What your cat needs during wintertime
Snoozing, slumbering, purring - many cats take it easy in winter. Nevertheless, regular playtime should not be missed.
Why do cats sleep so much in winter?
Cats are experts at taking it easy. In the cold season, they take it to the extreme and may even sleep for up to 20 hours a day. There is a good reason for this: in cold weather, cats consume more calories and therefore regulate their energy and calorie balance through their behaviour. They are less active and sleep more. Especially in winter, your cat will appreciate a nice and cosy place to lie down. But make sure your house cat gets regular exercise through play so that he doesn’t get fat. He is not chasing after mice, after all. He gets his food from you, and if he lives in a well-heated house, he consumes very little energy. He doesn’t have to fight the cold the way he would if he was outdoors.
The right cat sleeping area
In winter, you should offer your cat a warm, cosy place to sleep near a heat source. For indoor cats or fair-weather outdoor cats, a bed with a view on the window sill or a cuddly den on the cat tree close to the window is always a great idea. For narrow windowsills, padded lounger plates increase the lying area and are securely fastened to the windowsill. Window and heating hammocks are also good. Your cat should be able to easily switch between warm and cooler places at all times.
By the way: If your cat curls up like a fox, it is trying to store body heat. If it stretches out for a long time, it means it feels cosy and warm.
Keeping an eye on the cat's weight
Of course we want our cats to be slim and healthy. However, body fat helps retain body heat. In addition, the calorie requirements of a cat that is active outdoors in the cold are higher than those of indoor cats. However, it will be difficult for you as a cat owner to assess how active your cat really is in snow and ice. And many cats tend to sleep more and move less in winter. Therefore, you should keep an eye on your pet’s weight during the winter. A slight weight gain will regulate itself in spring, but being overweight is harmful in winter also. The vet team at Dr. Maxi Zoo can give you sound online nutritional advice for your house cat – in the comfort of your own home via video chat.
Coat changes in cats: the proper care
As the days get shorter and colder, your cat will exchange the thin summer coat for a nice and warm winter coat. Brush your cat every day. Brushing stimulates blood circulation in the muscles and skin. Less hair is then swallowed during grooming and you prevent the formation of hairballs in the stomach. Cat grass and anti-hairball snacks help ensure that the hair that is still swallowed can be easily regurgitated.
Cat toy time
Get your cat to play for half an hour twice a day so they keep busy and get enough exercise despite all the laziness. Basically, there are two types of play: the ground hunters, who like to chase scampering objects, stalk them and lure them out of their hiding place – and the air hunters, who like to climb and use their paws to fish around for things that may even squeak. Find out which type of play your cat likes most and let the games begin! Fish bait, toys with valerian or catnip, rustle tunnels or paper-filled boxes are some of the best toys. Incorporate scratching trees and climbing elements into the game.
Warning: Cats get bored very easily! Put some toys away for a few weeks and bring them out again later. This makes them more desirable to the cats. By the way, a good time for playtime is right before feeding – chase, then eat.
Cats in the snow
It’s fine to let a healthy outdoor cat play outside, even in cold temperatures. The territory needs to be explored and it’s fun to play in the snow. However, it is important that your cat be able to return to the warm room at any time. The installation of a cat flap is recommended here. A good alternative is an insulated warming hut for outside with a cosy, heat-insulated base that offers shelter in wind and weather. When it is icy outside, young cats, sick animals and pedigree cats that develop little or no undercoat must stay inside. They cannot withstand the temperatures and run the risk of catching a cold. They are also more susceptible to infections, including bladder infections.
Video: "Top 5 tips for outdoor access for cats in the cold season".
You wouldn't chase a dog out the door in the cold weather - says an old proverb. But cats often enjoy outdoor life, even in winter. In this video, we show you how you can help them.