Winter outdoor cat safety.

Whether they are stray or just indoor/outdoor cats, felines are pretty independent in most cases. When the temperatures start to drop in the winter, however, some of these outdoor cats might need a little help to stay warm and avoid issues like frostbite and hypothermia, both of which can be deadly. 

To help celebrate National Cat Month this December, the team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital has put together this guide for keeping outdoor and feral cats safe and warm during the winter months. 

Outdoor Cats Safety

While you may feel inclined to capture an outdoor cat and bring them indoors, it’s not always necessary. An outdoor cat may still be happy and healthy, and could belong to a neighbor even if they do not have a collar. If they seem more shy or only come around when you have food, they could be a stray cat or a “community cat” that lives with a group of other feral cats that are typically afraid of humans.

While outdoor cats are resilient creatures, they could use a little help in the winter months. Here’s the best things to do for them: 

Provide a Shelter: 

Providing a safe, warm space for cats is simple. You can purchase a premade shelter from the store, or build your own! Homemade shelters don’t have to be complicated, and can be made out of affordable materials such as rubbermaid bins and straw (not hay). Learn more about building a shelter for your cat from Alley Cat Allies or Neighborhood Cats

Provide Food and Water: 

Providing food and water during the winter months can help prevent outdoor cats from going hungry. Cats need more food in the cold to help them conserve energy, so consider leaving out extra. Leave out dry food instead of canned or wet food, so it doesn’t freeze. Place water outside the shelter and refill it a few times a day to avoid freezing.

Watch What Products and Chemicals You Use 

Don’t use antifreeze in areas where outdoor cats may roam. It’s extremely poisonous and deadly, and unfortunately, cats are drawn to the taste of it. Also avoid salt or chemical products that are used to melt snow. The chemicals could get tracked onto their paws and or be in a melted puddle, and could be deadly if ingested.

Check the Hood of Your Car 

Always make sure to check the hood of your car for stray cats before starting it in the winter. Cats may seek shelter under your car or in the engine area, so give the hood a few taps before jumping into your driver’s seat. 

Winter weather can be harder on all pets, but it’s a little harder on senior pets. We’re here to help care for all pets during the winter season. Give our caring team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital a call at (210) 681‑1391 with any questions or concerns regarding animals and the cold weather.