Cats and Snow

Dusty's paw marks in the snow © Paul White 2009
Dusty’s paw marks in the snow © Paul White 2009


It’s snowing and the country is in panic mode. I really don’t get it. It snows every winter – so by now everyone should be well prepared. In Germany when it snows and you want to use your car by law you have to have winter tyres. Anyway the news is full of snow features, but what about our furry friends – in my case – our cat?

Bobby thinking about going out – © Helen White 2010

Bobby has an odd relationship with the snow – she goes out and is surprised, then appalled and goes nuts. She runs back in through her cat flap like a cartoon cat, meows in protest and vents her frustration – because by that time her paws are frozen. I usually pick her up – which leads to a vehement protest, because she hates it – and try to warm her paws and then I put the fire on. As the cold always makes her very hungry she tends to eat a lot and demands extra food – which means that I spend some time just stroking her back while she eats. I know it’s weird, but ever since she was a kitten she needed protection while she’s eating. I sometimes wonder how she manages when we are away. Obviously she does, because she never appears to be thinner than before our holiday. After she has warmed up and she has eaten Bobby has already forgotten the snow – and is off again, and the ritual is repeated until – hurray she finally gets tired and demands to be tucked under our blanket on our bed. She loves her little cave – it keeps her warm and she thinks nobody will find her. It happens a lot that she somehow wraps herself up in there, when the bed is not made, and we can’t find her for ages!

..and she’s off. – © Helen White 2010

So Bobby and snow is a strange one. Dusty on the other hand, who is a Norwegian Forest and therefore being able to cope with zero to sub zero temperatures comes naturally to her, loves snow. She is happy to go out and she looks so beautiful in her more natural habitat. Her already fluffy fur puffs up even more and she looks funny when she runs around. She can spend much longer in the snow than Bobs.

Dusty looks into the camera © Paul 2009
Dusty looks into the camera © Paul 2009
My sister's cat Dusty 2014 - copyright Paul White
My sister’s cat Dusty 2014 – copyright Paul White

Last week I have received a press release from Cats Protection on the subject of cats and snow and I would like to share their advice.

If you own a young cats who has never seen or been in the snow before: consider letting her wander in a safe and enclosed area like your garden and accompany her.

Wipe off road grit and other substances from your cat’s paws and fur when your cat comes in.

If your cats have access to outside, provide some shelter like a cardboard box partially covered with plastic sheets.

Keep doors to your sheds and other outbuildings shut or wedged open so cats don’t become trapped.

Always check under cars and the bonnet of your car before starting the engine – cats may have climbed into your vehicle for extra warmth!

If you provide your cat with an outdoor source of water, make sure it doesn’t freeze. Always make sure your cat has clean fresh water available inside if the outdoor source is not accessible.

Always check if you cat flap is still in working order and not frozen over or blocked by snow. If you let your cat wander further, then let them only outside when the temperatures are highest and traffic levels are lowest – though I have to admit I find this one a bit odd. During the day it’s obviously warmer but it’s also very busy, while at night it’s freezing but less busy. So basically it’s best not to let your moggie wander to far.

Cats with Arthritis need extra warmth on a snowy day, because the cold can severely affect inflamed joints. So it’s best to provide additional warm and comfortable places for your cat to rest or sleep. Also ensure that her resting places are easy to access and not too high up and that she can easily access her chosen toileting site.

Cats are at a much higher risk of being run over, stolen or maltreated by nasty people when it’s dark– so it’s highly recommended to keep them in at this time.

And finally if you haven’t got pet insurance, consider taking one out for your own piece of mind. Vet bills can get very expensive.

Enjoy the snow, but protect your cat from freezing.

Dusty's paw marks in the snow - © Paul White 2010
Dusty’s paw marks in the snow – © Paul White 2010

  1. Euphrosene
    | Reply

    Love the paw prints, Helen. They’d make a lovely Christmas card . Cheers Euphrosene
    PS Many thanks for the kind wishes!

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