While shopping for your groceries you pass by the pet accessories section. Instinctively, you move your cart there and find those adorable little pet clothes, t.shirts, little pink woolen warmers and cute little bow-ties purr-fect for your Mr. Whiskers. You see a red and black checkered coat and you just know your Ms. Cattitude would look so classy in it that all the kitties on the block would go Wow!
But does your cat actually need an extra layer especially in winter?
Natural Coat of Fur
Cats, naturally, have a thick coat of fur draping their bodies which helps them stay warm during chilly days of winter. There are some hairless cat breeds, like The Peterbald and Sphynx, that get cold quicker than their furry friends but they too don’t usually need a coat or a warmer. Unless they are in pretty cold environment.
Adding an extra layer to the already warm fur of your cat may overheat them. The exception would be if going outside in cold weather, with veterinarians advice to layer on a light coat or sweater to balance out their body temperature and help them avoid colds.
Dressing your fur buddy in a classy coat and a bow-tie would make for a purr-fect Pinterest-y post grabbing everyone’s attention to your kitty but paw-don me when I say it, dressing them up won’t be a very good move. Cats are designed to move freely, and a piece of clothing around their bodies would restrict moving. Cats usually have a thick coat of natural fur around them to help them balance their body temperatures.
Some kitties do not like getting into any sort of clothing, and they may get overheated and irritated. They are restricted in the normal feliner movement and can’t enjoy their daily share of climbing and rolling easily. Your cat may get annoyed and throw a tantrum by meow-ing louder or peeing on your bedding.
How to Tell If Your Kitty is Cold?
There are a few ways you can judge that your cat is not warm enough and has a need to wrap up. To save it from being cold, you should keep these in mind:
Your cat can tell you when it is cold. Shivering is an obvious sign. You may see them looking for a warm place to lay down. They may purr in pain or just un easily circle around looking for a place that is a suitable temperature for them to rest. You can observe these reactions and provide something warmer around them. If you are outside with your kitty, get inside and let them lay down beside a heat source to return to their normal body temperature.
A general rule of thumb provided by Nagelschneider is straightforward and quite sensible. “If you’re cold, your cat is cold”. Going out into snow would require you to wrap your kitty up too but going to the beach in July is not the right time to put on a coat on them. A cat should not be left out in winter conditions too long. After a stroll out in frost or cold, always check your kitty paws for the redness or cracking, and wipe them with a warm damp towel to help return to temperature.
Sometimes surgery such as neutering requires shaving off the fur, and Vets can recommend putting on a sweater to keep the cat all warm and cozy, as well as for recovery and wound protection. You can put a light sweater on your cat to keep its body temperature within normal range, improving healing.
Keeping Your Cat Warm
Cats are self-sufficient when it comes to warming them up which means they may require little to no clothing. Instead of putting on warm coats that may irritate your purr ball you may consider replacing their normal cat bed with insulated and cozy bed in the winters. Avoid taking them out for strolls in winter. Do not let them play for long outside in chilly weather.
When your pet cat returns after playing outside in winters, dip a towel in lukewarm water and rub its paws with it to help regulate its body temperature. You can get a cat tower or cat tree from Cat Evolution which will keep your cat well exercised and entertained indoors.
Remember, your kitten is your responsibility and you should always do your best to provide good care and attention, not just photo-opportunities!