With cold weather setting in for the winter, it's time we prepare our cats that are relegated to being outside.
Cats, like dogs, are sometimes for one reason or another, kept outdoors. No matter what the reason, they should be prepared for the experiance. For example, a cat that is used to staying indoors shouldn't suddenly be thrust out in cold weather. You first must acclimate the cat/kitten to weather change.
If you purchase a cat/kitten in winter, you should start by putting them out in increments. Start out by letting them out for no more than 1 1/2 hours at a time 3 or 4 times a day, then increasing the time over a period of one to two weeks, depending on the outside temperature. Don't leave them out overnight until they are staying out on their own at least 12 hours during the day.
You will find that once they start spending more time outdoors, they will find more things to keep them occupied, hence, they are more willing to stay out.
Now that your cat is staying outside, you will have to keep food and water for them. In cold weather this can be a chore. I have found to save time from thawing water out constantly, keep two metal coffee cans. (plastic splits when it freezes) Keep one with water outside for your cat, one inside handy (or already filled), and replace as needed. Take one out, bring frozen one in to thaw.
Now that your cat is acclimated to the cold weather and has fresh water to drink, he also has to eat. By all means, do not give your cat dry food and then put warm water on it. This causes more problems when the water freezes. Choose a good quality dry cat food, and keep it dry. This way you do not have to worry about the food freezing. We like to use a styrofoam plate placed on the front porch out of the weather, held down by a thumbtack to keep the wind from blowing it away.
Now your cat must have a place to call home when he needs some warmth on those cold days and nights. Heres what I do! Take a cardboard box, preferably not much bigger than your cat (this keeps the heat in better), Open one end, put some straw or other bedding inside (this may have to be changed occasionally if it gets damp). You can also use old towels or other throwaways for the bedding. I like to place the opening to the box facing a wall or something similiar to keep it out of the wind.
I hope now you and your cat are ready to face the winter!Cat Care
Labels: Cat Care-Outside Cats-Winter