions for any family.

To cope with freezing temperatures, the hair of the Manx cat is thick and dense.

The fur of the Manx cat is typically short and smooth, but some Manx cats may have longer coats in areas such as the belly or neck. The coat color of Manx cats can range from white to black, with tabby markings being the most common.

The awn coat or undercoat of a Manx cat is also thick and can become matted so the Manx needs regular grooming.

Different breeds of cats that cope with cold weather

7.The Himalayan Cat

Himalayan cats have somewhat of a history regarding their origins.

Himalayan cats were finally recognized as a cat breed in 1957. The name may suggest that they are from the Himalayan Mountain Range, but that is incorrect.

One of the early breeders named the cat the Himalayan because of the color similarity to a Himalayan rabbit.

The Himalayan is long haired, making it a good candidate for the winter months. The undercoat of Himalayan cats is dense, and the coat thickens considerably in winter.

The Himalayan cat is a big shedder in warmer months and needs regular grooming to maintain the silky coat.

The Himalayan also loves being inside and is a docile indoor cat.

8.The Russian Blue Cat

a Russian Blue cat
Russian Blue

Do Russian Blue cats like the cold? The Russian Blue cat thrives in chilly climates.

The double coat of the Russian Blue is short and dense.

The Russian Blue can cope with cold temperatures with an average range of 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. The undercoat of a Russian Blue is soft and downy.

The guard hairs of a Russian Blue are the same length as the undercoat, with silver tips.

The Russian Blue cat has a lovely temperament and makes a wonderful pet.

Related: Are you worried about passing your cold onto your cat? Can cats catch colds from humans?

9.The Norwegian Forest cat

a Norwegian Tree Forest cat
Norwegian Tree Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat does well in any season but fares better in colder climates with temperatures ranging from 35 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is built for cold weather and has a fluffy thick coat.

Norwegian Forest Cats are similar to Maine Coons, in that they have very long guard hairs which are uneven and can be coarse.

There are no awn hairs on a Norwegian Forest Cat but a very dense undercoat.

The Norwegian Forest cat has long tufts of hair on their paws to help keep them warm.

The Norwegian Forest Cat loves climbing, so don’t leave any ladders lying around.

Their front legs of the Norwegian Forest cat, are slightly longer than the rear legs, which helps them climb. The Norwegian Forest Cat can also happily cope with and adapt to warmer weather.

10.The Persian Cat

a Persian Cat
Persian Cat

Originating in Iran, Persian cats have extremely thick coats that protect them well in winter and in other cold climates.

The coat of Persian cats is very thick, consisting of two layers. The awn layer of Persian cats helps to insulate them from the cold air.

The guard hairs of Persian cats are long and silky and provide added warmth. This insulation prevents heat loss through their skin.

The Persian cat has a round face and short snout which also helps to protect them from the cold, by reducing the amount of surface area exposed to the cold air.

As Persian cats have such thick coats, they may have a harder time regulating their body temperature in extremely hot weather.

Persian cats need to be kept in a cool and comfortable environment during the summer.

11. The British Shorthair Cat

a British Shorthair cat
British Shorthair

British Shorthairs can handle warmer or colder climates but prefer temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. British Shorthairs will stay indoors when it’s too hot outside.

The coat of a British Shorthair is thick, dense, and waterproof. When a British Shorthair moves, the fur tends to separate, which can be easily seen.

The British Shorthair has a thick undercoat that helps to trap heat close to the cat’s body.

This thick coat, combined with their naturally cold-tolerant nature, makes the British Shorthair a good choice for living in colder climates.

12.The Ragdoll Cat

The Ragdoll is a very docile cat. The Ragdoll is a smaller, more relaxed breed than the Maine Coo or Norwegian Forest cat.

The coat of a Ragdoll is semi-long and silky. Ragdolls can cope with cold weather but are best brought inside when the temperature dips.

The Ragdoll does not have an undercoat but rather has a single coat consisting mainly of long soft guard hairs.

Because of their docile nature, Ragdoll cats are often kept as indoor cats for their own protection.

