Ask the Vet: How Cold is Too Cold for my Outside Cat?
Even when the temperature drops to a frigidly cold level, it’s not uncommon for outdoor cats not to come when they’re called indoors. They may be fine and happy out there —but what if they’re not? How cold is too cold for your outside cat?
Safe Temperatures for Outdoors Cats
For the most part, cats are adequately adapted for relatively cold temperatures. But there is a limit, and in general, it’s anywhere below freezing.
When the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, try to make sure your cat comes inside or they may risk life-threatening dangers, including hypothermia and frostbite. If cats are left outdoors in extreme temperatures, they may also put themselves in danger by nestling beneath the hoods of cars.
If your cat is simply an outdoor cat and bringing them inside is not an option, the best thing to do is assemble a safe and warm structure for them. If possible, this structure should:
- Be elevated off the ground
- Be covered on all sides to shield from the wind (with an entrance/exit on one side)
- Have some sort of insulation or warm bedding inside
- Be large enough for your cat to turn around inside
Further Considerations for Outdoors Cats
Remember that letting your cat outdoors at all is a big decision in and of itself. Unsupervised outdoor cats may unfortunately be susceptible to several dangers, including ticks and other parasites, infectious diseases, run-ins with other cats and wild animals, traffic, and more.
If you do decide to allow your cat outdoors, speak to your vet about preventative measures you can take. You’ll want to make sure they’re spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and have adequate annual testing and preventative medication prescriptions.
The veterinarians at Sunset Veterinary Clinic would be happy to examine your cat and provide preventative solutions for safe outdoor time. We’re here to answer all of your questions and concerns. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.