How Much Cold Can Cats Tolerate?

When adventuring outside with your cat, it’s important to know how far you can push your cat to the limits before it can potentially become dangerous.  So how much cold can cats tolerate exactly?  This question can easily be answered in a few words, but it is important to properly educate yourself if you plan on taking your cat camping, or anywhere else that will expose your cat to extreme cold temperatures.


How Cold is Too Cold?

If you live in California, then you don’t have to worry too much about your cat freezing to death.  If you live in an area that snows, or gets very cold during the night, then it would be wise to familiarize yourself with how well your cat can deal with cold.  One of the main factors on how your cat will deal with cold weather is his age and health.  If you have an older cat with a few health problems then a 40 degree night can be dangerous.  On the other hand, if you have a young, healthy cat, then you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.

A good rule of thumb is if your cat is healthy, any temperature above freezing (32°F), should be safe.  If the temperature dips below 32°F, this is where severe health problems can occur.  Frostbite and severe hypothermia will start to become prevalent in this type of weather.

Do Cats Like Cold Weather?


In general, cat’s prefer to be warm over cold.  Take a look at your cat when he spreads his body in front of the sliding glass door when the sun is out.  Have you ever seen your cat snuggle up next to a fan or air conditioner vent?  I sure haven’t.

Most of the time when you pet your cat they are very warm to the touch.  Their fur coat is what is keeping the warmth in their body from escaping. One of the main reasons a cat always feels warm to the touch is because their body is naturally about 2 degrees higher than a humans.

It’s a good thing that frozen nights are far and few between in most states.  If you live in a state where the weather constantly drops below freezing at night, it would be a good idea to keep your cat indoors.  You cant always stop your cat from running out the door, so it’s a great idea to at least have your backyard prepared in case your cat needs a warm place to sleep during the night.  An outdoor cat house like this one from amazon would be a great choice to leave outside for your cat.

Ways to Keep Your Cat Warm


There are many ways to help keep your cat warm.  The first step you can take to keeping your cat warm is to not let them outside in the first place.  Strictly keep your cat indoors to prevent any potential danger of freezing.

What do you do when the weather is cold outside?  You dress warmer!  Picking up a sweater like this one for your cat will help keep his body temperature in the higher range even if he were to get outside.

If you decide to take your cat camping, make sure to have a fire running in the background to help keep everyone warm.  Make sure to keep your cat on some type of leash or harness to make sure he is safe.


How Do I Know if My Cat is Cold?


If your cat is indoors, you can simply observe the type of behavior that he displays.  He may try to sit in the sunlight through the sliding glass door.  He may also hide under blankets or cushions on the couch.  Your cat may even jump into your lap for affection as well as to stay warm.  Have you ever seen your cat in a seated position with all of his paws tucked under his belly?  This type of position will help him stay warm and conserve energy.  If you have lots of rugs or blinds in your house, your cat will find spots where the sun beams into your house onto the rugs or carpet.  This is similar to if your cat were to lay down near the sliding glass door where the sun is most prominent.

If you cat gets very cold, he may shiver.  You can see them shivering as well as feel them trembling if you are holding them.  This is one of the most prominent signs that it may be time to warm up your cat.  Letting your cat become too cold can lead to serious health issues.  He may start sneezing, avoid food and water, act lethargic, cough, or even have nasal discharge (runny nose).  If your cat becomes ill due to cold weather, you should immediately pack up and go to the vet.  Untreated colds, just like in humans, can lead to bronchitis or even pneumonia if not treated properly.

How to Tell if an Outdoor Cat is Cold


If you have an outdoor cat, they will exhibit similar behavior.  They will look for sunny spots in the grass to sit and spread out on.  They will look for sheds to keep warm in, dumpsters, a garage, and even a warm bush to snooze in.  You might even find them in the laundry room outside tucked inside a few warm blankets.

It is also common to find cats under the hood or bodies of parked cars if they were recently driven.  The heat dissipating from the car’s engine will attract any cat that is feeling cold or under the weather.  Not only does a car provide a warm environment, but will also make them feel safe from danger since they will be hidden.  An outdoor cat may also whine or cry at the door waiting to be let in from the cold weather.

In Conclusion

Cats are warm creatures.  They prefer to stay out of the cold and in the heat whenever possible.  If you have an indoor cat, then you do not have to worry too much about trying to keep your cat warm.  They will naturally find the warmest spots in the house.  If you have an outdoor cat, then it would be a good idea to dress them with a sweater as well as having an outdoor cat house that can provide them with shelter from the cold.


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