How to Safely Take Your Cat Outside in the Cold
During the winter months, most of us would like to just cuddle up inside with a blanket and a good book or TV show. But sooner or later, we all have to venture out into the cold for some reason or other.
You know to dress warm, stock up on hand warmers, and have a mug of hot chocolate waiting for you at home, but how do you keep your kitty safe and warm when you have to take him or her out in the cold? Here are some tips:
Make sure they’re up to date on vaccinations
Keep your fur baby healthy and safe by making sure she’s up to date on all her vaccinations. It’s simply a good idea to get all cats—indoor or outdoor—vaccinated to protect them from common kitty diseases, but it’s especially vital for cats who are venturing outdoors.
While you should ask your vet for more specific advice about which vaccines your kitty needs, here are the standard diseases your fur baby may need to be vaccinated against:
- Feline panleukopenia (FPL)
- Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR)
- Feline caliciviral disease
- Feline chlamydiosis
- Feline leukemia
- Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
Your kitty may also need booster shots from time to time. Again, ask your vet for specific recommendations.
Practice outdoor safety
It’s rarely a good idea to let your cat just wander. If you’re taking your kitty outside, you’ll want to use a harness and leash, and/or a cat backpack. But before doing that, you’ll need to get your kitty accustomed to using his harness and/or riding in a cat backpack. There are plenty of tricks you can try to get him properly trained, and we cover the best ones here.
When you go outside, watch out for other animals, avoid areas with ticks or other pests, and, if you plan to be gone for an hour or more, bring all the things your kitty may need, like water and food. Since you never know when you may need to lure your fur baby back, it’s always a good idea to pack a few treats.
It goes without saying, but always make sure your cat is wearing his ID tag in case he runs off or gets lost—after all, kitties are master escape artists!
If it’s too cold, stay indoors
Most kitties have a lot of fur that keeps them warm and snug on an average day, but when the temperature drops, things may get too chilly even for your little fur baby. Trust your own judgment: if it’s an especially frigid day, it may be best to leave your cat inside where it’s warm. (Warning: you may find yourself tempted to stay home as well and cuddle up by the fire with a purring cat on your lap.)
Keep them cozy
@odintheburmese in "The Hawaiian Shirt" Cat Harness
If you need to bundle up before going outside, chances are your cat needs to as well. Here are some tips to keep your kitty nice and toasty when you take her outside:
- Keep a blanket handy - If you’re taking your kitty out in a cat backpack, throw in her favorite blanket so she can cuddle up under it when the weather gets too cold.
- Don’t stay out too long - Pay attention to your own internal temperature. If you find yourself starting to get too cold, your cat probably is too, which means it’s time to go back inside.
- Layer their harness with a warm cat coat - Wrap your kitty up in a nice warm coat and put her harness on top. This will help keep her both warm and safe.
When you get back inside after venturing out in the cold, your cat may need some time to recuperate. Let him rest in his warm cat bed (and put an extra blanket in there just in case he wants to snuggle up with it), and keep your home temperature as comfortable as you can.
Finally, if your kitty is open to it, give him lots of snuggles. Your own body heat is a great way to help warm your kitty up, and snuggling with a cute little fur baby is sure to warm your heart!
For more tips & resources about taking your cat outside, click here!
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