Keep your Cat Safe and Happy in Winter

Winter can be a magical time, but there are some challenges that the colder weather brings for our feline friends:

Caution with the anti-freeze:

Please, please, please take care when handling and storing your anti-freeze and chemical melting products – even the smallest amount can be deadly to your cat if ingested, causing kidney failure. Sadly, anti-freeze is extremely palatable to cats.

Many accidental anti-freeze deaths can be avoided:

  • Store anti-freeze safely in sealed containers away from pets; and dispose of responsibly
  • Clean up all spills immediately – no matter how small. If you suspect your cat has come into contact with anti-freeze and they display any of the following symptoms – get them to a vet IMMEDIATELY:

* Vomiting    * Poor balance     * Seizures     * Lethargy

* Increased urination     * Difficulty breathing     * Increased thirst

Prevent burns:

Cats like warm places. Cars are warm. Before starting your vehicle give the bonnet a firm tap or beep the horn to disturb any sleeping furry. Check between and on top of wheels. Watch your cat around fires/stoves in the home to prevent burnt paws! Also watch for salt “burns” caused by road salt and grit becoming lodged in your cat’s paws.

Clear the snow and provide shelter:

If you have outside cats, or provide shelter for stray cats in the winter, keep their houses clear of snow. Snow is not only heavy – it is also wet! Consider replacing any fabric blankets in outdoor houses with straw which will keep furry inhabitants warmer and drier. If you are aware of a stray cat in your area please consider setting up a simple shelter for them – a strong cardboard box wrapped in a heavy duty plastic bag, stuffed with newspaper with a cat-flap sized door cut into the side can make a great emergency shelter.


Cats can get frostbite on their extremities, just like people. Frostbitten skin goes pale and glossy, and requires vet attention. If the temperature drops significantly, consider reducing the amount of time your cat spends outside.

Beware the pretty plants:

Lillies are deadly for cats and if you have a cat you shouldn’t have lilies in the home. Simple. Poinsettia plants are also toxic to cats if consumed in large quantities, but their leaves are believed to be bitter and so most cats will not want to eat enough to make them ill. If in doubt – keep the Poinsettia out of reach, or out of the house!

Achy old bones:

Just like in humans, cold weather can cause joints to stiffen and can increase pain from arthritis. Make sure they have access to a toasty bed, and if you feel your cat is toiling with the cold, speak to your vet who can advise on treatment options to help alleviate any pain.