Related: Do cats feel the cold? How can you tell? Exactly what are the signs of hypothermia in cats?

These Breeds Cope Well With Milder Temperatures

Our feline friends will always seek warmth, and you will know if your cat needs to be kept inside in cold weather. Even the term “cold weather” is somewhat ambiguous, and what is cold weather for some will be mild for others.

If in doubt, make sure the cat has a warm place to sleep, and if that can’t be inside, make an outdoor warm shelter available.

Also, be aware that older cats in general, are less equipped to cope with cold weather.

1.The Siamese Cat

Siamese Cat breed
Siamese Cat

The Siamese cat originated in Thailand, where the climate is tropical and hot and muggy.

Note: Some parts of Thailand, in the north, have milder weather.

The Siamese cat is not bred to be outdoors in the winter.

Siamese cats can cope with a cold climate, but make sure you provide them with a warm bed to keep them warm in the winter.

2.The American Shorthair Cat

American Shorthair breed
American Shorthair

The American Shorthair, is a robust and very popular breed of cat.

The American Shorthair can withstand cold climates and also harsh hot climates making it a good all rounder and a very popular choice.

3.The Burmese Cat

Burmese Cat breed
Burmese Cat

The Burmese cat is best suited to a temperate climate.

If the temperature plummets and becomes cold, the Burmese cat needs to be kept indoors.

Burmese cats have a short haired coat which sheds little and is easy to maintain.

4.The Bengal Cat

Bengal cat breed
Bengal Cat

Generally speaking Bengal cats are well suited to cope better with warmer weather than extreme cold.

Although Bengal cats can cope with cold weather they are not equipped to cope with freezing temperatures and are better off being brought inside in winter.

5.The Sphnyx Cat

Sphynx cat breed
Sphynx Cat

Hairless cats like the Sphynx are usually indoor cats, and they become cold easily. Sphynx cats are also not totally hairless, as they still possess a downy coat, which needs special attention of its own.

To keep the cat warm some Sphynx cats will tolerate wearing a sweater when temperatures drop.

Not all cats, even Sphynx cats, like wearing jumpers, so pay attention to your cat’s behavior when you attempt to clothe him in a jumper.

Provide a warm place inside the home for your Sphynx cat.

A Sphnyx should live indoors but supervised time outdoors is okay too. Just make sure that the sun is not too hot for their skin as they burn easily.

Cats do put on body fat in winter and need to eat more cat food as explained in this article. So kitty, extra food may be a go for you this winter.

Key Takeaways

In the winter, our furry feline friends need some extra TLC as they can’t handle chilly temperatures as well as we do.

In fact, there are several warning signs that you should look out for that cold cats display, such as shivering and lethargy, or if their ears or paws feel particularly cold.

Luckily cat breeds like Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest cats seem better equipped against these conditions but still need access to a nice warm room.

Another condition that can be winter-related is dry skin. Don’t mess around with home remedies, which may or may not work. Visit your veterinarian for advice.

In the meantime, make sure your cat has access to fresh water.

In cold weather, refrain from bathing your cat unless absolutely necessary. Most breeds do not need a bath, and a bath may dry the cat’s coat.

Even an outdoor cat and feral cats benefit from a safe, warm place where there is shelter from extreme temperatures. This could be as simple as a blanket lined crate with food and water nearby.

Even feral cats navigate to shelters that have been provided to escape the cold. A simple hot water bottle placed in an outdoor shelter can provide warmth to a feral cat.

Whatever breed of cat you already have or cat breed you decide to get in the future, it is definitely worth considering the breed in relation to the climate where you live.

Cats are adaptable creatures, but nevertheless, there are some breeds, as discussed, that fare much better in frigid temperatures.

If you have uncertainty, contact breeders in your area to discuss how well the breed adapts to climatic conditions.

vector - two cats reading
I do like a nice warm blankie dear!

Latest from Is That Your Cat

leaves with water droplets
Why Do Old Cats Lick Water off Plants?
girl playing with a cat
Ten Fun Games to Play with Your Cat
two cats different cat litter
14 Different Types of Cat Litter: A Comprehensive Guide for Cat Owners