Watch for Winter Cat Concerns

Veterinarians to Cats Shares a Few Things to Watch for Winter

There are a few important things to watch for winter cat concerns. Veterinarians to Cats would like Roanoke-area clients to be on the lookout to help keep cats safe. By the time winter arrives, most families in the region know that it gets dark earlier. This longer period of dark time is an added reason why drivers fail to see outdoor cats.

Guests arriving to your home for social events over the holidays can cause indoor cats to wander outdoors. Owners who travel with cats may unknowingly cause them to escape and wander. Whether at home or away, keep a good eye on your cat to make sure that they will not get loose. Having a safe space or quiet room as a cat retreat may also serve them at this time of year. We’ll talk more about this later.

Increased Winter Car-Related Injuries

With their fur, cats who do go outdoors can adapt to cold winter weather. However, when temperatures drop below freezing, they may experience hypothermia and frostbite. Outdoor cats will look for a warm place, so consider having an elevated shelter to help protect them. Add some warm bedding for added safety from the bitter cold.

Outdoor cats will look for other warm, covered places, such as under the hoods of cars. Protected from the elements, the engine can put off heat for hours after turning it off. If the driver starts the car while a cat hides away, it can severely injure or kill them. Always check or gently bang your vehicle hood to help prevent this type of car-related injury.

During and Post-Holiday Home Gatherings

Our most recent blogs reviewed cat safety issues with holiday food and decorations. These can cause a number of gastrointestinal issues and blockages that need surgery to treat them. In addition to these two main safety concerns, the ASPCA inspires these ways to plan a cat-safe home gathering.

House Rules: Perhaps your animal-loving guests would like to give your cat a little extra attention and exercise? While you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.

Put the Meds Away: Make sure that all of your medications are locked behind secure doors. Be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away safely, too.

Cat-Friendly Rooms Offer a Quiet Retreat

A Room of Their Own: Give your cat their own quiet space to retreat to — complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture or in their carrying case. If possible, try a separate room away from the hubbub.

New Year’s Noise: Keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can lodge in a cat’s intestines if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks. Be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

Cat Anxiety Can Add to Winter Cat Concerns

Last and certainly not least, our friends at remind us of the fears that cats can have with anxiety. As with us humans, anxiety is the anticipation of a danger or threat. Even though the cat is not actually in danger, they anticipate it.

Changes in daily routine, separation, visiting strangers, and more can combine with unexpected loud noises to create forms of trauma. As PetMD advises:

“Many fears, phobias, and anxieties develop as a result of experiences in the first year of a cat’s life. Pet parents often first notice signs of cat anxiety between 5 months and 1 year of age. These anxieties usually get worse, or new concerns may develop when your cat is between 1 and 3 years old.”

Younger cats may form anxiety patterns early. Older cats may relive past experiences that make them overly anxious. If your cat has anxiety, you may notice pacing or restlessness, hiding, decreased appetite, vocalization, hypervigilance, trembling, salivation, and excessive grooming.

Mild, Moderate, and Severe Signs of Cat Anxiety

There are additional signs of anxiety that cats may express. These range from mild to severe, so look through the list carefully:

Mild Signs of Cat Anxiety

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Shifting body or head away
  • Holding their tail close to their body
  • Slight tail flicking
  • Partially dilated pupils

Moderate Signs of Cat Anxiety

  • Ears partially to the side
  • Increased dilation of the pupils
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Looking at the stimulus
  • Holding their tail tight against their body
  • Crouching and leaning away

Severe Signs of Cat Anxiety

  • Trying to escape or completely freezing in place
  • Fully dilated pupils
  • Holding their ears back
  • Hair standing up
  • Staring
  • Aggression

Cat Anxiety Causes and What to Do

We mentioned that traumatic experiences can cause anxiety. Additional causes include illness or physical pain and improper socialization. Another is the fear of being alone, also known as separation anxiety.

If you see signs of cat anxiety, PetMD advises offering comfort to your cat. Do not punish or try to confine them for their anxious behavior. It may cause them to act out even more with biting and scratching. Remember that Veterinarians to Cats is your local resource in Roanoke, VA. Our veterinarians can offer additional treatments to put anxious cats at ease.

Are you looking for a new veterinarian for your cats? Call Veterinarians to Cats in Roanoke, VA, at (540) 989-1400, or follow us on Facebook for updates. Our veterinarians suggest you watch for winter cat concerns.