Cats and cold, a season of change.

Cats and cold, a season of change.

In case you haven’t noticed winter is officially here, and with that we have to think about our pets and how to help them manage.  Cats and dogs are affected by the cold weather and it is important as owners to be mindful of the changes during our long and cold winters.  Today we will talk about how to help our feline friends adjust to the changes caused by cold and wet weather.

Cats

Often we don’t think about our feline friends since they will usually give up going outside when the weather no longer suits them, however this does mean some potential health risks lurk for the feline friends that dabble in the outdoors.  Indoor/outdoor cats will often prefer to relieve themselves  outdoors over the litter boxes we provide.  This leads to cats that may be trying to wait out their captivity before using the box.  Cats are more likely to form urethral plugs (urinary blockages) when they are not emptying their bladders as often.  This is a product of circumstances but some cats may have some crystals present in urine and will suffer no ill consequences until a event causes the  great stress and/or a reduction in urination.   Both can be caused by the snow flying.  The same can be said for defecation, the longer cats try to put this off the more likely they are to become constipated. IMG_0529    Spoon making an attempt at going outside in the snow.

How to help our feline friends.

1. Keep a watchful eye    –  Keep an eye on the litter boxes and your cats behavior.   Have they stopped eating?  Crying in the litterbox? Frequently visiting the litterbox?  All are concerns that warrant a call to your veterinarian. 2. Water  –  Well hydrated cats are less likely to become constipated and more water in means more water out.  If your cat enjoys drinking from a tap maybe consider letting it drip during the first few weeks of them becoming full indoors.  Water fountains, and large bowls of fresh water are also preferred by many cats.  Adding wet food can also increase water intake very easily. 3.  Manage stress  – cats are easily stressed and it is important to remember that while your pet is adjusting to a big change already.  Simply moving furniture can cause enough stress in a cats life to cause behavioral incontinence.  Do your best to keep changes to a minimum in the initial weeks of your cats transition.   The only true way to prevent this issue with your feline friends is to not allow them outside, which is also shown to increase life expectancy due to the many risks they face in both a rural and residential area.  Do you have any other tips and tricks to share with your fellow kitty parents?  How do you make the transition easier?

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