You have noticed that your cat’s mood and behavior are different during significant changes to the weather. Rain, wind, heat, cold, thunderstorms, etc., can have a significant impact on the way your cat feels and behaves, including its appetite.
Good and bad weather can affect a cat’s mood. Changes in temperature, severe weather, and lack of sunlight can impact how your cat’s behavior. Cat’s can enter a period of depression in a harsh winter climate. The weather may also change your pet’s eating habits, leading to weight loss or obesity.
In addition to affecting mood, some weather changes affect your cat’s health severely. Extreme heat can lead to dehydration, weight loss, and heat stroke. Prolonged exposure to very cold temperatures can result in frostbite and hypothermia in cats.
Can Weather Affect a Cat’s Behavior?
Cat’s often view significant weather changes in the same way as small children. Their lack of understanding can lead to fear and anxiety. This is especially true during violent thunderstorms.
The sound of thunder cat scare a cat and send them running for cover. Fear of the unknown can often be the greatest fear of all. This is one of the ways your cat’s mood can be affected by weather.
Rain can make your cat extremely anxious. And given that most cats have an aversion to water getting trapped in a downpour can create an uncomfortable or distressing situation.
A cat’s initial layer of fur is water resistant. The fur can easily become waterlogged. If the weather is cold, the water will get colder with every passing minute. This can lead to discomfort and illness.
Because cats have an amazing sense of smell, they can detect rain. Cats can tell the difference between natural water and water from the faucet.
Can cats gauge changes in barometric pressure? History suggests that cats have been used to detect rain. Because cats react to the shifts in air pressure, people often looked to them centuries ago for weather guidance. Given that cats are predators and depend on their senses to be aligned with environmental changes, people monitored the behavior of cats to detect significant shifts in air pressure.
Once a cat has concluded that a storm is coming, it will often flee or attempt to hide in a safe place. Rain leads to anxiety in cats. Because cats are naturally sensitive animals, they perceive negative events as a potential threat.
2) Fear of Thunder
If your cat begins to act strangely during a storm, it is likely due to the impact of thunder and lightning. While rain can lead to anxiety and physical unease, especially if trapped outdoors, severe thunderstorms can make your cat afraid and result in sensory overload.
Often running for cover under a sofa, chair or bed, the crashing sound of thunder can register as much as two octaves higher than that of a human. If you think thunder is loud, then your cat is probably experiencing its actual impact. During an intense thunderclap, it is not uncommon for a cat to respond with a loud meow.
- The impact of a severe storm depends on the personality of the cat. While all cats become uneasy at the sound of thunder, some cats are afraid of common noises. While a person understands that thunder is bad weather, your cat may view it as a potential attack.
Although cats are less likely to develop heat stroke as regularly as dogs, extreme heat can alter your cat’s mood, behavior, and personality.
Cats with known health concerns are more likely to become dehydrated. In extreme cases, dehydration can lead to lethargy and the inability to respond to commands or move.
Although mood swings caused by heat are often due to medical reasons, your cat may become less inclined to go outside if its associative memory aligns outdoor time with discomfort and illness.
Harsh winds can cause annoyance and physical discomfort for a cat. Blowing debris, the inability to breath properly (facing the wind), and potential skin and nerve pain can alter your cat’s mood.
While the nerve aspect can quickly be forgotten, your cat’s skin is very sensitive. Significant winds can blow your cat’s fur and trigger various nerve reactions.
Cats can get what is known as the zoomies. Gusting winds can invoke a similar response.
How Does Weather Affect Appetite in Cats?
Seasonal changes that impact both temperature and daylight can prompt hormonal changes in your cat. These changes can alter their daily food intake.
During the warmer weather months, cats often become less active thus needing less energy. Coupled with increased daylight, your cat will typically eat less during this time.
Colder weather will demand greater energy from your cat to maintain its optimal body temperature. Shorter days mean darker days. These factors will cause your cat to store fat, so its food intake will naturally increase.
How Seasonal Changes Affect Cats
Seasons, rather than random weather events, can impact your cat’s mood and behavior for significantly longer. Unable to get outside on a daily basis, some cats can have a tough time adjusting to a new routine due to a seasonal change.
1) Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
If your cat typically spends the daylight hours outside and the night hours relaxing in your home, seasonal changes (such as a harsh winter) can alter this routine.
Coupled with the shorter days and a lack of sunlight, the winter season can lead your cat becoming restless and depressed. This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
SAD is most often influenced by the amount of sunlight your cat is receiving. As the days become more cloudy, gloomy, rainy, and snowy, the more often a “dark” pattern begins to take hold. This can lead to feline depression, sleepiness, anxiety, and aggression.
Although medications can be given to restore your cat’s chemical balance, the notion is a bit risky. Most treatment methods involve giving cats drugs that are designed for human consumption. Light therapy is an alternative that you may wish to explore further.
How to Improve Your Cat’s Mood
There are various ways you can improve your cat’s mood, depending on the cause. If your cat has depression, you can introduce new toys and interactive games to play while inside.
- Cats often clam up during the winter months. Allowing your cat to run freely around your home can do a world of good. Depression caused by seasonal changes can be improved through exercise and regular mental and physical stimulation.
- If you are faced with the task of calming your cat during a severe weather event, the key is to monitor your mood and energy. If you remain positive, your pet will pick up your energy. If you are displaying no stress, then your cat will be less inclined to feel anxious.
- When the thunder and the lightning occur, pet your cat as a source of comfort. You may also be able to distract your cat by playing games with a piece of string.
- Give your cat a place to hide. If you develop a specific location for relaxation and comfort your cat will be less likely to hide in a random and obscure location. By setting up a safe area, your cat can retreat naturally to a place where it feels safer.
With age comes wisdom. Through associative memory, your cat will grow confident that nothing bad will occur during inclement weather. Just try to be understanding and supportive of your cat’s anxiety during this period of adjustment.