Can a cat catch a cold? This is how to protect your pet’s health in winter

Szénási Szimonetta

2024. January 14 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Snow, freezing rain, frost – these elements spare no one. If you don't dress properly, you can easily catch a cold. But what about our pets?


With the onset of cold weather, it is very important to talk about the health protection of cats, answering the question in the title, whether a cat can catch a cold.

Deceptive fur

Since most cats are covered with thick fur, you might easily think that they are protected from the weather’s adversities. However, even cats with dense fur can get cold, especially when the temperature approaches 0 °C. Not to mention the short-haired and hairless ones, as well as the young, old, and those with weakened immune systems!

As a reminder, here is the lowest temperature that a cat can still tolerate:

Older or younger cats, as well as those with thin fur, do not tolerate temperatures below 10°C. But for a cat with a chronic illness, such as arthritis, or a very thin one, even 15°C is too low. Similarly, acute health problems make the animal more sensitive. In these cases, wearing clothes may be justified. For healthy cats, around 7°C is the tolerance limit. Prolonged exposure to temperatures below freezing, however, can cause hypothermia and frostbite in all animals, which can be fatal.

Can a cat catch a cold?

Given this information, it is a legitimate question whether your cat can catch a cold due to inappropriate environmental temperatures. Cats belonging to the mentioned risk groups can easily do so. However, even healthy pets with thick fur can get sick if they are exposed to the cold for too long.

Therefore, it is important to always provide a suitable, warm place for your cat. As we have emphasized many times, indoor keeping is ideal for cats, but if you absolutely do not want to let your pet inside, make sure it has a place in the shed, cellar, or garage, but always in a wind- and precipitation-protected area.

Make sure your outdoor kitty has a shelter from wind and rain. Make a nest for them in the garage, shed, outbuilding or even in the cellar.

It is crucial that the cat can retreat to a place that does not get wet and keeps the animal warm enough. A cardboard box lined with a blanket or clothes is by no means ideal for this purpose! Instead, we recommend a plastic box lined with straw. Ready-made, practical cat houses are also available, and in this article, we show you step by step how to make one yourself, cheaply and quickly.

For indoor cats, setting the heating too low can cause problems, especially if you go to work all day and turn it off. Make sure there are soft, warm resting places and scratching posts with nests in the house.

A bunched-up blanket or towel on a bed can also be an ideal sleeping place. Additionally, the temperature should be optimal.

care caring for a sick cat cold old cat snow winter

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