3 tips to keep your cat from getting cold in winter: they require higher temperatures than humans

Hangai Lilla

2023. December 12 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Although cats are highly adaptable animals, they can be sensitive to the cold, especially indoor cats that don't go outside. They can also catch a cold, and constant low temperatures can make them more prone to other illnesses. Moreover, their well-being and mood can be affected.


We’ll now briefly show you the signs that your cat is feeling cold and discuss how to prevent it.

Winter is coming!

As the temperature drops, cat owners may rightfully wonder what is too cold for their cats, especially if everyone in the family is at school or work, and the heating in the house is minimal during the day. However, cold is not only a threat to indoor pets. It’s important to pay attention to outdoor cats as well, as hypothermia or frostbite can be fatal.

Fortunately, in general, most cats tolerate the cold quite well, especially those accustomed to spending a lot of time outdoors. They instinctively know when to stop playing in the cold. However, as a responsible owner, you should provide some shelter even for outdoor cats, who are not only vulnerable to the cold but also unable to defend themselves against predators or dogs.

Indoor cats may also get cold. If the heating is low during the day, make sure to provide soft blankets, pillows, and cozy spots where your playful companion can snuggle up. Chances are they’ll be sleeping until you’re back home.

What is too cold when it comes to a cat?

If we have to quantify it, generally, temperatures below 7 ºC are considered too cold for cats. Overweight cats handle the cold better, but this shouldn’t encourage you to feed your indoor cat more during winter. (Outdoor cats, on the other hand, may need more calories because the body burns more in the cold.) An exception is if you notice your cat losing weight. In this case, consult a vet before increasing the food portion, as there may be an underlying issue.

If your cat is hairless, giving it a sweater. They can get cold even indoors, especially if you think it’s warm enough.

Cats with certain health conditions are more susceptible to the risk of hypothermia. Examples include hyperthyroidism and arthritis, which make our friends’ lives more challenging in cold and wet seasons. If your cat has kidney disease, heart disease, or cancer, they become sensitive to the cold too and should not be let outdoors.

What are the signs if your cat is cold?

A cat’s normal body temperature ranges between 37.5 and 39 ºC. If you find a cat in the cold, or if your pet is outside and seems motionless, immediately wrap it in a warm towel, blanket, or coat and take it to the vet. It’s likely in a hypothermic state and needs care.

In the cold, pay attention to their water consumption, as the dry air from the heater makes them need more fluids. Always have fresh water in their bowl!

If a cat is cold, it may shiver or seek warmer places conspicuously by hiding. However, if you notice dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, muscle stiffness, slow heart rate, or low blood pressure, these could be signs of hypothermia.

Simple tips to keep your pet warm

A dedicated blanket just for the cat can be a great idea. It not only provides warmth but also makes them feel secure.

If you find this insufficient, we recommend electrically heated beds. However, it’s not advisable to give your cat heating pads or blankets designed for humans, especially unsupervised, as it can be hazardous and cause burns.

Another simple but great tip is to elevate their bed. Placing it on the couch, a sturdy chair, or a comfortable chair can be an effective solution, especially if the floor is colder. (It is made of stone or tiles.)

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