Should I feed my cat less food during the winter months?
No. In fact, some pet experts say cats need more food, because even shivering takes energy. If your cat is thin you may want to give her an extra helping of canned food, particularly kitten food, which will give them extra needed calories. As always, you need to discuss this with your veterinarian.
Whatever the caloric needs, though, one thing is certain: Cats experience the same winter woes as humans. Here are more ways to protect her:
• Keep your cat indoors during cold weather. Too much exposure to the cold can cause hypothermia (below-normal body temperature) or frostbite in cats. They also tend to hide under warm car engines when it’s cold, which can be very dangerous when the vehicle is started. Be sure to keep your cat away from antifreeze; even a small dose can be lethal.
• Feed your cat a quality commercial cat food that contains Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil). If feeding a homemade diet, supplement it with essential fatty acids to fortify the coat and make it grow thicker for the colder months.
• Vitamin E is also a good supplement for healthy skin.
• Make sure your cat has a soft, warm place to sleep, and this is even more important if yours suffers from arthritis. You can use the couch, a cat bed, comfortable mat or a lined cardboard box with a warm blanket or hot water bottle. If you’re so inclined, your bed will work just fine too.
• Brush your cat more frequently during colder weather to get rid of dead skin cells and dander. If it’s necessary to bathe your cat, use a moisturizing shampoo that is made specifically for cats. Human shampoo can irritate a cat’s skin since they have a different pH balance.
• Be mindful of fireplaces. Cats love to be around warmth—but a spark can cause a burn.