Cats hate being cold. Felines tend to become considerably more affectionate during the winter due to falling temperatures. When they cuddle up to their owners, and each other, it’s a sign that your cat is feeling cold. This is a classic animal behavior that’s intended to increase its body heat.
A comfortable feline body temperature is 100OF. If your cat has a temperature below 90OF, it is too cold. If your cat’s body temperature drops below 60OF, it could cause hypothermia. In terms of your home, the ideal room temperature for cats during winter is about 70OF.
Keeping a cat warm in the home can be something of a balancing act. If you warm up a cool house too much, you risk overheating your cat. This can be just as risky as your cat being too cold. We will discuss how you can keep your cat warm and comfortable during the winter months.
At What Temperature Do Cats Feel Cold?
A cat’s base body temperature is 100OF. Anything below 100OF leaves a cat at risk of mild hypothermia. A body temperature of 90OF is too cold.
If a cat’s temperature drops to around 80OF, the hypothermia risk is severe. If a cat cannot get warmer than 60OF, it’s life is in danger.
What’s the Optimal Room Temperature?
Maintaining a consistent and comfortable room temperature during the winter can be difficult and expensive. The chill outside means that the base temperature of a room is going to be much lower.
Keep the room temperature at about 70OF. This, coupled with the additional warming methods (blankets, heating pads, etc), will keep your cat warm and safe.
Warmth is achievable through a gas/electric fire or central heating. Just remember that cats are drawn to heat, so make sure your cat doesn’t go to sleep on a hot radiator as it could lead to severe burning.
Cats prefer a slightly warmer ambient temperature to humans. We sit away from a radiator or fireplace, so we don’t become uncomfortably hot. Cats will often curl up right beside a heat source.
How Do I Know if My Cat is Cold?
Be aware of is the symptoms of hypothermia in cats. This is a dangerous medical condition that will need urgent veterinary attention.
According to the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, the symptoms include:
- Shivering and feeling cold to the touch
- Stiffness in movement
- Lethargy and general weakness
- Dilated pupils
- Low heart rate and shallow, labored breathing
Your cat could be overly cold without developing hypothermia. Cats are not always vocal about their discomfort due to their independent nature.
More subtle signs that your cat is feeling cold include:
- Cold ears, paws, and the tip of the tail. These are the first body parts to lose heat and the last to warm up.
- Resting on a radiator. Your cat is gaining heat from the source.
- Curling in a ball. A cat tucking its paws and tail beneath its body may be trying to preserve its body heat.
- Seeking body warmth. Your cat will suddenly become more interested in going to sleep on your lap. If you have multiple cats, you may find they huddle together during the winter months.
As felines age, its joints become increasingly stiff. Cold weather will exacerbate your cat’s discomfort. So, it is vital that you keep senior cats warm and cozy during the winter.
Alternative Ways to Warm Up a Cold Cat
It may not be possible to keep your heating on all through winter. This doesn’t mean that your cat needs to suffer, though. There are many ways that you can increase your cat’s body temperature:
1/ Warm Blankets
Cats love warm and cozy blankets, especially if they have a familiar smell. Flannel material is recommended. It feels pleasant to a cat’s paws, has a warm feeling, and won’t catch its claws in any stitching.
While it may be tempting to wrap your cat up like a burrito, you should avoid doing this. Cats can grow distressed if their movement is restricted.
2/ Heating Pad or Water Bottle
Your cat can lie on a heating pad to increase its body temperature. It will be much gentler on a cat’s skin than sleeping on a radiator.
You could also use a hot water bottle as an alternative. Just make sure it has a thick cover or is placed underneath a blanket. If your cat pierces the bottle with its claws, the boiling water could scald them.
3/ Elevate Your Cat’s Bed
Heat rises, which means that a bed located at a higher point will be slightly warmer. Just make sure that the bed is placed on a stable surface.
4/ Extra Playtime
The more a cat exercises, the better its circulation and warmer it’ll be. Play with your cat regularly throughout the winter.
Avoid cat sweaters/jumpers. Applying fabric over a fur coat could cause your cat to overheat, which is just as dangerous as being freezing cold.
6/ Extra Meals
Cats burn off a lot of calories staying warm in the winter. This could mean that your pet appears constantly hungry, asking for more food.
Your cat will need more calories to remain warm. If your cat is obese, feed it smaller meals more often, rather than 2-3 larger servings.
Is My Indoor Cat Too Cold at Night?
Most of us turn off our heating sources at night so that we’re not too hot to sleep. After all, we have bed covers and blankets to keep us cozy.
If your cat isn’t under the covers with you, however, they lack such luxury, The temperature also drops sharply at night during the winter. This may leave your cat cold overnight.
One way around this could be to share your bed with your cat. This could interfere with your sleep, though. Remember that cats become more active at night. You will also have to be consistent.
The best option is to ensure that your cat’s bed is as warm as possible. Line it with warm cushions and blankets, and maybe a hot water bottle.
Above all, remember the one golden rule. Cats and humans have similar base body temperatures, but their temperature drop faster. If you are feeling chilly, it’s almost certain that your cat is cold.