No doubt sleeping under the stars on a warm summer night can be enjoyable for humans as well as our four legged friends. But summer has long ended and winter is just around the corner, being outside at night is not as nice as it was a few months ago. That may leave you wondering, how cold is too cold for my outdoor cat? Even though they have a built in fur coat, some extra frigid nights can take a toll on an outdoor cat. On the whole, if the temperature stays above 32°, then your cat should be okay when it’s cold out. If there are below freezing temps, then you’re going to want to make sure they have the proper shelter to ensure their safety. Here are a few things to keep in mind as the temperature drop.
Overall Health: A young healthy cat will fare much better than an elderly or sickly feline. If your outdoor cat is getting up there in age or recovering from an illness, you may want to consider moving them inside. Also, if your outdoor cat has a large build and a thick coat, they will be far more comfortable outside than if you have a skinny short hair cat.
Shelter: This is probably the most important factor when it comes to making sure your outdoor cat is safe when it’s freezing. They need to have a place to cuddle up that protects them from the wind. Wind-chill can easily make cold temperatures go from bearable to deadly. A simple box with blankets or a bale of hay tucked on a porch or in the garage will do just fine. You can also make a nice shelter from a Tupperware that will keep them pretty cozy through the winter months.
Hardy Food and Water: A hardy dinner will help your outdoor cat stay warm. It amps up their metabolism which is basically the bodies furnace. Also, make sure they have access to water that hasn’t or won’t freeze. A block of ice in their bowl won’t do them much good. If it’s really cold where you live, then you may want to invest in an electric bowl that keeps the water from freezing.
Generally your outdoor cat will be just fine outdoors with shelter even if the temps dip below freezing. Without some kind of lodging, they are at risk for frost bite, hypothermia, and even death. It is definitely better to be safe than sorry, so make sure their outdoor setup is enough to protect them from the elements. Watch your local news for freeze warnings, that way you know when to make sure they’re sleeping space is safe and warm for them. Also, if your cat is used to being indoors and now is an outdoor cat, they may have a harder time adjusting to the colder temps. If they are used to being outside, then they should be okay even if dips below freezing as long as they have a place to cuddle up.
Cats are very resilient animals and should be fine as the cold weather approaches, but as pet parents it’s our job to make sure that their habitat is adequate to keep them safe through out the winter.