I am the proud owner, or cat servant if you will, of a female Manx. A Manx is a unique cat, because the breed is known for their lack of tails. They are also known for having a double coat, or an extra layer of undercoat, which helps them when temperatures fall. Their hind legs are longer than their front, making their running gait one of “bunny hopping.” They are also well-known for their facial expressions, playing games with their humans and opening doors by turning knobs with their paws. Seriously.
Even with her double coat, she is susceptible to freezing temperatures. Since she is primarily an indoor cat, I have to take precautions.
Frostbite and hypothermia can happen to any domestic cats during the winter. Keep pet cats inside during the night. For cats that go outside during the day, train the animal to a leash and supervise its outdoor time. Do not take the cat outside in temperatures that are freezing or when it is raining. Once inside, dry the coat and paws with a warm towel.
Caring For Special Breeds
Certain breeds such as the Cornish Rex, Devon Rex and Egyptian Mau have very little to no hair; they cannot go outside in temperatures below 60° safely. If the cat dashes outside, it must be found quickly or it can die from exposure.
Keep indoor temperatures at a level that is comfortable for you, generally around 74° to 76°. Provide your cats with a warm place to sleep, but never place pet bedding near a space heater. You may notice your Cornish Rex sitting very close to a space heater; you can place a pet sweater on your cat if you wish and if the cat will accept it. Do not allow these breeds to go outside in the cold, even for a few minutes or while wearing a sweater.
Just because a cat has a coat of hair, long or short, and an undercoat, that does not mean that freezing temperatures cannot affect them.
Outdoor cats must have protection from the cold and freezing winds. Provide a box that is insulated on all sides, top and bottom with a dry blanket in it so the cat(s) can have protection. Keep the door out of the wind.
Some cat owners allow outdoor cats to stay inside the garage during freezing temperatures. A warm place to sleep is still required, as temperatures can drop to freezing inside a non-heated garage. Providing a warm bed prevents the cat from climbing up into the engine compartment of vehicles; ensure the cat is not there before starting the engine.
Both indoor and outdoor cats need adequate amounts of food and water during the winter months. Be sure not to overfeed them, as a fat cat cannot stay warm more than a healthy one.
Cats need activity during the winter; provide toys to keep indoor cats active. Purchase or make interactive toys and spend quality time with your kitty. A laser toy can afford your cat activity and you with hours of entertainment.
Your cat can get through the winter with a minimum of care. By following the tips, both you and your feline family member can welcome spring with no trouble at all.